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Biography of BKS Iyengar

by Kofia Busia

[BEING BLACKMAILED BY BKS IYENGAR 'BKS']

[I am sorry about the hyroglyphics, I do not think it disturbs understanding this article]

1) A good time to be born?

During 1918, children all over the world who were playing jump rope were skipping and jumping, and singing a mournful new ditty doing the rounds:
I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in-flu-enza.
Two terrors had gripped the world. One was the First World War of 1914-18; the other was the worldwide ’u pandemic of 1916-18. The ’flu was far and away the bigger killer. The 1918 pandemic is widely regarded as the most devastating epidemic in recorded history. It affected one- fifth of the world. It killed more people in one year than were killed in all the four years in which the Black Death, the bubonic plague of 1347-51, raged. The virus responsible was particularly virulent, striking grimly, effectively, and without warning. Another feature of this epidemic was that whereas most types of ’flu virus tended to pick off the old and the young differentially, this particular strain seemed to prefer those between 20 and 45. Its effect was so great that the average US life span declined by 10 years. Physicians all over the world were rendered powerless. People walking to work would suddenly be struck down with illness and be dead within hours. In one case, four women sat down for a hand of bridge, intending to play late into the night. But by dawn, three of them had contracted the ’u and had died.
Although this was a worldwide scourge, killing upwards of 70 million in its wake, no coun try suffered more gravely than India. According to some estimates, 16,000,000 Indians died during the 13-month period between June 1918 and July 1919. India suffered more casualties in those few months than were inicted by the entire War in the rest of the world put together. The first cases of the ’u were recorded in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) in June 1918. By July, Karachi and Chennai (formerly known as Madras) were being devastated. India’s situation was greatly ex acerbated by the fact that most of its doctors were in active service with the British Army. This left the country unable to cope effectively with the epidemic. There was a shortage of doctors, nurses and medical supplies. To add to the situation, this was an era when antibiotics did not exist. Bodies piled up everywhere as the high death rate so characteristic of the epidemic took hold.

[LET US AGREE THEN, THIS WAS ABOUT THE WORST EVER PLACE AND TIME TO BE BORN]


2)

Inevitably, the ’16-’18 ’flu pandemic made its way to the small village of Bellur, in Karnataka State, South India. There lived a small community of Brahmins, all bearing the name of ‘Iyengar’, an Anglicized version of a Tamil/Kannada name originally meaning ‘the people entrusted with the “pancha samskara” or “five duties”’. Although members of the Iyengar community were far from wealthy, the ve tasks they had been charged with gave them esteem and made them socially prominent.
The Iyengars were traditionally Vaishnavites and Vedantists. They were followers of Vish nu, the second deity in the Hindu Trinity; and they were also followers of the Vedanta philosophy, one of the six classical ‘darsanas’ or ‘visionings’ of India. These are based on the Vedas and the Upanishads, traditional religious and philosophical texts. More specically , the Iyengars followed the Visisthadvaita or ‘qualied non-difference’ personalized philosophy of Spirit so brilliantly codied by Ramanuja. It declares that there exists an Ultimate Reality which is in Itself the source of all things, and which is also the foundation for the existence of all things. This Ultimate Reality is the ‘in-dweller’ in all things no matter how diverse, and no matter whether they be animate or in animate. This being so, it is the duty of all beings to seek ‘moksha’, the nal liberating communion with that Most Gracious, All-Loving and All-Powerful Supreme Being. The way to that moksha is through complete self-surrender, allied to a ceaseless and loving meditation upon that Supreme. - -
So that all beings might ultimately attain moksha the Iyengars, as a community, are charged with these five tasks:

