Yoga — Ethico-Religious, Not Moral-Ethical, Practice
1. I mentioned that we are not unicellular. We are multi-cellular. We have a society within us…. The questioner asks if moral-ethical principles have only a social reference…: Should they only be practiced in… society? If we have a society within us, does it not entail that we must be still practicing morality and ethicality… in the internal realm [although] I said we don’t need it?
Of course, it’s simple to reason that the society outside of us is a society. Each member of… society… not being related to us…, [and] most of them being unknown to us…, these behavior aspects come up. When we are in front of an unknown person, we will put on a mask. We will not put on a mask when we are with familiar people. But the moment we are out in society…, we want to project that we are decent people.
So, in society, outside of us, [we display a] lot of semblance (pretense)… [because] we cannot be…. an open book to every member in society. So moral-ethical principles are definitely required in society.
2. But while we are in the internal realm of yoga, it doesn’t entail that [same] morality-ethicality for the simple reason that, although we have a society inside — we are some hundreds of trillions of cells within us, the cells of different functions, different calibers, different profiles, different purposes… — it is our society. In a way, in a sense, it is integral to us.
3. The society outside of us…, say Indian society, is not integral to every Indian… But we say we are an Indian society, or an American society, etc.
But within the embodiment, it is integral — they are all integrally ours. You [may] not know the entire embodiment. An illiterate person or a child doesn’t know that there is an organ called kidney, an organ called heart, stomach, liver, lungs etc. They don’t know that these are our organs. There is nothing like “Kidney Esquire,” “Lungs Esq.,” or “Heart Esq.,” yet they’re integrally theirs…. Illiterate, innocent, ignorant, uneducated people do not know about so many aspects in the body, yet they’re integrally theirs. Within us, there is a different society.
It is, in a true sense, “our” society. If you are an Indian, the whole of India is not, in a true sense, “your” society. If you’re an American, [or] British, in a true sense, it is not ““your” society although we say, “We are all British,” “we are all Americans,” and “We are all Indians.” In a true sense, the integral aspect is not there. Within the embodiment, all those cells which form a huge, populous society are integrally… ours.
4. Then…, when we are working within ourselves, where is the question of semblance (pretense)? Does the mind want to cheat the intelligence? Does the intelligence want to cheat the mind? Does the physical body wants to cheat the mental body? Does the mental body wants to cheat the physical body? Such a condition is not there within us. And there is no way to have a mask…. Your intelligence can’t mask your mind, and vice versa. So, putting on a mask is not entailed. There is no room for it. It is not needed, [and] it is not even possible.
5. Therefore, the society within us is a totally different structure, where we will be very, very candid without even an iota of semblance. But when we are out in the world, we can’t say there is not even an iota of semblance…. There’s an enormous semblance that we don’t have within the internal realm. Therefore, etiquette, the aspects of decency…, is not even needed in the internal society. We don’t need to have etiquette. The mind doesn’t need etiquette to interact with the intelligence, or body with mind, mind with body, breath with body, breath with mind. They don’t need… etiquette, or decencies. It’s an open world inside. The society inside is a totally open society. Therefore, the moral-ethical principles which we need to practice in social life are not needed in our internal social life.
It’s a totally different society, totally integral to us. [It’s] mutually integral to each other. It is a totally different society. Therefore, [instead of] moral-ethical principles, [we need] ethico-religious principles.
Pratipaksha Bhavanam is Self-admonishment +07.30
1. Then there is a question about pratipaksha bhavanam. Patanjali mentions pratipaksha bhavanam. What is pratipaksha bhavanam (consideration of the opposite)?
2. When, in our moral-ethical life, we violate the practice truth, or ahimsa — or whatever normative principles we are practicing — we’re not tormented. As a matter of fact, we have a justification. We say, “Why did I speak untruth? Because it was practical for me.” We try to justify our violation. So, whenever these principles are violated in the moral-ethical realm, it doesn’t prick us.
