Wisdom of Life

B.K.S. Iyengar: The Meaning of Life — The Harmony of Body, Mind and Soul

“Love begets courage,
moderation creates abundance and
humility generates power.”

 

BKS+Iyengar

“Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga — don’t take a break.

Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.

Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions. The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity, peace, and poise, to free it from confusion and distress.

Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together. Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees. Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present. Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life. Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed. Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquillity and joy.

Words cannot convey the value of yoga – it has to be experienced.

You must purge yourself before finding faults in others. When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake. This is the way to take judgment and to turn it into improvement. Do not look at others’ bodies with envy or with superiority. All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacities and continually improve upon them. By drawing our senses of perception inwards, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind. Do not aim low, you will miss the mark. Aim high and you will be on a threshold of bliss.

Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal. One’s spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one’s fellow beings. As animals, we walk the earth. As bearers of divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle, seeking to reconcile the paradox of how to make our way upon earth while striving for something more permanent and more profound.

We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. When two parties do not cooperate, there is unhappiness on both sides. Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open. But a yogi never forgets that health must begin with the body. Your body is the child of the soul. You must nourish and train your child. Physical health is not a commodity to be bargained for. Nor can it be swallowed in the form of drugs and pills. It has to be earned through sweat. The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for your soul to reside in.

Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence, and benevolence of spirit. Asanas maintain the strength and health of the body, without which little progress can be made. Asanas keep the body in harmony with nature.

Breath is the king of mind. Breath is the vehicle of consciousness and so, by its slow measured observation and distribution, we learn to tug our attention away from external desires toward a judicious, intelligent awareness. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.

You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul. There is no progress toward ultimate freedom without transformation, and this is the key issue in all lives.

The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it. It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence. It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity. Happy is the man who knows how to distinguish the real from the unreal, the eternal from the transient and the good from the pleasant by his discrimination and wisdom. Twice blessed is he who knows true love and can love all God’s creatures. He who works selflessly for the welfare of others with love in his heart is thrice blessed. But the man who combines within his mortal frame knowledge, love and selfless service is holy and becomes a place of pilgrimage.

Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.”

“The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator.”

***

~Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as B.K.S. Iyengar, was the founder of the style of yoga as exercise known as “Iyengar Yoga” and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.

Excerpts from:

  • B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom
  • B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga

Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Wisdom of Life, Yoga

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