The worst obstacle of all occurs when, somewhere in the back of our minds……

“The worst obstacle of all occurs when,
somewhere in the back of our minds,
we think we have understood something and we haven’t.
That is, we fancy that we have seen the truth.
We think, because of a situation in which we feel
we have some sort of calmness, we have reached our zenith.
We say, ‘That is what I have been looking for; I have progressed.’
But in actual fact we have not progressed.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fifteen Page 209

Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over……

“Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over.
They reassert themselves as masters,
sometimes without our knowing it.
This is not surprising since we are trained from birth to
look here, see there, hear this, touch that, etc.
So sometimes, because of their habitual action of always looking for things, etc.,
The senses take over and our direction slowly shifts in the wrong way.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fifteen Page 209

There is also an obstacle that is from the nature of the mind itself……

“There is also an obstacle that is from the nature of the mind itself.
We get moods — sometimes we are all right, we can go on,
but sometimes we feel heavy, we feel dull, we don’t feel like proceeding.
This mental heaviness could be due to food, it could be due to cold weather,
it could be just the nature of the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fifteen Page 208

Doubts always arise. There is no doubt about that!

Doubts always arise.
There is no doubt about that!”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Fifteen Page 208

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

Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma……

pranayama_dhyana

“In the Yoga Sūtra,
Āsana is basically something linked to Prāṇāyāma,
since Prāṇāyāma is a very important practice there,
linked to Dhāraṇā.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

The Yoga Sūtra indicate five ways to reach the highest……

samadhi

The Yoga Sūtra in Chapter Four verse One
indicate five ways to reach the highest.
The fifth is the most laboured
because we must start from the bottom.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

Patañjali says that the only way to understand yourself……

Patañjali says that the only way to understand yourself
is to understand what is outside of yourself.
He also says that the more you talk about yourself
the less you know about yourself.”
– TKV Desikachar

There is no style to the Yoga Sūtra……

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

“There is no style to the Yoga Sūtra.
The only style is your style.
We can see this from the number of alternatives Patañjali
proposes to give us strength of mind,
or allow us to do something we cannot do before.”
– TKV Desikachar

We should never forget what Patañjali has said……

viniyoga

Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6 – “tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ”.
“We should never forget what Patañjali has said –
Teach according to the strength, resources and weakness of the individual”.
TKV Desikachar

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali deals with the mind……

“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.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Through Śraddhā we get the Vīrya to pursue to the end……

“Through Śraddhā we get the Vīrya to pursue to the end
and if we hold firm to this Śraddhā we always have the Smṛti,
the memory of our original goal.
This is very important as with progress on the path to the goal,
we get distracted by or satisfied with some of the gains made
that were previously not within our capacity.
It is through Śraddhā that we have the Smṛti,
the memory of the original goal, that prevents us from being satisfied
with anything less than what we started out for.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Where does Śraddhā sit in a human being?

sraddha

“Where does Śraddhā sit in a human being?
Is it a part of the mind?
No. It is beyond the mind.
It is Śraddhā which instructs the mind.
It comes from the hidden depths of the Saṃskāra and Vāsana
to influence one’s actions.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Our action has two foundations……

“Our action has two foundations.
One, Vidyā never leads us into trouble.
Two, Avidyā leads us into trouble
because of something we did into the past
influencing our present action.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage……

“Often Dhyāna fails because one is not able to reach the first stage,
the Pūrva Aṅga.
Often one wants to go to the second stage
without going through the first one,
and that is not possible.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?

Question:
What is the most important aspect of Pūrva Aṅga?
Response:
Pūrva Aṅga is essentially a process of elimination
in which we eliminate those thoughts that are not relevant.
In fact Yoga is the process of eliminating the undesirable
so we can be linked with the desirable.
It is the movement from Saṃyoga to Viyoga,
from Saguṇa to Nirguṇa.
But we must be careful how we define desirable or undesirable.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

Any Abhyāsa is only for the mind, you cannot go beyond that point.

Abhyāsa

“Any Abhyāsa is only for the mind,
you cannot go beyond that point.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

The mind is like a fluid, which can modify into different things……

“The mind is like a fluid,
which can modify into different things.
A sense of change.
Thus restraining modifications is channelising.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2 is not Yoga Sarva Citta Vṛtti Nirodha……

“Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
is not Yoga Sarva Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.
This is a relative Sūtra,
which allows for a gradual evolution.”
– TKV Desikachar

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!

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