Following Dr Geeta S. Iyengar’s European Tour in April and May 2002,
Judith Jones interviewed her for Iyengar Yoga News.
The interview took place on 25th August 2002
in the library of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune.
This is the first section of the interview.
Geetaji, did you enjoy your first visit to the U.K.?
Geetaji: Yes, of course. It was enjoyable so I enjoyed it!
What were the most memorable moments of your European Tour?
Geetaji: It's a bit difficult to say memorable because many of them (the people) I had met here in Pune. Of course, not as a big crowd at one time, but I knew people from different countries who had visited here and I know their standard of seniority. Some of the people were new to me since they had not visited Pune. Some had newly joined Iyengar Yoga so it was a mixed group. Also I have taught big groups like this (earlier). It was nice. People were good and they responded well to everything, were well disciplined. So I enjoyed it and everything is fresh in my mind still. The memory has not faded yet.
This recent tour of Europe did you notice differences in the way Iyengar Yoga is practised in the different countries?
Geetaji: Well – it’s not that they practise differently. Any art you take there is always a kind of level in the beginning. The art like music or violin, yoga, whatever you take, in the beginning it is carried in a certain way with a fixed methodology. As understanding of the students increases, the same topic becomes a little broader, a little deeper. It changes accordingly. I can't say there was a difference as such. They had basically followed basic instructions which were given by Guruji to everyone. But many a time they didn't understand where they had to touch the depth of it. Whether teaching or doing or practising yoga it is not just something you do yourself physically.
Each thing as you practise and proceed, you have to penetrate further, deeper to find out its inner depth.
For example, I tell you today, somebody was practising in the hall Viparita Chakrasana – going back to Urdhva Dhanurasana then climbing up on the wall and doing Viparita Chakrasana. There were a few other teachers who were watching. I said, "Now look at the person. When he drops in Urdhva Dhanurasana. What is the potency of his attention"? When he was bending his back to drop his arms he was very alert and attentive to do that. Then when he climbed up on the wall and jumped, he just did inattentively. The attention had gone. I said look, while climbing up by taking the help of the wall he is doing it physically. He is not within. But he stands proudly saying, “Oh I jumped”. Whereas in Urdhva Dhanurasana he was going back with full attention to drop his arms properly, curving his back properly etc., while climbing up he was just throwing his one leg forward without having any curvature of the back. I told him, "Climb up, now curve your spine in order to come forward", and then he had to be really attentive and penetrate within himself. He was exactly on the borderline of fear that he may fall. At the same time he wanted to do and I brought him to that borderline of fear to courage. I said, "Now, with the same attention that you had in Urdhva Dhanurasana, do Viparita Chakrasana". Obviously he had to observe that at what level he climbs up and jumps. Then I asked the others to watch his face and eyes. The first five to eight times he had done they could see the ego projecting on his face. But when I asked him to think about what he was doing and how he had to do it, his face changed, he became sober and the teachers noticed this change. I said, "Now watch, it's not just the physical technique". I didn't say, "Just walk a bit down, have a curvature and throw your legs"! When his mind became sober he could jump from Viparita Chakrasana with the attention inwards.
These are the elements involved which cannot be written in the book. You see, I can teach you a devotional song to sing.
I can teach you Patanjali sloka and say o.k., you sing or chant, but what has to come from inside – the feeling – that is something different. It cannot be written. You have to be devoted. You need to understand the depth of it.
This is the thing which was lacking.
Also I noticed one thing, that perhaps the goal was to get the certificate. If you have to get a certificate you know there are certain asanas you should learn, that you should be able to present. So if it's a certificate oriented mind, learning yoga won't work. Certification is definitely needed because it organises the whole system. If you want to become an Iyengar Yoga teacher, at least minimum you should know 'this' much. If you want a further certificate you should know maximum 'this' much. But that in itself is not Iyengar Yoga. Guruji is not teaching only that. He tried to channel it through certification so that people follow it in a proper way. While practising or to do certain corrections or to bring the depth in practitioners one needs to go inside. One's mind needs to penetrate.
The person who goes inside, he himself is a religious person. Because when one learns to look into oneself, when one learns to look into one's own mistakes, one's own defects – physical, mental as well as intellectual defects – I would say that one has learning something.
So you can practise more advanced poses but you have to learn the technique first?
Then you have to penetrate further, in the same way a beginner will learn Trikonasana, but also Trikonasana can be practised in a mature way.
Geetaji: A mature way, and you have to see that you are practising it to bring that inner change, the transformation. In spite of having physical problems the depth has to come in the practice. And if that depth comes, even in the diseased body it works to bring change. For instance, if I have a backache and if I know that Trikonasana is good for that backache, there is a method of performing it. I have to concentrate on the painful area. I have to correct my positioning, and in that process of correcting the action I will be going within, and there it brings the religiosity. This happens with many people, for instance the cancer patient begins to think deeper inside to find out how to come out of it, how to get rid of it. Things become more clear about one's own nature, not only the disease. While teaching yoga this has to be taught by the teacher. The teachers have to make the students aware of all these things. They have to introduce the pupils not only to their bodies but mind, intelligence and consciousness. For example – Padmasana. The knee is not bending, the knee is painful – fine – but take the person a step ahead to see when the person is avoiding Padmasana because the knee is painful. Then teach how to look into that knee, where it is failing, how it has to be worked. That means you are training the other way. You are not working only on the painful knee but the very thoughts, how to be channelled. Your mind has to be attentive there. If I just say, "Oh! My knee is paining, I won't do it". It’s not going to work, and it’s not good to the knee either. But if I look into the knee, at where it is paining, why it is paining, at what point it pains, at what degree of bending it is paining, how I have to move at that point, where I should force, where I should not force. This way of looking into, when it comes, then there will be maturity.
I wouldn't say I found difference as such. They were all doing whatever has been taught, but they were not knowing the art of penetration.
Along with agility of the body, one needs to have stability of the mind and mobility of the intelligence too.
So when one is saying you are making the body a fit vehicle for the soul, it doesn't matter what state that body is in.
Geetaji: Absolutely, because everybody has got a right for self-realisation. Everybody has the right to have a god-realisation, whichever word you use. It is not that this diseased body doesn't reach. But one has to pay attention to a disease. One cannot neglect that disease.
For example today in the children's medical class, a boy hardly eleven years old who is partially blind, can figure out though the vision is not really very clear. He has very poor vision. He looks from his left eye sharply. So each time he knows when I call him, he recognises my voice but he responds from his left eye only. The very first asana – he was in Supta Virasana – I told his mother, "When you are asking him to look up – in supine posture he looks upwards towards the brain so the brain remains alert to focus the eyes but he looks from his left eye, not from his right eye". I said that his left forehead is responding but not the right. I said, "Look at your mother with the right eye", and he tried. At the end of the class he came to say namaskar to me, and again he looked at me with the left eye. I said, "No, look with the right eye, do you know where I am"? And he tried to focus and he said, "Yes, right eye doesn't focus as much as the left eye, I can see better." At the end of the class he realised that he can see better with the left eye but not the right eye, so he put effort to open the right eye more in order to use it. Is it not the inner understanding of that boy who is just eleven years old? If he goes to the doctor he will say both eyes are blind, but what awareness came to him to see that he looks now with his right eye. Then I showed his mother when he is doing Sirsasana how he has to look from his right eye at her right hand so it brings the eye to focus.
So a teacher has to understand this depth. If we just train students to certificate level, saying that asana after asana you continue to do for your Introductory, Intermediate etc. then they will stick to that, whereas this penetration has to come. But I'm certainly not stopping people if they do at the physical level. Let them first do. We went to the lower kindergarten, then upper kindergarten and then school, college and University. We may think that kindergarten is not a big education but yet it is a foundation for further education. The kindergarten school has given us some discipline to continue now. In yoga too, these categories exist.
Yoga practice is an activity one does essentially on one's own. Why is it so important to maintain an international yoga community?
Geetaji: Yes, practice is individual, it’s not that you have to have an Iyengar Yoga community. You students have given the name Iyengar Yoga community. Guruji has never said that. What he teaches is Patanjali Yoga. But the methodology is given by Guruji so you call it Iyengar Yoga. For instance Patanjali rishi, who has given yogic philosophy in the form of aphorisms is recognised as Patanjala Yoga. But he has not expressed yogic science in a communal sense. Patanjali hasn't used the word "Hinduism" anywhere, he hasn't even used the word anywhere the name of the god. When he uses the word Ishvara it means God. It doesn't mean a particular god. The one who is all pervading, to whom everything belongs is Ishvara. That is the meaning, all pervading. If it has to be said in English you would say – all pervading. If it has to be said in Sanskrit – Ishvara. He doesn't say this god or that god, or particular god. So yoga is meant for all.
Now, why one community? – it is easier to have an access to communicate with. If any doubt arises we have to find the solution. Seeking the help of the Yoga Sutra. You are together there.
All the students, the practitioners of yoga, when they are together then you are like one family. I might be in India and you might be in England and somebody else might be in U.S.A., but still we belong to one family in this sense. The community is required to have the exchange.
Community members need to seek the help of each other. Why do you need a society? You might say, "Why can't I live alone? I don't need society"! But who forms the society? Sociology says individuals coming together form the society. And what is society? It is the one where all individuals are individuals yet together. That is society. So what does community mean here? We want a community in that manner. I'm not interfering in your kitchen or her kitchen. You have your own kitchen, you have your own food, similarly you practice on your own – fine! But what do we do when we say let us exchange, let us help each other. What I know, you might not be knowing. What you know, I might not be knowing. Let me know what you know and you say – yes – let me know what you know, so we learn much better.
What is society then?
Strength and understanding?
Yes. It is also an organisation to protect each other. When you have got some neighbours in society you help each other. That is communication, you have friends. Why do you have the family? Because there is a communication. When somebody gets married it is two families coming together, trying to have understanding and you sanctify it. That is society. The marriage is recognised. Similarly, when you are given an Iyengar certificate, you are recognised.
Suppose you are a yoga teacher and you have not been certified. Today you may teach but tomorrow if somebody questions what will you answer? You have no certificate. You have not been recognised by any teacher. If tomorrow the question comes to you, on what basis are you teaching? Who are you to teach? How can we believe that what you are teaching is absolutely correct? What is the answer? When you have a certification you say here is my teacher and I have been taught. This is guru and sisya relationship in this manner. You are recognised as a student of Iyengar. He is your teacher. It is true that recognition is required.
You can't call yourself a doctor unless you are certified. Why do you go to university, why do you take your certification there and then put up a board with your name on that you are a doctor? Because you need to be recognised. You might know very well about medicines but who will recognise you if you haven't got the certificate? And that makes us understand how to keep that path and the method pure. If you are an Iyengar certified teacher, you will be following the method given by your teacher, your guru. The method that is inclusive of all that is taught by your guru, which includes the methodology, the principles, the technique, the behaviour, the character, the thoughts, the thinking process and the discipline. Then you cannot go on the wrong path. You will be questioned if you are on the wrong path since you are an Iyengar certified teacher. As an Iyengar teacher one cannot go on an immoral path. One has to be ethical. One has to have this bearing on the mind. In Astadala Yogamala Vol 3, which will be published very soon, Guruji says that the teachers are certified so that they have a chance to serve the society. He is giving you a certificate so that you can help those who are suffering. It is just the beginning to tread on the right path. It is not that you are a master. It is a chance given to you, a green signal. So you begin to learn, begin to study, begin to help. That is why the community is required. The association is required in order to protect the art, to protect the knowledge.
If I ask, who are you, you say you are so and so, your parents are so and so. That is how we recognise each other. That is how we identify each other. That is how the community is formed. You don't come from nowhere. Nobody comes from nowhere. There is always an origin and one needs to trace that origin.