If we have spoken untruth for some practical gain, and practical purpose, not only don’t we [feel] a prick of conscience, but we justify having… taken recourse to himsa (harmfulness), asatya (non-truthfulness), ashaucha (lack of purity), etc. When we are practicing moral-ethical principles, and they are violated, not only is our conscience not pricked, there is also a justification for [doing so].
We will justify it. We will narrate why it was violated, [or even] that, actually, there was no violation at all, that we did the perfectly right [thing]: “I spoke untruth, and that was perfectly right. I embraced himsa (harmfulness) and it was perfectly right.” So, the point is that when moral-ethical principles are violated, basically there is no prick of conscience. Moreover, there is also justification.
3. But suppose we have taken a vow that, “Today I am not going to break my fast. I’m not going to eat the whole day.” If it is violated for some reason…, for any reason, or [because] we’re trapped…, there is a prick, because we vowed that, “I won’t do this today.” When a vrata (vow) is violated, it pricks our conscience, and we don’t try to justify it. We understand that it was a blunder, and we were caught in it, or we were forced to violate it. It is not a comfortable condition.
While if we violate moral-ethical principles…, our conscience is not pricked, and we justify it as well…. Yama and niyama are vratas. If they are violated for any reason, and we know the reasons of violation that are mentioned by Patanjali —
vitarkah himsadayah krta karita anumoditah lobha krodha moha purvakah murdu madhya adhimatrah duhkha ajnana ananta-phalah iti pratipaksha- bhavanam |
Vitarka (uncertain knowledge; perverse thoughts) giving rise to himsa (violence), whether done directly (performed by oneself) or indirectly (by another), or condoned, is caused by greed, anger or delusion (moha) and they are either mild, medium and intense in degree. It results in endless (ananta-phala) duhkha (pain) and ajnana (ignorance). Through pratipaksha-bhavanam (introspection) comes the end of duhkha (pain) and ajnana (ignorance). [PYS II.34]
These are the various reasons, causes and factors for violating our vratas. They are uncomfortable. They [cause] discomfiture…, and we are vexed by violation.
If you vowed that you are going to practice your asanas by come what may…, but, for some reason, violated [the vow], you can’t try to justify it. It really pricks, because that was a vow….
A vrata (vow) is a different thing. These yamas and niyamas are vratas. If they’re violated, then there is pratipaksha-bhavanam. What is pratipaksha-bhavanam? Because the conscience is pricked, there is self-admonishment. Self-admonishment… is pratipaksha-bhavanam. You will have self abhorrence, self admonishment. You’re angry with yourself. So that is pratipaksha-bhavanam.
4. Vyasa gives a wonderful example: We take a vow that we have decided to practice… in all possible ways, not allowing any violation, etc. But when the vow is broken, what is the pratipaksha-bhavanam that Vyasa explains?
He says, “ So, I had decided I would not violate [my vow], but I violated it. I’m worse than a dog licking his own vomit.”
If you had decided that you would [take] a vrata, and then, if it were violated, it is almost [as if] you vomited your vow, [like] the dog said to be licking his vomit. The dog… will lick his own vomit. We never do that…: “I behaved like a dog. What I had abandoned, what I vowed I would not do today, [I] have done…. [It is like] licking my own vomit.” [VB II.33] That is how severe the self-admonishment [is]. That is pratipaksha-bhavanam.
5. [The vow] might be violated because of anger, because of greed…, or because of delusion…. [PYS II.34] It might be directly, or indirectly, violated. It might be to a mild degree, or a middle degree, or an intense degree. Violation will take place in various forms, and, therefore, the self-admonishment will depend on that.
If you have really given up your vow for ordinary reasons, the prick [of conscience] is greater. But for violating your vow for a very strong reason, it doesn’t prick more. But if the vrata is violated for a petty reason, it hurts more. If it hurts more, then the self-admonishment will be very strong. It should be very strong for the simple reason, “I gave up my vow.”
