Thursday, 30 August 2012

The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore

The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore

"In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day".
 from Ashtanga Yoga as it was (The long and the short of it )  Nancy Gilgoff





many thanks to Anon for passing it along and especially to Nancy for giving permission to post it this morning and share with the community at large.

Available as pfd download from googledocs
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B7JXC_g3qGlWRzZWOUltVnh3RFU

See my earlier blog post on Nancy's article
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-yoga-as-it-was-nancy-gilgoff.html

also here
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-breath-in-73.html

and here
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dear-nancy-head-updown-jalandhara.html

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Workshop/intensive...how does that work?

Is there a difference between a workshop and an intensive?

Same thing, no?

Or is it something like a ....concept album, everything related, themed?


So, Richard Freeman's workshop/intensive coming up Thursday, there may still be places, the yogacampus website does say the course is still available.

here's the course outline
http://www.yogacampus.com/attend/yoga-intensives/postures-on-a-thread-and-the-middle-path-of-love/

That's the day after tomorrow, mysore rug in the washing machine, spinning as I type.

I have no idea how these things work,workshops not washing machines.

Actually washing machines too...why are there all those different numbers and settings, you just chuck it on 40 and hit start, then spin again when it stops...why cant there just be two buttons.

I came across an article on Elephantjournal where somebody mention me and this blog and that I'd been on loads of workshops, nope, this is the first one.

Ramaswami's TT was I suppose an extra long (five week) workshop but then I was living on campus.

So how does it work?

Are there showers? There doesn't seem to be, do you walk around all hot and sweaty until the second portion (talks on the Gita).


The workshop has two parts and you can book either or both separately

'We are delighted that, for his 2012 visit, Richard Freeman will be exploring not just the multiple subtleties of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system, also looking at the Bhagavad Gita, a core yoga text with, , as relevant today as they were 2000 or so years ago.

For the first time, it will be possible to book just the morning practice sessions (£ 265 ), just the afternoon philosophy and discussion sessions (£250) or both together ( £475 ).

Actually I'm missing the afternoon sessions on the Gita, want to head home and do a practice and try and reenforce and internalise the morning session. Besides I have his Yoga matrix, studio talks ( just bought his gazing, prana and banhdas CD's , Excellent) and Pranayama course to digest....besides, Krishna annoys the hell out of me (which is probably why I should take the course). but then of course richard being Richard the Gita is a launch pad for going off all over the place.

Here's the outline of the afternoon session...still tempted, really tempted

"The afternoon sessions The Bhagavad Gita, the Middle Path of Love will use lecture and discussion to explore:

Day 1. Context and Crisis.
The crisis of a unified value code, the crisis of death, the crisis of knowledge, the crisis of relationship and the crisis of love.

Day 2. Waking up in the middle of a paradoxical pot.
The story within the story of the extended, infinite Mahabharata, the revitalisation of the dharma, and the dilemma of Arjuna. What is the effect of the layers of narration, the frames in frames? What is between the armies? Compassion?

Day 3. Nirodha is not what you think.
It is not negative. The field of citta accounts for content, structure and belief of and about experience, including sacred forms.

Day 4. The atman in the atman.
The various philosophies of Sankhya, Karma, Yajna, Jnana and Yoga form the Russian nesting doll quality of themes in the Gita, as atman is within atman within atman. The vision of “Seeing Me within all beings and all beings within Me” is a pattern that runs all the way into the two mirror metaphor of lover and beloved being each others’ heart.

Day 5. The Gita as a universal text like the Yoga Sutra.
The plurality of paths is essential, unavoidable and is at the heart of the insight of the Gita. Even the worship of various gods is all part of a meandering path to Krishna, also various philosophies and concepts of Krishna are a meandering transformation to Krishna. Does the Gita make any explicit reference to self-reference paradox? A new interpretation of the Gita is always needed. We never stand on the same ground in the same circumstances. There is no final interpretation, but what interpretation there is must be new, less dogmatic, more open."

See also my earlier posts on, The Gita as it wa.s
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/original-gita-no-surrender.html
and
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/phulgenda-sinhas-gita-as-it-was.html

.....but back to workshops, how do they.......work?

Is there anywhere to get changed or do you just head home in your sweaty clothes...does everyone turn up in their brand spankin' new Lululemon  or fifteen year old Adidas.

Where do you put your stuff?

This morning I thought I should prepare, get used to practicing on a regular size mat. I struggled with that, I'm so used to my extra long manduka, kept jumping off the end of the mat.

If anyone's reading this going to the same workshop....you really don't want to be directly behind me....or beside me,  can't get the hang of bringing the arms up to the fount.

Is it considered bad form to turn up to a workshop with an extra long mat and/or extra wide rug...I thought so.

Few weeks ago I thought I'd better get with the program and switch back to regulation, by the numbers,  Ashtanga. So hard not to tweak it, slow it down and chuck in some extra vinyasas, long stays or kumbhaka's, I tried, I really tried.

I've also been practicing with Richard's DVD and trying to get the hang of his approach to breathing, the whole pressing the prana down into the apana, drawing apana up into prana...then the heart and pelvic floor awareness, dropping the pubic bone on to the coccyx, relaxing the palate, stilling the tongue, opening the ears, relaxing the palate, kidney hoods and patanjali wings (?), did I mention relaxing the palate.... found this morning I can hardly stand up straight in tadasana with all that going on let along know my down dog from my up, it's gonna be messy.

Lots going on with Richard, love it.

And thus the workshop, to try and make sense of all this and internalise it better.

One workshop got me thinking, what other workshops might I like, also something to do with this post from micqui

Where would be on your list for the perfect ashtanga yoga world tour...?

I realised I'm not interested in mysore style sessions, I'm a home ashtangi, not used to adjustments, used to working things out on my own.

Although an alignment intensive might be a good idea.

And I'm tempted by Mark Darby's workshops, focusing on fundamentals.

I'm interested in David Williams and Danny Paradise's workshops, Nancy's too of course. not just because I'm fascinated in how it was back in the day, though that too,  but more importantly how they have managed their practice over so many years, that relationship with your practice over time fascinates me.

David and Kino seem to focus on the mechanics of practice a lot, would have liked that a year or two ago but I'm less interested in that side of things these days. David's longer workshops are very tempting though.

Manju of course and for so many reasons. For me he's that link to the time before the western students came to Mysore in the 70's. The Mysore shala might have got bigger but Manju continued to work small rooms in the US, decades of workshops.

And of course looking outside of Ashtanga to workshops in other traditions, also an option.....

Unlikely to be blogging through the workshop but will no doubt do a post at the end on some of the things that blow my mind and rock the foundations of my practice.

Update
Just been checking with the Journey planner, Paralympics is messing with the trains, Paddington's a hotspot, Kings Cross also. Had hoped to do my practice early then head on in to London for the course. So Plan B. go in really early, miss the commuters and practice in Regents park, short practice and some pranayama before heading over, If the weather's nice it's a walk in (read across) the park.


Venue : Cecil Sharp House



Monday, 27 August 2012

Georg Feuerstein


Brenda Feuerstein · 891 subscribers
5 hours ago · 
  • It is with great sadness that I announce that my husband and spiritual partner, Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., left his body on August 25, 2012 at 9:10 PM.

    At this time, I would like to request prayers from the worldwide community for Georg's transition through the afterlife states and for a swift rebirth.

    In lieu of flowers and gifts, Georg had requested a scholarship fund be set up to enable incarcerated people the opportunity to participate in our distance learning courses. More information about the fund will be available this week.

    If you would like to contact me directly, please do so at bfeuerstein@gmail.com AND cc georg.a.feuerstein@gmail.com







Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D. became interested in Yoga in his early teens and has increasingly studied Yoga philosophy and history since then. He did his postgraduate studies in England and has authored over 50 books—not all on Yoga and including a couple of poetic titles. His major works are The Encyclopedia of Yoga and Tantra (Shambhala 2011), The Yoga Tradition (Hohm Press 2008), Yoga Morality (Hohm Press, 2007), The Deeper Dimension of Yoga (Shambhala) and The Bhagavad-Gītā: A New Translation(Shambhala 2011).

Georg created and at present is a tutor of several distance learning courses, which are made available through TYS, his wife’s Canadian educational company. He officially went into semiretirement in 2004. But in 2011, he agreed to make himself available in a TYS mentorship program to encourage those who are seriously interested in digging deeper into Yoga philosophy. In 2012, Georg nominated his wife, Brenda, as the tutor for all TYS courses and assistant for the mentorship program.
Books by Georg
  • For additional books authored by Georg Feuerstein, please click here.

    theory into practice 


    from Ascent 
    georg feuerstein

    Introduction:
    Georg Feuerstein is passionate about the yoga tradition, which he calls “…a spiritual wealth too valuable to discard.” Building a bridge to that spiritual wealth is what his life’s work is all about. In 1997, he and his wife, Tricia Feuerstein, founded the Yoga Research and Education Center (YREC), which has just moved to a large acreage north of Santa Rosa, California. He’s also written many books on the subject, including a new one: The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice, published by Shambhala. Reading it, one cannot help but be amazed by the awesome spectrum of yoga philosophy and practices available to us. But even so, the questions remain: Are these ancient traditions of yoga relevant to us today? And if they are, how do we find the real thing?

    A researcher who loves his subject, Georg is often dismayed by what passes for yoga in the marketplace, and he cites the example of the Tantra tradition, which has been identified in the West as the yoga of sex. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he says. “From the outset, Tantra understood itself as a ‘new-age’ teaching intended for the kali-yuga, the dark age of moral and spiritual decline.” He goes on to say that “…Tantra offered new rituals, and gave philosophical ideas a new look and feel.” He’s describing a revolution in spiritual teaching that reached its peak a thousand years ago, but he could just as easily be describing what is happening in yoga today.

    It is estimated that over 30 million people in the West regularly practise yoga as part of their daily routine. Inevitably, we are redefining yoga in our own terms, though the resulting practices sometimes seem far removed from their original intent. So where do the traditional teachings of yoga come in? Is tradition standing in the way of a “new” spiritual revolution? I put these questions to Georg in a recent conversation, and I came away from our talk inspired and hopeful about the future of yoga. –SWG


    Interview:
    Swami Gopalananda   In the preface of your new book, you describe yourself as one who has for over thirty years been a champion of traditional yoga. What do you mean by traditional yoga?

    Georg Feuerstein   Authentic yoga, as it has been taught in India. A spiritual tradition rather than what we have here in the West, which is a watered-down version of what people consider yoga.

    SWG    How was yoga traditionally taught?

    GF    Well, being an esoteric tradition, yoga has always been transmitted by word of mouth and through initiation by a qualified teacher. I don’t want to denigrate Western efforts, spiritual efforts in the field of yoga – but in the West we have many so-called lineages that are secondary. In other words, some fifty years ago somebody read a book on yoga or went to a lecture by a yogi, started their own yoga practice, and then started initiating or communicating yoga to others. To me, that’s not really authentic. I think very few Westerners are qualified to communicate yoga, first because they did not receive it from a qualified, authentic teacher. Second, because in this part of the world we by and large ignore the great merit of studying the thing that we teach. So, we make it up as we go along. But study has always been a central part of the yogic tradition.

    SWG    How do we build a bridge from the traditional roots of yoga to what is happening today, where millions of people are practising yoga, and yoga studios are popping up everywhere? 

    GF    This is exactly what I have been trying to do by introducing these deeper aspects of yoga through the medium of study. By studying, people at least know what yoga is and hopefully get intrigued enough to go out and look for teachers who can convey authentic yoga to them.

    There is an external side to yoga and an internal side. The internal side is what’s largely missing. So we have a lot of technique, especially in Hatha Yoga. But we don’t have very much internal communication, which is the essence of yoga, which is given in the process of transmission from teacher to disciple. So we consider ourselves students of yoga, very much in the Western model of a student and not necessarily as a disciple, a disciple who takes on the discipline given by the teacher.

    SWG    When you refer to the internal yoga as the “essence of yoga,” can you tell me what it is you’re describing?

    GF    Let’s take asana practice, for example. A teacher can show you how to do savasana. In other words, lie on your back and relax. But the inner experience is what makes it a yogic practice. Very few people, and I have observed many students, know what this inner process is unless they have had instruction by a qualified teacher. And the great mystery of yoga, of course, is this transmission. It’s always amazing to me how a person who hasn’t had that kind of exposure to the inner side, the transmission side of yoga, can actually go out there and teach meditation, for example. It doesn’t work. And so we find after years and years that people finally admit, well, it’s not working for them. They’re sitting there and watching themselves think, and they’re bored, and they give up.

