Meditation must elevate the mind…

dhyana

Meditation must elevate the mind.
That is its basic purpose, to be where I was not.
This involves an ascent of the individual’s mind.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 5

TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated
T Krishnamacharya Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated

The breath should be slow, smooth and powerful…

“The breath should be slow, smooth and powerful.
It should be held for 1”-2” after the inhale to prevent contraction.
Retention is also the extension of the hold after the exhale
and it is carried out to retain the state of contraction.
It is necessary to complete an exhale otherwise the inhale will get shorter.
Contraction of the stomach after the exhale will make it more effective.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

Using the breath in Āsana makes the Āsana adaptable…

“Using the breath in Āsana
makes the Āsana adaptable.
For example, by varying the
breath we can vary the effect.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath presents different possibilities in Āsana…

“The breath presents different possibilities in Āsana.
For example, there can be a refinement of the
posture through developing the breath.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

The breath involves the spine…

“The breath involves the spine,
and it brings out changes in
the most vital part of the body.”
– TKV Desikachar England 1992

Compendium of Quotes from TKV Desikachar on the Yoga of T Krishnamacharya……

“These are, in brief, some things about Krishnamacharya and his Yoga.
You must judge for yourself where he actually stands.”

“Let us look at his usual day.
Whether you believe it or not,
this old man gets up at one o’clock in the morning.
Anybody is welcome to wait on the verandah and
see that he gets up at one o’clock in the morning.
And one o’clock in the morning is something for us,
I mean it is like a terror to get up at one o’clock, and he is 93.
He prepares his own tea and then he practices.
I did not believe that, until I saw, because he is staying with me,
that he practices Yoga Āsana and Prāṇāyāma every day.
In fact more than once every day, including headstand and Padmāsana,
I am mentioning Padmāsana you see, because we are all sitting on chairs.
HeadstandPadmāsana, everything he does, and at 5 o’clock the bell rings
and we know that he has started his Pūjā.
And the bell is not one of those small bells like they have on dining room tables.
I am sure that bell must weigh 1½-2 kilos, because it is made of bronze.
It must meet certain specifications, and the bell must produce the tone of OM, so it is quite heavy.
I often wonder whether I could ever do this for five minutes, like he does.
He goes on waking God-come on, get up, get up, get up- also with some recitation,
and all the family at that time curses him because he is waking all of us.
At 6.30, when he has done all the chantings,
it is very interesting to watch him doing these, he makes his own breakfast.
Then I go to see him at 7 o’clock in the morning and we chant for one hour.
And then sometimes he has somebody at eight o’clock for chanting; somebody else at nine.
So he will be teaching this Vedic chanting for 3 hours, after one hour of Pūjā.
You must try to chant for fifteen minutes, it is so tiring, but he manages.
He has a great will.”

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Śavāsana is the road between cities…

Śavāsana is the road between cities‎”Śavāsana
is the road between cities.”
TKV Desikachar England 1976

Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?

Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?
“The biggest obstacle to obstacle 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 1988

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

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 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

Religiousness in Yoga: Study Guide Compilation Chapters One to Eighteen

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Religiousness in Yoga

TKV Desikachar

Lectures on Theory and Practice

Chapter by Chapter Study Guide Compilation

‘Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice’, by the University Press of America, is 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.”

Over the past five years a study guide to Religiousness in Yoga has been posted in a chapter by chapter progression. Each chapter was supported with added textual verse and word cross-references. The chapter posts were preceded with illustrative quotes reflecting the content of that particular lecture or discussion. All were offered to support a deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

All in all it has been a longish project, nevertheless one within which it has been for me, as if listening to him speaking. He had such a knack of saying something that could go ‘straight to press’. Though here my thanks also goes to the editors, especially the late Mary Louise Skelton and their efforts and priorities in preserving the essence of Desikachar’s style. This direct transmission, nurtured from within the ancient succession of oral teachers, is seemingly a dying flame within the embers of India’s old school traditions.

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Religiousness in Yoga Study Guide: Chapter Eighteen 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 deeper linking with the teachings within these lectures and Q & A sessions.

Chapter 18 Theory: The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha Pages 251-254

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Who does not seek a situation where he is able to understand things clearly……

“Who does not seek a situation where he is able to
understand things clearly, discover new things,
and remove or clear away wrong perceptions?
If there is one thing that can be said about
what happens in the state of Nirodha it is this:
one sees and one knows.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 254

In meditation, one must make the transition from the gross……

“In meditation,
one must make the transition
from the gross, that which has form
and which can be seen by the mind,
to the subtle, the formless.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 1988

What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so that the mind……

“What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so
that the mind becomes a most useful instrument for action.
And this can only be done gradually.
Any “short-cut method” is an illusion.
This gradual procedure may involve a number of intelligent means,
all of which come within the realm of Yoga Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 253