I have trouble accepting people who “channel voices”, or “speak while channeling people who are dead or from other dimensions”, but yet, Krishnamacharya’s book I seem to respect.
Here is a video of me browsing through the pages of the Rahasya -as published by the Yoga Mandiram in India, which is Krishnamahcarya’s legacy institute-.
Today, the author, Nathamuni, who was an ancestor of the big K, is quoted in yoga books as an authority on pranayama and other aspects of yoga as if he had written it himself.
Was it really channeled? Was the vision real? Is any vision ever real?
Was Krishnamacharya just under the hallucinatory effects of a long walk under the Indian sun? How much of it could it have been ‘channeled” or inferred from what Krishnamacharya already knew, or wanted to know about yoga? We will never know for sure.
What we do know is that he did not write it down until the 1960s’ or rather had his son TKV Desikachar learn it by heart, verse by verse until himself, Desikachar, actually wrote it down and eventually published it.
I think that young Krishnamacharya did believe firmly that he channeled the work. I doubt he would have lived a yogic life while lying, being that not-lying is one of the first rules of yoga. It is the same reason why I think the Yoga Korunta (a book that many contest never existed and on which the sequences of Ashtanga yoga are supposedly based) may have been real too, or “channeled”. Either or.
Regardless of source, the topics of the Yoga Rahasya became pillars in Krishnamacharya’s life as he went on to get a teacher and dedicate all of his 90+ years of life to the science of yoga.
Yoga Rahasya means “yoga secrets”. Here are 9 mentioned in the book:
1.-Longevity and health: If we die earlier than it is our time it is probably because we are breathing improperly or eating the wrong foods. Not just practice but constant awareness of how we treat our bodies and mind are imperative.
Even the book ends on a note of nourishing the body… “Just as the association of oil, wick and lamp produces light, so also is within the body, so nourish it”
2.- When the body is completely healthy then all energies can be put to work in what is really important: Freedom from past impressions and judgments then liberation ensues.
3.- Women have a special right to practice yoga because they continue the lineage through procreation. Practices for pregnancy are suggested, with poses and breathing exercises. Unfortunately, says the Rahasya, in this world women are usually affected by shyness and deluded, but… Not all women are affected though, there are exceptions and that is the wonder of this universe.
4.-Men are also deluded by maya or the illusions of possessions. This can take them away from the path of liberation. But if a person is deaf does that mean that sound does not exist? In the same way, liberation is real, so men need to come to terms with what is really important (liberation, not shinny things dear men…)
5.-Yoga practices must be given to every individual by considering their constitution and their inclinations otherwise they will not reap benefits. This is the message that Krishnamacharya’s son is dying to propagate as he can see in disbelief how yoga spreads throughout the world as a massive one-fits-all class.
6.- Pranayama is key to the practice of yoga because it is a quiet or a silence of breath that induces a quiet mind. The ratio 1.4.2 (one count for inhalation, four for retention and two for exhalation) is of prime importance.
7.- Of all the pranayamas nadi shodhana (inhaling through the left nostril, retaining, exhaling right, inhaling right nostril, retaining, exhaling left) is the MOST important as it clears the way for the middle channel and for awakening. (of course it is only pranayama if it is done with retentions, measurements that can be repeated, and bandhas)
8.- Pranayama without bandhas is of no use.
9.- In reality things that happen are neither good nor bad, but our own past impressions make them so.