Excerpts from the book: “Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate” by BKS Iyengar - Part 2 of 2

Excerpts from the book: “Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate” by BKS Iyengar - Part 2 of 2
  1. The correct attitude to our “possessions” is gratitude, not ownership. Toward our car we should feel gratitude that it conveys us safely and allows us to see places we would not otherwise have seen. I am grateful to the table I am writing on. It makes this book possible. Whether it is “my” table or not is irrelevant. In India we have a ceremony every year in which we garland our household objects and thank them for the service they render us. We borrow their services for a certain time and are grateful. But the table is a table and will probably still be doing its job long after my death but not indefinitely.
  2. In health we forget our bodies; in sickness we cannot. How much simpler life would be if this were the other way round.
  3. Ego is an important component of consciousness that you require to operate your body during its life. Beyond that it has no purpose.
  4. When the lens of consciousness is perfect and clean, it will be clear that its illuminating light is the innermost soul. The soul is divine, nonmaterial, perfect, and eternal. In other words, it does not die. Discover what does not die, and the illusion of death is unmasked. That is the conquest of death. That is why I did not cry for my wife, in spite of all my pain, for I will not cry for an illusion.
  5. Avidya (ignorance, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding) is the fundamental misapprehension that material reality is more important than the spiritual one. It is not because all things material are transient, impermanent, and susceptible to constant change in the form of growth and decay. The problem is our dependence on what will not last.
  6. We have to refine what we already can accomplish and add new depth and subtleties in order to penetrate into the final heart of the mystery.
  7. Where there is pride there is always ignorance.
  8. Bliss (ananda) is experienced and expressed when the goal is to bring order out of chaos, wisdom out of ignorance, divinity out of aesthetics.
  9. They hope that some new book or new method, some new insight or teacher will be the lottery ticket that allows them to experience enlightenment. Yoga says no, the knowledge and the effort are all within you. It is as simple and as difficult as learning to discipline our own minds and hearts, our bodies and breath. Samadhi is ultimately a gift from the divine, but how do we make ourselves worthy to receive this gift?
  10. Meditation is going from the known to the unknown, and then coming back to the known. It is impossible to say I am going to meditate, or I meditated for two hours. If we know it lasted two hours, we were in the self and not in the Infinite where time, in the linear sense, no longer exists.
  11. When the clouds covering the sun move away, the sun shines brilliantly. In the same way when the covering of the self in the form of afflictions, disturbances, and impediments is removed, the Self shines brilliantly in its own glory.
  12. Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.
  13. When many of us think of freedom, we believe that it means the pursuit of happiness. Certainly political freedom, as Gandhiji knew, is essential, as the ability to direct our lives is essential for our ability to reach our full potential. Economic freedom is also important, for grinding poverty makes it difficult to think of the life of the spirit. But equally important to political and economic freedom is spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom actually requires greater self-control and the ability to direct our lives in the right direction.
  14. Authority brings power, but the practice of detachment reins in that power, preventing its abuse.
  15. “Knowledge is power,” which is commonly used to sell newspapers and periodicals. Implicit in that sentiment is the belief that knowledge brings power over others, whereas the yogi’s knowledge is introspective and brings power over himself.
  16. The knowledge that devolves from mental cleverness or dexterity, if it is devoid of discrimination and compassion, is heavy with unforeseen consequences.
  17. Savasana is about relaxation, but what prevents relaxation? Tension. Tension results from clutching tightly to life —and in turn being held by the myriad invisible threads that tie us to the known world, the known “I,” and the known environment in which it operates. It is the threads that bind the “I” to its environmental context that give us our sense of identity.
  18. Whatever else time is, it must be fully realized in and of itself, in its own nature, like a flower growing in the desert that needs no observer to fulfill the potential of its own beauty.