6. Pratipaksha-bhavanam is self-admonishment, expiation, or for atonement. [When] you get angry with yourself…, you end up doing what? So that is pratipaksha-bhavanam in the yamas and niyamas, because they are vratas (vows).
It depends upon the degree — mild, middle, or intense. Then, also, the instrument of violation — you might have [acted] on your own accord, or it might be due to someone else, instigated by someone else or somebody who made you violate it:
krta karita anumoditah
committed by oneself, caused to be done through others, consented to
7. When we go into that sutra [PYS II.34], we will consider that. And the [the cause]:
krta karita anumoditah lobha krodha moha purvakah |
done directly (performed by oneself) or indirectly (by another), or condoned, is caused by greed, anger or delusion
Why did I violate it? Did I get angry and upset? Was it anger which made me violate it, greed that made me violate it, or a delusion, infatuation, that made me violate it?
So the pratipaksha-bhavanam will depend upon the reason why it was violated, the instruments through which it was violated, and the degree, the magnitude, to which it was violated. So that is pratipaksha-bhavanam.
Astrology Influences Timing +16.30
1. Then another question came up about when we were dealing with the karma and dharma. Do astrological factors really influence us and why? If there is destiny, why do those factors [matter]?
As a matter of fact, the [two factors] complement your destiny. They come to help your destiny. Astrological factors… decide whether we will succeed or fail, and to what extent. And when will we succeed, and when will we fail.
2. The astrological factors are really a force to reckon with because they’re adhidaivika (celestial) aspects within us. Because there are adhidaivika aspects, which I explained you, the astrological readings tell you about these daivika influences…. These are all daivas.
Your fate is really actualized because of the planetary conditions. We are given the bhogas (experiences) and the bhogas will fructify because of astrological conditions — whether you know astrology, or not, and whether you have taken a reading of it, or not.
That’s why sometimes we say, “it was a good time,” or “it was a bad time.” Sometimes [when we] succeed that timing is not so suitable, so we really can’t enjoy our success. The success comes at an unsuitable time. When success comes at a suitable time, you have greater enjoyment, greater delight, greater accomplishment.
But if the success comes at a wrong point in time, there’s a little bitterness in our minds — “Oh, not at this time, should I have had it…. [but], at some other point in time.”
The time factor is so important. We want the things to happen at a particular point in time. What is this point in time? So this point in time is the thing that astrology speaks about. Whether it is a good time, or not [such a] good time, a very bad time, or not [such a] bad time.
Our bhogas will be really working in a full fledged manner if they come at right point in time. If there is a mismatch between the time, and the consequence, or the fruition, then it is not that effective.
Like when somebody wants to become a very, very rich and affluent person. When should the riches come to the person? When the person is young, in prime age? Suppose someone gets that, when on the deathbed, waiting for death to come at any point in time. So fortune coming then, at that point in time, is not… that fortunate. But if the fortune comes at the right point in time, in the right place, the time-space situation we speak about — when it comes in the right space-time situation — it has a greater fructification, a greater fruition.
3. So we speak about bad times and good times. What are these bad times and good times? When do you want to have bad times? What do you want to have in your bad times, what do you want in good times? There are certain things that you want to have in bad times. There are certain things that you want to have in good times. What are these times? These are all astrological factors.
The guru dasha, the surya dasha, shukra dasha astrological factors really contribute in a big way for fruition to take place at the right point in time. What is that right point in time? It is not that you desire it. [When] you desire is the right time. When the fruition is magnified, maximized…, [and is] positive, that’s the right time. When it’s a negative fruition, it should come at a different time.
If you’re already [experiencing] significant sorrow, [another] small sorrow is not a big problem. Or, when you have a lot of pleasure, delight, a small sorrow… also will be assimilated. So sometimes we assimilate, and sometimes we don’t assimilate. It depends upon what is on our plate. Is there a lot of delight, or a lot of sorrow? When there is a lot of sorrow, we want certain things to come. When there is a lot of delight, we want certain things to come. That is the astrological factor.