    SWG    You said earlier that our Western idea of study is very different from the study you are talking about here.

    GF    Right. In yoga, it is called svadhyaya, which means literally “one’s own (sva) going into (adhyaya).” So it’s “one’s own going into something,” or we can have a second interpretation, which is “one’s going into oneself.” And study in the yogic sense involves both. It is studying a subject in a meditative way where we kind of wrap ourselves around it. And at the same time we are aware of our own process, the study of ourselves, which is missing in the Western education system.

    SWG    You are saying that we have a situation where there are very few qualified or authentic teachers, which leaves us wondering, How do we find what you’re talking about? What is the way?

    GF    Well, in my case I went to a teacher.

    SWG    How did you know the teacher was authentic?

    GF    That’s the great mystery. I think it’s a matter of how desperate you are for Light. And you go for that; you look for it. When I was in my late teens I found a teacher. He was Indian and had his school in Germany at the time. I saw his picture in a health food store, and I knew this was the teacher I would be studying with.

    From then on, it was always a play between receiving teachings from qualified teachers, and then internalizing all of that, processing it and integrating it through my continued practice and study of the texts. In studying these texts, you encounter a wisdom, a quality of mind and heart, that can strike you and make a difference in your own feeling and thinking. For myself, there isn’t a day when I don’t pick up some text and be inspired by it. It’s always a signal for the mind. Once the ground has been prepared, it doesn’t take very much to go back on track if we stray from our understanding of the process and the awareness that it cultivates.

    SWG    And preparation of the ground means what?

    GF    Preparation of the ground means that we are always ready to examine ourselves, and to remember whatever teachings we have been given by a teacher. Now many people, of course, don’t have access to a teacher. Often I’m asked, you know, How can I find my guru? And I always have to laugh because my experience has been the guru really finds you. And that you simply prepare, prepare, prepare for that eventuality. And even if it never happens, the effort you have made, as the Bhagavad Gita reminds us, is never wasted. Whatever effort we make to grow inwardly, whatever effort we make to increase our understanding and cultivate the virtues that yoga tells us are desirable virtues – such as non-harming, non-stealing and truthfulness – whatever effort we make to cultivate those, all of it will sit within us and it’s the only thing we are going to take when we leave this Earth.

    The teaching is the primary vehicle by which we learn. Even if we go to a teacher, we need to have our focus on that. If we are fortunate enough to have a teacher who strikes us so deeply at the level of the heart and beyond that we can make this required gesture, in the traditional sense of yoga, of self-surrender, then we must do that. And the benefits of surrender have been demonstrated throughout the ages in the yoga tradition. People wake up.

    SWG    What does it mean to “wake up”?

    GF    Waking up simply means that we get in touch with who we are beyond the body-mind, and that this great wisdom that the teachers manifest is going to manifest in us as well. My process has always been a very gradual one. There’s so much we can do and learn prior to all these elevated states of mind and transmission and what-not. Really, it is up to us to realize that we are in a fix. In traditional terms, we are suffering. So how can we get out of the suffering? We have to do something about it, and that’s where the traditions come in, where the teachings of sages can tell us something.

    SWG    There are many great myths associated with the ancient tradition of yoga. What relevance do they have to us in the West today?

    GF    There are some people who respond to symbols and metaphors and images more than others, and then there are those who have an obstacle perhaps to Eastern or, specifically, to Indian symbolism. My own sense is that unless we are sensitive to symbols it is very difficult for us to relate to any spiritual teaching. Part of our psyche has to be activated. It’s the softer side of our mind. It’s like we have to become artists in the process of our inner growth. In fact, as we grow, that side of the mind becomes more prominent. We see things differently. We enjoy the fact that there are images and symbols that trigger in us this deep process of transformation.

    SWG    You’re talking here about a part of the mind that is not so rooted in the reasoning or intellect, but in the intuitions and feelings.

    GF    Yes, the creative part of the mind. The imagination. We all access that part of the mind, of course, in our dreams, but the fact that we don’t value our dreams and those images is an expression of our disinterest in that aspect of the mind altogether. So in yoga, the interest is activated. Part of the yogic process is that we become sensitized to our hidden nature, or the subtle body or subtle realms. We touch them in our dreams, but we must also touch them in our waking state.

    SWG    There’s a kind of irony in this. It seems you’re describing a side of mind that is more feminine or receptive in nature. But in the tradition of yoga, and it seems to be happening in the West, too, the “name” teachers, so to speak, are usually male and the tradition is largely defined by men. Where is the feminine side in the Teachings and why is that not coming forward in the teachers who are defining yoga in the West today?

    GF    Well, the way I would look at this is that the yoga tradition has survived largely through its literature. That literature was authored by men. But that gives us only one side of the picture of the history of yoga. My belief is, and I have no proof of it, but my belief is that yoga was taught just as much by women. In fact, we have an inkling of that in the Tantric tradition, that the early teachers were women, not men. And the only difference is that men have always wanted to rationalize everything, and so they were the ones who wrote the books. Women tended to do their teaching in a quiet, hidden way, and it’s only some of them who wrote or whose teachings were written down by students that we know of. In Tantra more than any other tradition, the feminine side is given great attention through the concept of Shakti, goddess power.

    You talked of irony. To me, the irony today is that we have so many male teachers, but the body of students is about 75 percent women. So my hope for the future of yoga rests with them! I think as more women become involved in the transmission of yogic teachings, we will see a different quality, and it will be the kind of quality that is very much integral to authentic yoga. You know, where do we get this interest in virtues? It’s the feminine principle of the psyche. Men, I think because of their biological constitution and the kind of social experience they’ve had in recent history, tend to emphasize other values, such as competition. And that is a quality that is not found in traditional yoga. So we are at a difficult time. On the one hand, we have received all these teachings, and on the other perhaps we are not quite ready to practise them as they should be practised.

    SWG    When you look at the mythology of yoga, can you see the seeds of the way yoga should be practised in the future?

    GF    Yes. Tantra, to me, especially in its formulation of Kashmiri Shaivism and Mantrayana Buddhism, is a practice, a yogic tradition that has a lot to teach us. Tantra is the most sophisticated formulation of yoga, and I think it teaches us that integration must happen at all levels. Tantra was based on a complete re-evaluation of embodiment – the human body – and even the social system. Many of the Tantric teachers completely supported the notion that the female gender has the same, equivalent value to the male embodiment. And, in fact, many of them even placed it higher, because it is a transformative embodiment. And, if we allow the images of Tantra to impact on us, they can communicate something very profound about the spiritual dimension.