  19. The four aims of life that Patanjali said must be accomplished are dharma, artha, kama, and moksa. One way to sum up the four aims of life would be to say that provided you behave ethically on the one hand, surrender to God on the other, between these two, you will Love, Labor, and Laugh.
  20. The spiritual life I have led has come by the grace of God, but to stick to ethics is our human duty. If we follow certain universal principles in life, God looks after us at all times, smoothing our path and helping us through the hard times.
  21. The attempt to live ethically brings us closer to our fellow man and to God above. There are no shortcuts, and certainly cheating always brings about its own downfall, as it exiles us from our own soul. Ethics are a compromise solution by which we aspire for the best, but realistically we are aware that everyone does not play by the same rules.
  22. To draw closer to one’s soul is also to live more and more by the dictates of one’s conscience.
  23. In fact, it is better not to believe in God and act as though He existed, than to believe in Him and act as though He did not exist.
  24. Normally, when we question anyone about whether he believes in God or not, we reduce God to a material thing. We reduce Him to the level of matter, to something that can be believed in. Therefore it becomes a matter of belief. As the Universe, which is beyond the reach of our consciousness, is unknown to us, so the entity that is “God,” which is beyond the reach of our consciousness, is unknown to us. God is felt but cannot be expressed in words.
  25. We cannot impose our truth on others, and we must always make sure that our actions do not do violence to others.
  26. The fifth is noncovetousness, modesty of life (aparigrahah). It means living without excess and obviously the two ideas contained there are that one’s own excess might lead to deprivation for another and that excess is in itself a corrupting force. It leads to the bondage of sensuality and a desire through possessions to expand the ego. It is me, me, me by means of my, my, my. If that is your attitude, the Inward Journey is reduced to farce from its outset. That does not imply that the creation of wealth is an evil in itself, simply that we must not hoard it like a miser. Wealth that is not redistributed will stagnate and poison us. Wealth is energy, and energy is intended to circulate.
  27. We can wash the skin of our bodies with a bath, but through asana practice we not only purify our blood and nourish cells. We are cleansing the inner body as we practice. By watching what we ingest into our bodies, we can keep our bodies cleaner. Geography has much to do with diet. Climate and other factors influence the diet people eat. But there are some basic guidelines that can help everyone. Do not eat if saliva does not spring from the mouth when food is brought before you. Secondly when the brain alone speculates about the choice of food, it means that the body does not need food. Even then, if you eat, it will be non-nourishing. It will be an abuse of food and will lead to overeating, which creates pollution in the body.
  28. We are creatures that are designed for continual challenge. We must grow, or we begin to die. The status quo leads to stagnation and discontent. So just standing still isn’t really an option. We have to move on. If not, disturbances will come. We’ve learned how to handle the disturbances of getting fired from our job, the outward ones, but when vanity and pride and smugness dawn, these disturbances, what I would call the diseases of the mind, take root within us.
  29. Self-knowledge is not always comfortable. If we do not like what we find, we are, in all honesty, obliged to do something to alter it.
  30. But both birth and death are beyond the will of a human being. They are not my domain. I do not think about it. Yoga has taught me to think of only working to live a useful life. The complexity of the life of the mind comes to an end at death, with all its sadness and happiness. If one is already free from that complexity, death comes naturally and smoothly. If you live holistically at every moment, as yoga teaches, even though the ego is annihilated, I will not say, “Die before you die.” I would rather say, “Live before you die, so that death is also a lively celebration.”   

  31. Click here to read the first part of the post.

    Enlightening, isn't it? Get a copy of your book here:


About Sammy's MindChirps

Hello! Welcome to Sammy's MindChirps. I'm glad you are here. To me, the word LIFE is an acronym of Laboratory with Infinite Freedom to Experiment. It's more like a kaleidoscope offering amazing learning opportunities as we grow and explore various facets of life. So this blog is a platform where I share anything that I find interesting (with my two cents, of course :D). I assure that you will have some new learning when you exit the blog. And do share your feeback on the blog or anything you want me to write about in this blog by dropping an email to mindchirps@gmail.com