This first volume of Astadala Yogamala is' a unique book. The works have undergone extensive editing all of which has been overseen by B. This volume, as well as all the future volumes, will be of immense value to all students and practitioners of Yoga. These "Collected Works" comprise several volumes. This first volume contains my biographical works, the definition of yoga and the exposition of Patanjala Yoga The whole work is inspired of Patanjali's words of wisdom woven through the eight petals astanga of yoga, namely, yama, niyama, asana, pranama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi They are synthesised and presented in such a manner to ignite interest in the readers and inspire them to take to the practical aspect of yoga.

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This first volume of Astadala Yogamala is' a unique book. The works have undergone extensive editing all of which has been overseen by B. This volume, as well as all the future volumes, will be of immense value to all students and practitioners of Yoga. These "Collected Works" comprise several volumes. This first volume contains my biographical works, the definition of yoga and the exposition of Patanjala Yoga The whole work is inspired of Patanjali's words of wisdom woven through the eight petals astanga of yoga, namely, yama, niyama, asana, pranama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi They are synthesised and presented in such a manner to ignite interest in the readers and inspire them to take to the practical aspect of yoga.

Probably, this volume would never have seen the dawn, if they had not first gone through this disparate material, devoting hours and hours for months together in editing and re-editing the manuscript, and Stephanie Quirk who worked patiently on the computer day and night to bring it into a harmonious and cohesive form thus making my work of further corrections and revisions easier.

As the talks and articles are from different periods of my yogic journey, repetitions were unavoidable. Some of these have been deliberately retained for the readers to observe and study the developments that evolved in me from my continual practice since the early days. These new thoughts are maintained with coherency in the text and in the course of time may flash new thoughts and new wisdom in your sadhnas. As such I request the readers to accept and investigate enthusiastically these new thoughts, which may imprint in your heart and head a lasting impression that serves and guides those who seek to undertake this yogic practice in their lives.

I express my gratitude to Dr. Siria, Mr. Uzardi and my daughter Geeta for taking on the onerous work of preparing this text They have done a wonderful job in presenting the nuances of the science and philosophy of yoga in a clear way, making it understandable to one and all.

I am also grateful to Allied Publishers, for willingly accepting to publish this work and the following volumes currently under preparation, acquainting the readers with the cultural and spiritual heritage of humanity. This second volume of Astadala Yogamala is the vision of Yogacarya B. It contains the distillation of thought born from his long standing sadhana.

All mankind lives unwittingly within the truth of yoga Yoga is one. Yet we find ourselves in the position of having to portion it up, to compartmentalise it, to search to grasp its mechanisms. It is because we all misapprehend reality avidya Not just partially, but totally. Only the supreme bhaktan is capable, with one peerless gesture of surrender, of turning the Universe inside out We simply cannot We are like that man who has put on his shirt inside out and back to front The only way he can rectify his error is to take it off, work out how it should be and start again.

Through yoga, we take off the shirt of our ignorance, study it and put it back on correctly, as a shirt of knowledge. To do this like the man turning out the body and each sleeve of his shirt separately , we examine each petal of yoga as if it were separate.

Just as' our man knows that there is only one shirt, we should not forget that there is only one yoga. Though it is now some time since my own practice reached its maturity, the flow of my ideas on how best to present and communicate this subject so dear to my heart, never ceases to evolve.

For this reason, although the following chapters remain substantially the same as when they were first delivered as talks around the world, I have nevertheless amended, amplified or cut as I deem necessary in order to transmit my teaching as clearly and precisely as I am currently able. Some slips of the tongue have been removed, as have some repetitions, but I have allowed some of the latter to remain so that each chapter should stand alone, comprehensible within itself without endless cross-referencing.

Because so much of this book concerns asana and pranayama, the two aspects of yoga with which my name is especially associated, I am naturally trepidatious lest this volume should fail to do justice to a subject which is at the core of my life's work I am perhaps equally anxious lest the emphasis that my teaching has placed on asana and prnayama be interpreted by some as intending to exclude or minimise other limbs of the great body of yoga On the contrary, the very heart of my teaching has been an attempt to demonstrate in the most practical and useful wa1how any perfected part of yoga contains the essence of every other aspect, the macrocosm inside the microcosm or the universal couched within the particular, like the genetic code which lies in the DNA of each of our cells.

It was the circumstances of my life that pitched me headlong into the practice of asana, and a tumultuous time I had of it For me, peace has only been achieved out of life's turmoil. Initially I had no special aptitude for asana It was by no means love at first sight.

But I did persevere, and love of this subject was granted me. So it was that over the years I discovered that in the bubbling cauldron of asana, its practice, perfection, presentation and its teaching, is to be found the entirety of yoga. Others may enter yoga by different portals. Through the inspired perfection of two aspects of yama, satya and ahimsa, Gandhiji realised the whole of yoga, and in doing so changed the world.

The narrow door through which Sri Aurobindo passed was a burning desire for flawless, exalted knowledge. How many of us can, unaided, emulate such giants as these? Trying and failing we are forced either to abandon the attempt, or to act out a life of hypocritical pretence, paying lip service to ideals we cannot match. The gateway of asana is broad and all may pass through it.

Its benefits are immediate, tangible and visible. Though hard, it is accessible, sustainable, motivational and real. The juxtaposition of apparent diversity and underlying oneness, the conundrum at the core of the universe, is most acutely experienced in asana, and as Patanjali so clearly says Even by his standards, Patanjali's words on asana are concise, in fact lapidary. And, like stones, they form the plinth on which yoga practice is founded. A plinth must above all be firm and stable sthira and this is the very first word he uses to describe asana From this base begin the techniques of yogic absorption.