4. It is very much there in karma siddhanta (law of karma), and that’s also part of our experience in life. We speak vaguely about good times and bad times. Why are there good times and why are there bad times? Astrological factors are one of the important things there.
Benefactor & Beneficiary in Asana Defined + 22.35
1. I spoke about the benefactor – beneficiary relationship in asana. Body, mind, and breath will be mutual benefactors, and mutual beneficiaries. The question is how to identify what is the benefactor and what is the beneficiary?
It’s quite easy. When you are doing asana for your legs, the legs are beneficiaries. If you are doing it for your waist, the waist is the beneficiary. If you’re doing it for your back, the back is the beneficiary. If you’re doing it for your chest, your chest is the beneficiary. So, the beneficiary is that for which you are doing.
You have to ask the question, “Why am I doing it? For what am I doing it?” If I am doing it to comfort my mind…, to ease my mind, then the mind becomes the beneficiary. If I want ease in my body — limberness, flexibility, and freedom in the body — then the body becomes beneficiary.
2. Now the one who gives that benefit, is the benefactor. Suppose your legs are the beneficiary. If you want to do it for the legs, then all that your back…, the spine…, the chest and trunk…, your mind…, and the breath do — are the benefactors. Because they do, you get the benefit. So these are the instruments with which you can benefit your legs. When your benefit your spine, back or waist, [each part] that contributes to that, is instrumental, becomes a benefactor.
The body, mind, and breath aspects can become benefactors to the waist. So to identify who is the beneficiary — [ask] — for what sake am I doing it? Where do I want an advantage? Where do I want a benefit? So where you’re trying to give benefit, that becomes beneficiary of all that you do therein…. If it gets a benefit, it’s a beneficiary. The one which gives benefits, that becomes benefactor. So you can easily identify benefactor body and beneficiary body. Not only in the body but in the breath sometimes you want to give benefit to your breath.
3. Suppose you have done lot of hill climbing and you’re panting for breath. Where do you want to recover first? You want to benefit the breath. You want the breath to recover first. So whatever you do… for your breath to recover, to [stop]… that panting, are all benefactors. And when the breath recovers after a… couple of minutes, when the breath…, comes to normal, that means the breath was the beneficiary. You did something, you rested…, you sat quietly somewhere — whatever you did for your breath to recover, the breath became a beneficiary, and all those agencies which worked for it to recover, became the benefactors.
4. So it is not difficult to identify who is the benefactor lobby and who is the beneficiary lobby while you execute an asana. In the body-set addressal, you will see that [some] body aspects are… beneficiaries, then other parts of the body, other aspects of the body, will also be benefactors. If you want to release your waist, you have to use your arms in twists. Arms become benefactors, the waist becomes the beneficiary. So, when you want to benefit a particular location, particular aspect, identify that [along with] all the dynamics which are being constituted. There will be benefactors in the body, benefactors in the breath, benefactors in the mind. They will contribute to the beneficiary. So it is easy to identify the benefactor-beneficiary aspects.
Uddiyana Kriya as Prerequisite for Kapalabhati +26.45
1. There is a question about Kapalabhati Agnisara kriyas which was not part of my delineation. Somebody has asked, “How many Kapalabhati should one be doing?” That means they want a number, whether 25? 30? Or 100, 200, 500 or 1000, whatever the number.
2. Since this was not part of my delineation, I need to say certain things. Before going to Kapalabhati kriya or Agnisara kriya — in the classical approach — first go for Uddiyana kriya. So in various asanas, do the Uddiyana kriya as often as you can. It can be any asana. It can be a standing pose, it can be a forward bend, it can be a backbend, it can be a twisting, inversion, variations of Sirsasana, variations of Sarvangasana.
