T Krishnamacharya on Kriyā Yoga from the Yogavallī

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters.

The first chapter called Samādhi Pādaḥ assumes the aspirant has progressed adequately to be in a state called Samāhita.

Such a person is not easily agitated.
They have a clearer perception to comprehend concepts such as Īśvara, Vairāgya.

What about others who are known as Vyutthita Citta,
a mind easily prone to agitations and distractions?

This second chapter known as Sādhana Pādaḥ caters to them.

Chapter Two verse 1 – Kriyā Yoga

“The activites of Yoga are
self discipline, self-inquiry and contemplation on the divine.”

The first step consists of:

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Svādhyāya is an inquiry into one’s true nature.

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“Svādhyāya is an inquiry into one’s true nature.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

The three Upāya to take control of our inability to see things clearly…….

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तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः ॥१॥
tapaḥ svādhyāya-īśvara-praṇidhānāni kriyā-yogaḥ |
“The activities of Yoga are self-discipline, self-study and contemplation on the divine.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

“The three Upāya to take control of our inability to see things clearly.

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It is not enough to clean a vessel, you must put something in.

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‎”It is not enough to clean a vessel,
you must put something in.”
– TKV Desikachar 1998 on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

The study of Yoga is a vast undertaking that requires sustained effort……

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Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥
atha yogānuśāsanam
Now follow the teachings of Yoga.
– Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

“The study of Yoga is a vast undertaking that requires sustained effort and guidance. The term Atha signifies auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity, and an appropriate end.

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Learning to Chant the Four Chapters of the Yoga Sūtra

Learning to Chant the Four Chapters of the Yoga Sūtra

This post is a kind of addendum to a longer post last August on ‘The strength, depth and potential of Krishnamacharya’s teachings around practice Sādhana“. In this post I talked about the long term development and refinement of the different aspects that constitute a Yoga practice.

These many different aspects of formal practice fell into two general groups:

  • Firstly Bahya Aṅga Sādhana through Haṭha Yoga and the practice of Kriyā, Āsana, Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma and Bandha
  • Secondly Antar Aṅga Sādhana through Rāja Yoga and the practice of Dhyānam and Bhakti Adhyayanam or the chanting of the Veda or Jñāna Adhyayanam or the chanting of the Yoga Sūtra

In this post I also used the analogy of raising a family and how to accommodate the “the emerging of other issues we have to contend with, such as the impact on our time, energy and priorities around additional commitments”.

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Kayena Vāca – Yoga Sūtra Chanting Closing Prayer with Translation

Yoga Sūtra Chanting Closing Prayer

This post follows on from yesterday’s post introducing the use of and intention within the practice of closing chants that follow the study of chanting, or the study of associated Yoga texts. Traditionally chant practice or textual study was also preceded with an invocatory passage to help forge a link between the chanters, what is about to be chanted and its purport, as well as setting a context for study.

Thus each area of study that the teacher and student were about to venture into was preceded by an appropriate Dhyānam Ślokam, or set of verses that specifically linked the chanters with that particular area of study or practice. Therefore the opening verses would differ according to whether the focus was Veda Chanting, the Upaniṣat, the Bhagavad Gītā, the Yoga Sūtra, etc.

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The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters……

The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters

“The Yoga Sūtra is divided into four chapters.
The first chapter called Samādhi Pādaḥ assumes the aspirant
has progressed adequately to be in a state called Samāhita.
Such a person is not easily agitated.
They have a clearer perception to comprehend concepts such as Īśvara and Vairāgya.”
– T Krishnamacharya introduction to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One

All these Kleśa are variable in their potency……

All these Kleśa are variable in their potency

“All these Kleśa are variable in their potency.
They can be so weak, that they hardly matter.
Sometime they take a feeble form, when they can be easily contained.
If not they rise to dominance.  When in domination, only one takes over.
For example in the most evolved stage when Rāga is dominant,
other Kleśa such as Dveṣa are not apparent.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 4

Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.

oga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within

“Yoga is when the mind is completely absorbed in the great force within.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.

If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.

“If we start from Kleśa our action will be faulty.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life. However, even without outer obstacles, we can encounter inner feelings that arise and manifest as obstacles to that re-turning.

Here it might be helpful to reflect on the four pillars of Maitrī, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upekṣā and the role they can have in helping to transform the unhelpful aspects of these inner feelings.

Bhāvana is a beneficial attitude that is consciously cultivated despite tendencies to the contrary”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

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Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses……

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses

Aindriyika Sādhana – Concerning the Senses.
FoodDiet – Temptation – Restraining the tongue.
Many things concerning senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well……

Śarīrika Sādhana – Keeping the body fit and well.
In the language of Patañjali Āsana is mostly Śarīrika Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and Mind.

There are categories of Sādhana

“There are categories of Sādhana relating to Body, Breath, Senses and Mind.”
– TKV Desikachar France August 1983

The Saṃskāra of Yoga prepares one for Ātma Vidyā and is open to everyone.

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“The Saṃskāra of Yoga prepares one for Ātma Vidyā and is open to everyone.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special……

atha yoganusasanam web

“A text like the Yoga Sūtra is something so very special,
it becomes a life-companion.
It is so deep, if taken seriously,
but it can also be very shallow
if the depth of the study is not there
and if there is no application.”
– TKV Desikachar from an interview in the
Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.

How we look at something depends on what is within us.

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“How we look at something depends on what is within us.”
– Notes from my studies of the Dhyānamālika
with TKV Desikachar in Chennai December 2000

There are some who are ruled by how they perceive the world as treating them.

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There are some who are ruled by how they perceive the world as treating them.
There are others who reflect on how they are treating the world.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 2 verse 15

The students learned and experienced the teachings in their own lives

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“The students in turn, learned and experienced the teachings in their own lives,
and thus became competent to teach.
In this way the lineage of teachers is established.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1

Kriyā Yoga emphasises that the Kleśa cannot be reduced instantly……

panca klesa

Kriyā Yoga emphasises that the Kleśa cannot be reduced instantly.
It is a gradual process.
Further Kleśa can only be reduced to the limit they become ineffective.
They cannot be destroyed.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 2

These five Kleśa surround the heart of every individual……

panca klesa

“These five Kleśa surround the heart of every individual.
They are related to the three Guṇa known as Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
As long as one chooses not to inquire into the true nature of one’s self and acts mechanically,
they will unknowingly contribute to the dominance of the Kleśa.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3

Reflecting on the relationship between Svadharma and Dharma

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Once I am very clear about what is to be known – Svadharma,
then I can be clear about what is universal Dharma.”

Reflecting on this quote  from TKV Desikachar posted on February 15th 2014 on the relationship between Svadharma and DharmaI feel we first need to understand our personal place within our inner world, only from there can we understand our universal place within our outer world.

This is a concept that can appear to be contrary to the more usual expectations within the Yoga world whereby we are often given a set of universal standardised principles which we are told to constantly aspire to and strive towards realising.

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No medicine can reduce Duḥkha, only Kriyā Yoga.

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

Meditation is the process of moving backwards.

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‎”Meditation is the process of moving backwards.”
– TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verses 10-11 January 10th 1995