TKV Desikachar talks on Śraddhā in the light of the Yoga Sūtra……

TKV Desikachar talks on Śraddhā in the light of the Yoga Sūtra
at the KYM and responds to questions.

“Śraddhā is essential for progress,
whether in Yoga or any other endeavour.
It is a feeling that cannot be expressed or intellectually discussed.

It, however, is a feeling that is not always uncovered in every person.
When absent or weak,
it is evident through the lack of stability and focus in a person.

Where present and strong,
it is evident through the commitment, perseverance
and enthusiasm the person exhibits.
For such a person, life is meaningful.”

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali deals with the mind. It examines the different functions of the mind and provides means to modify these functions so that it serves the person in a very constructive way.

The means by which certain qualitative changes in the mind are brought about is called Sādhanā. There is also the possibility that certain individuals may develop such a mind without effort. That is, the qualities are inherent in that individual and mature on their own to manifest one day in the form of some extraordinary capacities. However, such persons are few. For the rest of us, the same changes are possible but it is a question of time and practice. The end result is the same, it is only the time taken to achieve it that will differ.

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Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?

Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?
“The biggest obstacle to meditation is Vikalpa,
the ability of the mind to fabricate in spite of reality.
Through Vikalpa, the mind fabricates thoughts of no essence,
no substance; and since meditation is, for most of us,
the play of the mind, Vikalpa is the greatest obstacle.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

In the West, whilst they don’t accept authority……

“In the West,
whilst they don’t accept authority,
they would like to be the authority.”
– TKV Desikachar Madras 1998

Āsana offers a purpose more than just physical……

Āsana offers a purpose more than just physical.
Āsana offers a link of the mind to the physical.
Āsana introduces the concept of Dhyāna as a practice.
Āsana seeks to minimise the Saṃskāra
or habitual patterns which dull the mind.
In doing so it seeks to increase our sensitivity to ourselves,
what is around us and its corresponding influences,
and to what sustains us.”
– TKV Desikachar

The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra was passed on by oral tradition……

yoga_sutra_cover

“The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra
was passed on by oral tradition.
First you learn the rhythm of the Sūtra.
This was in Saṃskṛta,
first learning the words or Sūtra, then the meanings.
By learning to recite the Sūtra perfectly it was clear
that you were earnest in wanting to learn their meanings.
The scheme would be to repeat it twice,
in exactly the same tone used by the teacher.
This would take many years.
Thus these days it’s difficult to expect to
understand the Sūtra from a book or a course.”
– TKV Desikachar 1979

Sometimes we try to transmit what we cherish……

“Sometimes we try to transmit
what we cherish.
This is not Viniyoga.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

We never know when we are going to die……

“We never know when we are going to die.
So we must prepare for death.
Because at the moment of death
you become what you think.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

What is the role of Dharma in the face of survival?

“What is the role of Dharma
in the face of survival?”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his
senior Western students London 1998

Abhiniveśā is the extra-ordinairy instinctive urge to survive at any cost……

abhinivesa

Abhiniveśā is the extra-ordinairy
instinctive urge to survive at any cost.
No one is spared. In a way,
it is a dislike about one’s death.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 9

Yoga Sūtra on Stress – An interview with TKV Desikachar

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

YOGA SŪTRA ON STRESS

– An Interview with TKV Desikachar by AV Balasubramanian and Paul Harvey

The Yoga Sūtra presents the potentials of the human mind, the means to its refinement, control and clarity and the obstacles that can come in the way of one’s progress. An understanding of stress in the light of the Yoga Sūtra is presented in the interview below.

In addition to covering the many techniques in Yoga to help persons under stress, TKV Desikachar constantly emphasises the importance of the attitude to our actions. He singles out the cultivation of the twin qualities of Śraddhā and Īśvara Praṇidhānā as the only sure means for being free from stress permanently.

Question:
What is the Indian tradition’s view on stress?

Response:
In the Indian tradition, stress would be the situation where a person exhibits the Udvega, attitudes or behavior which take over a person and control him. The origin of the Udvega lies in the Ṣad Ūrmi, the six enemies. These six are:

  • Kāma: desire
  • Krodha: anger
  • Lobha: possessiveness, greed
  • Moha: darkness; though not actually dark it is as if darkness exists because the person is so sure of himself and his opinions that he is unable to see.
  • Mada: arrogance, the refusal to accept or give in.
  • Mātsarya: jealousy, to resent the success of others and to be happy at their failures.

These are Āyurveda‘s Mano Roga (diseases of the mind). If any one of these six is dominant in a person, that person is sure to experience Udvega in one form or the other.

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In Veda, Āyurveda and Yoga Sūtra, various techniques are offered……

“In VedaĀyurveda and Yoga Sūtra,
various techniques are offered to aid in healing the sick.
In addition to herbs and medicines,
Patañjali suggests that ĀsanaPrāṇāyāma and Vairāgya
are particularly beneficial and, as any medicine,
should be used with care and discipline.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Question to Krishnamacharya – “Can you explain the concept of Vinyāsa and Pratikriyā Āsana?”


Question to T Krishnamacharya:
“Can you explain the concept of Vinyāsa and Pratikriyā Āsana?”

“The question asked relates to Yoga and not to Vidyā Abhyāsa. There is no Āsana without Vinyāsa. Yoga is an experience, Āsana is the third of the eight limbs of Yoga and it is also important to pay attention to first two limbs, namely Yama and Niyama.

One who wishes to enquire into and understand Vinyāsa should first know what is Āsana. According to Patañjali Yoga Sūtra, Āsana is defined as “Sthira Sukham Āsanam“.

Sthira – Namely firm and without disease and Sukham – pleasant and comfortable. To be in Sukham state, all parts of the body should be in perfect harmony. This is true for all, whether one is a man, woman, deaf, mute, blind or even for animals. Any action that disturbs this state of harmony should be followed by a Pratikriyā to restore the harmony. One cannot but accept this principle.

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The ideal Dhyānam, which becomes easier with practice……

dhyana

“The ideal Dhyānam,
which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce
the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

I think, that all those who want to practise Vedic chanting……

“I think, that all those who want to practise
Vedic Chanting must be able to do so,
provided there is no confusion
with Patañjali’s Yoga.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

For Yoga Teachers it is important to understand……

“For Yoga Teachers it is
important to understand
the movement of the mind
as well as of the body.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Even with my students they teach a posture because it has been……

“Even with my students they teach a posture
because it has been taught to them.
Like a rubber stamp.
This is not Viniyoga.
People have rigid ideas.
For example, why Cakravākāsana for this lady
after Śīrṣāsana, whereas something else,
say Mahāmudrā for somebody else.
So it does not follow what is good for me
is good for everybody.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna……

“There are simple postures for Prāṇāyāma and Dhyāna,
so that we can relax in the body and not be distracted by it.
There are challenging postures,
to enable us to master our bodies and for young people who
will be engaged by the performance aspect of the posture.
There are also corrective postures.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture……

“The state of Dhyānam is possible in a seated posture.
If a person lies down, it may induce sleep.
If a person walks and moves about,
he may be distracted by the objects around him.
This posture must be in a place
where the mind will not be distracted.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the……

“The teacher decides which of the Tri Krama is the best for the student:
Śikṣaṇa Krama requires a perfect knowing to transmit a strict practice,
without any compromise, as it should be in Vedic chanting for example.
Rakṣaṇa Krama is aimed at protection and preservation;
it promotes continuity in any levels like health, abilities, knowledge, etc.
Cikitsā Krama looks for adaptation, healing, recovering…”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step, Dhāraṇā……

Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam