“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.”
– 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.
There are others who reflect on how they are treating the world.
– Reflections on Yoga Sūtra Chapter 2 verse 15
“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
“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
“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 Dharma. I 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.
“It is a mistaken concept that certain Āsana are only postures for meditation.
If we look at the commentary of Vyāsa, we see that the postures
he elucidates are so complicated that we can’t be in Dhyāna.
We can feel these different postures and we can’t stay in them.
Two of these are Uṣṭrāsana and Krauñcāsana,
These are very difficult postures in which to remain.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Ten Page 133
“The ideal Dhyānam, which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
śrī kṛṣṇavāgīśa yatīśvarābhyām saṃprāpta cakrāṅkaṇa bhyāṣyasāram |
śrī nūtnaraṅgendra yatau samarpitsvam śrī kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamīḍe |
virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayam yogācāryaṃ kṛṣṇamāryaṃ guruvaryamahaṃ bhaje ||
“I offer praise to one who is disciplined, Guru Śrī Krishnamacharya, whose great teachers were
Śrī Kṛṣṇa who taught him mantra and initiated him into Cakrāṅkaṇam
(the ritual of prostrating and receiving Śaṅkha, right side and Cakra left side, on the shoulders).
Śrī Vāgīśa who taught him the essence of Śrī Bhyāṣyam (Vedānta) and
Śrī Raṅganātha (Raṅgendra) who initiated him into Bharaṇyāsam
(to place at the Lord’s feet or how to surrender to God).
Born in the year Virodha, during the month of Kṛtika, under the star Śatatāra,
this teacher of Yoga, Guru Krishnamacharya I salute.”
The convention is to speak about the guruparamparā and not describe or or speak about the teacher’s contributions.
Desikachar taught me that there were eight steps in the process of learning the teachings.
- Upadeśa – To come near to the teachings and remain
- Śravaṇa – To listen to the teachings with an open ear
- Grahaṇa – To seize hold of or grasp onto the teachings
- Dhāraṇā – To concentrate on memorising the teachings
- Manana – To carefully reflect on the teachings
- Anuṣṭhāna – To live with and put the teachings into practice
- Anubhāvana – To have some experiences from following the teachings
- Pracāra – To share and apply the teachings with others
Namely the process of coming near to, listening to, grasping, memorizing, reflecting, applying, experiencing and sharing the teachings.
“However the body is only part of the problem,
you have to do something at a deeper level.
This comes back to the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar