“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Some Q&A from Srivatsa Ramaswami's in-depth interview with WildYogi Magazine

Selections from Ramaswami's WildYogi interview, On Studying with Krishnamacharya, On Pranayama, On Bandhas, On Drishti, On Vinyasa Krama Method, On Books, On Teaching and Teachers. 


Russia based Wild yogi magazine recently published and interview with my teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami, a student of Krishnamacharya for over 30 years. Yet again WildYogi has produced another excellent probing in depth interview.

Here's the link to the full interview
http://wildyogi.info/en/issue/huge-variety-krishnamacharyas-teachings-interview-srivatsa-ramaswami

Ramaswami included the full interview in his special mid November newsletter but recommended we have a look at the Wildyogi edition which also includes a number of pictures. I contacted the magazine to make sure it was OK to quote from their interview, they said sure, that it was a free magazine and that they looking to raise the profile of their English edition. A big thank you then to Ilya for allowing me to quote substantially from the article and I highly recommend stopping by and checking out their other interviews and article and putting the word around.
Ramaswami, Chris & me VK TT 2010 PIcture by Barry Wadsworth

More on the magazine Wild Yogi below the selections from Ramaswami's Interview
A few of the questions from the Ramaswami interview, I've included more of the questions and ramaswami's responses but it's so hard to choose and really I've still only scratched the surface of the interview, he goes into so much more detail on all these points.
The headings are mine


Interview with Srivatsa Ramaswami

 Questions: Yuri Sharonin, Ilya Zhuravlev

------------------------------

S. Ramaswami (born 1939 in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India) was a student of the father of modern yoga, Shri T. Krishnamacharya, and studied under him for 33 years, from 1955 until 1988 shortly before Krishnamacharya's passing. He is Krishnamacharya's longest-standing student outside of Krishnamacharya's immediate family. Нe currently lives and teaches in the U.S.
Yuri Sharonin
 -------------------------------

ON KRISHNAMACHARYA

What was your first impression of him (Krishnamacharya)?

First impression was that he appeared to be a bit stern. But once he started to teach - the first thing he said was "Inhale, raise your arms. Breath with hissing sound, rubbing sensation in the throat." - I had never seen a yoga teacher doing it with breathing. I used to have a few teachers, seen a few books. I was young - just 15 at the time. Like all Indians, I had some exposure to yoga. First thing that struck me was the use of breath, the way he was teaching vinyasas. He was very clear with his instructions. And then also types and number of vinyasas he was able to teach - that was also very impressive. Even with the first few classes I can see that yoga was much different than how we were practicing in India at that time. I had started  studying with him, this went on, he started to teach lots of other things. Soon he started teaching pranayama, then afterwards he started teaching Vedic chanting. I had some exposure to chanting when I was young; I liked the way he taught Vedic chanting. Then he started to teach various texts, like Yoga Sutras, Samkhya Karika... So this went on. I never knew he was a scholar, I thought he was just a yoga teacher. But later on I found he was an exceptional scholar.

Did you have any background in sports, any martial arts?

Me? No, not in martial arts. But I used to play cricket at school; I was playing tennis also. I had some exposure. In fact, I was in college tennis team, captain of the team. I used to play ping-pong. Once I started studying with him, I slowly cut down on these, and concentrated more and more on yoga.

When did you realize that he is your Guru?

I just started going to him - I thought everything he has to offer was very useful to me. I did not have any plan. I was very young then. I used to be interested in Indian philosophy at that time. When he started teaching I found that was another dimension to his teaching, which I thought was very good for me. I did not know he was able to do that. One day, I think it was his son, Desikachar - we started chanting together – came and asked "I am going to study Yoga Sutras with my father. Would you like to join? My father asked me to find out from you." I got interested, and started to study Yoga Sutras also. After we went through Yoga Sutras, we went through the commentary of Vyasa. By that time 4-5 years are gone by. Then he was started saying "why don't you study Samkhya Karika?" So we went on studying Sankya Karika. Like that, he would suggest which subject I should study, and I studied with him.

Have you observed his practice?

No, no. Ekagrata. Everyone has his own practice. But occasionally - suppose I was five minutes early to his class, I could probably sometimes see him doing his headstand, or shoulderstand, or sitting in mahamudra, or some of those postures. But then, he would be completing his practice. So I would stand outside. Of course he did not object me observing his practice, but you don't really go sit down and look. Sometimes he used to show some pranayama, some postures. Beyond that I did not observe his practice. And he also had daily puja which he was  performing, so I had a good idea how he spent his time.

STUDYING WITH KRISHNAMACHARYA

What was it like to study with him?

His main goal was to convey the subject to the student, that's all. He would be focused totally on that. His focus would be teaching, and you would be always thinking whether you are able to understand what he was talking about. Usually he would close his eyes and speak for 5-10 minutes, because most of the Sutras he knew by heart. And then suddenly he would open his eyes to see if you were sitting there, then close his eyes and continue. With him, there were nothing extraneous. From the moment you come to the class and start with the prayer, go through the class, and end with the prayer. After the prayer is over, I would just stand up, and go out of the room, and then come back next class. He was totally focused on whatever he wanted to teach. Not merely the subject, but how to convey it so you will be able to understand. That is the main thing. I think the impression you get from studying with him was this: these are the shastras, scriptures. His life goal was to understand it, bit by bit, so they will become part of his own psyche, his own way of thinking. And then convey it to the next generation. The rest of the things were secondary. I don't know how he was earlier. You can see a fierce intent in transmission of knowledge. Of course he used to charge fees. He needed money, everybody needs money. But that was not the main thing. If you can show that you are really interested, he came out of his way to help you by explaining, that's about all. And normally I never used to ask questions. If I had a doubt, I would keep it to myself. I tried to understand it myself by thinking about what he said, did I miss something. Sometimes I refer to other notes, other commentaries. But usually, if I had a doubt, in two-three days time, I don't know how he knew, but he would explain it. That was something very good about him. You can see that he was really interested in you, in your development.

It is said that Krishnamacharya was continued to call himself a student because he felt that he was always “studying, exploring and experimenting” with the practice. It seems like his practice changed through the years. His yoga as presented in Yoga Makaranda seems quite different from yoga he taught you.

I would not say Yoga Makaranda and Yoga Rahasya are complete representation of the way he taught. Sometimes when you write a book, you are writing about some asanas, how particular asana should be done.

Watching snippets of his 1938 movie, one get impression of very active, fast practice.