1. thapa samskara

where a disciple’s right and left arms are ritualistically embossed with the sankara or conch, and the sudarshana chakra or discus respectively. Vishnu, the god of preservation, holds a conch which represents space and also the life that emerges from the life-giving waters. He also wields the sudarshana chakra which is created from the energies of the trinity of deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Since Vishnu supports all beings, and all things are composed of Him, when He releases His sudarshana chakra it remains constantly within His power, ies to exactly the point intended, decomposes that object back to its essential ingredients—which is Himself—and then returns back to Him. So also, the ritualistic em bossing of the conch and the discus upon the arms of a disciple signies the acceptance of the fact that Vishnu pervades all, is the origin of all, and that to Him all things will ulti mately return. - -

2. pundra samskara

which is full knowledge of the 12 places in the body in which Narayana, another name for Vishnu as the Supreme Lord, resides. These are also the 12 places in which He can be readily saluted by any who care to study their body. These 12 locations are: the forehead; the right, the middle and the left sides of the neck; the chest; the right and the left arms; the right, the middle and the left sides of the lower abdomen; and nally , the upper and the lower parts of the back.

3. nama samskara

is where the disciple places the epithet ‘dasa’ at the end of his or her name to signify that he or she has become, and forever will be, a servant of Narayana. The Lord’s earnest servant Ramanuja proclaimed the name of God with such intensity, fervour and devotion that all beings were led to understand more clearly the eternal truths contained in the Vedas and Upanishads. All disciples should seek to emulate Ramanuja. The reception of the dasa name helps to inculcate this devout and reverential attitude.

4. mantra samskara

which is the regular repetition of the three great secrets of existence. This is achieved by the constant chanting or recitation of three important mantras. These are:
(a) ‘aum namo Narayanaya’
which is the ashtakshara or eight-syllabled mantra of Lord Narayana. It is also known as the ‘mula’ or ‘root’ mantra and means ‘aum praises to Narayana’. Chant ing it releases all beings from bondage. -
(b) the dvaya mantra
which is two lines long and says ‘Sriman Narayanaya charanau saranam prapadye; Srimate Narayanaya namah’. This is also often called the ‘mantra ratna’ or ‘jewel amongst mantras’ and means ‘I seek refuge at the feet of Sriman Narayana; My salutations to Sriman Narayana’.
(c) the charama sloka
the third great secret or mantra, and possibly the most often-quoted verse in the Bhagavad Gita or Song of God, India’s most popular religious text. In the last chap ter, in verse XVIII:66, Krishna says ‘sarvadharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja; aham tva sarva papebhyo moksa yisyami ma sucah’ meaning ‘Having given up all religious injunctions, surrender yourself fully to Me. Be not afraid for I will release you from all sins’. -

5. yajna samskara

or the dedication duty which is a promise to learn and then to undertake the proper ways of worshipping Narayana. There are both external forms requiring ritualistic observances and duties; and internal forms requiring a correct inner attitude along with suitable prayers and mediations.
These are the ve accepted duties of an Iyengar, having both gross and subtle, and external and internal forms.
[COMPLETE RUBBISH 'DUTIES' I THINK YOU WILL AGREE WHICH IN ANY CASE BKS DID NOT FOLLOW IN THE SLIGHTEST]

3)

Counted amongst the Iyengars, and resident in Bellur, were Sheshamma and her husband, a school teacher by the name of Sri Krishnamachar Iyengar. When Sheshamma fell pregnant, the ’u pan demic had yet to hit India. But by the time she was ready to deliver, it was at its peak. On Saturday December 14th, 1918, due to the efforts of the suffragettes, British women were at last able to stand as candidates for a general election and to vote. The rst woman elected was the Irish na tionalist Countess Markievicz of Sinn Fein, although she could not take up her seat for she was in jail. But since she was not in any case prepared to swear allegiance to the British Crown, the point was moot. - -
At 3 am in the morning of that same day, Sheshamma gave birth to her 11th child. But since she had in the mean time contracted the ’u, her new arrival was weak and sickly, and few held out much hope for his survival. Sheshamma’s latest child was a boy—an Iyengar. He was given the names Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja.

