TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Study Quotes Collected and Collated

Quick Links:
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Linked Quotations
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Linked Quotations
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three Linked Quotations
Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four Linked Quotations

“I am going to explain you something else about the aphorisms, about their translation.
Many books or courses have been written about the treatise of Patañjali.
Some of them analyse the words one by one, trying to translate them separately,
dissecting the text. This way of proceeding may be interesting,
but unfortunately it can also confuse instead of helping understanding of the text.
Why?
Because literally translating the aphorisms is nothing but a series of words glued together,
in sentences that very often lack in consistency.
The ancient way of exposing was not translating them into a new language;
it was mainly making the student grasp the sense of the aphorism.
In this case, the Sanskrit text is just a reminder,
a mnemonic that the teacher is not going to translate textually.
They are going to use it to develop the idea or the sense of the aphorism.
They will explain these notions, sometimes even without referring to any word of the aphorism.
What is important is to give a teaching that is adapted to the level of understanding of the student.”

“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.”

“The Yoga of Patañjali as a complete process of learning
provides the best instrument for helping the individual
know that he is more than a money making machine.”

“The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra was passed on by oral tradition.
First, you learn the rhythm of the  Sūtra. This was in Saṃskṛta,
first learning the words or Sūtra, then the meanings.
By learning to recite the Sūtra perfectly it was clear that
you were earnest in wanting to learn their meanings.
The scheme would be to repeat it twice,
in exactly the same tone used by the teacher.
This would take many years.
Thus these days it’s difficult to expect to understand the Sūtra from a book or a course.
A Sūtra Class began with a dedication.
It had the effect of orienting the mind to the class and subject
and could also be a dedication to a god, if accepted,
to remove obstacles, or if none, not to put any i.e. Gaṇeśa.
It is also a dedication to all one’s teachers or all the teachers
and the author of the text himself. Patañjali as in
– Pata that which falls and Añjali a position of offering as in Añjali Mudrā.
Something fell from above and became Patañjali.
The roots are in Indian mythology.
A god reclining on a bed of serpents was beseeched by the sages of old.
They had problems with Saṃskṛta grammar, Knowledge of disease and Peace of mind.
Thus in order to find a balance of body mind and speech they prayed to God.
Ānanta answered them and threw down something which was
half-man up to the shoulders and above a head of many cobras.
This became the man Patañjali.
From this myth, three works are often attributed to him.
One of Grammar for speech, one of medicine for the body, one of Yoga for the mind.
Patañjali was regarded as an incarnation of the great Ānanta and the prayer salutes him and his work.”

“To define the word Yoga is very difficult, as the word is so adaptable.
A starting point would be Patañjali.
Patañjali removed all the complicated definitions and simplified it to:
‘Making the best out of the most difficult object, the mind.’
His idea was to create a situation,
where the mind becomes more faithful than it is.”

– Last Updated 21st June 2021

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One – Samādhi Pādaḥ

“The beauty of the Sūtra is that they are only related to the mind.
Thus they stand above various religions
and can be studied and related to by
all types of persons from all types of religions.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One

Annotated through Ten Themed Sections

1. Nirodha or Containment – verses 1-4
2. Citta or Psyche – verses 5-11
3. Abhyāsa & Vairāgya or Practice & Dispassion – verses 12-16
4. Saṃprajñāta or Total Knowing – verses 17-19
5. Śraddhā or Faith – verses 20-22
6. Īśvara or the Lord – verses 23-29
7. Vikṣepa or Distraction – verses 30-31
8. Eka Tattva or One Principle – verses 32-39
9. Sabīja or With Seed – verses 40-46
10. Nirbīja or Without Seed – verses 47-51

1. Nirodha or Containment – verses 1-4

Atha – Now in the sense of nowness.
By convention let there be something auspicious.
The Sūtra are different in the sense of not
having a prayer dedication in the first Sūtra.
Thus Atha fills this role.
Particularly the letter ‘A’ which is a dedication.
“Of sounds I am the first letter A.”
Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Ten verse 33
Now I am going to tell you something about Yoga.
A serious discussion as you, the students, are ready.
This also refers to the student’s previous attempts at learning,
which will now be clarified.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“A student might have tried to study problems of the mind
to try to bring an understanding of equilibrium.
The teacher says ‘now I will teach you’.
The first Sūtra also acts as a key for the memory to link all the Yoga Sūtra.
So no confusion with the Brahma Sūtra, etc.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