Right, right. I will tell you that all those things were done with a purpose of demonstration. For the purpose of people knowing it. See, when he was teaching in Mysore, he was teaching youngsters. He was also teaching the royal family. I don't think he was teaching those things to the royal family. They were not jumping through, or doing those difficult things. He would adopt to individual requirements. People like to see those things, so he presented things that people like to see. And that does not mean that this was what was he teaching. Even at that time he was teaching differently to different people.

It is clear that he was leaning towards individual, one-on-one approach in his later years.

No, even in earlier years. Whatever you see in the movies, in those photographs, or whatever is mentioned in Yoga Makaranda - he wanted to present a particular view of the whole thing. Whereas in Yoga Rahasya he says that the whole thing have to change, depending upon your age, view not found in Yoga Makaranda. So books are not a complete picture of how he was teaching. That is what I feel reading Yoga Makaranda, Yoga Rahasya, those movies. And I think he himself would say it sometimes that those were made to attract people towards yoga. Because people like to see those things, and shown them. He was capable of that. I would not say that his teachings were confined to what you see in 1938 movie, or what was mentioned in some of the earlier books. That is my view.

What other works he considered to be essential?

After the Yoga Sutras, he asked us to study Samkhya Karika, because a lot of things that are taken for granted in Yoga Sutras you find in Samkhya Karika, that is a theoretical basis for Yoga. He taught Samkhya Karika shloka by shloka, and then he also used Gaudapada's brief commentary on that. First you go through the Samkhya Karika text, and then - the commentary. There is also equally good commentary by Vachaspati Mishra; both are available in English translation. Traditional translations are available. That was the second most important text.
Then he went on to teach several of Upanishads. Not the complete Upanishads - he would take one section, they called Vidyas, Upanishadic Vidyas. Like the Panchakosha-Vidya, or Panchagni-Vidya, or Sad-Vidya, Bhuma-Vidya... That went on for a number of years. And of course, in addition to that - chanting, a lot of chanting. I have learned a lot of chanting.

Did he give any recommendations on massage, oil bath, other cleaning procedures?

Yes, oil bath is something that people in India, especially in South India, do it regularly. He did not give any particular recommendations, but he would say don't let anybody do an oil bath or a massage to you, as a yogi, a practitioner of yoga. You have to massage your own body, allow 20 minutes to half an hour for oil to soak, and then have a bath. And then there are some materials that are available to remove excess oil from the body. Usually this was done twice a week. He would also recommend taking castor oil twice a year for cleaning digestive tract. These were accepted practices. 
Normally in Madras we take a warm water bath in the morning. Many times we take a cold water bath, it is more refreshing. But Krishnamacharya insisted you take warm water bath. Of course yogis take cold water bath, we know that. But he said, at your age, this is what you should do. Naturally the condition of yogi who lives in Himalaya will be different. But from that day on, I take a warm water bath before my yoga practice.

Did he gave any other recommendations on diet, sleep, or monitoring one's health?

As far as sleep is concerned, he would say, go to bed early, and get up early in the morning. Because morning is the best time for you to practice your yoga, or chanting, or meditation, or whatever. He himself used to wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he used to go to bed around 8:30 at night. Of course, this would be difficult in theWestern countries. In India sunset is always around 6pm, whether it is winter or summer. So he used to go to bed around 8-8:30, be up by 3 in the morning. By 6 or 7 would have completed all his morning ritual, and the ready to receive anybody for a class, about 7 o'clock in the morning. He would say, "go to bed early, get up early in the morning, try to get at least 6 hours of sleep".
"Don't put on weight, be careful about your diet". I think I mentioned to you, that he would say "don't allow your thighs and waist to spread".

ON PRANAYAMA


Let's talk about Pranayama. In his writings he says numerous times, that Pranayama is the key to the whole practice; it is the most important anga. 
Vinyasa Krama you teach is centered around the breathing.

Right.

And yet, Pranayama, by and large, taught on the fringes, and sometimes has an air of being remote like samadhi. Often presented as dangerous. How Krishnamacharya taught it, and how soon?

I don't remember when he started to teach me Pranayama. I know it was very early, because he had started to use breathing on day one. That itself is half Pranayama: long inhalation, long exhalation. You start from day one. And then Pranayama practice is regular. I think I mentioned, Pranayama practice is an integral part of daily routine in olden days. You are required to do ten times Pranayama with Gayatri Mantra, and all that. Pranayama is considered essential part of your daily life. You are required to do, say, ten in the morning, ten in the afternoon, ten in the evening, and there two or three in addition in every sitting. Virtually you do forty pranayamas every day. Everybody - you don't have to be a yogi to practice Pranayama. Everybody is required to practice Pranayama forty times every day. So, what's the big deal?

Samantraka Pranayama (pranayama with Mantra)?

Samantraka Pranayama. But still a pranayama. In fact it's a more difficult pranayama. If everybody, even non-yogi do forty times pranayama, why yogi should shy away from that? And I don't think Krishnamacharya told anybody not to teach Pranayama. He might have not told somebody to teach specifically pranayama, I don't know what happened. But he didn't prevent anybody... He taught Pranayama from very beginning. In fact, almost anybody who has studied with him learned Pranayama from him. He would himself teach Pranayama. Normally your asana practice ends with pranayama session. I have never come out from his class without practicing Pranayama. I think I've mentioned it several times. You see, Pranayama is the one that makes Yoga unique. In all other systems there is no control over the breathing. In all physical exercises, there is no control over the breathing. Here you try bring your breathing under voluntary control. If there is something very big, very unique about Yoga - it is the breathing. Any people who want to meditate, to achieve samadhi, achieve kaivalya, some of those things that are mentioned - if you shy away from Pranayama, how can you progress? You have to use this vehicle, you got to use Pranayama. Krishnamacharya was insistent that without Pranayama, there is no Yoga.

In fact, word Hatha, as in Hatha Yoga, means Pranayama. You look in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the commentator says Ha is Prana, Tha is Apana, Yoga is a Union, Hatha Yoga is a union of Prana and Apana, which is Pranayama. So Hatha Yoga Is Pranayama. How can you say, "I practice Hatha Yoga without Pranayama"?
I don't know why people are unnecessarily discouraged from Pranayama. Everything is dangerous. If you do Pranayama in very unorganized way, then perhaps... But then enough instructions are given in the books. And they say you have to be careful, you have to learn from a teacher. Yes, you have to learn from a teacher. See that it is within your limits. In fact in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the first instruction is "Inhale as much as you can". Yetashakti "Exhale as much as you can". Slowly build your capacity. You have to work along these lines. People who discourage Pranayama are doing a disservice to Yoga. That may not be their intent, but they are creating unnecessary fear in people, and they are doing a disservice to Yoga.