The Uddiyana kriya must be attempted, with the exception being somebody having tummy upset, or a clinical condition, pregnancy, menstruation, diarrhea, dysentery, stomach [disease], or a clinical diagnosis of the abdomen. It should not be attempted in that case of [anything] that is not a normal condition.
Otherwise, Uddiyana kriya should be attempted. That’s the first thing [to learn] before you go to Kapalabhati – Agnisara. Uddiyana kriya, Uddiyana mudra is important. And this Uddiyana mudra, as just now suggested, should be done in various asanas.
3. If you are doing the Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas, you [cannot] just do it as is shown in the texts, the classical books, that take you to a particular position — sitting, or standing up and slightly leaning forward, keeping your hands on the knees, etc., to do the kriyas. That is not the way to learn the kriya. Agnisara and Kapalabhati kriyas must be learned in suitable postures.
So, be in Baddha Konasana, Supta Virasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, or Matsyasana, lying down positions, to do Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas. Jathara Parivartanasana, try to do Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas. You will get benefit from Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas in various positions. You can be doing Shashankasana, i.e., what you call Adho Mukha Virasana, to attempt Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas, rather than trying the way it is mentioned in the texts.
The texts say how asana, pranayama, kriyas, etc., should be done…. No text will ever tell you about how it should be learned. Traditionally, it is learned by being in different positions, suitable positions. You can do Kapalabhati – Agnisara kriyas even in your Janu Sirsasana. So it should be attempted in various suitable asanas, because we have to learn it.
4. Today, because of this consumerism, and because yoga [is for sale] on [retail] counters, they tell you do Ujjayi, do this asana, do that Ujjayi pranayama, do this Nadi shodhana pranayama, Surya Bhedana pranayama, Anuloma – Pratiloma pranayama, or do Uddiyana kriya, do Kapalabhati. No! We should learn. We are trying to do all these things in the present scenario. Yoga is being done without learning it. Nobody teaches how to learn. They will teach you how to do. This is not the right educational process. It is OK in consumer packages. You are taught to do so many things.
5. But how to learn it? Basically Uddiyana kriya, Uddiyana mudra come first. Then comes Agnisara kriya. And then comes Kapalabhati. This should be attempted in various asanas to get the different processes of these kriyas. And that will help you to become more and more profound. In Bharadvajasana you can be doing Uddiyana mudra, you can do Agnisara and Kapalabhati. So that will work differently because of the rotational aspect in it. The number is not important.
6. The basic indication in Agnisara kriya is to hold the breath and [do] strokes. So, as long as you can retain the breath, you can do it.
In the case of Kapalabhati, if you lose the force, then you should not do it. Because the belly has to move like a bellows. Now, if the force of the bellows is dwindling, and it is not there, what is the point in going for, of targeting, some number — 25-30-45? So you’ll have to monitor whether there is that force in the Kapalabhati bellows. If the force is there, it can be done. When the force is lost, there is no point in dragging. Number is not important. It all depends upon capacity. Young one, old one, weak one, strong one. You can’t stipulate that everyone should do 25 or 45 or 100 or 200 Agnisara kriya. It is because of these conditions — strong, weak, young, old…. The number is not important.
Dhyana, Not Meditation, is for Everyone +33.20
1. A question came about because I said that dhyana is for everyone. It doesn’t need any qualification. So somebody has [questioned why] I made a statement in the initial sessions that yoga is not for one and all, but, more importantly, that there is something for everyone in yoga.
Yoga has something to offer for anyone and everyone. [Whether] strong, weak, diseased, healthy, man, woman, young to very, very old, yoga has something to offer — whether you are an atheist or theist…, a physiocrat or an intellectual. So yoga has something to offer.
The statement that yoga is not for one and all, is a blanket statement, made these days, to [counter attempts to] popularize yoga. Factually, really, there is something in yoga for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that yoga is for one and all.
