Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Thirteen Theory

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’ by the University Press of America,
a transcript of recordings of a one month Yoga Programme in Colgate University in 1976, published in 1980.

Unlike the later redacted edition, re-published in 1995 as the ‘Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice’, it captures the evolution of the retreat with the days lectures and Q & A dialogues as they alternated between ‘lectures on the principles and purposes of Yoga and discussions related to the practice of Yoga with special reference to the postures and the breathing techniques’.

TKV Desikachar, in his forward to the original version wrote:

“These lectures and discussions, printed words put before persons I might never meet,
are but reflections of that deeper result that grew out of a living face-to-face encounter.
Coming to learn of Yoga only through reading leaves much to be desired.
Yet, something worthwhile about Yoga might be shared through the medium of the printed word.”

A chapter by chapter Study guide is offered below with added verse and word cross-references where possible to support a a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter Thirteen Theory: Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya Pages 179-194

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We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi but……

“We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi
but somehow something comes between us and that state.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘The Antaraṅga Sādhana, Saṃyama and Kaivalya’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Thirteen Page 181

The Yoga Sūtra is about reflecting on that which reflects……

The Yoga Sūtra is about reflecting on that which reflects,
in order to reflect from that which is the source of attention,
rather than from that which is the scene of inattention.
Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 49

Āsana is the interface between the body……

Āsana is an interface between the body
and the systemic energy processes.
Prāṇāyāma is an interface between the
systemic energy processes and the psyche.
Dhyāna is an interface between the psyche and
the awareness that pervades our sense of being.

Cultivating a home Yoga practice is an odyssey through a relationship……

“Cultivating a home Yoga practice is an odyssey through a relationship. However, this odyssey not only requires patience and perseverance, but also enthusiasm and care. In this respect, as in any relationship, it is necessary to consider establishing priorities.

“Only through Yoga Yoga is known.
Only through Yoga Yoga arises.

One who is diligent with Yoga,
Enjoys Yoga for a long time.”
Vyāsa Commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6

To students interested in forming a relationship with a home practice with its attendant fruits, two initial suggestions are offered: First, think of a personal Yoga practice as if acquiring a new book. However before you try to fit this book into what is probably the already overcrowded bookshelf of life, take a decision to remove an existing book to make room for the new one.

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The paradox of being in a state of distraction is that……

The paradox of being in a state of distraction
is that we are actually in a state of focus.
Its just that we are focused on being turned outwards,
as in the tendency of being scattered,
as in Vyutthāna Saṃskāra,
rather than being focused on being turned inwards,
as in the tendency of being contained,
as in Nirodha Saṃskāra.
Both Saṃskāra are acquired tendencies
and thus we can cultivate a choice within our oscillations.
Commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 3 verse 9

Sthira is the absence of Rajas.

Sthira is the absence of Rajas.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

The Yoga Sūtra is also very helpful in guiding us around the notion of……

The Yoga Sūtra is also very helpful in guiding us around
the notion of surrendering to that which we don’t know,
through that which we do know.
– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 23

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind……

Response from TKV Desikachar on attempts being made to link Yoga to specific diseases

We have to examine many factors to see what is the origin of what is known as a symptom and according to that we have to propose for this condition some Yoga which is not just Āsana.

Yoga is a process which makes me understand how my mind is functioning and then reduces the turbulence of mind, any technique that helps this helps the person. We are reaching the human being through the mind; we are reaching the sickness through interaction at the mental level, with different tools of course.

This is why it is a challenge for Yoga.”

Extract from Interview with TKV Desikachar by Paul Harvey in 2000
on ‘Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy’.

We should know what NOT to teach……

“One of the important rules is that
we should know what NOT to teach.”
TKV Desikachar on Yoga as a Therapy’.

We see what we need to see.

“We see what we need to see.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

We can use Āsana to explore the Breath and……

“We can use Āsana to explore the breath and
then use Prāṇāyāma to experience the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath……

“Dynamic postures bring out inherent weaknesses and trends in the breath.
They can also tell you what ratios should be avoided.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

To influence Prāṇa, we have to influence the mind……

“To influence Prāṇa,
we have to influence the mind.
This is achieved by the means of the breath.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Prāṇa is that which helps us handle things……

Prāṇa is that which helps us handle things.
It is not something we can handle.”
– From personal lessons with TKV Desikachar

Only a teacher who has experienced Duḥkha can heal others Duḥkha.

“Only a teacher who has experienced Duḥkha can heal others Duḥkha.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

The way to better oneself is not to ponder over the past but…….

“The way to better oneself is not to ponder over the past but to look ahead.
Even Duḥkha is a great teacher.
In fact it is the first and important step in the ladder of Viveka or clarity.
The greatness of Patañjali is to look at Duḥkha as the stepping stone to success.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

Yoga is the experience of stillness……

“Yoga is the experience of stillness,
within the fluctuations of mind,
rather than the experience of stillness,
of the fluctuations of mind.”

The whole process of observing others and observing oneself is entirely different……

“The whole process of observing others
and observing oneself is entirely different.
Often we confuse the two.
Ideally, when we observe others,
we should forget about ourselves.
– TKV Desikachar 1981

If Śarīra leads Ātma, there is Kleśa…….

“If Śarīra leads Ātma, there is Kleśa.
The cause of this is Karma Vāsana and Mithyā Indriya.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

Yoga is a mirror of ourselves……

TKV_5

“Yoga is a mirror of ourselves.
It is Darśana Vijñāna,
the science of observation,
not just doing Āsana.
In teaching Yoga this implies:
– that we may not transmit exactly the way we have been taught.
– that we may not teach what we ourselves are doing.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

What are the effects of Kriyā Yoga?

“What are the effects of Kriyā Yoga?
Samādhi Bhāvana
The ability to pursue the right practice that brings one closer to Īśvara.
Kleśa Tanū Karaṇa –
Reduction of those obstacles that we have somehow acquired through wrong actions,
leading to undesirable and bitter experiences.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

We should not worry about whether or not we have a larger audience than others……

“We should not worry about whether or not we have a larger audience than others, our only concern should be people. How to reach all those people who have not found the comfort they are looking for in other ways and for whom Yoga can be so useful.

We must urgently open the door of Yoga, and if the Bhakti of Krishnamacharya is an obstacle to this opening, people will not be able to enter. If I start by saying: “This is my tradition…” some people will reply: “All right, keep it well for you”…

I think that in Krishnamacharya’s teaching, it is necessary to remove everything that can hold people back and keep everything that is likely to be most useful to them. If Krishnamacharya’s Yoga helps, so much the better, and we must resort to it. If on the contrary it is a source of difficulty or division, we must leave it aside.”
– TKV Desikachar 1999

Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.

“Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

Jñāna is one who understands what is to be given up and……

Jñāna is one who understands
what is to be given up and
what is to be sought.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on
Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seven verse 19