One reason why people are reluctant to teach Pranayama because they are afraid of teaching it. They don't teach Pranayama because they don't want to get into any problem. They don't want to teach Sirsasana, or Sarvangasana because they don't want to get any problem. These postures, these procedures are a bit tricky. If you understand, if you are able to practice them – well and good; but sometimes you make a mistake, you feel very uncomfortable...

If Hatha Yoga is Pranayama, then Pranayama is Kumbhaka?

Kumbhaka is breath holding. It has to be proceeded by inhale, or exhale. Pranayama is control of the breathing. Kumbhaka is the most essential aspect of that. You have to use your inhalation or exhalation before you are able to hold your breath.

How would Krishnamacharya teach it?

After you practiced your asana, he would ask you to sit in padmasana, vajrasana, etc. do your Kapalabhati, 108 times, or whatever. And then he would ask you to do - one day Ujjai, another day Sitali, another day Nadi Shoddana, like that he would slowly build up the practice, and then later on you have to practice Pranayama on your own. You don't have to teach forever. Once he knew that you practice your Pranayama properly, he would say at the end of the class, "practice Pranayama for 15 minutes".

Which Pranayamas were taught, and which ones were mostly frequently used?

Mostly, in Vinyasa Krama practice, he would use Ujjai breathing, because we use Ujjai in our practice, so it becomes easier. Ujjai and Nadi Shoddana are the two most important pranayamas. And then if you combine those two, you get Anuloma Ujjai, Viloma Ujjai, Pratiloma Ujjai. Occasionally he would ask me to do Sitaly pranayama. When weather is very hot, he would say "you look tired, why don't you do a Sitali pranayama". The main emphasis was on Ujjai and Nadi Shoddana. Normally for Mantra Pranayama, they use Nadi Shoddana pranayama. Inhale through one nostril, chant the Pranayama Mantra, exhale through the other nostril. Nadi Shoddana pranayama is mentioned in the texts also.

ON BANDHAS


How did he teach the Bandhas? And how soon?

Once your breathing is comfortable, you have long inhalation and exhalation, and you can hold the breath for a short period of time, Bandhas can be done. I think he taught Trataka Mudra as the best procedure positioned to teach Mulah Bandha, and Uddiyana Bandha. Once you are able to do Bandhas in that position, then the next thing for you would be to try it in Adho Mukha Svanasana, then some of the seated postures, especially Padmasana and Vajrasana. These are the postures he would ask you to practice the Bandhas.

I think considerable confusion exists about Bandhas, and perhaps it may be useful for many people if we will discuss it. Let's go through three major bandhas. In case of Mula Bandha, queues can be very simple - yet books written about it.

He gave simple instructions, he did not elaborate on this. He would say draw your rectum and tighten lower abdomen. That is all instructions he would give. He would observe how your Bandha is, and say, it is fine. That's about all.

Jalandhara Bandha aids Ujjai.

Definitely! Jalandhara Bandha aids Ujjai. It also has a number of other benefits. It helps you to keep your back straighter. Once you pull up the spine, your Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha also become more effective. Because the pelvic muscles are pulled up, there is more space between the pelvis and ribcage, so you are able to do the bandhas much better. They are all related.

DRISHTI

How is Drishti used in Vinyasa Krama?

Drishti is mentioned in many of Pattabhi Jois works, but for all those years I've been studied with Krishnamacharya, he never mentioned about Drishti. He never mentioned about it. Only thing he will say, whenever you do Trataka you gaze at the lamp, and then internalize it. That's about all. But whether you must look at the toe, and all that I find,  that kind of thing he never mentioned. Keep your head down, and your eyes closed. Most of the time our eyes are closed, we are following the breath. Most of the asanas you keep the eyes closed and work with the breath. Concentrate on breath, except in standing poses. When you are doing Paschimottanasana, you better have your eyes closed, so that you will be able to focus on the breath and the bandhas. Everything is happening inside, you don't need to keep your eyes open.


It is peculiar that here in the West, people seeking to start meditation practice come to Vedantic or Buddhist meditation, and think of Yoga only as a source of health benefits. Why do you think that is? Why not Yogic Meditation?

The whole problem is, nobody teaches that. Nobody teaches the yogic meditation. You look at some older teachers, they don't teach meditation at all. So people who practice Yoga, when they want meditation, because meditation is mentioned there, what do they do? They have to go to Vedantic school, because they can teach some Vedantic mantras, like Aham Brahmaasmi, So-Ham, Shivo-Ham, and all that. Or, they go to Buddhist meditation, or, sometimes they take a mantra. They go to religious people, take a mantra, and trying to meditate.

VINYASA KRAMA METHOD

Can you describe the Vinyasa Krama, the method you are teaching? It's uniqueness?

Vinyasa Krama is a method, by which you do asanas, with a number of movements leading to asanas, movements in the asanas, counterposes to the asanas. And then all the asanas are done with a proper breathing. There is an appropriate breathing for each of these movements. And then the mind is focused on the breath. These are the main differences between Vinyasa Krama and other methods. The term Vinyasa means Art. Vinyasa Krama is practicing yoga as an Art. That's why it got so many movements. All of the various movements body can do, falling within common definition of asana. One more advantage of Vinyasa Krama is that you are able to access different parts of the body, which you won't do, if you doing fixed number of movements, fixed number of asanas. There are so many different movements, you are likely to reach and exercise all parts of the body. Prana goes to those areas, Rakta [blood] goes to those areas.


In his early works, Krishnamacharya recommends 10-15 asanas for a regular practice. You mentioned he asked four asanas for constant long hold practice: Maha Mudra, Paschimottanasana, Sarvangasana, and Sirsasana. 

Yes, that is what I remember, because, for instance, he also talks, for example, about Mayurasana in the Yoga Makaranda. But I remember these four. He would insist, almost every day he would ask us to do these four asanas.


How particular was Krishnamacharya in Vinyasa sequences? Did he required to stick to a particular sequence, or did he encouraged variations?

Yes, he would teach you the way I go about teaching this class. Once you learned these vinyasas, then in your own practice you will pick and choose on a daily basis. That is your responsibility. But, on the other hand, if you come to me for a treatment, then I will pick and choose the vinyasas and give it to you. But if you are doing it for yourself, and you had learned these vinyasas, then you have to design your program on a daily basis. You don't need a teacher to come and tell you. I've done this, tomorrow I think I should do something for my neck and shoulders, or sometimes I feel heavy in my legs, so I probably spend more time doing vinyasas in my shoulderstand, or headstand. I vary my procedures from day to day.