2. The problem behind the question [about dhyana] is that one has imposed meditation on dhyana; dhyana [mistakenly] means meditation. This equation is fixed in the mind of modern man: Dhyana is meditation. But I have said more than few times that dhyana is not meditation. Meditation is only an aspect of it. Like a rose with several petals, meditation is just one petal. If you remove one petal from the rose, doesn’t the rose still remain a rose…? So meditation is just one petal of that rose which is dhyana. Dhyana comes in so many ways.
It doesn’t need to have the conditions such as “sit straight, erect, firm, steady, spine — neck and head straight, relax your mind and see that you are absolutely steady, and now meditate.” That is meditation. For meditation you need to take such a position. For meditativity you don’t have to take such a position. For meditation, it is implied.
3. So, [if] dhyana is understood as meditation…, it doesn’t reconcile with the statement I made that dhyana is for one and all. Because dhyana comes in so many ways.
As I said, Patanjali says that when the mind is in the doldrums, and you want the mind to come to [stabilize in a] normal state, the justifiable measures and means that you take up, is dhyana. You might listen to some wise man. A wise man’s words comfort you. That is dhyana. Somebody counsels you. That is dhyana. Or you have [self]-counseling. You have your own thought process, and, by that, you comfort yourself. That is dhyana.
Dhyana is also thought. It doesn’t entail that you must be sitting straight, firm, steady, etc. focused here and there. No focus is needed.
4. You can’t even focus your mind when your mind is in the doldrums. So, dhyana comes in so many ways. When you are petrified, will you go for meditation? When you’re timid, will you go for meditation? When the mind is in disarray, will you go for meditation?
When the mind is devastated, do you [sit] for meditation? No, but you can go for dhyana.
5. [Repeat] the name of God — that is dhyana. Recall your revered ones. Recall your loved ones to comfort your mind. That is dhyana. So dhyana is a wider concept.
Don’t try to look at it [through] the [lens] of meditation. Meditation is just a meager aspect of dhyana.
There are so many dhyanas. [For instance,] dhyana of a devotee, a bhakta. What will be the dhyana of a bhakta? The dhyana of a jnani (philosopher)? So there is a kind of dhyana for jnana marga (path of knowledge), another kind of dhyana for karma marga (path of action), another kind of dhyana for bhakti marga (path of devotion), and another kind of dhyana for yoga marga (path of yoga).
There is an ‘n’ number of dhyana sadhanas (practices). So don’t have this condition that you must sit straight, erect, firm, steady, without allowing the mind to wander.
There are certain dhyanas which will come then, when the mind is steadied, or can be steadied…. There is one kind of dhyana when the mind can be steadied easily, or the mind is already steady.
When the mind is in a disarray, meditation doesn’t come; dhyana comes. Because it offers you a solace. It offers you a solution.
It can be just a thought, it can be just a memory. Recall something which will comfort your mind. Then that also becomes dhyana. If it has raised your mind from [below normal] to stasis, it becomes dhyana. So this conditioning, that dhyana, is meditation, must be first overcome. Otherwise, this is going to create a problem for your mind. because you think dhyana is dhyana [i.e., meditation].
6. Patanjali has mentioned a third dhyana, to which I did not refer. That dhyana, which comes in the antaranga sadhana (internal spiritual practice) aspect of ashtanga yoga — dharana, dhyana, samadhi — requires qualification. It is not for [just] anyone. That is for a yogi actually. One should be a yogi to be going for dharana, dhyana, samadhi [including] that dhyana. I did not mention that. I did not delineate on it, because [this] is an educational process.
7. Otherwise today you can get guided meditations on YouTube…. I am not going for this guided dhyana kind of thing. Because, in the educational process, you just can’t cater to what the consumers want. Today the whole world wants something, some meditation, that’s why the masters of yoga today are catering to guided meditations. They tell you something, and you want to embark upon it. You do it and you get it…. You try it, etc., and maybe you think you get it.
