Beautiful words by Dr Kausthub Desikachar

“His Master’s Voice – Yogasūtra of Patañjali
Explained by Dr. Kausthub Desikachar

1.13 Sa tu dirgha-kala-nairantarya-satkara-adara-asevitah drdha-bhumih

Last time we discussed sutra 1. 13, tatra sthitau yatnah-abhyasah, which defined the concept of practice, and we found that it was something that takes us close to the goal and sustains us there. Patanjali does not tell us what it is that we should practice, for that depends on our goal and where we are in our life. That is the power of now, of Yoga – being in the present moment.

What he does describe, in this following sutra, is certain important qualities that practice should have, so that it is able to attain drdha-bhumih, a strong foundation. 
Firstly, he makes it clear that yoga is a long process: doing ten Sun Salutations will not immediately result in citta-vrtti-nirodhah. You must have the discipline of practice for a long time. The first attribute of practice, therefore, is dirgha-kala, a long period of time. This does not mean five hours a day – duration depends on many things – but it does mean that it needs to be done for many weeks, many months, maybe years. It’s no good stopping after a few days because you don’t see any results. That is the challenge of Yoga – it takes time, and so this is presented first.

However, a long time is not enough – it should also be uninterrupted, which is the meaning of nairantarya. So many people give up for one reason or another, feel guilty and start again. My grandfather used to say that if you interrupt practice, when you resume it, it’s like returning to Day Zero. If you are eating every day and sleeping every day, to nourish yourself, you should also practise every day, like a ritual … when people asked on what day they could have a break, he would reply, on the days you don’t eat, you don’t have to practice.

Satkara is a very beautiful word with many meanings. Sat means the truth, what is real – so satkara means that you should practice according to your capacity and your reality, and this changes every day. It also means a positive attitude, a belief in what you are doing, that it will work. Then it will have better results. Adara means with eagerness, with enthusiasm: you should look forward to practicing every day!

Asevitah means that the practice must have, be served by, all these qualities. Then it will gain a strong foundation. This is a very important word. You are not being guaranteed citta-vrtti-nirodhah, but what has to manifest will manifest. Practicing doesn’t mean that you will get the result that you want, but you will get what is right for you, what is within your potential. Perhaps you will discover your goal: the goal which is appropriate for you and which is meant for you. Different people have different gifts, abilities and capacities. We must accept the limits of our svabhava, our potential, and act accordingly.

When Patanjali talked of the goal of Yoga in the third sutra, he said that consciousness will be established in its own nature, its own svabhava. Please practice in this way, my friends, and your practice will gain a very good foundation.”

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