Individually each one has to practise individually, each one has to do yoga, but among the yoga community or a yoga society, there has to be inter-relationship. Community is required for that. More the individuality, more the knowledge will be scattered. It may get lost because of lack of communication. Who has to protect it? Something that is learnt, something that is understood has to be protected. In the scientific research what do we do? Don't we keep records of the research because it will be helpful at any time to anyone. The research work in every field is preserved. The individual egoism may interfere to say that someone makes the particular discovery, yet it is preserved because it is for the sake of the whole of humanity, for the sake of the community.
So we have to see this when we are forming this community. We have to understand each other and not fight. Associations are not there to fight. Then it is not an association! What do you mean by association? You have to associate with each other. You have to come together. When two people come together they may fight but in the fighting one has to sort out the problem too because they are associated. To quarrel or fight is human nature. The difference of opinion will be there but you form an association so that you come together. You sort out the problem, you communicate your opinions. Because of this one person, our Guruji who has given so much to us, we come together under his umbrella. It is a kind of umbrella he has formed. He has given shelter so that we can protect ourselves. Whether it is for our health, or for our spirituality, or for our evolution, whatever, but come under one umbrella to work in this manner to give it to others. That is why there is a guru and sisya relationship. There has to be respect. It has to be given to the next generation. Who has to pass on the knowledge, the art. We all may perish, but art, science and philosophy do not die. It never happens. Therefore, it is better that we give it to someone else who will carry on. That is what has been said in the Taittiriya Upanishad. The guru says to the sisya, "Your study is over. Now you go and get married, have children. Why? So that you can pass on the knowledge. The thread of knowledge should not be broken."
Some people do not want to do yoga since they believe it is a religion: it is in Sanskrit, etc.
Geetaji: Guruji has often said that Yoga is sanatana dharma. It is not Hinduism, or any other ism. It is something eternal. Sanatana means eternal. Dharma is religion which uplifts human beings. This eternal knowledge was there always. It was always existing and which is now expressed in different languages. Patanjali has to express it in Sanskrit, as the Bible is in Hebrew. And who knows tomorrow English will vanish, Sanskrit will vanish and some other language may come. How do we know?! You know there is a vast difference between old English and new English. Another few million years have to go to tell us, "Yes! There was some English language in those days"! Now we know that Latin is closer to Sanskrit and the origin of English is Latin. If you have broader mind, think in that manner so it is not my language or your language. We all have forgotten the ancient language. There is not Indian cloud or British cloud or my cloud or your cloud. Everything is the same. Everywhere clouds are the same. Land is the same – only geographically we divide. The land is one. We have demarcated and differentiated. So we fight. The man-made countries fight. We need that broad mindedness and nothing else.
Geetaji: Absolutely. It is the chance given to learn yoga. Do we not learn modern medical science? If you have a great chance in any field, learn. We can study all the religions. Nobody stops us from learning. Our life is so small and knowledge is so vast that we cannot learn everything. That's why at the end Upanishad says, life is so small, the knowledge is so vast, so let us have that faith and proceed with that understanding. Yoga is the subject which makes you to understand the very self, the soul. The origin, the base, the foundation. What we need is a broad frame for mind.
There are so many similarities and nearness to all the religions, but we miss to see that. When you begin to study and compare you feel somewhere they are very close to each other. You will find the foundation is the same. Christ talks about the Ten Commandments which are very close to yama and niyama. He didn't say, "Be violent." Otherwise he would have taken the opposite step. He says be non-violent and Patanjali too says be non-violent. To be humanitarian we have to be non-violent otherwise we will end up with the destruction only.
Human beings are the same, their emotions are the same. The six enemies of every human being are the same, to whichever class, caste, country, religion belongs to. Anger, desire, delusion, greed, pride, jealousy, all these are common in everyone. If you have anger you are going to have high blood pressure, you are going to have a cardiac problem. You are going to have family problems because it’s your anger. You fight with each other. Does the anger say that you belong to this country or that sect so it would not affect you. So the human problems are the same, which are invited by us.
We mistrust each other?
Geetaji: Yes. We don't trust each other. We have no faith in each other. If we don't trust people, we are going to land up with all the problems.