At their culmination, he says, when there is joy, effortless effort and all dualities are reconciled, then yama, niyama, asana, pranama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana inevitably, must be present. For most students the grandeur of this statement, however logical, is difficult to grasp and far more so to bring to realisation. Let me illustrate from my own practice. Look at the two photographs of Parivrttaaikapada Sirsasana and Parsva Sirsasana, some were taken when my physical prowess was at its height, the second when my yogic practice was mature.

It is axiomatic that the shape of the self svarupa is identical to the shape of the body. Keep in mind that yoga is composed of practice abhyasa and renunciation or detachment vairagya Think of abhyasa as a centrifugal force, like a flower opening or a merry-go-round, and vairagya as a centripetal one, like a flower closing or the root of a tree spiralling down to penetrate the hard earth.

Now, although these two words, centrifugal and centripetal describe a relationship which exists in duality, it is not a duality of conflicting or antagonistic opposites, but a complementary relationship of polarity. In other words, if you had to draw a line to join them up, it would not be by a straight line but by a circle.

If they were antagonistic, Patanjali would not have been able to write sutra II. This third volume of Aatadala Yogamala contains not only the matured intellectual vision of Yogacarya B. Iyengar, but takes the sadhaka into the interiou parts of the consciousness to savour the true essence of life force the Seer. The volume is a 'Yogic cornucopia' of Subjects which will be of interest to the discerning reader, ranging from therapeutics to ayurveda to academics and sports, practice sadhana and the teaching of yoga as art, science and way of life.

I was hoping that this third volume of Astadala Yogamala would be released on the auspicious day of Guru Purnima But, unknown situations caused the delay and yet I am delighted in my heart that I could complete the volume on this day.

After going through the final reading, now I hope this volume will be released on Vijaya Dashami. God is one, but we attribute him in many different ways. Similarly, the trunk of a tree is one but the branches are many. These sayings go well with yoga too. In this volume, I offer a yogic cornucopia of subjects which will be of interest to the first timer as well as the discerning reader.

I have shown how yoga casts its glorious light on subjects ranging from therapeutics and ayurveda to academics and sports, practice sadhana and teaching as art, science and and way of life. Here I have also discussed sadhana not only from different dimensions, but also dedicated the sequential steps of grading the sadhana as we improve in its practice, both as a teaching and a healing art In this compilation, I have especially introduced the wisdom of yoga and its parallelisms with modern science as well as with ayurveda.

Yoga helps one to become a master of circumstances and I have given guidance with hints to those who choose yoga as a vocation. Here, I wish to acknowledge once again the help and assistance of those without whom the undertaking of this project would not have been possible. Smt Geeta S. Iyengar, for checking and helping with valueable suggestions for the subject Mr.

Faeq Biria and Patxi Lizardi for jointly co-ordinating the entire project along with Geeta. Evans for editing the work into a cohesive and cogent language. I also cannot forget Stephanie Quirk for her technical assistance for layout and editing, Uma and Raya Dhavale for further assistance at the computer, Mr S.

Wagh for the line drawings, Mr. Chandru Melwani of Soni Studios for reproduction of photos. Kokate for cover artwork. I am indebted to Mr. Surojit Banerjee for his final touch on the work, and last but not the least to Allied Publishers New Delhi for whom am grateful for publishing these volumes. The three brothers, Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Vibhisana, with different aims in life, together determined to practise meditation.

Kumbhakarana's meditation was tamasic and inert in nature, making him lazy and sleepy; though having a strong body, he remained empty within. Ravana's meditation was rajasic, filled with sensual and psychologic ambitions. Vibhisana's meditation possessed the qualities of satvic guna; perfect physical firmness, emotional clarity and intellectual wisdom, along with a pure intention and total surrender. From the meditation of the three brothers we can learn a lot.

From Ravana and Kumbhakarana we learn to sublimate the ego, discarding both laziness and ambition; through Vibhisana to cultivate humbleness and virtuosity, and surrender ourselves to the Paramatma, that being the highest quality of dhyana.

In dhyana alone an inner order of rhythm to peace, sets in. Today many people jump to meditation, but they end up with Kumbhakarana's inert state of emptiness, or they become egoistic and full of intellectual pride like Ravana.

Vibhisana never declared his devotion or his meditation. He personified bhakti and dhyana. He totally surrendered to Sri Rama, giving up all ties. He is the example for us to aspire for meditation. I am confident that the discipline of yoga plays a major role for those who work for peace and joy, not only in themselves, but also for society. Being one of them, it is my duty to continue, at least with my pupils, to show what inner peace is.

Interviews that have been presented here have to be read keeping in mind how the psychologicai background of human nature works on different mental and intellectual planes. Articles are ""jritten to convey ideas to the readers, and the frame in which the articles are written conveys the frame of the mind of the author, while an interview covers various things in many different ways.

Interviews carry a number of questions, which give form to a number of human doubts, fears, complexes, expectations and wishes to the interviewer. The answers 'of an interview have to cover directly or indirectly the answers to the doubts and fears that are hidden in the questions. Not only that, a valuable interview means that the interviewee should think emotionally and intelligently in order to answer to the general doubts and fears of human psychology as they pertain to each question.

The mind of the interviewee should go beyond the mind of the interviewer to identify the deep doubts, fears and hopes of the human being. This has always been my state of mind while giving any interview. The psychological background of humanity goes on changing as the world changes and the challenges to be faced are different.

The psychological background of yoga practitioners also goes on changing as stability sets in as they go on improving in their practices.


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