AnuŚāsanam – Śāsanam text of authority.
Thus it was in the past and is continuous
and will be there in the future.
It is not new and will always be valid.
No reference is made to it being an inquiry into Yoga.
On the contrary it is given as an absolute teaching.
Emphasis is given to the use and choice of words.
They are placed and given in context very carefully.
Thus the meaning is very clear.
However the Sūtra require a great teacher to explain and give comments.
This presumes a great knowledge of Saṃskṛta as well.
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“The mind functions at five levels.
Mostly it functions in such a way that we hardly notice it.
So much happens, so many ideas, perceptions
come and go that very often we lose track.
It is like a monkey that is drunk and somebody is poking it.
It is distraught and cannot comprehend anything.
In Yoga this level of functioning is called Kṣipta.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“A slightly better condition than Kṣipta
is what is called Mūḍha.
Here the mind is like a dull, sleepy, heavy buffalo.
There is hardly any inclination to act, to respond, or to observe.
This could be a temporary situation or a more regular affair.
There are many reasons for this–”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“Another way the mind functions is called Vikṣipta.
We act but we have doubts;
distractions come about,
there are obstacles.
The set direction does not look right
and we don’t know what to do about it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā.
Here clarity has come about
and we have direction and are able to proceed.
What we want to do is much clearer
and distractions hardly matter.
This is also called Dhāraṇā which was explained earlier.
Yoga is actually the beginning of Ekāgratā.
Yoga suggest means to create conditions that gradually
move the Kṣipta level of mind towards Ekāgratā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“The word Nirodha also means “restraint”.
It is not by restraining the mind that it will move and
become involved in a particular direction of choice.
It is the other way round; that is,
so strongly and intensely the mind has moved toward
one area and has become absorbed in one area
that there is no “infiltration”.
Therefore Nirodha meaning “restraint”,
is just an effect of Nirodha meaning “complete absorption”.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
is a Lakṣaṇa Sūtra in that it
describes the characteristics of Yoga
as Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“Yoga has many meanings in the Bhagavad GītāUpaniṣat, Saṃskṛta Grammar, etc.
It is defined again in the Sūtra.
Yoga is the movement of the mind in one direction. It presumes:
1. There is something in each of us called mind.
2. This mind has many movements or activities.
3. It is possible to channelise these movements through certain actions.
4. When we accept movement we accept time and space –
moving something from A to B. There are realities.
5. In accepting Vṛtti we also accept the idea of an object.
6. We can fix the mind so it confines itself to an object.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Cit is always the same.
Nirodha always refers to Citta.
Thus Cit is a witness.
What changes is only Citta.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“The mind is subject to change or Pariṇāma
and as such can be channelised.
Certain movements can be emphasised or de-emphasised.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“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 is stopping the mind from becoming involved,
in activities that distract one from a chosen direction.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Nirodha is a restraining of OTHER things,
not a cessation of activity.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

Restraint is in the sense of
if I am here I am not elsewhere.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“Yoga directs the mind to what is happening now.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

“The Yoga Sūtra says so much about the mind,
but little about the self.
What can be shared can be expressed,
what cannot be shared cannot be expressed.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 3

“In the Yoga state we experience
what is beyond the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 3

“When the mind is very clear,
you get the message from deep inside.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 3

“When the mind is not very clear,
you only get the message from the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

“In Sūtra Three and Four the mind is operating.
In Sūtra Three the mind is the means.
In Sūtra Four the mind is the means and the boss.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

“Whatever perceives is always right,
it is the mind that colours what we see.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

“Yoga presumes for most people that mind is the same,
always planning ahead or basing itself on what has happened.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

“If there is not a strong link to that which is inside,
the stronger force becomes the outside,
and we are pulled by and to that.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

2. Citta or Psyche – verses 5-11

“It should not be inferred that all of
these faculties of the mind, such as
observations, inference, memory, imagination,
inactivity, hyperactivity, are detrimental.
They are necessary to life, but left to itself
the mind develops its own way of movement and we
end up unable to take full advantage of these faculties.
That is why the Yoga Sūtra says that all activities
of the mind could be favourable or unfavourable.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 5

“In Yoga it is said that everything that happens is from the mind.
Citta is the mindstuff, the perceptual mechanism.
That which makes us see and remember.
Vṛtti is the activity, transformation, motion,
modification, that is caused in Citta.
The mind is the main function for seeing,
without it the senses are useless.
The mind can develop words or ideas.
The mind can remember.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 5