Somewhere you need to have love. Somewhere you need to have trust. Somewhere you need to have faith, friendliness.
So if you have an association, fight but be friendly! That's all at the end of the day, we have to conclude. Fight! It doesn't matter. But the fighting should be constructive. Because that brings the inner hidden misunderstandings to the surface. It brings more transparency and then you are friendly. That's maturity. And the maturity terminates into proper solution.
So yoga teaches this maturity.
To whichever religion one belongs to, yoga teaches us to be friendly, compassionate, kind, happy. It teaches us to be indifferent and unattached
when there is a wrong approach like dishonesty, mistrust etc.
Today if you only have four people in the association the four will work in such a manner that there is no tussle. There is no fight. But then as the association grows bigger and bigger in its size we need to have some laws and regulations so that it brings harmony.
In the early days recognised teachers were very few. Even I was recognised as a teacher. I was not a master when I was recognised in 1961. Officially I became a teacher in 1961. It was not in 1961 that I was absolutely a mature yoga teacher and that I knew everything. But Guruji trusted. He told me that up to a certain point I can teach. He was guiding me. If a person had the problem, if it was within my capacity, he would say, "Teach," but if a person had a serious problem, then he would teach. So similarly when a small group in U.K. was there, he said ok – teach, because somewhere it has to reach the people. One person cannot go on. But where there were problems he said not to touch such people. They had to wait for Guruji to come and teach. So in those days he had to recognise the teacher in that manner. Now we have to filter to a great extent.
Now there are too many teachers, so we need to filter because they come with the ambition to become a yoga teacher and get the certificate. More than the devotion there is ambition. They are not basically devoted to yoga. They just want certificates. So we have to filter saying unless you are devoted, dedicated to this – we won't. And now Guruji has lessened the period between two levels. He says youngsters are taking interest so let us not give a big gap because when youngsters want to pick up let us have a small gap. Let them get the certificate. If at the age of twenty-five they want to have Intermediate Junior or Senior – fine. If they are performing well let us give them a certificate. But at the same time Guruji is the one who is saying that the certificate is not the end of it. Certificate is the beginning of knowledge. You are certified to foster the knowledge and experience, because if you are not a certified teacher you are just a student. Fine – I will say you are just a student, you learn this much, that is enough for you. But if you are a teacher you need to have this knowledge. So it's the beginning of knowledge. So you can inform them like that, those who argue with you!
And why that kind of binding is required? Yes, always you have to have a binding with a guru to know the origin of it. You know junk food is bad. You know that fast food is bad for the health. You understand that junk food, fast food, is harmful to the body. You want to have fresh food. You want to have good food, rightly balanced food, etc. Then is it not needed in yoga too? Suppose if they are certified through Iyengar and also certified by someone else. Are they not making junk food there? Is it not just a fast food there that you have got a certificate from Iyengar and you have a certificate from someone else? Certification courses are given everywhere, so you may gather another ten certificates. Are you not going to make a junk of it and land up with all the problems, because nothing is clear to you though you are certified? And even if you are not given certificates the same is going to happen. So if you want to have the certificate you have to go through this whole subject thoroughly, the whole method thoroughly, otherwise it can harm like fast food, junk food, mixed food and old food. Nothing will be digested. You need to have the intelligence to connect and co-ordinate whatever you learn and experience. That's how it has to be. So you can definitely tell those people who are talking about certification, the Certification Mark, that the purity has to be maintained.