8. But if you go by a formal process, Patanjali says, while dealing with pranayama, the effect of pranayama is
dharanasu cha yogyata manasah |
The mind (manas) also becomes fit for concentration (dharana). [PYS II.53]
That means the mind becomes qualified for dharana and dhyana. So there is a pranayama process. We’ve still not touched pranayama at all. I’m not qualified to delineate on that aspect of dhyana, because we have not touched pranayama at all.
9. So we will have to first touch pranayama, we will have to first understand something about pratyahara. We have not really previewed that at all. If we’ve not circumscribed pranayama and pratyahara, then I don’t qualify. I don’t have the right to tell you about that dhyana, the third kind of dhyana which comes in third chapter of Yoga Sutras:
tatra pratyaya-ekatanata dhyanam |
The uninterrupted flow (eka-tanata) of attention directed towards (pratyaya) the same point or region is dhyana (meditation). [PYS III.2]
I have just mentioned two:
The vrttis (created by gross and subtle afflictions) are to be silenced by dhyana [PYS II.11]
yatha-bhimata dhyanat va |
Or, dhyana (by meditating) on any desired object conducive to steadiness of consciousness. [PYS I.39]
I had mentioned only two dhyanas. Not the third dhyana. Because to mention the third dhyana, we will have to understand pranayama, with a little education about pranayama, little education about pratyahara. Only then do we qualify to understand what dhyana is.
10. And let me tell you, such dhyana never ever will be a guided dhyana, a guided meditation for antaranga sadhana of yoga. In antaranga sadhana of ashtanga yoga, there can never be a guided process. So, I just want to end with that statement, I don’t want to further delineate on it, because I [can’t] do that [before] I have spoken about pranayama and pratyahara….
11. When we get to that in our education, then I will hint at how dhyana actualizes as antaranga sadhana of ashtanga yoga, which is the seventh limb of ashtanga yoga. Then, I will be [able] to tell you, and you will be qualified to hear that.
 What is pratipaksha bhavanam (consideration of the opposite): PYS II.33 vitarka-badhane pratipaksha-bhavanam | Vitarka (the principles which are against yama and niyama) is to be countered with pratipaksha- bhavanam (the knowledge of discrimination).
 When, in our moral ethical life, we violate the practice truth, or ahimsa – or whatever normative principles we are practicing – we’re not tormented: See “Yama and Niyama are Ethico-Religious Principles,” Lesson 4: Yama and Niyama — Ethico-Religious Practice 4-19-20 : The five yamas and five niyamas are normative principles. Normative (derived from norms) ethics (rules) is the study of the standards for morality of actions. A deontological (obligatory) approach calls for complying with universally-accepted moral duties and rules because they are inherently right. Morals are guided by subjective interpretations of right and wrong that may also be religion-based. Ethical codes differ from religious and legal codes. Here Prashant has emphasized that the vows of yama and niyama not only supersede moral codes, but that they also deeply affect our conscience. Violation cannot be justified.
` When a vrata (vow) is violated, it pricks our conscience, and we don’t try to justify it: jati desha kala samaya anavacchinnah sarvabhaumah mahavratam | [Yamas are the] universal vows (mahavratam) unconditioned by class, place (or) time. [PYS II.31]
 Because there are adhidaivika aspects, which I explained you, the astrological readings tell you about these daivika influences: Indriyas are adhidaivika managed by devas, celestial forces. See: “Indriyas Are Not Organs +22.20,” Lesson 13: Japa Benefits Subtle Body 5-16-20.
 The guru dasha, the surya dasha, shukra dasha astrological factors really contribute in a big way for fruition to take place at right point in time: guru dasha influences the person to make the right decisions to further professional life; surya dasha favors social status at the expense of personal life; a strong shukra dasha leads to love and luxury, promoting healing with bouts of rage as a negative consequence. These three are determined by the planetary cycles of Jupiter, the Sun, and Venus, respectively.
 these are the instruments with which you can benefit your legs: This may be a reference to instrumental cause: Nimitta (instrumental cause) does not put prakrti (nature) into motion. It only removes the obstacles, like a farmer (irrigating a field: nature impenetrates by itself when the hindrances are removed). [PYS IV.3] Vyasa has ascribed instrumental cause to dharma (virtue). As an effect of prakrti, it cannot activate the gunas because “effect never guides cause.” Purusha is the ultimate material cause of prakrti herself.
 Somebody has asked, “How many Kapalabhatis should one be doing?” That means they want a number, whether 25: This question has probably arisen because the popular TV guru/businessman, Baba Ram Dev, promotes Kapalabhati for weight loss (8# per month if practicing 600 rounds per day). However, it is a vigorous pranayama unsuitable for those with a “weak constitution.” [LOP] Although the Hatha Yoga Pradipika does not cite any contraindications for Kapalabhati as one of the six purifications, HYP II.17 states that the wrong practice of pranayama results in hiccup, asthma and heavy breathing, cough, pain in the head, ears, and eyes. Guruji Iyengar has stated that during the medieval period “becoming hot” signified what we now call “high blood pressure.” [Panchgani Intensive] In addition, Guruji has written that it should not be practiced by women because it can cause prolapsed uterus and sagging breasts [B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Pranayama, New York: Crossroad, 1994. P. 179]
Guruji Iyengar’s main complaint about televised classes was that the teacher could not see and correct the pupils. [Shekhar Gupta, “Walk the Talk,” NDTV 24X7, 26 April, 2014. As a result, some students who had been injured in such classes had written him seeking advice. [untraced]
The public perception of pranayama practice spans the two irreconcilable poles of harmless “breathing exercises” and essential “control of the life force.” But how could it be both harmless and essential? Guruji cited the example of one popular yogi who died in 1975 of a brain injury (“dryness”) due to excessive practice of kumbhaka. [BKS Iyengar, Panchgani Intensive Q&A#2–12-2-93#3 +39:45-50:20. Bruce M. Roger transcription]
 Today, because of this consumerism…, they tell you do Ujjayi…, Kapalabhati…. Nobody teaches how to learn. They will teach you how to do: This broad criticism implies three things: 1) consumer demand is based on a faulty incentive; 2) immature teaching lacks an understanding of how a student learns; 3) an expectation that yoga can be done without having to learn anything new. The purpose of Kapalabhati, as a purification, is to dry up phlegm and fat to facilitate pranayama [HYP II.36], not just lose weight. Prashant never challenges this unstated incentive, but, instead, artfully addresses the implied need of how to learn safely by redirecting the pupil towards first mastering Uddiyana kriya in asana. Finally, as Prashant has emphasized in prior lessons, one must supplant “I am doing…” with “What am I experiencing?” This treats the knower and thinker as an object of knowledge to reveal the subjective state of “Am I quiet?” See “Doing, Learning, Getting Settled in Asana +25.45,” Lesson 9: Adhyatmika Sadhana 5-3-20.
 Agnisara kriya is to hold the breath and [do] strokes: Agnisara kriya (Essence of Fire) has not been described in Light on Pranayama. I presume it differs from Kapalabhati because there is a foward motion of the abdomen during bhaya kumbhaka. LOP described a “split second retention after exhalation” in Kapalabhati.
 It doesn’t need to have the conditions such as “sit straight, erect, firm, steady, spine — neck and head straight, relax your mind and see that you are absolutely steady, and now meditate:” Paraphrase of Bhagavad Gita VI.13. See “Surya Namaskar is Not Yoga +32.00,” Lesson 6: Dharma in Asana 4-26-20.
 That dhyana, which comes in the antaranga sadhana aspect of ashtanga yoga – dharana, dhyana, samadhi – requires qualification: Referred to in “Three Types of Dhyana—Review,” Lesson 14: Dhyana Serves Embodiment 5-17-20: The uninterrupted flow (eka-tanata) of attention directed towards (pratyaya) the same point or region is dhyana (meditation). [PYS III.2]