Perception is said to be right when something happens,
where we can see the design of the mind as well as the object.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 6

Pratyakṣa (through the senses) – Direct perception
In other words the object placed in front of you.
The senses help us in comprehending the object.
Anumāna (inference) – We don’t have all the information.
We have certain indications that allow us to complete the picture.
Anu – to follow.
From the part you can get the whole.
From the effect you get to the cause.
Āgamāḥ (authentic teachings) – No information directly.
Only information is from words
Some truth that has already existed.
We take the words and believe them as if we had seen it for ourselves.
For example God.”
Perception is said to be right when something happens,
where we can see the design of the mind as well as the object.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 6

“So how do you find out these important facts?
According to Patañjali an object which can be
understood by the mind can be perceived in
three ways, Pratyakṣa, Anumāna and Āgamāḥ.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 7

“These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of:
Vikalpa:
Imagination is already there operating when we begin to observe.
All the more that we are better and better informed about what we should see, etc.
Viparyaya:
Because of the past Saṃskāra,
there is a sort of perversion in observation.|
Smṛti:
Memory is, unfortunately, never factual.
Finally, we should never forget that all conclusions are wrong,
because things change.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 8

“The biggest obstacle to meditation 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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 9

Sleep and Samādhi are the only times when there is no ‘I‘.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 10

“When we look at things,
memory always intrudes.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 11

3. Abhyāsa & Vairāgya or Practice & Dispassion – verses 12-16

“Any Abhyāsa is only for the mind,
you cannot go beyond that point.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

“The starting point for Abhyāsa is not the mind,
it is other than the mind.
The moment the mind takes over you are in difficulty.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

“All means by themselves have no direction.
One must fix the direction and make sure it is not lost.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

“The phenomenon called Yoga
allows the mind and its functions to orientate in one direction
and receive something from that direction.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

“The idea is to bridge the gap that is between what exists and what is desired.
This is what Abhyāsa refers to. This is not exactly practice.
1. We first require an appreciation of what we want to do or learn.
2. We then find out how to travel or go in that direction.
3. We then learn the techniques by which we travel.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

“How do you know the use of the right means is good?”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

“The spirit of Abhyāsa is to always verify
the best means to go from one step to another.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 13

Abhyāsa means constant effort and attention
in order to continue in one direction.
We must never break this process because we
never really know in advance how things might change”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

“Looking beyond the superficial to the source,
this is Abhyāsa.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

Satkāra
To feel better about things than in the past.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

“You should not get tired of
the means or the practice.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

“If you are not in a hurry
you will enjoy the process.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 14

4. Saṃprajñāta or Total Knowing – verses 17-19

“The world exists to set us free.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 18

5. Śraddhā or Faith – verses 20-22

Śraddhā will give life to all
the means that are in the Yoga Sūtra.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Śraddhā is the source of motivation.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“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.”

“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 Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“When there is Śraddhā, the person is not
disappointed on failing to get immediate benefits.
They are sure that it is only a question of time
and so the failures on the path do not
reduce their enthusiasm or their efforts.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Śraddhā:
What holds, what nourishes.
As a mother with a child.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“In Samādhi there is an understanding.
Something not based on your memories,
something that transcends your memories.
Prajña comes only in Samādhi.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“It is not enough to realise that there is somewhere to go,
you must also be really interested in taking the step.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

‎”For something to work
you must participate positively.
In other words Śraddhā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“The greater the Śraddhā, the more meaning there is in the techniques
such as Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Dhyānam, Bhāvanaand all the others.
Without Śraddhā, these techniques have little effect on the
state of the mind and the progress to Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.
However, sometimes some minor benefits that we get through
Āsana or Prāṇāyāma practice, open up the Śraddhā within us.
Śraddhā is within each of us but is covered.
It could be any experience that uncovers it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Śraddhā is essential for progress, whether in Yoga or any other endeavour.
It is a feeling that cannot be expressed or intellectually discussed.
It, however, is a feeling that is not always uncovered in every person.
When absent or weak,
it is evident through the lack of stability and focus in a person.
Where present and strong, it is evident through the commitment,
perseverance and enthusiasm the person exhibits.
For such a person, life is meaningful.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“In the Yogavallī, T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on the Yoga Sūtra,
Śraddhā has been seen in a different, very interesting way.
In it, he has said that Śraddhā is a symbol for a special meditation
and he calls this meditation, Ahaṃ Graha Upāsana.
Aham is the I, Graha is to grasp and Upāsana is to stay near.
Where a person wants to grasp the true nature of the I,
it is called Ahaṃ Graha Upāsana.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

“It is not the number of hours in Meditation,
the type of Ratio in Prāṇāyāma,
the number of times you turn the Mālā,
it is the intensity of the attempt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 22

6. Īśvara or the Lord – verses 23-29

“The more you try to know Īśvara,
the more you come to know your self.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 29

“If you don’t know yourself how can you think of something
which is more than you or higher than you?”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 29

7. Vikṣepa or Distraction – verses 30-31

“Different people explain the cause of disease differently.
In the Yoga Sūtra disease is Vikṣepā, a mind which is unstable.
Mind loses its presence of mind before an object.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

Doubts always arise.
There is no doubt about that!”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

“We always have the potential for the state of Samādhi
but somehow something comes between us and that state.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

Duḥkha is the expression of a problem.
Duḥkha is an emotion,
it could be an illusion.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 31

8. Eka Tattva or One Principle – verses 32-39

“Sometimes we should examine how
we relate to objects through the senses.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 35

9. Sabīja or With Seed – verses 40-46

“Sometimes our ideas about the object are so strong that,
we give up trying to see the object and just look at our ideas.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

“You cannot change the past,
only our understanding of the past.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 43

10. Nirbīja or Without Seed – verses 47-51

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on Integration

– Last Updated 28th May 2021

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two – Sādhana Pādaḥ

“Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two is for those who
want to move to the state of Chapter One.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two

“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 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two

“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 Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two

“The arrangement of Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two involves four components:
1. Duḥkha
What is it that I want to avoid?
2. Avidyā/Saṃyoga
Association or from where has this come?
3. Kaivalya/Viveka
Where should we be in order to be free from this association?
4. Viveka/Aṣṭāṅga
What is the way?
What is the discipline that will give Viveka,
not just for a moment, but there all the time?
This is the place of Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two

Annotated through Ten Themed Sections

1. Kriyā or Activities – verse 1
2. Kleśa or Afflictions – verses 2-9
3. Dhyānam or Meditation – verses 10-11
4. Karma or Actions – verses 12-14
5. Duḥkha or Suffering – verses 15-16
6. Saṃyoga or Conjunction – verses 17-23
7. Avidyā or Illusion – verse 24
8. Kaivalya or Abstraction- verse 25
9. Viveka or Discernment – verses 26-27
10. Aṣṭāṅga or Eight Limbs – verses 28-55

1. Kriyā or Activities – verse 1

‎”It is not enough to clean a vessel,
you must put something in.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

“No medicine can reduce Duḥkha, only Kriyā Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

Kriyā Yoga means to have certain qualities in our actions.
e.g. listening to this lecture
Natural for people with a stable mind.
So something has to be done for others.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

2. Kleśa or Afflictions – verses 2-9

“They are called Kleśa because they cause difficulty.
If not now then some other time.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3

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

Avidyā is anything else other than Vidyā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3

“We may have intellectual Vidyā,
but in reality we follow some deeper force of Avidyā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3

Asmitā – To confuse memory and wisdom.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6

“I know something and I am presented with something different.
How I react or choose not to react is Asmitā.
The wrong response brings Duḥkha.
The right response Viveka.
One is a hasty assessment and one is wanting to find out more.
One is ‘assuming I know I proceed’,
the other is ‘wishing to know I proceed’.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6

“Knowledge from the past prevails and influences me to either judge or inquire.
Assuming my knowledge and my memory and I proceed is Asmitā Kleśa.
Assuming that I may be wrong and wishing to find out more is Asmitā Jñāna.
However to hesitate completely or question everything is Asmitā Kleśa.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 6

Rāga – Something in us needs to be satisfied.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 7

“The mind is like a glass through which we perceive.
When it is painted there is Rāga.
Often the painting colours what we see.
It is the colour of the mind that decides the quality of perception.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 7

Rāga is attraction to an object
before you are aware of it.
An attraction whether you need it or not.
In its absence you crave for it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 7

3. Dhyānam or Meditation – verses 10-11

‎”Meditation is the process of moving backwards.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verses 10-11

4. Karma or Actions – verses 12-14

5. Duḥkha or Suffering – verses 15-16

“If we have a problem which persists,
It might be because we don’t know
what is the real basis or cause of the problem.
In terms of Yoga, if we have Duḥkha,
something is behind it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