You see, it is simple. You have been given a name "Judith" and by mistake I call you Stephanie. You don't like it! You say, "I'm not Stephanie," right? Why you say so? Because you know that you are recognised by your name and Stephanie is recognised by her name. And then I have to say I am sorry because it’s my fault calling you Stephanie, because you are not she. So this is how the recognition is required. So if you are following Iyengar way it means you are recognised, on that line. Guruji hasn't said that this is his method, but certainly something special came of his way of teaching and imparting. One day it may become universal, who knows, what he has worked out, what he has thought over, his vision. It becomes universal one day. The question doesn't arise then whether it’s Iyengar. People will say this is Yoga! Then the question of name doesn't arise. For instance, we say "Newton's Law" – yes? We give credit to him. Every physicist will be agreeing that it is Newton's Law because he was the first thinker to think in that manner. So similarly it is Guruji who thought in a certain way, so it became the "Iyengar way". He hasn't specially created his way. He has not said that, "This is his way and you follow". He has never said that. On the contrary, every time he says that this is what Patanjali has said. Only Guruji gave us a vision to look. Newton gave us vision to look. That is how one has to understand. He never said that it is his yoga. But now believe me in 1960-61 these asanas that Guruji does were not known to anyone. When Guruji came to the U.K. do you mean that people were knowing the asanas? They may have known head balance, shoulder stand. But, Standing poses were unknown, except Trikonasana. Triangle pose was known to everyone, in whichever way, different styles, different ways but people were doing triangle pose. Now they know Parsvakonasana, they know Virabhadrasana, Parsvottanasana. Uttanasana was known, but Padangustasana was not known, Pada Hastasana was unknown. In the lecture in the States I also mentioned about this. These asanas were unknown. It is Guruji who made people to know about the asanas. The book Light on Yoga came and people started recognising those asanas. Nobody knew balancing except Bhujapidasana and Bakasana. Now everyone does Urdhva Kukkutasana, everybody picks up Parsva Kukkutasana, although they may be belonging to different schools. Urdvha Dhanurasana and Salabasana were the only backbends known. Now everyone does Viparita Chakrasana. Everyone does Natarajasana. So how did it come into the foreground?
Often I say that now the next generation will not know about it. They will think the asanas were known. Of course they were existing, undoubtedly, but the world was not knowing it. It was not known, it was hidden, the knowledge was hidden until Guruji started travelling and brought them to the forefront. True that to Guruji it was transferred through Guru Krishnamacharya. But when Guru Krishnamacharya taught Guruji he was not doing all these asanas at that moment. Since Guruji was young he taught him and Guruji started doing them and continued to do them. Now, everyone has adopted them irrespective of whichever school they belong to or the method they follow. The students of Iyengar doing them is one thing, but like Newton's Law it has been accepted, is also the fact. So now everybody has accepted these asanas, the varieties of pranayama. If Guruji decides to write on dhyana, I am sure it will be well received. Yoga is a universal subject. It has to become a universal subject. But as the pupils of Guruji, we should be able to at least inform people that the source is here who made people to recognise, understand and appreciate the art of yoga.
It’s not just that he taught yoga to the West. It is more that he opened yoga to human consciousness.
That is exactly what we as pupils have to understand. So now the word yoga has become close, familiar and popular to everyone because he made that subject to come to this level.
Last Sunday we gave a demonstration. The explanation was in Marathi for Maharashtrans. Guruji said that when he came in 1937 to Pune, there were hardly four yoga teachers who were known in those days in the whole of India.
There were only a few yoga teachers. In those days nobody really knew anyone as yoga teachers. Even the subject was unknown. Very few, who had studied the philosophy were aware of the subject. And now in every lane you find the yoga teachers. That also I mentioned the other day in that lecture. Now is the time to recognise which is the genuine yoga, because anyone can put up a board. Anyone can open the classes. And it is true that every lane now you find yoga teachers, even in this small area. So how did this subject come to recognition in that manner?
Now, why the Iyengar community has to be there? – to protect the purity and give knowledge. Let us not make a market of it. Something which is easily saleable in the market – "Let us sell" – is the attitude of the modern world. That should not be our attitude. That should not be the aim. We have to see that the purity is maintained. That is why community is required, that is why certification is required. That is why guru-sisya relationship is required. You should be able to link your knowledge and your experience with the origin. The teacher leads you to trace the origin. All these things are interlinked. They are not separate issues. They are not even issues to fight. It is just to understand. It is an evolving process. Yoga is not a stagnated subject. The journey ends only when one reaches the ultimate goal. It is a process to maintain the purity, to continue with the purity. The method cannot be changed according to one’s whim and fancy. It cannot be changed just to satisfy someone. The purity and sanctity of the subject needs to be maintained. These days anything goes in the name of self-realisation. Even sex now is labelled in the name of self-realisation. How can it be? These are the things one should know. This is thought pollution. Pollution in thought; pollution in behaviour; pollution in character. So to maintain the purity you have to observe all these things. One may argue. Verbal argument is possible in any way, in any direction. It is said that dharma (duty), artha (means of livelihood), kama (worldly enjoyment), moksa (freedom), are the four purusarthas (the objectives of human-beings). It is a very clear demarcation. Otherwise kama and moksa, the worldly enjoyment and liberation or self-realisation become one. [ref. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali p.35]. All four aspects are indicated as separate – dharma, artha, kama, moksa.