    SWG    Can you give me an example of what you mean?

    GF    One of the things that many students have a hard time with are the fierce deities, as in Buddhism – the protective deities like Mahakala, surrounded by a ring of flames and looking really fierce. Now if your reaction is so strong that you don’t inquire into the meaning of this image, you have lost out. If you made enough room in your mind to accommodate something unusual, something different, then you can learn from it. So an image like that when we are open to it can really teach us about the fierceness of life, the “bloody tooth” of nature. Often we don’t want to know about that, and so our society ignores or wants to shove aside death, sickness, all these things. But they are with us, they are part of life, whether it looks bad or it looks good, it doesn’t matter.

    SWG    You’re saying that when we look at an image like Mahakala, we’re really looking at a reflection of our own mind?

    GF    Absolutely. For me, all yogic myths are about our own mind. You know, the yogis had no interest in just telling stories. They told stories because people in those days worked more with the imaginary, intuitive part of the mind, and what they wanted was to leave a deep impression on their listeners in terms of the unconscious imagery. And all of them, when you look at these stories, all of them are about transformation of a bad situation into a good one. They all start out with a mind that is confused, that is suffering, and the yogic teachings in various ways have to hit us very hard to motivate us to overcome our restrictions, our limitations. So, for example, an image like Durga killing demons is really us, our Higher Mind, say that courageous part in us, confronting these limitations. One limitation may be that we dislike authority as a matter of principle. So the limitation implies that we won’t listen. If we can find images to which we can relate, then we might see the joke. We might see that we are actually excluding ourselves from a whole wonderful stream of life.

    SWG    We come now to the essence of all yogic teachings, which is accepting and integrating all parts of ourselves. How do people confront those reflections of themselves and accept that, yes, that is part of me too?

    GF    People need to understand the job that is confronting them in yoga. It is to be present as Consciousness. Consciousness itself has no fear. It also has no one-sided attraction to anything. It simply is. When we remember that part of our nature, and do so as often as we can and perhaps one day continuously, life is joyful even when the bad presents itself. In part, we understand life as a play, which in Sanskrit is called the lila of the Divine, the sport of the Divine. And we find that what we overcome as our fears can become available as energy to do something constructive. Say you fall ill. Now instead of worrying about it and fearing all kinds of consequences – the imagination takes over and it is a negative, constricting type of response that suppresses our natural joy and energy – instead of going into that, we laugh and in the open space see the real humour of our activity. Immediately, there is energy for the healing process. We can be constructive. Or we have a relationship that is difficult, say a person who is always bothering us in some way. Instead of fixating on the bother, we see that this person is a signal to us to overcome some negative emotional pattern. And in that way, we start realizing that this person is our greatest teacher. The Buddhists say your greatest enemy is your most wonderful teacher. Why? Because if we can see that, we liberate our own energy for the process of living.

    SWG    Do you have a personal experience of liberation or dynamic transformation?

    GF    After my first teacher, there were many years that I went out on my own, and tried to do this thing of self-transformation. I had also, for many years, been shepherded in my spiritual process by a Sufi master, Irina Tweedie, even though I had no real interest in Sufism. But she was very kind and took care of me. I was with her for fifteen years and would quite often go to her little apartment in London and just sit and chat. She was a truly great Sufi master. One day I went to her and said, “I have to ask you a rather silly question. We have been together so long. Are you my teacher?” And she literally fell over on her bed laughing. I said, “What is going on?!” She composed herself, and said to me, “Georg, you would never accept a woman as a teacher!” I remember being very upset with her! I said, “How can you say that?” But she insisted. Then, after a little bit, she added, “Your teacher is just around the corner. Don’t worry.”

     And then, very shortly after that, everything unfolded rapidly, and indeed I ended up with a teacher. I habitually distrusted authority, and he was a very radical figure, whose teachings to me were very profound and challenged me in my self-woven nest of security. And I thought to myself, if I ever really want to get out of the corner that I have painted myself into, I need to make a gesture here. And it took a lot to do that because he was an overwhelming kind of authority. When I first saw him, I thought, Oh my God, What have I done? But something in me knew that I needed to go through that lesson and find the middle way between being receptive and not being slavishly clinging to authority, which doesn’t work.

    You see, yoga has universal principles involved. But it is for every person a unique process. We must encounter these universal principles of yoga and make them our own, and we can do that only through our own personality, our own system of symbols, and so on. So whatever we encounter in yoga must be translated into our own terms or it won’t work.

    SWG    So when you encountered this teacher in a male form, it could be said that this teacher was Durga in action.

    GF    Yes…oh yes! He was completely Durga. Being with him was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. And yet it was the one thing that benefited me the most. But still I had to learn to walk my walk. The teachings I received and the direct demands made on me to change, really I’m – even after all these years – I’m more grateful now for how he taught me, how he served me.

    SWG    It wouldn’t be accurate to say that you’re a traditionalist for tradition’s sake, but more that you feel tradition has a place in our lives today.

    GF    Exactly. I’m a rebel by nature. As I said, I have a hard time with authority, a very hard time. But I can see the benefit of the wisdom of these masters. You know, their whole lives were dedicated to self-transformation, so what they came up with is worth listening to. And that is all I would hope people will do: take the time to listen. But, you know, if we don’t have that capacity, we reject such a heritage of wisdom, 5000 years and more, perhaps. Why would we throw that away? Wisdom is not something you can discard. And we have so little wisdom today. Our society does not hand down wisdom; it hands down chaos. Our education system is not designed to liberate us; it’s not designed to put us in touch with our inner happiness. On the contrary, there is no wisdom in it. That is why we need to listen to the traditional teachings.

    SWG   Do you think we’re in the throes of creating a new yogic tradition in the West, which at the moment is a little tumultuous and confusing?

    GF    I think that is the best-case scenario, and I like to think of it that way. Jung, very perceptive man that he was, said that as the West is conquering the East through its technology, the East is conquering the West through its spiritual teachings. This is a remarkable perception, and I think it is a correct one. People sometimes ask me if I think it’s possible that the yoga movement could die out in the West, but after a hundred years it seems unlikely. Increasingly, there is this wonderful flow between cultures and traditions. We are becoming one world, and the yogic heritage, the spiritual heritage will not only be part of it, but will play a very important role. There will be an emphasis on integration rather than specialization. And I believe also that future yoga will be a yoga that will be socially and politically engaged because that’s part of our existence. We cannot deny that, and if we do, it will be equivalent to denying that we have a body.

