In that pure consciousness (ishvara) the seed of omniscience has reached its highest development and cannot be exceeded.
Therein lies the seed of unsurpassed omniscience.
In Isvara is the complete manifestation of the seed of omniscience.
The pure consciousness is the seed of pure knowledge. Sri Swami Satchidananda says that to imagine our own limited knowledge implies that there must be a source of infinite knowledge .
Guruji is supposed to have said these famous words, and recently I have noticed that when I practice early in the morning without coffee, my practice is terrible – I feel heavy, lethargic and lifeless, and I can barely get through the standing poses. If I have a coffee first, I feel much lighter, energised and able to get through to navasana, even right through the primary series if time allows.
In Ayurveda, coffee is said to be rajasic – producing activity. However, it is not that we should avoid rajasic foods altogether, rather have a balance between rajasic and sattvic foods (sattvic producing understanding), & avoiding tamasic foods (meat, etc, which produce inertia and ignorance). So by implication, a little coffee before practice should be ok.
Sharath actually likened the practice to drinking a cup of coffee. He said that he looks forward to that first cup of coffee in the morning and makes a conscious effort to relish and enjoy it. The practice, he said, should be just like that too. You shouldn’t just do the practice just to do it and get it done, you should enjoy your practice every day. My takeaway from this speaks deeply to the mind training of the Ashtanga Yoga method. You can go through the motions of the practice just like you can chug a cup of coffee in the morning because it’s part of your routine. Or you can consciously choose to savor each sip of your life. You can choose to train your mind to enjoy every moment of your practice just as you can choose to focus on the positive elements of every life experience.
I went with a friend to the Wellbeing Show last weekend. We started the day with a ‘sound bath’ meditation, by Anne Malone, which took place in a cosy yurt filled with rugs and cushions, a beautiful coccoon-like setting. Having never done anything like this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Anne is a lovely warm Irish woman, who has an interesting collection of instruments – Tibetan bowls, a rain stick and a hang – a mini steelpan played with soft beaters. The idea was that the sound vibrations of the different instruments would enhance the guided meditation. I left the yurt feeling calmer and ready for the festival.
Annie Malone (picture courtesy of Annie’s Website)
Next I went straight into a ‘hatha yoga flow’ session. The teacher Denisa Nenova was lovely, and made a real point of explaining that yoga is way more than asana practice.
We wandered round for a bit, sipping our kale smoothies and looking at the stalls – there were a lot of ‘psychic reading’ type stalls, which is a bit ‘out there’ even for me.
We ended the day with a session on the heart chakra with Yogi Ashokonanda. Expecting this to be a gentle session, we were rather taken aback when we had to jump from Warrior I pose changing legs in one breath for about 5 minutes continuously! Even as someone who practices ashtanga yoga, this was the hardest yoga I have ever done! I guess the purpose of it was to get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing fully, so that you can really tune into the heart chakra. Some people clearly hadn’t expected this either, as they were removing layers of sweaty jumpers to keep up. The essence of the workshop was that chanting mantras can help to keep the heart chakra open (we chanted the Radhe-Krishna mantra).
That creative source (ishvara) is a particular consciousness (purusha) that is unaffected by colorings (kleshas), actions (karmas), or results of those actions that happen when latent impressions stir and cause those actions
Ishvara is a distinguished supreme consciousness untouched by the colored results of actions or the pain of suffering
Isvara is a particular Purusa (consciousness) unaffected by affliction, deed , result of action or the latent impressions thereof
This sutra gives us more detail on ishvara – the Supreme Being or Universal Consciousness. This blog lists the following qualities of ishvara:
- free from the 5 modes of suffering (Yoga Sutra 1.5); ignorance, desire, aversion, fear, Egoism/I-am-ness
- free from the results of karma/action whether good or bad
- free from the anguish of the life-death cycles
- free from the subconscious impressions of Samkaras (karmas from past, present and future)
- Supreme intelligence