That is why Guruji has said very clearly that dharma and moksa are like two banks of the river. Kama and artha are like the river flowing between the two banks. Like the river which flows and floods whenever it rains, these two never end.
Our desires never end. The money mindedness never ends. The mind hankers all the time after enjoyments. The desires "I want this and I want that", continues. That is human nature. So Guruji says to put a borderline to artha and kama with dharma and moksa. When we say duty, this is the duty – dharma. Moral and ethical behaviour is a duty. To live a spiritual life is a duty. It is our duty to find out for what sake we are existing. We have to find out the root cause of living. You may have given the word spirituality. What is spirituality? We call it adhyatma vidya, the one which is covering the soul. What is the adhyatma. The one which covers the atma (soul) is adhyatma. We need to know these coverings these sheaths so that we can remove them to see the soul. The body, the mind, intelligence, consciousness, all these cover the soul. One needs to realise these sheaths to uncover the soul. Suppose if God blesses us to say we are going to live longer and longer. Are we going to be happy? The death is a blessing given to us. In the Mahabharata there is a story. The father asks the son to give his life so that he remains young while the son becomes old. The son takes the old age of the father by giving him his youth. Then one day the father realises, there is no point in remaining young. How long can one enjoy the sexual life? At some point it ends. Love is beyond sex. One has to see that at some point the kama ends, the desire ends, and a pure love and pure devotion begins. If one is all the time indulging in sensual and sexual pleasures we say there is something wrong with that person. We say that treatment is needed for this because it is an unusual thing to happen. It’s abnormal. Even some of the marriages are broken because of that, because it is an abnormality. One has to know which is normal, which is abnormal, so that indulgence cannot be there. Similar to dharma, artha, kama, and moksa, we talk about four ashramas, or four stages of life. These four aims of the human beings are fulfilled in four stages. Earlier in brahmacharyashrama in which one studies for 20 years with the guru to have the knowledge. That's why the guru towards the end of the course, blesses and says, "Go, your bramacharyashrama is over. Twenty five years you have studied with me. Now the next twenty five years be a grihasthashrami and give the knowledge to others because it has to be protected. That is why you need to have a family to continue with the knowledge. Then after the marriage and family life there is vanaprasthashrama in which one takes off the mind from the family and proceeds towards sannyasashrama in which one sacrifices and abandons every thing and proceeds towards the self realisation and freedom. That's why we say that we should not have apamrutyu. We should not die before time. The death also has to come majestically at the right time. Dying in the middle of life shows incompleteness. Therefore the Upanishads say to live for a hundred years. To die at an early age is considered as a tragedy. Because the link is broken, the duty is broken.
So the certification is to keep the linkage. The certification mark is like taking an oath to be honest to the guru. The certification holders and certification mark holders have to remember that they have to follow the yogic path having the fencing of dharma and moksha on both sides. They have to do the study aiming at liberation. They have to pass on the knowledge to the next generation. In between these two fences the artha and kama has to be well planned. They have to carry the message correctly. They have to organise. The association is required for this purpose. Why does there have to be an ethics committee? It is meant for this purpose to see that artha and kama does not go distorted. It does not become the soul and goal of Yoga practitioners. Associations are to help the followers of Yoga and to have a check on them. So they also need to be honest and modest. Associations are not meant to boss over but rather bring people together for good understanding and "Give and Take".