SURYANAMASKARA?

Did he taught Surya Namaskar, was it a part of a daily practice? You mentioned earlier it was a part of weekly routine.

No, no. That was a chanting, not the physical aspect. Just a chanting. We used to do only chanting part. We never used to do the physical part. He taught it, but then he never insisted on a physical part of the Surya Namaskar. Not as it is being done in the West.

So physical Surya Namaskar sequence was not practiced at all?

No, no. It was just taught out, that's about all.

ALIGNMENT?

How specific he was about alignment, in any vinyasas or asanas?

He would make minor adjustments. Few minor adjustments I've made in the class, similarly to that he will do. [very minor, gentle physical touch, rare; occasional verbal suggestions.] Supposing your shoulderstand is very uncomfortable, so he would come and help you out. But it won't be rough. Not a very meticulous kind of adjustment to the posture.

In your opinion, why Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga follows strict sequences, no variations allowed? Pattabhi Jois was stating that he was teaching strictly according with Krishnamacharya tradition. 

Right. I can only speculate. One is that Krishnamacharya taught only those vinyasas at that particular time. They belong to much earlier group, 1940s maybe. And another thing, it is all depends on how long they studied. I studied with Krishnamacharya for a long, long period of time. I specifically asked him for more vinyasas, when I started teaching. I realized that that I was not able to teach much more, so I went and asked him, are there more vinyasas? I said, I am not able to teach my students, is there something more? Yes, then he started, “did you teach this vinyasa, this other vinyasa”. Like that, he kept on teaching more and more... I used to practice, and then go and teach.

BOOKS 

Can you tell a bit more about your books?

The first writings I did for a journal, called Indian Review journal. I think it was way back in 1978 or so. At that time I was a trustee of Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM). When the Mandiram started, I was one of the trustees. Desikachar, myself, and one of his class fellows, we were all the trustees. So at that time, what we did, Desikachar said, we should publish to make Mandiram known, and this particular magazine was interested. He asked me to write those articles, so I started writing. In about six months time I got out of Mandiram. But the publishers said, why don't you keep on writing? I went on writing, it went on for about 28 months or so. First few issues I used to type the article, give it to Desikachar, and he would, whenever  find time, read it to his father, explain it to him. And then he would make suggestions. Not corrections, suggestions. He used to be very happy about what was going on. 
Then after a few years, one of the Desikachar students, Paul Harvey from the UK who studied Yoga Sutras with me at that time, asked me to write a book, an introductory book on Yoga Sutras.
So I wrote a book called “Basic Tenets of Patanjala Yoga”. It was not a great success, not many people read that. When the book was published in 1982, I was not going to classes for three-four months, I had something going on. But when Krishnamacharya came to know about it, he came all the way to my house. One Sunday, he and Desikachar came to my house, I was surprised. He said, “I understand you have written a book, and I want to bless you. It is a very good thing, you must write more books.” He was very positive, very supportive. He used to encourage you very well. So he wanted Vinyasa Krama, he wanted these teachings be known.

At that time, Pattabhi Jois and Iyengar were teaching, but not directly in contact with him; Desikachar started to go to different parts of the world. He was very supportive.
And then another thing  started doing, I first recorded the Yoga Sutras, then wanted to have a recording company do it. Ultimately I was able to find a Recording company, they recorded it and released it. Then subsequently they  asked me to come up with a number of other subjects. So over the period of 15 years, most of the chanting I have learned from Krishnamacharya I was able to record about 30 in all, about 30 hrs of sanskrit chants, and this company released it. This was another important aspect of Krishnamacharya's teaching.


These were two early publications. Then in 1999-2000 I wrote “Yoga for the Three Stages of Life”, and in 2005 I wrote “The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga”, a Vinyasa Krama book, and in 2006 a book with David Hurwitz, “Yoga Beneath the Surface”. These are the publications. And subsequently, I started to send Vinyasa Krama newsletters, so I can share whatever I consider is important. It was good to keep on writing, one way or the other.

What do you think is your best work so far?

Of course “Yoga for the Three Stages of Life”, I really, really enjoyed writing it. 
But then Vinyasa Krama book is also good. Reason why I wrote this particular book, is that I found that even though I go and teach workshops, not many people heard about it. I thought I will not teach, so I wanted to put everything I knew in form of the book, and publish it, so it is out of my mind. And then LMU fortunately started this program [LMU 200 hr Teacher Training with Srivatsa Ramaswami in LA, California, USA]. Few people now had studied this. And then book with David was good – I could see what kind of questions arise in people, that was good.

Any other books, besides essential scriptures, that should be studied?

As yoga teachers you must be familiar with various texts. Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Yajnavalkya – these three texts... Yoga Upanishads are there, but they are not very accessible, some of them are repetitive. You can still have a look at them. This is all with respect to Hatha Yoga. There is also other text – it is not a text, it is part of the Purana – it is called Sutra Samhita. It is not very important, just an additional material.

Then you can probably think about Samkhya Karika. It is work of 75 shlokas or so, like Yoga Sutras it is also very concise, and a beautifully written text. Lot of things that are taken for granted in Yoga Sutras can be found there. For instance, the three Gunas, the evolution from the Mulah Prakriti explained very well, Transmigration; number of other concepts that are taken for granted by yogis can be found there. English translations are available; english commentaries are also available. Samkhya is one of the six traditional Indian Philosophies. Samkhya, Yoga, and Vedanta form a compact group. They  all talk about Nivriti Shastras – how to stop the Transmigration.

Go through the Yoga Sutras, get a good outline of that, then try to support it by Bhagavad Gita from one side, and Samkhya Karika on the other side. Bhagavad Gita will be very helpful, because it is very “user-friendly”, not like the Yoga Sutras. Yoga Sutras are very dry – Bhagavad Gita tries to explain. In fact, you don't need any commentary for it, because same ideas explained over and over again. Arjuna was a warrior, not an intellectual.

Then once you are familiar with these texts, then you can read some of the Upanishads, Upanishad Vidyas. 
Vedas per se might not be of much importance to us. It contains lot of rituals, things like this. More important thing for people who study Yoga is to study Upanishads. The Upanishads portions is the Thought, philosophical ideas are contained there, and there are many.

ON TEACHING/TEACHERS

Do you feel that someone with a serious practice of several years has a duty to teach?

