How rigorous should we be in the practice of Tapas?

tapas devanagari

Question to TKV Desikachar:
How rigorous should we be in the practice of Tapas?
Tapas is not the rejection of everything around us.
In the Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1,
Tapas means to be able to discipline oneself.
So if you are too fat eat less.
If you are too thin eat more.
Tapas which harms the mind should be rejected.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 21st 1988

Suffering is basically either the result of the……

duhkhaSuffering is basically either the result of the absence of something that we want,
or the presence of something that we don’t want.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

We usually start seeking because we have something which we do not want……

“We usually start seeking because we have something which we do not want: suffering.
Suffering pushes us to seek.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

When we are seeking pleasure and possession the mind is very busy.

TKV_5

“When we are seeking pleasure and possession
the mind is very busy.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Whatever is the source of life is surely the source of freedom……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Whatever is the source of life is surely the source of freedom,
a source which knows us and cares for us.
It is everybody’s right, and is not beyond us, but within us.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Is freedom to do what we wish?

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

We are seeking freedom.
We all desire freedom.
But what sort of freedom?
Is freedom to do what we wish?
Are all the people who have the liberty to do what they want really free inside?
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

The desire to have is pushing us to seek things, but to seek what sort of things?

kama

“The desire to have is pushing us to seek things,
but to seek what sort of things?”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

The heart knows no boundaries.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“The heart knows no boundaries.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Dhyāna is not simply to still the mind……

kedarnath11_jpg

Dhyāna is not simply to still the mind.
It involves our ability to reflect afresh,
to discover what we had not known before.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 27th 1988

Who in you linked breath to body movement?

Desikachar_France_1999

“A question:
Who in you linked breath to body movement?”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 26th 1988

Who regulates your Yoga Practice?

Desikachar_France_1999

“I would like to put to you a question asked me by my teacher:
Who regulates your Yoga Practice?
Although I was given that question some twenty years ago, I still have no answer for it”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 26th 1988

The first step in the practice of Āsana is the linking of the mind to movement and breath.

Āsana_25a

“The first step in the practice of Āsana is the linking of the mind to movement and breath.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 26th 1988

How can we slow down the ‘I’ when pursuing a question?

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

Question to TKV Desikachar:
How can we slow down the ‘I’ when pursuing a question?

“Don’t attempt to do two things at the same time. You should not pursue the question if you are trying to slow down the ‘I’. If you can’t slow down the ‘I’ or pursue a single question, then come back and start again.
One needs also to ask whether the question is important: how can I not pursue it?
And if one still can’t pursue the question, then perhaps one needs to wait and spend some time preparing oneself.
So, if there is a problem in pursuing a question, either the question is not important or the ‘I’ is not ready for it.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 21st 1988

When we look at things, memory always intrudes……

samadhi

“When we look at things, memory always intrudes.
To see clearly,
we need to be in that state described in the Yoga Sutra in Chapter One verse 43.
In such a state, memory dies, imagination vanishes,
then we can see the reality of the object.
This state is Samādhi.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 21st 1988

There are also fundamental differences between Yoga and Vedānta……

Desikachar and Krishnamacharya in Madras 1980

Desikachar and Krishnamacharya in Madras 1980

There are also fundamental differences between Yoga and Vedānta. And, if at all we can link them, it is as follows: Yoga is a means towards Vedānta for those who are interested.

Vedānta involves a lot of enquiry and reflection, and also demands the development of Bhakti, and, for both the mind and for the individual, Yoga is the means towards Bhakti.

Also, Vedānta is Jñāna Mārga, and a state of mind that is necessary for Jñāna can only come through the practice of Aṣṭāṅga.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Thanks to him, it is possible to say that there are certain distinctions between Yoga and Hinduism.

TK_1980_aged_91

T Krishnamacharya @ 91

“Thanks to him, it is possible to say that there are certain distinctions between Yoga and Hinduism.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

It is only through a deep understanding of family life that one can go beyond it…….