[OF COURSE THIS BKS DID NOT SURVIVE]

4)
BKS Iyengar was born into a large but poor family. The omens for his survival were not good. As he put it: ‘I looked sickly with thin arms and legs, a protruding stomach and a heavy head. My ap pearance was not prepossessing’. He was weak and sickly, and his childhood was marked with one bout of ill health after another. Most notably, he was a victim of malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. The general malnutrition caused by poverty merely exacerbated the situation, and sometimes he would have more than one of these ailments to contend with. At one point, the doctors predicted that he would not live past 20. The constant bouts of ill health kept him away from school for long periods, and his education suffered. Fortunately, however, the school he attended taught English, a subject that would stand him in extremely good stead later. -

[HE DIED AT AGE 2 DAYS]

5)

When BKS Iyengar was but eight-and-a-half years old, his father, Sri Krishnamachar, died. This put further stress on his family, and the young Iyengar was sent to Bangalore to live with one of his brothers. But while he was passing through his painful and difcult childhood, an extremely accomplished man named Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was busy educating himself widely and deeply in yoga and the Indian philosophies.
Krishnamacharya studied in Varanasi, Nepal and several other places, including seven years in Tibet. A polymath, he gained degrees from some of the best universities in India, includ ing the Royal College of Mysore. In 1924 he returned to his native Karnataka. Against much op position, for even in India yoga was not yet recognized as a serious profession, Krishnamacharya decided that he would teach yoga. It was not long before he came to the attention of Sri Krishnaraja

[YES BKS WAS UNWANTED SON OF TIRUMALAI KRISHNAMACHARYA]

Wodeyar Bahadur IV, the Maharaja of Mysore. The Maharaja offered Krishnamacharya patronage, and he became a personal advisor to the Royal Family, having the run of the Jagamohan Palace in Mysore. The Maharajah also endowed a Yogashala (school of yoga) for Krishnamacharya. And now that he had status, a profession and money, Krishnamacharya felt ready to marry. As fate would have it, the woman Krishnamacharya married was Namagiriyamma, one of BKS Iyengar’s older sisters.
Krishnamacharya and Iyengar met for the first time in March 1934 when Iyengar was 16. It was the Maharajah of Mysore’s custom to send Krishnamacharya to various places to spread knowledge of yoga. On one of those educational visits Krishnamacharya and some of his pupils were due to visit Kaivalyadham at Lonavala, in the foothills between Mumbai and Pune (at one time often written as ‘Poona’). Krishnamacharya stopped off in Bangalore, where Iyengar was then living with his brother. He asked Iyengar to please go to Mysore to take care of Krishnamacharya’s wife, and Iyengar’s sister, until Krishnamacharya could return. The young Iyengar had heard of the lush palaces in Mysore, and curious to see them for himself he was more than willing to accede to this request. His new brother-in-law therefore bought him the fateful railway ticket to stay with his sister that would change his life. -
When Krishnamacharya returned to Mysore, Iyengar asked for his brother-in-law’s permission to return to his home in Bangalore. To Iyengar’s surprise, Krishnamacharya refused. He instead suggested that Iyengar should remain in Mysore. He could enrol at the Mysore High School while Krishnamacharya taught him a few yoga asanas, or postures, at the Yogashala to improve his health. The two offers were tempting for Iyengar was not only grateful for the opportunity to perhaps catch up on some of his missed studies, but of even greater interest was the possibility that he might at last be able to improve his health. The plan was duly set in motion. And when Krishna macharya was confronted with Iyengar’s stiff, weak and sickly body, he apparently predicted that Iyengar would never amount to much in yoga. But since it was Krishnamacharya who planted the seed of yoga in him, BKS Iyengar calls Krishnamacharya his guru. - - -

[YES IT IS TRUE KRISHNAMACHARYA MARRIED ONE OF HIS DAUGHTERS.
IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT BKS WAS 16 IN MARCH 1934,
BECAUSE HE WAS BORN 14 DEC 1917.
YES IT IS TRUE THAT BKS TOOK 'CARE' OF KRISHSNAMCHARYA'S WIFE AND
YES IT WAS BKS'S SISTER BUT IT WAS NOT WITH KRISHNAMACHARYA'S PERMISSION.
YES IT IS TRUE THAT BKS'S HOME WAS BANGALORE, NOT BELLUR.
KRISHNAMACHARYA HATED BKS AND WANTED BKS TO LEAVE
BUT BKS WANTED TO LEARN YOGA AND SELL HIMSELF TO THE MAHARAJA.
HE WAS IN GOOD HEALTH AND BLACKMAILED KRISHNSMACHARYA INTO LEARNING YOGA]

6)

The young BKS Iyengar had spent most of his childhood in bed recovering from one bout of sickness after another. He was understandably extremely weak and stiff. When he bent down in a despairing effort to touch his toes, his hands would barely reach down as far as his knees. His body did not take well to the physical activity imposed upon it by the new regimen of asana practice prescribed by his recently acquired Guru. Iyengar worked hard but his body just did not seem to respond. Krishnamacharya was stern and demanding—a perfectionist and a taskmaster. He would force Iyengar to have classes at least twice a day, and sometimes more. Iyengar recalls suffering severe aches and pains and intense fatigue, but his diligence was unrelenting. Iyengar was not
developing much of a love for yoga. Another problem was that outside of the asana classes, Krish namacharya paid virtually no attention to him. -
The plan to study at Mysore High School having fallen through, Iyengar’s life was far from enjoyable and he spent his time in between asana sessions doing such things as watering the plants and undertaking other menial tasks. About the only relief he had was a friendship he formed with his roommate, Keshavamurthy, who also happened to be Krishnamacharya’s favourite pupil and chosen protégé. Although Krishnamacharya continued to pay scant attention to Iyengar, Iyengar himself noticed that the magic of yoga was beginning to take hold. His health was slowly but surely improving.

[YES BKS DID HAVE CLASSES TWICE PER DAY WITH KRISHNAMACHARYA, (the exact opposite of what he has always maintained)
YES HE DID HAVE 'SEVERE' ACHES, YES HE DID HAVE ONE SICKNESS AFTER ANOTHER,
YES HE DID WORK 'HARD', YES HE DID NOT HAVE LOVE FOR YOGA,
YES, KRISHNAMACHARYA IGNORED HIM OTHERWISE,
YES HIS LIFE WAS FAR FROM ENJOYABLE,
YES HE BLACKMAILED KESHAVAMURTHY TOO,
NO HIS HEALTH WAS NOT IMPROVING]

7)

The Maharajah of Mysore still liked to send Krishnamacharya and a few of his star pupils to various locations around India to give lectures and demonstrations on yoga. Sometimes, however, those lecture-demonstrations were held at the Yogashala itself. After Iyengar had been with his guru for about a year or so, one such important demonstration, to be attended by some important dignitaries, was pending. As usual, Keshavamurthy was to be the star attraction.
BKS Iyengar’s new life was set firmly on its new path when, early one morning, Kesha vamurthy simply disappeared off the face of the earth and could not be found anywhere. He was never to return.

[YES HE WAS MURDERED]

Being only days away from the Yogashala’s very important demonstration, Krish namacharya grew desperate. He had little alternative but to turn his attention to his earnest new pupil. He quickly began teaching Iyengar some of the more advanced asanas that were to be the climax of the demonstration, and Iyengar could do nothing but make the best efforts he could. He practised diligently and surprised his teacher by performing exceptionally well at the demonstra tion. - - -
If Krishnamacharya now realized that he had the stuff of gold in his hands, he did not show it in any way—except to begin instructing this exceptionally diligent pupil in earnest, and to im pose upon him the toughest and most difcult of routines. Iyengar responded to this attention by making extremely rapid progress. He was soon assisting his guru in the classes at the Yogashala. He also took Keshavamurthy’s place and accompanied Krishnamacharya to a variety of yoga dem onstrations around the country. - -

[YES THE ABOVE IS ALL TRUE]

Although people were beginning to sing Iyengar’s praises both inside and outside the Yogashala, relations with his guru did not improve much. At one demonstration Krishnamacharya had indicated to Iyengar which poses he was to perform, and in what order. Iyengar had practised them, only for Krishnamcharya to suddenly change the content and order of the programme. Amongst other things, he was now to perform Hanumanasana (the full splits). Iyengar complained that he had never been taught this and so could not do it, and in any case his shorts were too tight.