My feeling is, anybody who practicing Yoga for five years should start thinking about it. Where am I going, what I am trying to do? Some introspection is necessary. You can't just keep doing the same thing over and over again. That is not an intelligent approach to Yoga. You try to find out, what else is there in Yoga. 
Suppose somebody says, don't do Pranayama - why you should not do Pranayama? Or if somebody says, don't do shoulderstand – what are the problems? Why shouldn't I do shoulderstand? Otherwise it is all the same routine. As they get older, it will not going to be helpful, I am sure. Practices that are good when you are young will not be helpful when you get older. You need a different set of practices.

Do you feel like in the West people are reinventing the Yoga?

Yes, many people are now inventing Yoga, because they don't have access to tradition, like Krishnamacharya had. What happens – yoga is popular, so I run my own yoga, or stick to the same routine. I am not saying that everybody is doing it... At least in olden days, I used to know many people who come to India to study. Nowadays it is all gone. They say that “who knows Yoga in India? Now it has become established here.” My approach  would be: alright, I had studied with Krishnamacharya, and the only reason I had stayed with him for a long period of time, was because he was interpreting the shastras with his experience to me. If he would have said, it is a yoga he is invented, I would not have gone to him. I would not have gone to him. Because I had wanted to know what was Yoga, Vedanta have to offer. I wanted to know that. And he faithfully interpreted those shastras to tell you what they are all about, which he did admirably. Whatever I understood from him, now I want to explain to people the way I understood. It is not as good as he taught, but that is the best I can do. I will do whatever I can do to explain the way I understood. And I should be happy about it.

What is your advice for those times when one feels uncertain, even discouraged about yoga practice, practice progression? Everyone has those moments at some point.

Right. I get that feeling quite often even now (laughs). 
It should not be frequent, it could happen once in a while. What I can tell you from my own experience, 90 people out of 100, when they start on Yoga, after some time they don't find any improvement whatsoever. “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?” That is why I would say, the reason why we are getting this feeling is, we are not getting everything that practice supposed to give. Yogis promise so much, but they are very sincere. They have no ax to grind, they tell you what they had experienced. The only problem, I am not able to experience it, that is the only thing – at least when I was young. The reason why it does not work for me is I don't know what they are talking about. Maybe I am not doing it properly, not understood it properly. I have to persist. That faith I must have in this. I had that faith in my Teacher. I have the faith in subject also. These two things you must have. That's what they call Shraddha (faith with love and reverence). So first starting point - you must have Faith.

And then another thing, what happens in our life – sometimes there are other problems. They come into our life...
Here Yoga Philosophy comes more importantly. You try to understand Yoga Philosophy, what does it say about Three Gunas... One of the reasons sometimes we get more depressed, or more and more angry – that can be due to preponderance of other two Gunas: Rajas and Tamas. Philosophy is the only way they can help us. We must try to find out situations that causing these problems. Sometimes you must find a permanent solution for a chronic problem. All of us – we don't solve the problem, we expect it will go away.  So we have to devise a solution, and then deal with it. 

Then there is certain problems which you cannot completely eliminate. Then you must at least learn to make use of Yoga so you can overcome those difficulties. Sometimes it can be Pranayama practice, sometimes it can be Asana practice. But to greatest extent – the Philosophy.
Personally, I will tell you: Yoga Philosophy, the Upanishads, they were very helpful. These thoughts contained there... You are able to see that those people in olden days – they were able to see those problems; it is nothing new to me. It has happened to many people earlier, only details may be different. All of us have our own set of problems. If we can make use of Yoga to deal with these problems better, it will be good. There is no other way. If we don't deal with the problems at this level, then we have to depend on external help. We must slowly try to see that these problems do not affect us. They may not go away completely, but at least they won't affect us so much. I am not saying it is going completely solve the problem, but to some extent Yoga Philosophy may be very very helpful. Like you, I too have or had my own problems, but it is much easier to deal with them, if you understand philosophy. Maybe Asana and Pranayama can help on physiological level. On psychological level you have to sit down and analyze. Frankly speaking, many problems we come across in life are of our own creation. When you solve the problems, you also have to give up certain things. You have to sit down and analyze, what do you want to give up, what do I want to get rid of. Analyze and choose a course. Sometimes, though, we take ourselves too seriously, and get affected by outside factors too much.

Practice sustained by Yoga Philosophy.

For the mind to become quiet, it should have an anchor. The mind should know it can be peaceful without any external things, things you depend upon, health, relationship. So long as everything ok, all is fine, but if something goes wrong, mind is shattered. I should not allow myself to get shattered. Once I allow  it to get shattered, it is a big problem. It is very difficult to rebuild it. That is why these things will be helpful: Practice to some extent, Philosophy to some extent. Between them, mind is reinforced so I can deal with problems better. Mere Practice won't do.


Do you have any advice for teachers who only starting? Or do wish you had done something differently in your own teaching career?

I will say that Yoga is a very very rich subject, it is very rewarding. It helps you physically, psychologically, disciplines your mind. Only thing is, try to understand all these things, reflect on all the practices. Even if you do your asana practice, reflect upon that: how do you feel after  this particular asana, this particular vinyasa, kriya? How do you feel after Pranayama? And look for long-term effects. Over the period of time – maybe practice for a month or two, and see how you feel. I am sure that the whole system was designed in such a way that it was going to benefit the individual. It meant to benefit the individual. They have done a lot of research, a lot of practice on this. It is a result of accumulation of lots of individual practices, and practices of gurus, like my Guru, Krishnamacharya. Teachers must teach with certain amount of conviction. You practice, see how you feel, and start teaching – that should be helpful.
Try to maintain practice, try to enlarge your base, so you make it really useful for yourself first. Before you start teaching others, find usefulness to yourself. And then, share it with others.

Thank you very, very much for your time.