    SWG    What I hear you saying is that in the yoga of today as it emerges into the West, we have the seeds for a radical transformation of how we live our lives together.

    GF    This is exactly my argument. How that will play out remains to be seen. In what I call the verticalist schools of yoga, the schools that are into world-negation and fleeing into the forest and so on, the world is played down along with the body, along with social action. This is no longer viable. It was never viable. I think that there are very rare individuals who can and should complete their inner process, their yogic process, away from everyone and everything. But they are very rare. It’s like one in a billion, maybe! All of us are essentially householder yogins and yoginis, and we have to acknowledge that. We are involved in the world and we have not purified our karmic baggage to the point where we could happily, meaningfully, withdraw from everything. The work we need to do is not an inner separation from anyone and anything, but simply a physical separation – the space to do the work that needs to be done spiritually. Our job will be much more how to integrate all the different aspects and levels of our being, how to live in the world in a spiritual way. In yogic terms, we must learn more and more to be in touch with and to become who we are as Consciousness, and yet not forsake the other dimension of existence, which is in fact embodiment.    




    Swami Gopalananda is a long-term disciple of the late Swami Sivananda Radha. He was initiated into Sanyas in 1991, and is today one of the managing directors of Yasodhara Ashram, in British Columbia. Swami Gopalananda has been immersed in the tradition of Kundalini Yoga for over 20 years. He is the author of Can You Listen to a Woman, a memoir of his experiences with Swami Radha.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

BNS Iyengar ( the other Iyengar, the Ashtanga one) Ashtanga in Mysore?

Is it something to do with the time of year that makes ones mind turn to India, to Mysore (or Chennai). Perhaps it's practicing regular (pretty much) Ashtanga in the morning again (although still Vinyasa Krama in the evening) that's making it ever more tempting.

AYRI may not be my thing (too busy now for my liking, sorry) but I've have started to think about seeking to study with BNS Iyengar (the other Iyengar, the Ashtanga one - Biography below).

http://www.joelondonyoga.com/Joelondon/BNS_IYENGAR.html
Gregor Maehle mentions that he studied pranayama with him for some time, and at the bottom of this post are links to cheat sheets of his Asana series, very similar to structure of the Ashtanga series we're  familiar with.

He also teaches mudra.

But perhaps what's most tempting for me is seeing the pictures of his shala, the black & white pictures from a long time ago and the more recent picture, hardly seems to have changed a bit and reminds me of pictures of Pattabhi Jois' 'old shala'.




BNS Iyengar Biography from the official BNS Iyengar  website

Hemmige Agrahara is a small village situated on the banks of the Sacred River Cauvery, to the western side of Srirangapattana (first and former capital of the Wodiyar Kings) before the River turns eastwards. This stretch of the river is called ‘Paschima Vahini’ (western flow). Hemmige Agrahara is a holy place as it is considered an abode of, with magnificently beautiful temples dedicated to, Lord Varadaraja Swamy and his consort Poornadevi. Hemmige Agrahara is also a learned hamlet, as its residents there devote all their time and energy to preserving the long traditions of devotion, knowledge and above all, to the value of education.

It is in this holy place that Sri B.N.Sundaraja Iyengar was born, the second son of Sri L. Narasimha Iyengar and Smt Chokkamma, on the 19th of September 1927, on Kaarteeka Bahula Dwadashshi day of Pravhava Naama Samvatsara. (The twelfth day of ascendancy of the moon in Kartheeka, month of Prabhava Sumvatsara) His education began in the village of Balladere. Balladere Narasimha Sundaraja (BNS) Iyengar has brought fame to his Holy Birthplace by reaching the pinnacle of glory in Yoga.

An exponent of Yoga

When he was just entering his teens Sundaraja Iyengar happened to meet a Yoga expert of renown who recognised a growing talent in the young boy and took him under his tutelage. Here he drank the ocean of Yoga knowledge in twelve years of hard and rigorous practice and came to understand the wealth of Divine Education.

By the age of twenty five BNS Iyengar was a Master of Yoga. He also passed his Degree Examination in Science (B.Sc. 1951) at Mysore University.

Later he joined Maharaja’s Samskruta Patashala (Sanskrit School) in Mysore and studied Saanga Yoga Vidya (a chronological study of Yoga). This is not an achievement that can be easily attained, it needs years of commitment and dedication. Sundaraja Iyengar was fortunate to acquire the guidance of Vidwan T. Krishnamacharya and Yogasanavisharada.
Vidwan P. Jois. Under their watchful eyes and with devoted study he attained mastery in not only Yoga but also in Veda, Upanishad, Patanjali Yoga shastra and sutras. After completing his yoga studies he educated himself in the Bahgvad Gita and especially in Saanga Saahitya (formal education in Sanskrit literature). He has travelled across India and has been invited to seminars in Italy and UK to spread the knowledge of yoga.

On the 18th of April 1984, BNS Iyengar started a School of Yoga at the Parakala Mutt in Mysore. Sri Patanjala Yogashala was inaugurated by Vidwan Sri K Pattabhi Jois. In 1985 the head of the Mutt Sri Sri Swamy Ramunuja, conferred on him the title of Yogavisharada in the presence of Sri Srikantadatta Narasimaraja Wadiyar, scion of the erstwhile and ancient Royal Wadiyan Dynasty of Mysore .

The yoga shala was running under the grace and blessings of the swamyjis. Sundaraja Iyengar is well versed in yoga related ayurveda, astrology and musicology. He has also mastered vinyasa vidya (astanga yoga knowledge) and nyasa nidya (philosophical knowledge) which are considered the path to Moksha (Liberation).

Inspired by BNS Iyenga, his students have established yogashalas in many countries. He has been acclaimed for his knowledge and contributions in various books and articles, especially for his teachings in Yoga Philosophy

Disciples of Shree Patanjala Yogashala have competed and earned many trophies in intrastate, interstate & international competitions. Recently, Hemmige Sri Vaishnava Sabha has conferred upon BNS Iyengar the title of Yogaratnakara, Pearl of Yoga.