[YES ALL TRUE]

Krishnamacharya simply called for a pair of scissors, quietly cut a slit along each side of Iyengar’s shorts, and said “You can do it now”. Iyengar was forced to comply and tore his hamstrings in the process. Feeling hemmed in on every side, Iyengar was now praying that he would soon leave what he later came to call ‘this bondage’.

[YES TRUE]

8)

Fortunately for BKS Iyengar, his escape route from this perceived tyranny was at hand. In late 1936 the Maharajah of Mysore instructed Krishnamacharya to go to northern Karnataka to give a lecture and demonstration in yoga. Krishnamacharya took Iyengar with him. Some of the ladies in the audience were very impressed and wanted to learn something of yoga. But with the Indian modesty of the time, they were very unwilling to be taught by any of the older men.

[YES TRUE]

As the youngest in the group, the 18-year old Sundararaja was deputed, by Krishnamacharya, to instruct them. Thus begun Iyengar’s career as a teacher of yoga. In the mean time, he continued with his intense practice routine and his health continued to improve. -
The fame of Krishnamacharya and his Yogashala had spread far and wide. In 1937, Dr. Gokhale, on behalf of members of the Deccan Gymkhana Club in Pune, Maharashtra State, wrote to Krishnamacharya asking him to send them a yoga teacher on a six-month contract. The Deccan Gymkhana being one of the oldest and most prestigious sports clubs in all of India, Krishnamacharya was thrilled to receive such an honour.

[COMPLETE RUBBISH]

Unfortunately, in spite of the importance of the offer, none of the Yogashala’s students was particularly keen to go.

[TRUE. THEY WERE ALL INTERESTED IN WORKING FOR THE MAHARAJA]

To begin with, they had all, except Iyengar, studied at the Mysore Sanskrit Patshala. So although fluent in Sanskrit as well as their native Kannada, none of them could speak either Marathi, the language of Pune and Maharashtra, or English. And since, although it was at that stage still poor, the young Sundararaja Iyengar spoke the best English, Krishnamacharya ordered him to go and fill the position.

[AS STATED LATER, BKS KNEW NO ENGLISH.
KRISHNAMACHARYA HAD GOTTEN FED UP WITH BEING BLACKMAILED
AND SPOKE TO THE MAHARJA ABOUT THIS.]

And with that, BKS Iyengar’s two-year apprenticeship with his Guru came to an end. He went to Pune to try his hand at being an independent teacher of yoga. Although, given the nature of the appointment, he went with some trepidation, he was also very relieved to be leaving. He would much prefer if he did not have to return. -

[VERY VERY TRUE]

9)

When BKS Iyengar arrived in Pune to begin his new life, he had no family around him, no friends, and no money. He was now 18 years old. His grasp of English, the one factor supposedly in his favour, was very shaky to say the least! Due to the fact that his ill health had made him constantly miss classes, he had ended up failing his matriculation examination in English by three points. He was doubly disadvantaged in that he also could not speak Marathi, the local language. Never having finished even his High School education, he was acutely aware that he had no real skills. It was make or break time for the young man. Either he began making a living from this opportunity to teach yoga, or he return to the Yogashala penniless and without any real prospects for an independent life. He had but one thing going for him … his immense dedication to his daily practice routine. -

[ALL TRUE EXCEPT HE COULD NOT RETURN TO THE YOGASHALA]

