FAITH IN THE MODERN WORLD

A talk by TKV Desikachar in Nantes, France April 1995

In today’s world, the authority of tradition, religious institutions or elders is questioned and not accepted unless proven to the satisfaction of the individual.

However, when a person turns to someone or something with an attitude of respect and with the conviction that through this some­ thing good will happen, extraordinary results are achieved. This is especially so in moments of crisis.

TKV Desikachar, here presents an understanding of faith that the modern mind can accept and more important, that the modern mind needs.

This talk was given at Nantes, France in April 1995 when he visited Europe for a series of lectures and workshops there.

“I am very pleased that the subject of faith in the modern world has attracted so much interest. I would like to develop this idea in the following way. In the Indian tradition, even today, near the beginning of the 21st century, faith is very alive and is even taken for granted. In India, anywhere in India, people still believe in temples and teachers.

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Yoga attributes everything to the mind.

samkhya

“Yoga attributes everything to the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar India 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

There is a relationship between Pariṇāma Tāpa and Saṃskāra.

parinama

“There is a relationship between Pariṇāma, Tāpa and Saṃskāra.
When you recognise this phenomena there is something that recognises it.
That something is not part of the phenomena.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

A Yogi is one in who Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra are in harmony……

avidya

“A Yogi is one in who Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra are in harmony.
When there is no harmony there is the wrong combination of Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra.
This is known as Avidyā or not knowing a thing as it is.
The right combination is Vidyā.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Duḥkha and the absence of Duḥkha on the mental level is due to Saṃskāra and Pariṇāma……

duhkha_5

Duḥkha and the absence of Duḥkha on the mental level is due to Saṃskāra and Pariṇāma.
With no Saṃskāra the mind is dead.
With no Pariṇāma the mind is not alive.
With the two we try to strike a balance,
to have the two in harmony.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

The practice of Yoga is an attempt to influence Saṃskāra and Pariṇāma……

samskara

“The practice of Yoga is an attempt to influence Saṃskāra and Pariṇāma in a  positive way.
If not the practice is wrong.
Therefore Yoga is a Saṃskāra which gradually changes from old Saṃskāra.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Depending on what and how you feed Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra……

parinama

“Depending on what and how you feed Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra you can have good or bad reactions.
Pariṇāma relates to perception, Saṃskāra relates to memory.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Without Saṃskāra there can be no evolution, memory, action……

samskara

“Without Saṃskāra there can be no evolution, memory, action.
There would only be Pariṇāma or constant change.
So Saṃskāra can be good or bad.
The mind is basically neutral.
It depends on what happens to us.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

When Saṃskāra takes one view and Pariṇāma another, there……

duhkha_5

“When Saṃskāra takes one view and Pariṇāma another there is friction.
Coming to Madras is Pariṇāma,
being unable to have those things you had before causes friction.
When you want those things you are used to through Saṃskāra,
then the Pariṇāma which caused this can bring Duḥkha.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Pariṇāma is change and can be from one moment to the next……

parinama

Pariṇāma is change and can be from one moment to the next.
Suppose we are listening to music we like, a Saṃskāra or tendency,
and something happens to jar the appreciation.
The change is immediate and opposite to how we were.
Thus the Saṃskāra of listening to a particular style of music causes friction when there is change.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Ones own actions can develop or make one Guṇa prominent……

guna

“Ones own actions can develop or make one Guṇa prominent.
Thus we can plan or practice Āsana or Prāṇāyāma to promote one Guṇa.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras November 24th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

The mind has the characteristics that make other things possible……

samskara

“The mind has the characteristics that make other things possible.
To develop tendencies or Saṃskāra.
The mind can also adapt and change or Pariṇāma.
Saṃskāra is the opposite of Pariṇāma.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

In Yoga is is said that everything that happens is from the mind……

citta

“In Yoga it is said that everything that happens is from the mind.
Citta is the mindstuff, the perceptual mechanism.
That which makes us see and remember.
Vṛtti is the activity, transformation, motion, modification, that is caused in Citta.
The mind is the main function for seeing,
without it the senses are useless.
The mind can develop words or ideas.
The mind can remember.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

In Sāṃkhya it is said that every problem comes from the Guṇa……

guna

“In Sāṃkhya it is said that every problem comes from the Guṇa and their interplay.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 8th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Everything we see has three qualities or natures.

guna

“Everything we see,
including the instrument of Mind (Citta),
has three qualities or natures.
In Saṃskṛta they are known as Guṇa.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 1st 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Meditation can be related to the Guṇa…..

dhyana

“Meditation (Dhyāna) can be related to the Guṇa.
The object of our inquiry must be related or,
in accordance with what we want to produce.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 1st 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

The Nature of the three Guṇa are Gratifying, Painful and Depressing….

samkhya

“The Nature of the three Guṇa are Gratifying, Painful and Depressing,
(they serve) Brightness, Endeavour and Restraint,
and are mutually Supressing, Supporting, Producing, Co-existing, Mobile.”
– Sāṃkhya Kārikā of Īśvara Kṛṣṇa Āryā Twelve

The practice of Yoga can influence the Guṇa……

guna

“The practice of Yoga can influence the Guṇa.
i.e. The room where you practice can affect the Guṇa by photographs, colour of paint, smell.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 1st 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

All matter has the three qualities or Guṇa

guna

“All matter has the three qualities (Guṇa).
The effects can be based on what we see, eat, hear,
and the effects of what we see, eat, hear.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras December 1st 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Its the combination (of Guṇa) thats important……

guna

“Its the combination (of Guṇa) thats important.
There is the simile of the oil lamp in the Sāṃkhya Kārikā Śloka 13.
The cotton wick – Light Property (Sattva)
The basin or bowl – Heavy Property (Tamas)
The oil – Flows this way or that (Rajas)
The moment you dip the cotton in the oil it takes on that property.
Thus the Guṇa work together to produce the flame.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras November 24th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

BBC Radio 4 Series Beyond Belief – On Yoga

“Yoga is big business. Its worth $10bn a year in America alone. Does the growth in yoga’s popularity, particularly in the West, mean that its spiritual content and religious roots are being neglected? Can yoga be practised aside from these roots? Are there even dangers in doing so?”

Ernie Rea is joined by Jim Mallinson from SOAS, University of London, Suzanne Newcombe from the charity Inform and Ramesh Pattni from the Hindu Forum of Britain.

First broadcast: Monday 10 February 2014, Duration: 30 minutes

Download Broadcast as an MP3 or listen Online below.


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Even Mantra are classified into Guṇa…..

mantra

“Even Mantra are classified into Guṇa.
This needs to be considered when using Mantra for the individual.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras November 24th 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Āsana demonstration from Yogāsanagalu by T Krishnamacharya

A selection of Āsana from the book Yogāsanagalu by written by T Krishnamacharya in 1941. The third edition, published in 1972, contained Āsana demonstration pictures of Krishnamacharya then aged 84. Featured in this post are further examples of Standing Āsana, click to enlarge image or view:

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When impurities disturb the heart, one feel restricted and unable to move.

duhkha_5

“When impurities disturb the heart,
one feels restricted and unable to move.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

Kleśa are not always dominant. Through Kriyā Yoga……

Kleśa are not always dominant.
Through Kriyā Yoga they become weaker and weaker.
How is it possible to completely subdue them?
No mental effort can help as Mind is the storehouse of the Kleśa.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 10