Thank you. I hope it will be useful.
---------------------------------

Link to the full interview, this was just scratching the surface
http://wildyogi.info/en/issue/huge-variety-krishnamacharyas-teachings-interview-srivatsa-ramaswami

More on Wild Yogi Magazine



Here's their own introduction to the magazine

"Let us to present you a new online magazine Wild Yogi, dedicated to different styles of yoga, spiritual practice, self development and healthy way of life.
    What occurs when you hear this title – Wild Yogi? Maybe those who are familiar with Indian culture will imagine hаlf naked sadhu, coated with ashes, roving ascet, with impressive trishula (trident) in hands. This may seem strange to the modern buyer of yoga mates, props and fashionable yoga clothes. But, most likely, this is how yogis looked like at the times when those texts were written, which are sometimes recited by western educated inhabitants of big cities, who are familiar with yoga practice.
    We decided – let Wild Yogi be a source of alternative information among different "yoga brands" and a process of yoga conversion into a glamourous fitness industry. We want a thinking person to have for reading and looking something else than young girls in white leotards, retouched with Photoshop, who diligently perform yoga postures among all sorts of international cosmetic products advertising.
    Yoga was born in India thousands years ago, it is a powerful system of spiritual and physical improvement, today it became popular all over the World. Great yoga teachers said that this science belongs to all Humanity. According to the insights of sages in ancient India each one of us is Atman – a soul, it means that yoga lives in all of us, because it is a way of discovering your soul. And it does not matter in what spot of our Planet we were born and live. Our creative teamwork practices yoga for a log time and we consider it an important part of our life. Considerable amount of our authors are professional yoga teachers. Our desire to share our ideas, information, to tell about interesting people and events in the yoga world and at last just a need of creative self-expression brought us to making this magazine.

    We define a conception of our magazine as “a magazine about Yoga for thinking reader”. In the first place it will interest those for whom yoga is not just a popular kind of fitness, but a profound and interesting system of body and consciousness development.

    «Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet…» wrote Sir Rudyard Kipling in “The Ballad of East and West” (1889) But is it true? We think, that it is possible to preserve and even to multiply rich heritage of traditional yoga in the western world. The world changes and with it history of yoga also changes, along with areas of its spreading. We all, those, who practice and teach yoga, also create this history.
    We invite authors, practitioners and yoga teachers to cooperate with us on the volunteer basis. Welcome if you have something interesting to say, which maybe does not fit into the frame of “modern yogic mainstream”. With our magazine we invite you to accompany us in the journey along this fascinating way.

Interview with Bal Mukund Singh, disciple of Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, senior yoga-teacher of Morarji Desai National Yoga Institute, New Delhi 2002 - Ilya Zhuravlev, Marina Raykis.
Interview with Dharma Mittra, NY 2003 - Ilya Zhuravlev, Boris Sirchenko.
"Yoga and Vipassana: An internal work" article by A.Vorobiev and M.Baranov. Interview with V.Karpinsky and I.Zhuravlev, 2003
Interview with Krishna Das, NY 2004 - Ilya Zhuravlev, Boris Sirchenko.
"My experience in Bihar school of yoga" - Interview with Swami Akhilesh Saraswati, russian yoga teacher from Kazakhstan, 2006.
"Brahmins' favorite planets" - Interview with Anand Bihari, indian Vedic astrologer (Jyotirvid). Arambol, Goa, 2007.
"Kumbha Mela - The Great Flow" - my article about Kumbha Mela holy festival in Allahabad (India), jan 2007.
"Tradition of Tamil Siddhas" - interview with Shri Panduranga Swamigal, doctor of ancient tamil siddha medicine, 2007
Interview with Hariji Baba, head of Aghora ("Left Hand Tantra") ashram in Sonoma, California, NY 2004 - Ilya Zhuravlev, Boris Sirchenko.
"Talks with Rampuri Baba" - american born sadhu of Juna Akhara order - Arambol, Goa, 2006 - Tim Rakin, Ilya Zhuravlev.

Best regards, editor in chief of the Wild Yogi magazine Ilya Zhuravlev.
Founders of the project:

Ilya Zhuravlev, editor in shief
Маxim Yasochka, co-editor, commercial director
Mikhail Baranov, co-editor


Current edition

October 2012

April 2012
Interviews with Richard Freeman, Krishna Das, Jivamukti yoga founders, Hareesh (Christopher Wallis). Yoga-therapy of the wrists, principles of practice during pregnancy, Surya and Shakti Namaskar, and recipes with edible plants for true yogic life.




November 2011
Interviews with David Swenson, yogacharya MadhavanDanny Paradise, Rakesh Pandey (Varanasi)Article on kumbhaka in asanas, recipes for veg pancakes.





18 comments:

  1. I read this wonderful interview when Ramaswami's newsletter came out. I liked it a lot, because Yuri asked many of the questions I myself had.

    For those interested, _Basic Tenets of Patanjala Yoga_ is available for download at Paul Harvey's site:
    http://www.yogastudies.org/resource/the-basic-tenets-of-patanjala-yoga/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel always weird when people talk about how Krishnamacharya never taught the same sequence or even the Sun Salutations, because in my head Ashtanga has this status as "THE perfect sequence" that Jois and Krishnamacharya developed.
    What's your take on this? If the Ashtanga series are such a "perfect" system why did Krichnamacharya never really teach it? Is it probably one of his early drafts and he realized later that different sequences are more beneficial? I'm very confused about this topic... but it's probably only my mindset.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Enrique for putting the link up to Ramaswami's basic tenants, I should have thought of that.

    Hi Anon. thanks for sharing your concerns. One of the things that supposedly characterises European Christian seminary's is the 'crisis of faith' that the schools seem almost to provoke, even encourage. Different in the US i believe. As one studies in detail the history of the Church, one is brought to question many of the beliefs you held most firmly, mainly because so many of these beliefs were introduced by the church through interpretation, debate, discussion, politics, decree, eventually becoming Church dogma. Most find a way out of their 'crisis of faith', usually it seems by deciding that much of that debate and discussion was the result of profound contemplation and perhaps even divine inspiration.

    I think we often have a crisis of faith in our yoga practice also.

    I too thought , in the beginning, went along with the idea that the Ashtanga sequences derived from some ancient indian text, the yoga korunta and that this had been memorised and passed down teacher to student or the text discovered, learned and then lost ( the ant story). And then there was all this Ashtanga dogma on the correct way to practice Ashtanga....and so on.

    The closer we look at it the more problems arise for this view, that there is a correct Ashtanga, a perfect system.

    There do seem to be questions about wether Krishnamacharya ever taught suryanamaskara as we understand it in Ashtanga. It seems to be that the sury's were taught in another class by another teacher and that the sury namaskars was developed as an exercise system out of the traditional protestations used in puja ( see the link to download on the sidebar). Krishnamacharya was critical of the practice of many repetitions but did teach a form of the Surya with a mantra repeated at each stage on the breath retention, Ramaswami taught it to us and I have a post on it somewhere.

    The sequences of Ashtanga seem to be based on Krishnamacharya's teaching and in our Yogasangalu translation you can see the table of postures matches very closely the series of Pattabhi Jois, primary, Middle and proficient/advanced. however K lists them as groups rather than sequences. That said there is a certain logic to how they are put in the table and it would make sense to practice/teach them in that order give or take.