As we all know yoga is philosophy in practice, science in training and above all, a divine art in demonstration. Sundaraja Iyengar is an embodiment of all the virtues of yoga. A true Master in demonstrating the delicate balance and comfort, grace and poise and the charm and beauty of Divine Knowledge.

BNS Iyengar currently conducts Yoga Research and daily practice in Asana, Pranayama, Yogamudra and Philosophy at Kanchen Home.

See an Interview with BNS Iyengar, 3rd Video below
-------------------------






And an interview with BNS Iyengar that i was sent recently.



UPDATE: This is interesting BNS Iyengar mentions in the interview above that he studied with Krishnamachrya in 1954. The biographies I have of Krishnamacharya put him in Madras/Chennai at this time. The Mysore Yoga Shala closed in 1950 and Krishnamacharya was invited to Madras, he stayed in a rented room but was soon in enough demand for him to start renting a small flat in the same year. He began to teach more regularly it seems because two of his sons, Srinvasana and Sribhashyam moved to Madras to join him and assist in the teaching. In September 1952 Krishnamacharya was appointed lecturer at the Vivikananda college and in 1956 he moved into a larger apartment whereupon  his wife and the rest of his family joined him.

This suggests that Krishnamacharya was travelling back and forth between Madras and Mysore at the time BNS Iyengar mentions he was studying with him, even allowing for his memory putting him a year or two out.
How long/often did BNS Iyengar actually study with Krishnamacharya and were these in a one to one setting or in group classes, more interestingly what was the structure of the lessons, how close or how far from the Ashtanga Series that Pattabhi Jois was teaching and that BNS Iyengar went on to teach himself. Or where the studies Bns Iyengar had with krishnamacharya mainly theoretical, lectures on particular texts.
Has anyone attended any of BNS Iyengar's classes or workshops? I hear the one in May 2014 had a Q and A session at the end of each day, can anyone shine a light on any of the above questions?


BNS Iyengar Ashtanga series 1 and 2 cheat sheets.

http://www.ashtangayoga.info/fileadmin/downloads/cheatsheet/06-Ashtanga-Yoga-Series1-Iyengar.pdf

http://www.ashtangayoga.info/fileadmin/downloads/cheatsheet/07-Ashtanga-Yoga-Series2-Iyengar.pdf

another layout here

http://www.joelondonyoga.com/Joelondon/ASANA.html

And a link to a blog writing about the blogger's time studying with BNS Iyengar

http://leavingstressbehind.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/ashtanga-vinyasa-with-bns-iyengar-the-lost-asana/

Friday, 24 August 2012

Krishnamacharya in Colour also Richard Freeman and Pattabhi Jois, Jnana Mudra & utpluthi

I just watched the Krishnamacharya video that I tacked on the end of this mornings padmasana post.


This morning I'd assumed it was the regular B&W 1938 documentary but this is a different version. There seems to be some extra scenes and best of all part of it is in colour.






Really quite wonderful

The soundtrack is the Hanuman Chalisa by Bhagavan Das.



I checked the channel and it's uploaded by Robert Byrnes, that name is familiar, help me out.

He also has a better print and longer version of the scene where Pattabhi Jois guides Richard Freeman in the breath "...in Padmasana with Jnana Mudra in which he performs only ten full inhalations and ten full exhalations in the span of about three and a half minutes, followed by Utpluthih for ten shorter breaths".

This one is from mauiyoga.com part of the advanced series dvd I believe, 1989 and part of the Sewell archive,posted by Robert

Richard Freeman 5 day workshop London Aug-Sept 2012


from the YouTube video description
'Sri K. Pattabhi Jois leads Richard Freeman (and others) through third series and part of fourth series in Encinitas, California, 1989. Near the end of the finishing sequence, we find Richard in Padmasana with Jnana Mudra in which he performs only ten full inhalations and ten full exhalations in the span of about three and a half minutes, followed by Utpluthih for ten shorter breaths'

A reminder that I'm attending a five day workshop with Richard in London at the end of the month. I just checked the website and it seems like there are still places

See my earlier post for details

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Kino : Padmasana, getting into it then Jumping back from it...oh and jumping into it. Also complete VK Lotus sequence

...and now, after the last couple of posts, something a little lighter.

Kino posted a video on jumping back from full lotus this week,

but before that I thought I'd add her videos on getting into half (first video) and then full lotus (second video) safely.

Next up (the third video ) is her easy jumping back from lotus tutorial followed by her new jumping back fully from lotus (fourth video)

The fifth video is one of mine from a while back, I'd seen that old B&W Iyengar/Krishnamacharya documentary footage where Iyengar jumps into lotus and wanted to give it a try.

Also added, the full Vinyasa Krama lotus sequence and flipping the legs into lotus hands free.




    

And another one from Kino just posted, this time on getting into lotus while in headstand



Ok what else....

more pointless asana party tricks

Trying to get into lotus without hands...

...and getting the hang of it ( thanks to Chris and Wyatt for showing me how to do this)



...and while we're on the subject, here's the complete Vinyasa Krama lotus sequence.

or there's my Vinyasa Krama practice book which has the same stuff in it.
The book doesn't work so well on kindle itself but it's OK on the Kindle app for ipad (bigger screen and you can zoom in).

And Krishnamacharya himself demonstrating some padmasana vinyasas

Using the Breath in Asana also Pañca Maya/Kosha; working from the inside out

Good day for post today, couple of books and a 'graze box' arrived at work


The Serpent Power, is supposed THE book on the Chakra's, am approaching it with an open mind or at least ajar. Religiousness in Yoga is something I've been wanting to read for a long time. It's the result of a course offered by TKV Desikacahar ( Krishnamacharya's son) at Colgate University in 1976. The book is a transcription of the lectures and discussions. I'd heard it was excellent, more in a moment.


For those who dont know about the graze box, you basically choose form a couple of hundred options, saying which ones you love, like, hate or are willing to try. They'll then send you a box once or twice a week, you never really know what will be in it. First and fifth one tend to be free otherwise I think they are £3.49 each.

Back to Desikachar's book Religiousness in Yoga. So I opened the it at random this morning and the first page that caight my eye was the one below. Notice the question half way dawn the first page

Question: Could you explain the various ways of using the breath in asana movement?

This caught my eye because of something Ramaswami had written to me last week.

