Awareness (Cit) is a quality not a quantity.
“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
“There is no question that Guru Paramparā is essential for proper teaching,
understanding and practice of all Śāstra, whether Yoga, Veda or Vedāṅga.
It is Paramparā alone that ensures that words of the texts are interpreted correctly.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20
There are times when our Dhyāna feels like being merged with ones lover,
a state full of presence, vibrancy, passion and bliss.
Tempting to want more of the same,
however Yoga says we can’t have our bliss and want to repeat it.
Also Yoga reminds us that a state of bliss is different from
and merely a stage towards a state of oneness.
– Personal reflection on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 17
Its not until we create a space will we know what can arise.
A recent surge of questions from Yoga teachers around the notion of Śraddhā.
Collating and ordering the range of questions being asked we arrive at:
– What is Śraddhā?
– How do we offer a relevant meaning for Śraddhā to a group class?
– How do we teach Śraddhā to a group of students?
– How do we plan a practice with Śraddhā as the focus for a group class?
Before responding more in a future post I wanted to let the questions sit as reflections for all interested in this topic.
Meanwhile helpful reference points could be:
– The Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20
– The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 37
– The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seventeen verse 2
“With discipline and modest fare.
Stay lean and keep the fire going in your belly.
Think of God and repeat his words – silently and out loud.
If you want to be happy take up Yoga.
If you don’t; don’t.
Follow your Dharma.
Stay where you belong.
Sing songs and thank the sun every day.
Look sharp, a vagrant mind will lead you astray.
Practice, pay attention and be amazed.
Doubt burns up everything, including the doubter.
To banish it bow down to the Lord.”
Better to be clear about being confused,
rather than being confused about being clear.
Yoga Teachings on Emotions, Mind, Body and Energy
Chapter One has 51 Sūtra and is called SAMĀDHI PĀDAḤ or the Path to Integrating the Psyche.
This first chapter introduces the psyche, its activities, practices required for change and the possibilities for practice according to the inherent abilities of the practitioner. This chapter is for a student who already has a quality of a Samāhīta Citta or a stable psyche.
– Primary concepts in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One
Theme One verses 1-11 – Cit and Citta
- v1-4 – Definition and Purpose of Yoga
- v5 – 11 – Activities of the Citta or Psyche
Theme Two verses 12-22 – Jñāna and Śraddhā
- v12 – 19 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Jñāna Yoga
- v20 – 22 – The role of Śraddhā
Theme Three verses 23-39 – Bhakti and Eka Tattva
- v23 – 31 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Bhakti Yoga
- v32 – 39 – Short Term Meditational Strategies
Theme Four verses 40-51 – Sabīja and Nirbīja Samādhi
- v40 – 46 – Refinement of Dhyānam
- v47 – 51 – Final Steps
“Sages say that the fruits of this vine are three
wisdom, wealth and Joy.
Those free of desire pick wisdom
Those full of desire pick money
Those full of devotion pick the fruit of joy.
These are what the world is seeking
whether rushing forth or keeping still
But once you know the essence
of this triple bearing vine
There is no need to choose among its flavours.
Bhīṣma said Yoga’s lord is Kṛṣṇa,
beloved of all the gods
Patañjali said hold back your mind to silence the din
Nāthamuni, too, said follow the Yoga path
away from sickness, ignorance and fear.
I remember the friend of Yogavalli – Nārāyaṇa
four armed friend with bow, sword, club, discus and conch.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s commentary on the Yoga Sūtra known as Yogavallī
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.
A self-learning suggestion to help train your ear and tongue is offered below with a Yoga Sūtra chant offering an introduction to the first four verses in each of the four chapters.
The chanting here, recorded at a 2007 Postgraduate Programme Summer Retreat. is arranged in a developmental sequence that offers a progressive review of these 11 verses and now requires nearly 80 lines of chanting to complete what would normally be done in 12 lines.
To Download or Listen
To Download the Chant Sheet in Romanised Saṃskṛta with Notations