Yoga Practice and Study was seen by T Krishnamacharya as……

Yoga Practice and Study was seen by T Krishnamacharya as three interwoven threads:

– Firstly Śakti Krama or Yoga Practice as a means of Power

Yoga can be used to link the body and the mind. It is the ability to achieve something through intense physical and mental effort or Śakti Krama through either Śikṣaṇa Krama (Practice with No Compromise) or Sṛṣṭi Krama (Practice for Children).

For instance, to cultivate and maintain a state of concentration or to develop the body and the breath through refinement of various postures and breathing techniques. The consequences are power over and within the body and the mind.

As such, Yoga can be seen as an art and offers a fascinating and helpful pursuit for many people looking to develop these qualities.

“What good is the sword of wisdom (jñāna asinā)
to cut away the chains of illusion (avidyā),
if the holder is too weak to bear it.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Traditionally this aspect is only a means towards a more important goal.

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Concerning the number of Cakra, we also find different ideas……

ajna

Concerning the number of Cakra, we also find different ideas. The most frequent is that which considers there to be seven. However in his book ‘Yoga Makaranda‘ my father talks of ten. There are other ideas as to the number elsewhere, the form in which they are visualised varies according to tradition.

Many Yogins visualise them as circles or wheels. According to other sources, they are described as lotuses or Padma with varying number of petals. Compared to the idea of a wheel, which evokes more the idea of movement and rotation, the lotus evokes more the idea of creation.

If we analyse all this seriously, we see, in the respect of the Cakra, that the sages, during meditation, did not always have the same experiences and visions. There is no need to discuss this, because it depends on the personal experience of each seer. However, it is important to be aware of these differences and the consequences that they can have for the way in which we imagine the experience.”

– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy

Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy

Interview with TKV Desikachar

By Paul Harvey in 2000 whilst studying with TKV Desikachar in Chennai

Paul thanks Desikachar for agreeing to give time for this interview and Desikachar replies with thanks.

Question from Paul Harvey

It is a very broad area that we want to look at around science and medical conditions, as there is a tremendous interest in Yoga as a therapy in the world today.

I would like to start by maybe getting a historical perspective on Yoga and asking questions on your understanding of it. Where do you feel that this link started between Yoga and Science? Because Yoga originally was something that was not associated with science.

It was something that was done for personal development, spiritual development, or even perhaps physical development and somewhere we seem to have made this link with science, which was predominantly something that was growing up in the West whilst at the same time Yoga was growing or has grown in India, with less connection directly with science.

So I am wondering if you could help develop this question about the link between Yoga and Science.

Response from TKV Desikachar

If we look at the history of India, for centuries and centuries for different reasons India has always fascinated the West. More people have travelled to India from the West than from other parts because the Chinese could not come because of the mountains. There has been silk; there has been a lot of mix about India’s great history; also many conquerors came.

Through these travels people from the West, which is the source of modern science, heard about many things that are happening. Among the things that they came to know about were some of what we call the ‘feats’ of Yogis. In fact long, long ago Yoga was linked only to all these feats, levitation, flying, etc.

In the 18th and 19th Century, in the beginning of the 19th Century, there was an observation made during the time of the great King, Ranjit Singh in the Punjab, which fascinated some of the travellers of the West. There was a Yogi who was kept in a box and buried underground. He was there for a number of days and he did not die.

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Other causes (of disease), according to Krishnamacharya……

sraddha

“Other causes (of disease), according to Krishnamacharya.
You either have no faith in God or don’t control your Rāga.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

A Mantra is only a Mantra if it is special and secret……

mantra

“A Mantra is only a Mantra if it is special and secret,
and has been personally bestowed by someone
with whom you have a special relationship.
It must be pronounced properly”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Through Yoga reverse Tamas……

sirsasanamaha_mudra_UB
“Through Yoga reverse Tamas – Śīrṣāsana, Uḍḍīyāna Bandha.
Both practices carry risks.
Breathing can be chosen for the less adept.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Viveka is to be able to understand and appreciate opposites.

viveka

Viveka is to be able to understand and appreciate opposites.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Sthira Sukha should both be present in Āsana……

sthirasukha

Sthira Sukha (Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46) should both be present in Āsana.
It also implies one should be able to choose the breath ratio.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1980

Learning Support for Chanting Āyātu Varadā

mantra

Learning Support for Chanting Āyātu Varadā
– Taittirīya Upaniṣad Chapter 4 verse 41 – Āyātu Varadā
From my personal library of recordings from my studies with my teacher TKV Desikachar recorded by one of his senior chant students Sujaya Sridhar.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet with Romanised Saṃskṛta and Notations

Sāṃkhya and its aspects, what are the characteristics?

samkhya

Sāṃkhya and its aspects, what are the characteristics?
1. What is seen – The effect
2. What is not seen – The cause
3. What sees – Something other than cause and effect
The relationship between these three is discussed in Sāṃkhya philosophy.”
– TKV Desikachar India 1979 on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

108 Sūtra Study Pointers – 8 – Meditation is about the quality of the effort rather than……

abhyasa

Meditation is about the quality of the effort,
rather than the fruit of the time.
– Observation on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

Link to Series: 108 Sutra Study Pointers

Until a person has reached a state of Nirvicārā Samādhi life……

samadhi

“Until a person has reached a state of Nirvicārā Samādhi life continues to be a mystery.
Whatever he may achieve or know of the world or even of the cosmos, we are ignorant of our own self.
How little we can predict about ourselves, our future, our moods.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 47

There are two types of Yogis…….

sraddha

“There are two types of Yogis.
The first, Bubhukṣu, are Yogis who seek material benefits through Samādhi.
This Sūtra speaks about the second type, the Mumukṣu,
who do not seek material benefits.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

This Sūtra presents the quality of persons who accept nothing less…..

sraddha

“This Sūtra presents the quality of persons who accept nothing less than complete freedom from all sorts of bondage.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra looks at the world as real……

sat

“Another aspect of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra
is that he looks at the world as real.
It is Sat. It is not Asat.
It is not a mirage.
Even the mirage is real.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

They will, at the proper time of day and in an appropriate place….

garuda

“They will, at the proper time of day and in an appropriate place,
sit and watch the idol until they can completely recall the image without having to look at it.
This ability will help the person overcome the distractions from different sources
when they sit for contemplation on Īśvara.”
T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

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