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Showing posts from February, 2015

What did I learn from Yoga-tarangini?

There is, of course, much more to the story, but we will leave it for here and I will conclude by giving a summary of the contents of my first lecture on Yoga-taraṅgiṇī.

The GS course in yoga starts with a lesson in anatomy. This is something that needs to be learned as the beginning of the yoga journey inwards begins with an internal inspection of the physical body, which especially in later Nath Yoga texts is seen as the microcosm, where everything found in the universe can be found. The later Nath Yoga texts like Siddha-siddhänta-paddhati take this quite seriously and have a series of meditations on these correspondences.

Nowadays research into yoga by the empirical method is being given increasing favor, and this means that the yogis' understanding of the body as viewed from within is not given anything more than arcane importance, without much scientific or objective value. But thousands of years of investigation through practice should not be minimized or discounted. Subjec…

The story of this translation, Part III

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My last night in Rishikesh, Swamiji called me upstairs. He had called me up earlier in the day, but was unable to talk as he was undergoing another hypoglycemia attack. He was rolled out in his wheelchair onto the balcony. Bhola, the manager of AHYMSIN's publishing department, was also there. Swamiji wanted to talk about how long the Yoga-sūtra work was going to take and would I get it done “before I die”?

The scenario, no doubt staged, but still a reminder of the urgency with which Swamiji is approaching this work. Swamiji may live another twenty years, but he takes each health crisis to simply push harder to get certain things done before he quits the world. On top of that, he seems to keep finding new stuff he wants done. At least, as he deals with major priorities, he feels free to start pushing on other projects.

Not that I am not also feeling a great need to be done with these yoga texts so I can get to the business of tending to my own life's work! My life is also comi…

65th birthday in Vrindavan

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I posted on Facebook:
Message from Prabodhananda Saraswati: If you respect me, you have to respect Hit Harivansh Goswami. Explanation:

Yesterday was my birthday, and as I had just arrived the day before from Rishikesh, I went on parikrama. Parikrama for me started near Kaliya Daha, which is where the little frequented samadhi temple of Prabodhananda Saraswati lies.

I think that the coincidence of having Prabodhananda, the author of Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta right at the beginning of the parikrama, as the first major spot on the circuit, to be a fortuitous and particularly inspiring accident. I have cherished Prabodhananda Saraswati ever since Ananta Das Pandit Maharaj first "turned me on" to Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi more than 30 years ago.

I made up my mind to do the following for my birthday: I would go to Prabodhananda's samadhi, recite a few verses from his work, and then go to Banke Bihari, Radha Vallabha, then Radha Damodar to visit the samadhis of Sri Rupa, Sri Jiva, and…

The story of this translation Part II

The task of completing a task

Even the most basic insights into the mentality of the haṭha-yogis did not come immediately. It took some time for the realization to come that the book itself was a paddhati to be looked at as a whole rather than piecemeal. I had been too busy looking at the forest for the trees. And even then, they were not transmitted into action right away

I was content with my own practices, for which I had accepted the guidance of Swami Veda, by a combination of factors, proximity to him personally and through life in the ashram, I slowly imbibed the ethos emanating from Swami Veda. I admired him for numerous reasons. When one has already taken a guru, one is loathe to give that psychological space to anyone else. Indeed, I had come to feel that in the interests of my personal liberation and individuation it was rather time to attempt sticking to my inner guru's guidance. But clearly, a different kind of grace brought me into contact with Swami Veda.

It came to …

Samadhi and Bhakti-yoga

I wrote the following a couple of days ago and would not have made it a blog, except that I am posting the story of my experience here at SRSG and these thoughts seemed relevant.

On Friday I was going to skip meditation, but the vortex of spiritual energy sucked me in like a black hole. It reminded me of times when I was a devotee living in Hare Krishna temples and mangal arati would call.

I have been living or visiting and staying in this ashram in Rishikesh for more than seven years now. And I have been noticing a definite sharp increase in the overall level of meditation sessions, especially when Swami Veda is present. It has a level of sustained intensity that I can only attribute to Swamiji's own depth of samādhi as he prepares himself for final samādhi. His five year silence was broken, you could say, but the intensity of a vow of silence has not decreased.

I would say to anyone who has affection for Swamiji and meditation practice to not miss the opportunity to be immerse…

Yoga-tarangini published: The story of this translation (Part I)

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[Iam happy to have finally received a copy of the Yoga-taraṅgiṇī, which has been published by Motilal Banarsidass with the Himalayan Yoga Publications Trust. When I was writing the introduction, I started also to describe the adventure that working on this text represented, and became quite bogged down as the self-examination and other external factors made it seem impossible to conclude. Finally, I just gave up on the idea and handed in the manuscript without this part of the introduction. This is the first part, which discusses the apparent conflict between the bhakti and yoga paths.]



Bhakti and Yoga

I often wonder about the relationship of a translation to the original text. The famous Italian saying that "to translate is to betray" indicates that any translation is inevitably an interpretation of some kind. A third person enters between the speaker and his audience, and neither the third person nor the audience were intended by that original speaker, except inasmuch as un…

Six kinds of useless servants or disciples.

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There are six kinds of useless servants or disciples:

alir bāṇo jyotiṣakaḥ
stabdhībhūtaḥ kimekakaḥ
preṣita-preṣakaś caiva
ṣaḍ ete sevakādhamāḥ

(1) One is like a bee (ali) that wanders from flower to flower, i.e., is not loyal.
(2) Another is like an arrow (bāṇa), who wounds his master.
(3) Another is the procrastinator (jyotiṣaka), always waiting for the right alignment of planets before he acts.
(4) The fourth is stabdhībhūta, i.e., lazy, bewildered, dull and inactive.
(5) The fifth (kimekakaḥ) is someone who lacks initiative or courage to act alone, saying, "I can't do this by myself."
(6) The last is one who passes the buck (preṣita-preṣaka), shifting responsibility onto others rather than taking it himself. Fifteen years ago I posted this verse on the Indology list because I had some difficulty with a few of the words. Who knows where I found it, probably in a text related to Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj, as I was working for Mandala at the time. I could not find the …

Yoga-tarangini is out!!

Well, my book is finally here. Yoga-tarangini: A Rare Commentary on Goraksha-samhita. Published by Himalayan Yoga Publications Trust and Motilal Banarsidass. Just got my copy.

It is just a book, but in my case, blood, sweat and tears. My gratitude to Swami Veda Bharati for making it happen. I will have to finish my blog article on how this thing got written and what I went through doing it. I will post that in a day or two.

I did post a bit of the introduction on this blog a year or so ago. You can find it here: The Restless River of Yoga (Intro)

Erased a few comments by mistake

I just erased a few comments by mistake. Subrata, Darwin and one other. I am really sorry. There is no retrieval of lost comments in a trash bin, so I cannot recover them. I am spacing out due to inactivityon this blog.