This class and meditation are good introductions.
At the first Orinda Citta Chat session we just held we began by reading the quote below by my teacher through this path of svadyaya, self-study, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, as it beautifully describes and honors this kind of gathering in the tradition of self-study and what what we can reach for in ongoing study in comparison to programs in parts. Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s message closing a three year course. We meet every other Sunda at 2:00 pm in a private home, ongoing indefinitely. Get in touch if you would like to attend anytime.
~ Swami Dayananda Saraswati
“The course has really not come to an end in my mind, because it never started. For me it has always been a life of teaching…
This study is not something that you start and end. The start of your life on this earth is a start. During the course of life varieties of events lead you to this kind of pursuit. And therefore no one particular thing can be said to be the prime cause of this, and hence no particular starting point in your life is a starting point for this pursuit. As a seeker you have been a seeker long before this course started. (And in this three years) that seeking has become a place where you stopped for a brief period, where the seeking continued without you moving.
There is no teacher or student only a topic which one understands and the other is able to understand. When that kind of attitude is there, then there is communication. In the process of sharing, the tradition also continues to flow.
Teaching this course has been an enjoyable time for me. It is always nice to see the same person in the same seat class after class, to know the level of your audience, and to be able to expect gradually a higher understanding. In public talks this is not possible. You require a team in this.”
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The message held the silence for a time, and I talked a little more about what we would be doing. Then one person raised a quandary about the language of seeking, of being seekers, as it it felt to he also being about looking at where you are, what you are, that what she sought was already in her, that the term seeking felt like “grasping…”
Indeed. And what a great set up for a first session with a new group, for a fundamental exploration into the topic and method. And it turns out the pots came out to meet everyone; so this recording serves as a great introduction to my rebranding of yogaNexus.com to reflect a shift of over 20 years of asana teaching towards an emphasis on Svadyaya or self-study, through Citta Chats™, both at home, in person and available live online and in archives, and teaching in teacher training programs. I have taught in recent Yoga Works, Yoga Garden, Yoga Tree and Yoga Loft programs.
So meet Clay Pot, who will be seen plenty in days coming. If you have been wondering what the live or online talks are like, I think this is the best introduction I have… it covers not only the topic, but the means, and the preparation for the student, the qualities for optimal self-study and self-knowledge.
As we embark in the steps of a particular method and tradition these principles, methods and qualities are important.
In our times, in our settings the teachings can take many forms, some more true to the spirit, method and tradition than others. So finding a form true to the spirit of the stream of teachings to present and make available in the setting I find myself is something I do with great care. Again Swami Dayananda’s words on “Spirit and Form” have beautifully guided the formation of the Citta Chats family of offerings for our times.
So this meditation, this class recording, the new restructuring of yogaNexus.com around Sadhana: The practices and Svadyaya: Self-Study, the live in person classes and in teh virtual space of live online and archives.
The spirit in new forms. Once a teacher would set up in a hut on the side of the Ganga, and teach wh comes. Now we hang a shingle on the TwitterStream.
My offering now is less centered on asana classes, the posture practice, but rather on the direct connection with a student for the practice of self-study, svadyaya, an inquiry into one’s own essential nature through direct interaction with a teacher in the stream of the sampradaya, the oral teaher student tradition, using a pramana, a means of knowledge suited to achieving the desired end.
What is it to know svarupe avasthanam, abiding in one’s own essential nature? (YS 1.3)
The emphasis now is on two ongoing circles of study:
1. San Francisco: Wednesdays 6:30 pm, weekly ongoing, my house.
2. Orinda, East Bay: Every other Sunday 2pm, ongoing, private home.
Contact me for details.
Drop in anytime. No preparation necessary.
So the marketing and communications are not targeted to getting people to a location in a particular geography. So the brand adapts to the forms suited for the times and the people, with great care for the spirit.
~ Swami Dayananda Saraswati
“The role of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is to reinstill the spirit in the existing forms.
“… The forms cannot always be the same. They have to change. There is nothing wrong in changing a form, but everything is lost when, in doing so, we lose the spirit.”
“And therefore whatever obtaining forms we have or wish to have must be retained. And the spirit, also has rto be introduced, which requires education. Thus we require a form as well as the spirit.”
“If you know the spirit the form becomes more meaningful. Otherwise the form dies and slowly becomes a formal discipline.”
“If you instill the spirit the form will live. If you lose the form you will lose the spirit too.”
“There is the form and there is the spirit. The spirit has to be instilled, which requires a lot of understanding.”
“Ony by knowing what is behind a form does it become meaningful. Otherwise it is a dead form.”
Any faltering or errors in method or understanding are my own.
Any brightness or relevance is the nature of the nature of the knowledge.
This talk goes into the following:
Vocabulary: Pramana, Sraddha, Sravana, Isvara, Advaita, Svarupa, Svadyaya, Sadhana
Yoga Sutras: 1.2, 1.3, 2.1
Bhagavad Gita 2.47
So I started off in response to her comment about the term seeking feeling “graspy” I mentioned that we do talk about that phenomenon in the teaching often, if what I need is already in me, is already me, as the sruti says, then am I not seeking to attain that which is already attained?
What would lead me to that conclusion?
Only the fact that seeking something I have not acquired does not achieve the desired end.
Then where do I look? Who is doing the looking? I explore this aspect in the article on What is Svadyaya?
Here we explore what leads us to look? What is the desired end?
This is important because why would we take up a pursuit, the self-study, unless we know it can achieve the desired end; which assumes we are clear about the desired end.
The desired end is to know to be my adequate non-wanting self. If so then I need to know what are the means available to achieve the desired end, the pramana, or means of knowledge, a key distinction to understand about not only the topic, but how we are studying, and why we are choosing these texts and these methods as pramana, a means of knowledge to know something about myself available to know when shown by the texts, the teachings, the tradition, the sampradaya – something in fact not available to be known through any other pramana, means of knowledge.
Once I am clear that seeking in the world of objects not already acquired, or seeking to keep that which is already acquired (places, events, experiences, relationships, things) does not achieve the desired end, then I can only look at myself, which I already have.
So what I know about myself must be in error. This is the topic, the recognition.
Once I know that the means to achieve the desired end, or moksa, liberation from a life of becoming, cycles of sorrows and joys, samsara, is not from something acquired, but rather from knowing what I already am, then I can be more clear about what means, what pramana will achieve the desired end?
So seeking moksa, being a mumuksu, we see that the text is a valid pramana to reveal something desired by me not available through other means.
When I see this value for my desired end, then I have sraddha, that trust, commitment to accept the text as pramana. Then I can listen, sravana, to the teachings as a pramana, not a lecture on an object of study.
Svarupe avasthanam (YS 1:3), or abiding in one’s own essential nature is cognitive not experiential, not sensory or of attributes, Gunas.
Once I see the accurately the problem to solve is one of perception, of understanding, of cogniyion, then I am better able to choose the appropriate means to resolve the accurately seen problem.
Then I see the means can only be knowledge, jñana: I must see the clay, or in the example of the rope projected onto the snale, to know the rope as mithya, I must know snake. To know what it is not, I must know what it is. Jñana is not a path and is inclusive of devotion, bhakti, and karma yoga, or graceful acceptance of action and reaction.
Come step with me into this stream?
Citta Chats: Desire to Inquire.
Ashram without walls.
- Every Wed in SF
- Every other Sunday in Orinda