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.
Equally the same notion applies with regard to the point of focus in the dedication within the chants that accompanied the closing of a chanting or textual study session. This learning by the student and appropriate use of both opening invocation and closing ceremony formed an important part of my own training under Desikachar in the teachings of Krishnamacharya.
The notion of Paraṃparā or ongoing transmission from teachers to students is typified by Śrī Nāthamuni, Yogi par excellence from the 9th Century. He was a forebear of Śrī Kṛṣṇamācarya and grandfather of Śrī Yāmunācārya, himself the author of the Stotra Ratnam and the Gītārtha Saṃgraha
Picture courtesy of KYM Archives
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.
This is a translation of part of the Opening Prayers as taught to TKV Desikachar by T Krishnamacharya and taught by TKV Desikachar to his personal students.
It was learnt by heart as a Bhāvanam for Dhyānaṃ, to create a meditational mood linked to Patañjali prior to commencing either chanting practice or textual study of the Yoga Sūtra.
CHANT IN PRAISE OF YOGA
Chant from Vyāsa’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 6.
yogena yogo jñātavyo
yogo yogāt pravartate |
yo’prama tastu yogena
sa yoge ramate ciram | |
“Only through Yoga Yoga is known,
Only through Yoga Yoga arises.
One who is diligent with Yoga,
Enjoys Yoga for a long time.”
View or download this post as a PDF with chant notations.
View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Dhyānaṃ Ślokam relative to Patañjali.
This prayer is used most often as an opening verse or Prārthanā Ślokam – Request Verse.