“Pain and suffering are linked,
but no more pain does not necessarily mean no more suffering.
There are people who have a little pain and a lot of suffering.
However, there are others who,
despite a lot of pain, suffer very little.
What is it that can do this? ”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

“The process of Cikitsā has two parts:
1. Rakṣaṇa Krama
I am healthy and don’t want to be sick.
By not doing anything there will be no Rakṣaṇam.
For example:
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16
heyaṃ duḥkham anāgatam
I’m alright now,
but I must be careful so I don’t get sick tomorrow.
This is Rakṣaṇa Krama.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 16

6. Saṃyoga or Conjunction – verses 17-23

“The world exists to set us free.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 18

7. Avidyā or Illusion – verse 24

“When we say our name we relate to our mind and not Cit.
However we are not able to separate mind from Cit.
They are so close – mind and not mind.”

8. Kaivalya or Abstraction – verse 25

Clarity is the ability to see clearly three things and to understand them:
the cause, the effect and that which knows both the cause and the effect.”

9. Viveka or Discernment – verses 26-27

“All techniques are for Viveka,
as this is the means for freedom.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 26

Viveka is to be able to understand and appreciate opposites.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 26

10. Aṣṭāṅga or Eight Limbs – verses 28-55

“For Anuṣṭhānāt to become and remain important there needs to be Śraddhā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 28

“In the Yoga Sūtra,
the purpose of the different Sādhana is to clear the mind,
so the light can come out.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 28

“The idea behind Yama and Niyama is the attitude we have to the inside and outside.
If I don’t know what is true there is no question of telling the truth.
However there is the intention, because one day it may become a reality.
Even though some of these things are not there in the beginning,
if the intention is sincere then one day it will become an action
if conditions and our psychological state change.
Yama as telling the truth also means discretion.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 29

“The purpose of Āsana and Prāṇāyāma are twofold,
to reduce symptoms of ill-health or,
to prepare the mind towards fulfilling the main emphasis of Patañjali,
which is Meditation.
However according to the teaching I have received,
both of these roles can be fulfilled with
relatively few Āsana postures and Prāṇāyāma techniques.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 29

“There are certain things we do in Yoga which seem to aid Dhyāna
because they remove something which is blocking it.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 29

“To understand and refine the mind Patañjali offers some specific tools.
These tools are based on the understanding that the human system is not
a set of distinct unrelated compartments but a very closely connected structure.
What happens in one part profoundly affects every area.
Therefore if we can bring some positive changes in one area,
positive changes ensue in other parts.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 29

Yama – How we relate, how we face the society we are part of.
How we link ourselves to others in speech, action, confidence.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 30

“The Siddhi depends on the Bhāvanam.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 43

Sthira Sukha means what happens before and after a posture.
One should be able to move to another posture with ease.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

Sthira Sukha should both be present in Āsana.
It also implies one should be able to choose the breath ratio.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

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

Sthira is the absence of Rajas.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 46

“It is possible only after a reasonable mastery of Āsana Practice.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 49

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on the Means

– Last Updated 28th May 2021

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three – Vibhūti Pādaḥ

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”.

“This is what Patañjali says in that everything must be given step by step.
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6 reflects this idea.”

“Unless there is a shift from Manas to Citta,
it is not possible to do Dhāraṇā.”

Meditation can’t be taught,
but can be learnt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 2

“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.”

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.”

“It is not possible for everyone to reach the same level of meditation (Dhyānam),
even meditation should be taught or presented in stages (viniyoga).
It should be used at a level suitable to the student and gradually increased,
start simply and increase in complexity.
This is dependant on the growth of the student and according to the purpose.”

“We can have two opposite Saṃskāra,
but only one can act at any one time.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 9

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on the Fruits

– Last Updated 28th May 2021

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four – Kaivalya Pādaḥ

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.”

“Krishnamacharya’s teaching is a Nimitta Kāraṇa
– Where you discover your own way.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 3

“Patañjali says that the problem is fed by internal elements,
by the search for immediate benefits in life,
by external elements and
by the psychic nature of the person.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 11

Because of our own memories, backgrounds, cultures, etc.
Each person looks at the same problem differently,
which may cause problems.
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 15

“We can only observe when there is an inclination to do so.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 17

Mind is not the highest point in Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 18

“The mind depends on Cit.
It is like a stone,
it depends on Ātman or Cit to give it life.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 18

“The new is not as strong as the old.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 27

“When we act unconsciously
we go back into the past.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 27

Thus Patañjali’s view of Yoga in the Book on the Goal

– Last Updated 28th May 2021