Iyenagr: Burning zeal in practice, self-study and study of scriptures, and surrender to God are the acts of yoga
Taimni: Austerity, self-study and resignation to Isvara constitute preliminary Yoga.
Carrera: Accepting pain as help for purification, study, and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute Yoga in practice.
Wow! The translations seem different this week. But they aren’t that far off from each other really.
Iyengar emphasizes that the practice of yoga is kriya yoga or the yoga of action. He also mentions that he believes this pada is meant for both beginners and seasoned practitioners. He says the instruction in this pada enables “the evolved soul to progress more rapidly towards the goal of purity and emancipation.” Our bodies are purified by tapas (self discipline), our words purified by svadhyaya (self-study), and our minds purified by Isvara (God). These represent three paths: life, wisdom, and the surrender of the ego.
Taimni also discusses these three components. His translation was first published in 1961 but he seems to foresee or predict the often vacuous practice of yoga in the West. He says that the yogic life is not possible for someone attached to the world. He advises a preparatory period to assimilate the yogic philosophy to make the transition from one life to the next. He says that kriya yoga is translated to both preliminary and practical yoga and thus, as Iyengar says, are both for the seasoned and beginner sadhaka (student). He says yoga must be taken up at the beginning to understand the philosophy and also serves as a test on to see if the student is ready to move on to deeper study.
Carrera also discusses in depth three practices. His translation is different in that he talks about “accepting pain” with the first practice, tapas. What he means by this is that anything that can happen in life “no matter how painful- can be used for spiritual growth”. Pains is something that can be embraced as a teacher. He gives examples by saying you don’t have to wait for painful situations. You can fast one day a week for spiritual purification or if you are shy, you can study public speaking. With the practice of study, he says yogis should not be blind followers but understand why, in a personal way, yogic practices are done.
One interesting note about the Sutras and the question of “Is Yoga a Religion”….note the mention of Isvara here or “God”- in the sutras, Isvara is:
- Unafflicted by actions or desires
- The source of all knowledge
- The teacher of the most ancient teachers
- A guide, eternally free from limitations
Carerra also discusses the three aspects of surrender – meditation, obedience, and love. Meditation, which refers to clearing the mind, obedience, which means more about being open and receptive than doing what one is told, and love, which means the surrender of self-interest.
Last week in class we worked with Leslie Freyberg (http://www.chantwithleslie.com/) to learn how to chant the sutras and we chanted all of Pada two, which was symbolic to me as I start the study of this section of the sutras.