"Even as Sri TK uses the terms rechaka kumbhaka and pura kumbhaka in asanas these may be considered as facilitators of the movements and postures and effect enhancers rather than pranayamas. Usually the term pranayama is used when the regular seated breathing exercise is practised. But Sri TK used breath judiciously to facilitate and enhance effects of asanas and vinyasas". Srivatsa Ramaswami

I'd asked him about Krishnamacharya's use of Kumbhaka (breath retention ) options in his 1934 text Yoga Makaranda. This book of course was written while Krishnamacharya was teaching in Mysore and at the same time that Pattabhi Jois was one of his students ( See this post on my other blog for asana in Yoga makaranda where Krishnamacharya offers a Kumbhaka option).

Desikachar goes on to list the different options for approaching the breath in asana, 

1. Free breathing with inhalation and exhalation as long as possible, 

2. Making inhalation and exhalation the same length, 

3. Making exhalation twice as long as the inhalation, 

4. Holding the breath after the inhalation, 

5. Holding the breath after the exhalation, 

6. Holding the breath after both, 

7. Doing the pose on the held breath, 

8. Changing the way around we usually do the posture so on the exhalation perhaps rather than the inhalation or vica versa





To link this with something interesting I saw on fb this morning take a look at the dedication page on this a first edition of Desikachar's book

Joy Jones
3 oct 81
Paul Harvey Seminar


Paul Harvey is one of TKV Desikachar's long time students and knew Krishnamacharya in the last ten years of his life. Paul even made the pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, where Krishnamacharya is said to have studied with his teacher Yogeshwara Ramamohana Brahmachari.  

"At the age of twenty-eight, he (Krishnamacharya) trekked over 200 miles to Lake Manosarovar at the foot of Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas in Western Tibet, to learn Yoga from Ram Mohana Brahmacari. He stayed for over seven years returning on his teacher’s instructions to South India to teach

" ...in 1995 (Paul) with a group including Dr. Robert Svoboda to make a parikrama (sacred circumambulation) around Mount Kailash walking up to 18,600 feet and visit the lake Manasarovar at 15,000 feet. It was here that his teacher’s father and teacher T Krishnamacharya was said to have lived and studied Yoga for over 7 years, from 1911 through to 1918".  

Paul's website is the Center for Yoga studies which contains the excellent resource pages Dharma Downloads 


I liked this status update from Paul on fb this morning on the topic of Pañca Maya (for an explanation of pancha maya/kosha theory see Ramaswami's newsletter below the quote).

Oh and what's the difference between Pancha maya and Pancha kosha, supposedly there isn't one, 'maya' here suggests 'layer' or 'sheath', kosha means bag early upanishad sources used maya, Sankara in his commentaries on them used kosha but my understanding is that it refers to the same thing. Pancha means five, so five, sheaths, layers or bags. See HERE.

One way it maybe helpful to reflect on the relationship between……

One way it maybe helpful to reflect on the relationship between our lives and our practice is through the model of the Pañca Maya or the five aspects of the human being. In this instance through reflecting on the notion that influencing the subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya can impact more powerfully on the gross aspect, whereas influencing the gross aspects of the Pañca Maya may well impact less powerfully on the subtler aspects.
For example what happens at the level of the physical body may not impact that strongly on the increasingly subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya such as our energy processes, social conditionings, latent impressions and emotional drives. Whereas what happens at the subtler levels of being, such as the conscious and unconscious stimuli of our external surroundings and internal processes on the latent impressions and emotional drives, can impact very strongly on how our body functions and responds .
For example when looking at our practice and what we are ‘doing’ at the Annamaya or the gross physical aspect, though immediately satisfying to that aspect of our being, may not impact as powerfully on the increasingly subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya such as the Prāṇāmaya or energy processes, Manomaya or social conditionings, Vijñānamaya or latent impressions and Ānandamaya or emotional drives.
The consideration for me is the level or aspect of being we prioritise in the cultivation of a developmental depth to our practice, rather than an experiential breadth. Perhaps from this notion it might be prudent to choose to reflect more on how we might cultivate our practice with a increasing focus on how we can prioritise the subtler aspects of the Pañca Maya more directly through our practice. The potential here is that the impact of such priorities will both impact on the subtler potentials of being, as well as permeating through to the increasingly grosser aspects of our being.
The model of the Pañca Maya offers compass points to guide us in our journey from the gross to the subtle and both warning us of and enabling us to transcend the illusions that can be re-enforced through the temptational seeds that arise within the fruits of working with the Body or Annamaya.
I also feel that the lack of a clear goal as in a “View” is a thorn in the side of teachers and thus students and is patently obvious through the way so many casually and ignorantly mix up the words Āsana and Yoga when talking about practice. I feel this confusion underpins all sorts of body based attempts to reach some kind of thorn free physical bliss and interpret that as existential freedom.
However in order to realise these possibilities we may have to forgo some of the physical effects and ambitions that we have become used to and even expect. Such is the dilemma of choosing to work from the inside out rather than the more usual choice and even social expectation, amidst the popularised perception of Yoga being synonymous with Āsana, of the outside in.

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

Here's Srivatsa Ramaswami explaining the pancha Maya/kosha theory



Pancha Kosa Vidya

In my previous newsletter I wrote about the enormous scholarship of my
revered Guru Sri Krishnamacharya. He taught several traditional texts
including many upanishads

I had mentioned the general approach of the old works to guide the
student from the known to the unknown. One of the well known vidyas of
the upanishads, the pancha-kosa-vidya is popular with many yoga
students, teachers and spiritual seekers. The Yogasutras refer to the
known-- of seen person (drusya atma)-- to lead to the subtle unseen
'self' or Purusha. The pancha kosa vidya leads the inquirer from the
seen or known five-kosa-person to the indwelling Self or atman in a
step by step approach. It urges the sadhaka to contemplate on each of
the kosas in succession to ultimately arrive at the true self. This is
the main purpose of this vidya found in Tattiriya Upanishad.

In the Yoga Sutra the physical person seen is made up of basically the
three gunas, the five bhutas and the eleven indriyas and this body-
mind complex is used by most people for experiences, pleasant and
unpleasant, but a few use this person for 'roll back' or resolution to
the basic elements of prakriti which is identified as nirodha. While
most persons look outward to obtain experiences (bhoga) , the yogi
uses the body and life time to look and work inward (apavarga)to
obtain the state of Kaivalya.

