Stress or tension, however, has its origin in the attitudes to our actions….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Stress or tension, however,
has its origin in the attitudes to our actions.
There are two attitudes in particular that are the cause of stress.
These are:
Aham and Mama.
Aham or Ahaṃkāra is the attitude “I am the doer”
and Mama or Mamakara is the attitude “it is for me”.
These two factors most surely produce Udvega.
The moment the attitude is one of NaMama
– ‘not by me’, ‘not for me’,  there cannot be any stress.
A person who has total faith in God cannot
have stress and will not exhibit the Udvega.”
 Yoga Sūtra on Stress – An interview with TKV Desikachar

A human being is made up of the three Guṇa: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas…

“A human being is made up of the three Guṇa:
Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
All three are important and have their respective roles.
The role of the Rajas Guṇa is to initiate action.
Every function of the body and action of the person is
because of the operation of the Rajas Guṇa.
Even breathing requires the action of the Rajas Guṇa.
In all his teachings, my father would always insist on action.
As long as a person is alive, the three Guṇa will exist in his system
thereby making action not only necessary but inevitable.”

– Yoga Sūtra on Stress – An interview with TKV Desikachar

The Spirit of Viniyoga is starting from where one finds oneself……

viniyoga

“The Spirit of Viniyoga is starting
from where one finds oneself.
As everybody is different and
changes from time to time, there
can be no common starting point,
and ready-made answers are useless.
The present situation must be examined
and the habitually established
status must be re-examined.”
TKV Desikachar

In the Indian tradition, stress would be the situation where a person exhibits the Udvega…

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“In the Indian tradition,
stress would be the situation where a person
exhibits the Udvega, attitudes or behaviour
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.
If any one of these six is dominant in a person,
that person is sure to experience Udvega in one form or the other.”

– Yoga Sūtra on Stress – An interview with TKV Desikachar

The Cakra are points of concentration for the mind.

“The Cakra are points of
concentration for the mind.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

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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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

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’.

Yoga regards the mind principally, this is absolutely universal…….

“I unintentionally mixed the Vedic tradition,
teaching about God’s pre-eminence,
with Yoga, whose goal and intention are different.
Yoga regards the mind principally, this is absolutely universal.

In the Yoga system, Īśvara, the principle of perfection,
is nothing but a means to attain mental clarity,
and still, it is a means among others!

read more

One must be clear when one speaks about Yoga…..

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

“Therefore one must be clear when one speaks about Yoga:
as far as we are concerned, we refer mainly to Patañjali’s Yoga.
Otherwise, quoting various texts,
one can justify almost anything in the name of Yoga.
Patañjali’s Yoga is obviously the most open, universal
and the most clearly distinct from Vedānta, which is a school in itself.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon……

bhavana

“A Bhāvana doesn’t depend on the reality of what I fix upon.
I can direct my Bhāvana to a real sensation,
such as the contact between my feet and the ground, for instance.
But I could easily imagine myself in good health,
when in reality I am ill.”
– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a place, an idea, an image……

bhavana

Bhāvana means that I create for myself a
place, an idea, an image, a vision 
and
I direct my attention towards it.”

– ‘Concerning the Cakra’ by TKV Desikachar

Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food……

smrti

“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

The best word for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.

Question to TKV Desikachar:
Sir, could you please tell us what is meant by health?
How do you understand a healthy person?

TKV Desikachar Response:
“The best word that comes to my mind for health is the Saṃskṛta word Svastha.
Sva plus Stha is SvasthaSva indicates myself and Stha means to remain.
For me health is that state of being where I can manage myself.
This is indicated by the word Svastha.
A-svastha is that state where I am not able to manage by myself.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

patanjali-1

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between Yoga and Āyurveda?

TKV Desikachar Response:
First of all, we believe that the same master gave us Āyurveda and Yoga: Patañjali. We worship Patañjali remembering him as the person who gave us Āyurveda for the body and Yoga for the mind.

Body and mind are so interlinked that you cannot really separate them. Since Āyurveda is a complete system, they talk also about Yoga. Yoga is defined in Āyurveda. And the language of Yoga is such that a person cannot understand the Yoga texts without understanding the concepts of Āyurveda.

At least in theory, these sciences go very well together. However, in India, the treatment given to Yoga in the Āyurveda University is very scarce, it is not even worth mentioning. So, in reality, Āyurveda people are not familiar with Yoga as much as they should be. The only exception was my father. He knew both, that is why he was able to mix both systems, according to the need.

“What Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga,
he gave for the body through Āyurveda.”

What I would say is, what Patañjali gave for the mind through Yoga, he gave for the body through Āyurveda.

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special……

atha yoganusasanam web

“A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special,
it becomes a life-companion.
It is so deep, if taken seriously,
but it can also be very shallow
if the depth of the study is not there
and if there is no application.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal
Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

What is the relationship between diet and health?

annam

Question to TKV Desikachar:
What is the relationship between diet and health?

TKV Desikachar Response:
It is a big subject. Our system has to be nourished. Food or Annam is needed. There is the Annamaya, we have a body which has to be nourished. The food we need and eat is Annam.

“Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you.”

This Annam is a very interesting Saṃskṛta word. Annam is that which will nourish you or that which will eat you. The Annam or food must nourish me, it should not consume me. For this reason there is given so much importance to Annam that nourishes and Annam that will consume.
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

I told this person that I had learnt 380 postures in six months……

“I told this person that I had learnt something like 380 postures in six months,
my daughter could do the same thing in three months,
but this was when I did not know Yoga.
It has taken me years to know how to behave with somebody,
and that is probably more Yoga.”
TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?

Question to TKV Desikachar:
“How is Āyurveda linked to Cikitsā or the therapeutic application of Yoga?”

TKV Desikachar Response:
“There is a lot of difference. As far as Yoga is concerned, we are concerned with the personality of the person, the mental aspect and the higher aspirations of the student.

That is why Yoga has a lot to offer. For the body Āyurveda is the solution. A good combination would be Āyurveda and Yoga.

My father used to do that. He would teach Āsana practice, or Prāṇāyāma or meditation and he would talk about diet and he would also give some Āyurveda medicine.

He was treating not only the body but the whole person with the help of this great combination.”

Extract from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

The word Mantra means something that we will ponder……

mantra

The word Mantra means something
that we will ponder,
that we will reflect upon.
That is, you go to a teacher,
they say something and
I go back home and reflect upon that.

That is the essential feature of Mantra,
to reflect upon again and again.
The purpose of Mantra is to
help us cross a harbour, an obstacle.
That is why the definition of Mantra is:

 मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥
mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ ||
“Who reflects on this,
will cross the obstacle”.

Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting