"So much of the traditional knowledge we had, even what I have seen in my early days, is now gone, lost."
All quotes including the context of the quotes given below the photographs are from AG Mohan's excellent biography of Krishnamacharya (LINK TO AMAZON)
Krishnamacharya sometimes expressed sadness over the decline of ancient practices and authentic dedication to the deeper practices of yoga. "So much of the traditional knowledge we had, even what I have seen in my early days, is now gone, lost."
"Nowadays, the practice of yoga stops with just asanas."
In one class, when he was discussing the Yoga Sutras, Krishnamacharya noted that punaranveshana (literally, "re-search," or "to search once more") was needed now. He felt that the ancient practices that had declined over time needed to be explored once more and their value brought out.
"Subjects are of two categories,'' he said. "One category can be learned merely through words, by listening and understanding-these are theoretical subjects, like the rules and analysis of grammar. The other category needs to be practiced, like music, cooking, martial arts, and yoga as well. Nowadays, the practice of yoga stops with just asanas. Very few even attempt dharana and dhyana [deeper meditation] with seriousness. There is a need to search once more and reestablish the practice and value of yoga in modern times." p115-116
I remember that when I started studying the Bhagavad Cita with Krishnamacharya in 1976, I attended the first class wearing trousers because I had come directly from work. As was the norm, Krishnamacharya was wearing the traditional dress, the dhoti, in a particular traditional way. (A dhoti is a rectangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around the lower body and knotted at the waist.) He chided me, saying, "If one is to study the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita, one should bathe, wear the mark on the forehead, and begin with devotion. Nowadays, all of you are dressed like foreigners, speaking this and that in English, touching everybody and everything unnecessarily." He paused, and sighed. "Nowadays, I have stopped telling students all this. Okay. Let us begin."p51
"Nowadays you use something - an appliance - to blow air to clean phoos phoos. Like that, pranayama pushes out the impurities in the body and mind."
On New Year's Day 1976 I was attending a class on pranayama with Krishnamacharya. He was explaining this commentary on the Yoga Sutras by the famous sage Vyasa: "There is no greater austerity than pranayama to remove impurities." Around that time, vacuum cleaners were being introduced in India. Krishnamacharya had seen a vacuum cleaner but was unfamiliar with its English name. He said, "Nowadays you use something-an appliance-to blow air to clean phoos phoos. Like that, pranayama pushes out the impurities in the body and mind." Several Buddhist meditation techniques are linked with breathing, and there is hardly a Vedic ritual that does not include pranayama. Ancient texts link pranayama not only to the mind but also to chakras, kundalini, kríyas, mantras, bandhas, dharana, therapy, doshas, asana, pratyahara, rituals, nadanusandhana, and mudras. p58
Yoga should be useful either far bhoga [material enjoyment] or far apavarga [freedom]. Nadanusandhana Pranayama, Kriyas, Yoga Therapy [listening to the "heart-sound" as described in the fourth chapter] is not useful for either nowadays.
The later classical yoga texts, namely the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, describe some tantric sex practices (sometimes called "left-handed tantric practices").
One day in the course of teaching the third chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Krishnamacharya stopped. "It is sufcient to learn only viparitakarani [mudraJ from me," he said. "The rest [of the third chapter] is improper. My guru has advised me thus: 'Since you have an in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit, you can read and understand this, but do not teach it to your students."'
Krishnamacharya continued, "The rest of the third chapter will be useful neither to you nor to others. I will teach you viparitakarani, which is a subject related to headstand and shoulderstand. It will take about an hour. Whatever is said in the fourth chapter of this book is in the kaivalyapada [the fourth chapter of the Yoga Sutras], which you have already learned. Yoga should be useful either far bhoga [material enjoyment] or far apavarga [freedom]. Nadanusandhana Pranayama, Kriyas, Yoga Therapy [listening to the "heart-sound" as described in the fourth chapter] is not useful for either nowadays. In the past it was done in solitude, often in a cave. it is not necessary now. Take my advice." p66−67
"Nowadays, people often explain kriya yoga itself incorrectly. "
"Today, I am going to speak about kriya yoga [the cardinal practice explained in the Yoga Sutras 2.1]. Para-vairagya [complete non attachment] is possible only for one person in many millions. For all others, kriya yoga is the means. Nowadays, people often explain kriya yoga itself incorrectly. Some teachers now say that everything is in the mind, and you don't need to practice at all." He was refer ring to some swamis who lectured about philosophy but were short on practice. p80
"Nowadays people speak of "love, love." What is it?"
"Nowadays people speak of "!ove, !ove." What is it? True love is devotion to the Divine. Such devotion is when we have such longing and care for the Divine as we have for our own body".
Krishnamacharya (in a lecture) p104
"What is this thing you say nowadays -in-shoo-rance?"
"What is this thing you say nowadays -in-shoo-rance?" Krishnamacharya asked me one day. "How can anybody give you real in shoorance? Only the Divine is really everyone's inshoorance." p125
"What is this 'boring' you all say? Nowadays even children say everything is 'boring' ! Nothing is 'boring.'
He would say, "What is this 'boring' you all say? Nowadays even children say everything is 'boring' ! Nothing is 'boring.' None of you have control over your senses and so your mind becomes restless. Now some activity seems pleasing to the senses, and a little while later, another activity seems more pleasing. Because your mind is not able to stay steady and the senses pull the mind to different things, you want to keep on changing what you are doing. If you have sense control, there is never any question of 'boring."'
"Most important among the senses are food and sex. The whims of the tongue and the sexual organ must be controlled if you are to steady the mind." This advice from the Bhagavata was a preferred quote of Krishnamacharya's. p131
"Nowadays, people are not interested in these subjects. You are showing interest and learning these. To me this is very useful to keep my mind continuously on the Divine. That is why I am than ng you."
My classes with Krishnamacharya continued undisturbed after a brief interruption due to his accident. In one of these classes, he was teaching me some important works by the famed Vaishnavite saint Vedanta Desika. He had explained devotion and surrender to the Divine. At the end of the class, as I was getting ready to leave, Krishnamacharya said, 'Thanks ! "
Surprised, I asked, "Why are you thanking me? I am your student; you are my guru. I should thank you for your teachings."
He replied, "Nowadays, people are not interested in these subjects. You are showing interest and learning these. To me this is very useful to keep my mind continuously on the Divine. That is why I am thankng you."p138
"Nowadays, people lead undisciplined lives and write down their activities in a diary. "
Krishnamacharya's personal diaries were not a chronicle of events in his life. He never wrote down life events, as others might in a diary. He once told me, "Nowadays, people lead undisciplined lives and write down their activities in a diary. If one is disciplined, there will be nothing to note down." p147
All quotes above from AG Mohan's excellent biography of Krishnamacharya (LINK TO AMAZON)
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