The Taittiriya upanishad looks at the 'seen person' as one made up of
five kosas, and exhorts the spiritual seeker to transcend the 'five
kosa seen person' by deep step by step contemplation and understand
the nature of the atman. These five kosas are envisaged, each one of
them as made up of the five parts of a bird, and each one of the
kosas more subtle than the outer one. The five kosas start with the
one made of food or matter, the physical body. It is made of physical
matter consisting of five distinct portions as the head, the right
and left wings, the body of the front and the tail or the back. It
gets energy from anna or food/matter. This kosa should be kept pure
and yogasanas are said to help one achieve this goal. There is a vedic
prayer which helps one pray for the pure satvic quality of the
physical body made fully of anna(annamaya) or matter.

This physical body is identified by everybody, including a child, as
the person, the self. But the self by definition is the innermost,
subtlest principle in every human being. Is there anything more subtle
than the physical body? The upanishad begins to investigate.

And it finds out that there is an inner self to the physical body made
fully of life force called prana, in the same mold of the physical
body. This pranamaya permeates the whole physical body and is
visualized as the self of the physical body or annamaya kosa. It also
is visualized with five distinct parts, the head, the two wings, the
chest and then the tail. The Prana, the main life force is the head
of vyana and apana are the right and left wings, then udana is the
body or heart of this kosa and then samana is the tail or support of
this system. A regular pranayama workout will help maintain this kosa
in good stead.

There is an inner self, of the shape of the person, to this prana maya
kosa which itself is a sheath or a kosa called mano maya. It is
permeated with an aspect of the chitta called manas. Manas coordinates
all the senses and instruments of action. Interestingly the most
important sense for a vedic scholar is the sense of hearing. Hearing
the vedas from the teacher the vedic student learns by heart the
vedas. Also this vedic student has his mano maya kosa full of vedic
knowledge. The head of this mano maya is the yajur veda, the right
and the left wings are the rik and sama vedas. The body or the chest
is the vedic injunctions (adesa or the brahmana portion) and the tail
is the last veda, the atharva veda. It therefore actually refers to
our entire memory kosa. This kosa according to yogis can be kept in
good condition by pratyahara. The vaidics would say chanting of the
vedas keeps the manomaya kosa in good shape.

Is there anything subtler than this? Yes, says the Upanishad. Subtler
than the mano maya is the vigyana maya or the kosa of intellect. This
is the self of the previous kosa, of the human form but is visualized
with a head which is shraddha or faith(in the scriptures). Since the
vedic scholar is doing this self analysis and investigation, he uses
this kosa towards the spiritual end. So the right wing is
righteousness or straight forwardness(rtam) and the left wing is satya
or the ultimate spiritual Truth. Then the heart or the atma of this
sheath is yoga or the ability to remain concentrated or go into
samadhi. The whole kosa is supported by mahat or universal
intelligence. The upanishad sadhaka has to have this kosa in good
stead to clearly understand the nature of the self using this kosa
diligently. And dhyana or meditation is the means of keeping this kosa
unpolluted.

The soul of this kosa is another subtle kosa called ananda maya which
is translated roughly as the bliss kosa. Again this kosa is in the
human form but is visualized as a bird. The head of this kosa is
affection (priya), the right wing is glee (moda), the left wing is
ecstasy (pramoda) and the heart is bliss (ananda) and the support of
this is Brahman, the ultimate reality. The ultimate reality, the Atman/
Brahman which is defined (swarupa lakshana) as pure consciousness
unaffected by ether time or space (satyam, gnanam anantam brahma) and
whose realization is possible by the path shown (tatasta lakshana) by
the knowledge called the pancha maya (kosa) vidya is what is to be
known to end the evil of transmigratory existence.

The first step is to consider the human body, called the annamaya, as
part of the outside matter of the universe as it is that which is made
up of five elements, earth, water, etc., returns to the earth/universe
after death. During the lifetime, the annamaya body is sustained by
anna or food/matter, itself drawing the energy from it. The subtle
self of the human body which is the inner sheath known as pranamaya is
the one that keeps the body alive. The force that maintains it is
called prana sakti. It is said that udana, one of the five forces
keeps the balance between prana the inward life force and apana the
outward life force under balance. Once the udana loses that control at
the time of death, the apana with prana and other life forces leaves
the body. The other three sheaths , the manomaya, its inner core/
atman, the vigyana maya and the subtlest sheath the ananda maya are
controlled by the power of veil or ignorance called the avarana
sakthi. This is the power which prevents the individual from realizing
the true nature of one's core or atman which is pure consciousness and
beyond the five kosas. This power when it operates in the subtlest or
the ananda maya kosa is known as ichha sakti or the power of desire.
When it operates in the vignyana maya kosa it is known as gnana sakti
or power of discrimination and then when it operates in the mano maya
it is known as kriya sakti. The desire for the desirable object arsing
in the ananda maya leads the vignyana maya to contemplate the means
for fulfilling it and thereafter the manomaya directs the physical
body to do the necessary physical work to achieve the goal, which it
succeeds in sometimes and not some other times leading to the feeling
of happiness or unhappiness in the ananda maya self. Thus even though
the spiritual nature of the self is clearly discernible from the
pancha maya vidya of the Upanishads, it is obscured by the power of
the avarana sakthi or the power of spiritual ignorance which gets more
and more strengthened by the operation of this sakthi, life after
life. Hence the upanishad not only explains the nature of the real
self as opposed to the mistaken self (mithya atma) made up of five
kosas but also gives a step by step approach to strengthen the
spiritual knowledge leading to transcending the evil of endless
transmigratory existence.

Since the human body returns to earth and other elements the entire
universe including the human body is considered one virat one whole
universe of anna or matter of the five elements. The prana which is
the subtle self of the human body is considered the subtle self
therefore of the universe and then regressing further one arrives at
the individual soul or atman as the self. And since now it is also the
Self of the Universe it is called Brahman and the advaitins proclaims
the oneness (advaita) of the individual self (atman) and the supreme
self (brahman) as one and the same

Taittiriya Upanishad is one of the 10 major upanishads and is chanted
regularly especially (early on the 12th day after full moon and new
moon days, after a day of fasting, Ekadasi) in South India. I had made
a recording some 25 years ago of this Upanishad and I find it is
available in USA now at


This is a very brief introductory sketch and those who are
interested will find Upanishadic study very fascinating and
uplifting.Excellent commentaries by Adi Sankara and Ramanuja and a few
others are studied and pored over by spiritual seekers.

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

This post is a little long isn't it, got carried away, sorry.

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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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