    The question of course is does that table/order come from the yoga Korunta or Krishnamacharya's teacher Brahmacharya or did he develop it himself from out of his own yoga education/inspiration.

    There are problems. This whole practice is about the breath, long deep inhalations and exhalation ( 10 seconds each), retention, yes breath retention ( 2-5 seconds), kumbhaka, pranayama in asana. Long stays in certain postures. If the asana in that sequence with that approach was practiced it would take hours...I know I've done it, 3-4 hours for primary series. i think the class in the Mysore palace was an hour in duration. Which suggests the full sequence wasn't practiced but rather groups of postures. UNLESS, it was practiced quickly in the same regimented order to keep the kids in line which then does make it a yoga practice for young boys.

    So a crisis of faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About the Sun Salutation:

      Krishnamacharya doesn't mention the Surya Namaskara in his writings. Other masters in this tradition don't mention it either.

      Only BKS Iyengar in the Appendix of his 500+ pages long _Light on Yoga_ (1966) devotes these few lines to the Sun Salute:

      Those who wish to prostrate to the sun (suryanamaskar) and to develop the arms and chest, can do the following asanas in sequence at first for six rounds, increasing the number according to capacity.
      [List of asanas and their breathing patterns]

      So I think it was KPJ who gave it its current status in Ashtanga Yoga. It's worth noting that in _Yoga Mala_ he seems to differentiate Surya Namaskar from Yoga.

      Anthony has in the Downloads section of this blog an interesting document:
      _The Ten-Point Way to Health: Surya Namaskars_ (1938) by Shrimant Balasahib Pandit Pratinidhi.

      Delete
    2. About the Yoga Korunta:

      Where does the story that a preset sequence of asanas is prescribed in this book comes from?

      The _Yoga Mala_ just says:
      As the sage Vamana says, ``Vina vinyasa yogena asanadin na karayet [ O yogi, do not do asana without vinyasa].''

      and then the footnote:
      Vamana is the author of Yoga Korunta, the authoritative text on asana and pranayama in ashtanga yoga.


      Eddie Stern writes in the foreword that KPJ told him the story of K. finding it at Calcutta University Library but, where does the tale of it being eaten by ants comes from? It's repeated over and over on the blogosphere, but without quoting sources.


      Krishnacharya doesn't mention the YK in the _Yoga Mararanda_.

      The _Yogasanagalu_ says that one of the texts on which it is based is the _Yogakuranti_. The Yogasanagalu describes asanas and vinyasas divided in three groups according to its difficulty, but no series. It just says:

      ``Most important asanas shirshasana, sarvangasana, mayurasana, paschimatanasana and baddha padmasana must be practiced daily without failure.

      Other asanas are practiced according to their convenience as people become proficient.''

      In _Salutation to the Teacher and the Eternal One_ it is referenced three times under the spelling _Yoga Kurantam_, mentioning some differences in asanas names/classification or pranayamas. Nothing about series.

      `The King and the Young Man' is an interesting interview to T. Krishnamacharya:

      ``He recalls today that Ganganath Jha said to him, "If you really want to master Yoga you must travel beyond Nepal for that is where Yogeswarar Rama Mohana Brahmacharya is living. In the Gurkha language there is a book called 'Yoga Gurandam'. In that book you can find practical information such as Yoga practices which give health benefits. If you go to Rama Mohana you can learn the complete meaning of the Yoga Sutra."
      [...]
      Rama Mohana made me memorize the whole of the Yoga Gurandam in the Gurkha language. The various stages of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra are dealt with in that book in a very precise but extensive commentary. That is necessary because Sutras are by definition very concise. In the Yoga Gurandam, the various kinds of Yoga poses and movements are described with great clarity. Only after studying this book can one understand the inner meaning and science of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali."''


      So Krishnamacharya himself explain that the YK described postures and its vinyasas, and explained the Yoga Sutras. No mention about series.

      Who first said that the Ashtanga Vinyasa series were fixed in the Yoga Korunta centuries ago?

      Delete
  4. cont.
    And yet Ashtanga does seem to be derived from aspects of krishnamacharya's teaching with perhaps some adaption from Pattabhi Jois, just say, as Beryl Bender Birch and Brian Kest perhaps adapted Ashtanga to come up with Power Yoga, or Vinyasa flow, or whatever.

    It's a full on practice and practiced in that way does seem to be transformative, the fixed routine helps you get on the mat, working towards the next posture keeps you interested, motivated perhaps. And as a lifetime practice it can add discipline and focus to your life. It can work, it has value as it is and however it came about.

    Now personally after those first few years and the physical and mental transformations that came about, rather than continue focussing on ever new postures I've personally preferred to go back to the source we have, Krishnamacharya and look again at the breath at slowing it down at bring back in the other limbs that seem to have been, if not lost then left by the wayside.


    it used to be thought that Krishnamacharya changed his approach to teaching as he got older, developing a softer style. However, what's becoming more and more clear was that there seems to have been a consistency to his teaching throughout his life. A practice based on long deep breathing, bandhas, deep focused asana, pranayama and concentration practices. And study, investigation, exploration.

    In Ashtanga as we know it one aspect of his teaching, asana, seems to have been lifted out and adapted, simplified, physically intensified. For me, although it's still a powerful practice it strikes me as krishnamacharya lite. K's teaching was richer, it's there hidden away in some of Pattabhi Jois' teachings I think but you have to look and question and explore through your own practice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. cont.
    I'm not suggesting we reject Ashtanga but rather that one option is that instead of looking to the next series next posture ( as i did for a long time, bit hypocritical i Know, sorry) we turn back to primary and perhaps 2nd and look again at every element of the practice, slow it down, deepen it, explore the other limbs, practice half a series but more deeply. Explore some of the variations our postures offer to us.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for your long answer, it was very interesting to read and got me some inspiration to deepen my practice. You're right, I'm in a crisis of faith right now with the practice, because I'm partly too focused on the physical and partly annoyed with the same sequence and now I question it all together.
    This is kind of new, though. When it comes to Pattabhi Jois, I always was like "Oh he knows everything", where as I'm so critical of other yoga styles. With them I often think: "Where's the tradition in this sequence? Where are the roots? Did you make it up? Then it can have no benefits." (hello Ashtanga police :))
    I think this doubts are helpful in some way, because know I've to face the fact that Pattabhi Jois and Krishnamacharya probably invented the Ashtanga series and that it still works for me. This gives me a new perspective for other yoga styles, because now I realize that invented doesn't automatically means "doesn't work". Does this make sense?
    Anyway, thanks for your answer, it is really appriciated and somehow helped me to realize that I need to be more open about yoga that is not Ashtanga and that I need to deepen my relationship to the practice if I want to continue it.
    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very interesting post and comments, thanks. To add to it, the idea that there was this set sequence cannot be true, as we know Pattabhi Jois changed the sequence over time - adding headstand, backbend etc. (as noted in Grimmly's earlier posts relating to "Yoga as it was". As noted above, Krishnamachyra had grouped certain asana's together according to difficulty; that didn't mean they were to be done in that specific sequence, but it makes sense to do certain asanas before others. But even in Ramaswami's book (Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga) there is a certain sequence to asana - standing, on one leg, sitting asymmetrical, symmetrical, finish with inversions and lotus. The ashtanga sequence also has an energy profile - e.g. in primary there is a rise in heat-producing asana up to garba pindasana then a bit of a cool down. It must also be easier to teach a set sequence (and package it off if you want to be cynical).

    About the surya namaskara's and jump throughs - maybe PJ was teaching these as these are part of the reason why Western students were interested in learning from him; It is also useful to have such warm-ups and warmth-maintainers if you are practicing in a cold country, so maybe he was thinking of that too.

    Not sure about the pranayama - PJ seemed to be very reluctant to teach it, while K seemingly taught it freely from the beginning. Again - maybe PJ was concerned about Western students practicing pranayama in their cities with all the pollution etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgfy8_g1PWI

    indhu student srivasta ramasmi (videos srivasta )practioner ashtanga yoga cross training

    in my opinion the 3 series especific krishnamsharya in yogasangulu is for 3 koshas

    1 yogasangulu serie primaria sharirasa kosha purification is bairangha sadhadna yama nyimia asanas pranayama health body and mind sidhis cross body ( terapy chikitasa krama sadhana and fitness siksana krama sadhana )

    2 yogasanagulu serie second sharirasa nadi purification
    antarangha sadhana yama nymia asanas pranayama mudra dharana dhyana healt body and mind and (end this hatha yoga )vajrakaya diamand body purification health longyvity (sakti krama sadhana)sidhis power

    3 serie sharirasa shushukma
    paratmanga sadhana is only unification whit the primordial self whit identication and the individual is only eternal peace end this yoga darshan (adhyatmika krama)

    ag mohan ".health .longyviti, peace "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this comment. I know Ashtanga talks about the different series having a different purpose, nerve cleansing etc I hadn't thought to look at the Yogasangalu groupings in this way, interesting....

      Delete
  9. Thanks for posting this article. I have been studying this translation of the Samkhya Karika since studying with Ramaswami last year--also at which time I had the pleasure of meeting and studying with Yuri. I think it is a very good edition, if anyone is interested: http://www.easterntradition.org/samkhya%20karika.html

    It is a work that requires concentration and prolonged effort to understand, imo. As Ramaswami says above, it is best when read with the Yoga Sutras, Gita, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Many thanks for the links Anon especially the Samkhy-karika commentary, have downloaded it. And for the video link. i thought the shala looked familiar, this is the same guy practicing and the same place as in Ramaswami shot his Vinyasa Krama videos earlier this year
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JebfDyw0JV8

    ReplyDelete
  11. Srivatsa Ramaswami says in this interview: "I think later on, towards the end of his life, he wrote a commentary for first chapter of Yoga Sutras. He wrote it in Kannada, translated to Tamil, and then published. Unfortunately, I don't know why it was not translated in English. I don't know if he wrote the commentaries on the other three chapters."

    On the other hand, A. G. Mohan in "Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings" indicates: "The Yogavalli is Krishnamacharya’s Sanskrit commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It was dictated over four years, when Krishnamacharya was in his late nineties, in classes held once or twice every week. Around four of us attended the classes on the Yogavalli… After classes on the Yogavalli were finished, one of the students who attended the classes (the one with the neatest Sanskrit handwriting!) patiently compiled the notes into a single manuscript. Chapter 1 was translated into Tamil by Professor Varadachari, a Sanskrit scholar, and published in 1988, at the time of Krishnamacharya’s centenary celebration. The other three chapters have not been published."

    How is that Ramaswami wasn't aware that Krishnamacharaya was dictating Yogavalli for all 4 chapters in Sanskrit for over four years?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Srivatsa Ramaswami25 November 2012 at 01:31

    After the interview I remembered that it was in Sanskrit but failed to correct it. Sorry. Further a lot of things were going on at that time. I was going for my own individual study and on behalf of the Mandiram-- with which I had no connection at that time-- a number of projects were undertaken including th Yoga Sutra translation. I was aware of only the I chapter. In fact when the tamil translation came out I was with Desikachar when there was a mention about getting it translated into English. When someone suggested that I could do the translation, Desikachar vetoed it saying that since I had already written a booklet on YS, he would not want me to do it to maintain the purity of Krishnamacharya's work. Even though I was his regular student for a long time I could not be privy to everything that Krishnamacharya and his son were doing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you Ramaswami for popping by and clarifying that point. I get the feeling that there were/are a lot of Krishnamacharya's papers sitting around unorganised. There was mention of the old, half finished translation of yoga makaranda that Desikachar had to hunt out and then this week the text that Mohan is calling the second part of Yoga makaranda from the 60's sitting around until sometime in the 70's when Mohan and Desikachar supposedly went through it together making notes one afternoon. I do wonder how many treasures are hidden away and if they will ever become published.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Actually in the 1970s Desikachar gave me an old file and asked me to copy the text for my use as I was writing articles as Trustee of Mandiram. I copied some in my notebook just as TK's NOTES which I still have. I find a lot of it is found in the manuscript :Salutations..."

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wonder Ramaswami if you watched AG Mohan's video presentation of his release,, of what he's referring to as, Yoga makaranda (part 2), there's a picture of a file there and I wonder if it looks like the one you copied from. If so did you take not of any dates suggesting when the material was written or if there was any suggestion to you that Krishnamacharya had originally intended it as a completion of Yoga makaranda....don't want to put you on the spot but I don't think Mohan is necessarily saying it IS Yoga Makaranda (part II) but rather that it COULD be seen as such, as a completion of the proposed project with it's focus on headstands and pranayama although there seems to be later material included.

    One thing I did want to ask you. in the Salutations(p37)/YM2 (p19) document Krishnamachrya practices maha mudra in a curios way. He opens the straight leg to the side 30 degrees resulting in a slight twist to the posture. I wonder if K. ever taught you that variation as well as the regular straighter version you present in your book.

    Hope your enjoying the cricket....well not today perhaps : )

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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