Desikachar and Krishnamacharya Chanting Madras 1980

Desikachar and Krishnamacharya Chanting Madras 1980

“He insists that it is very important for a human being to go through family life. It is only through a deep understanding of family life that one can go beyond it.

He, himself, twice rejected the position of an important Ācārya because, he said, he would like to remain with his family.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Ordinary people need certain forms, certain visualisations, for Dhyāna……

svastikasana

“Then, he has also some views on Dhyāna. Since Dhyāna is a characteristic of mind, and since the mind is limited to form, Deśa, or the object of meditation, must be Saguṇa and not Nirguṇa.

Ordinary people need certain forms, certain visualisations, for Dhyāna, so any Dhyāna which is Nirguṇa is only Vikalpa.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Kriyā without a knowledge of the individuals Doṣa is certainly going to do more harm than good

uddiyana_bandha

In addition, the use of Kriyā, without a knowledge of the individuals Doṣa is certainly going to do more harm than good.

Doṣa, briefly, means the constitution of the individual; some are fat, some tend to get a lot of colds, some have acid problems, some are nervous.

So different beings show different predominances in the Doṣa, and Kriyā must be considered in relation to these varying constitutions.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

He has very clear ideas on the Ṣat Kriyā and the Mudrā……

tadaka_mudra

T Krishnamacharya in Taḍāka Mudrā

“He has very clear ideas on the Ṣat Kriyā and the Mudrā.
He believes that if a person does Āsana properly, with breathing,
and has certain restraints regarding food, there is no need for these Kriyā.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Regarding Yama and Niyama, these days they have no validity except for two……

tk2008

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Regarding Yama and Niyama, these days, he believes, they have no validity except for two of them.

First, what is called Satya Niyama, or what to speak, what not to speak, to whom to speak, how to write, what not to write. These are Satya Niyama.

Another Niyama that should be followed is Āhāra Niyama. That is, how much to eat and what to eat, according to age, profession, etc. You see, the ancient people believed that a young boy could eat as much as he liked. But a Saṃnyāsi should only eat eight handfuls of rice, no more, per day.”

TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’, given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Rāja Yoga is just words without Sādhana……

IWYS_M1

“Now let us go to some of his views on matters of interest. He believes that the only Yoga text that has any clear presentation of Yoga is the Yoga Sūtra.

But, he says, Rāja Yoga is just words without Sādhana, just like I read the other day, that philosophy itself is more interesting than any result from it.

However, with SādhanaRāja Yoga is the same as Bhakti Yoga.”

TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Another contribution is how he utilises the Yoga Sūtra in the practice……

IWYS_M1

“Another contribution, I feel, is how he utilises the Yoga Sūtra in the practice.
I remember in the first Zinal, when I used the word Yoga Sūtra,
people thought I was talking about Greek civilisation or something.

My own reading of the Yoga Sūtra, without him,
would have made me think it just another of those useless books on India.
He linked each of the Sūtra to the practice.”

TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

The practice of Yoga is linked to the Nāḍī, or pulse……

jathara_parivrtti

“The practice of Yoga is linked to the Nāḍī, or pulse, so he always thinks that the pulse rate tells whether you have done a good practice or a bad practice.

He suggests that our life may be measured by the number of beats to the heart, and if somebody wants to live long and well, he has to reduce the rate of the heart beat.

This is, of course, a little different from what the aerobic people say, who think you should boost your heart rate to 130/140.”

– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.

Mahā Mudrā, if practiced every day, prevents ill health……

maha_mudra

“Another thing that he made very simple, and practical, is the use of Mahā Mudrā.
This is a very well known posture now,
but when you start looking at the texts, nothing is clear there.
He has incorporated the Āsana part, the breathing part, and the Mudrā part,
and, he feels, Mahā Mudrā, if practiced every day, prevents ill health.”
– TKV Desikachar from lectures on ‘The Yoga of T Krishnamacharya’,
given at Zinal, Switzerland 1981.