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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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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On Sūtra and Sūtrakara

tk2008

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Excerpts from an essay by T Krishnamacharya Downloadable as a PDF.
Summarised and translated from the Saṃskṛta essay of T Krishnamacharya composed in January 1981, by TKV Desikachar and Sujaya Sridhar.
Originally published in KYM Darśanam February 1991.

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So many Upaniṣad mention OM because most Upaniṣad are……

om“There are many texts on Yoga and Yoga is
found in one form or another in the Upaniṣat.
Yoga for them is the means to realise God
and OM is the key to that process.
So many Upaniṣad mention OM
because most Upaniṣat are involved with Vedānta
or the movement towards God.”
– TKV Desikachar “The use and abuse of OM”,
Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland

All the Mantra that are utilised must have the OM to give it life.

om“All the Mantra that are utilised must have the OM to give it life.”
TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland
(Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

If you respect India and Indians don’t make a joke of OM.

om

“If you respect India and Indians don’t make a joke of OM.”
TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland (Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

A Yoga Practice given to TKV Desikachar when 25 years old……

A Yoga Practice given to TKV Desikachar when 25 years old by his father T Krishnamacharya.

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So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture……

om

So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture we must consider whether this symbol (Om) has a place with people who don’t understand it.”

TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland (Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

Vinyāsa Sequences filmed in the KYM‘s original building

Vinyasa sequences published by the Viniyoga Healing Foundation of India

Advanced Vinyasa Demonstration by Lara Abiesheikh – 1

Advanced Vinyasa Demonstration by Lara Abiesheikh – 2