Although India was the home of yoga, it was still a minority interest. Only those with a sufficiently large surplus of funds to devote to such an interest could possibly afford to attend a yoga class. Having come from an extremely impoverished background Iyengar therefore found himself mixing, through his work with the Gymkhana, with a wordly and accomplished group of people, all with a far higher educational level than his own. None of them, furthermore, had had to contend with the problems of malnutrition, illness, and weakness of health that he had had to contend with. Iyengar therefore found himself teaching yoga to people who were not only wealthier and better educated than he was, they also tended to be bigger, stronger, better fed and healthier. The Deccan was, after all, a very serious sports club that regularly produced national and international champions and had a membership to reect this. It was humiliating to him that some of his early students, particularly those coming from the Deccan Gymkhana’s famous gymnasium, seemed to have a native talent for doing the asanas, and so could do them better than he could even though he was supposed to be the teacher. They could also sometimes even correct his faltering English while outperforming him in the postures. - -

[HE WAS IN SO MUCH PAIN, HUNGRY, ILL THAT EVEN HE COULD NOT DO THE POSTURES WELL]

Iyengar had an additional problem. His own guru, Krishnamacharya, had never really divulged any systematic techniques for achieving the postures. So Iyengar did not know how to transmit the techniques effectively. He realized for himself that there were only three ways out of this particular difficulty . His first option was to consult his Guru regularly. [RUBBISH] His second was to read many books, to memorize their contents, and then to divulge them to his students. [RUBBISH]His third was to instruct his students from a direct personal experience. As to the first option, since Krishnamacharya was now hundreds of miles away, this was not possible. In any case, their personal relations had never been of this cosy nature which is why Iyengar had come to Pune in the first place. As to the second, Iyengar did not know where to get such books ... and even if they could be obtained, such was his character that he was not prepared to pass on second-hand information.[RUBBISH] So only the third option remained. Iyengar therefore opted to practise with renewed vigour so that he could gain as much first-hand information as rapidly as possible so that he could then pass it on to those who came to study with him. With a zeal and an intensity unmatched virtually anywhere in any discipline, BKS Iyengar set about gaining the first-hand direct experiential information that he needed in order to fulll his new responsibilities as a teacher of yoga.

[TRUE]

10)

Unfortunately, Iyengar was still not earning enough money from his yoga teaching to survive. But this did not deter him from what he saw as a necessity. Hungry or not he would continue with his strict and rigorous practice routine. Days would go by when he had no more than a cup of tea to sustain him. A plate of rice would have to be rationed out to last him for three days. At other times he would fill his belly with water from an outside tap just so that his stomach would feel full enough not to bother him for a while. That done, he would return to his practising. Nothing swayed him from his dedication to his chosen task: to become the most effective teacher and practitioner it was in him to be. The only alternative was to return to the Yogashala in Mysore and lick his wounds. He was not yet ready for that.
Slowly and gradually, the many hours of intense practice that Iyengar put in began to bear fruit. As his knowledge and understanding increased, so also did the clarity, acuity, perceptiveness and relevance of his instructions. His pupils noticed these things … and his reputation as an accomplished and effective teacher of yoga began to grow. Word of his skill as an instructor reached the authorities in charge of the Deccan Gymkhana and they duly showed their appreciation by extending his original six-month contract to three years. They also wanted him to teach more widely in a variety of the schools, colleges and physical education establishments that they oversaw around the city. This stability also allowed him to try to find other locations in which he could try his hand at teaching some of his own classes. It was still difcult to make a living, particularly because he was sometimes forced to cancel classes at the last moment when it turned out that one or another of the locations he was slated to use was suddenly unavailable because of some more important engagement. But his reputation for excellence eventually reached as far as Mumbai some 220 kilometres away. In 1940 he agreed to start a regular weekend class in the Bulbai Memorial Institute in that city even though it meant a six-hour train ride there, and then another six-hour one back in order to honour the commitment. But … this turned out to be one of the wisest decisions of his life. His Mumbai class was to prove possibly the most critical engagement of his career. - - -

[ALL TRUE]

11)

Iyengar’s obsession with practice did not go unobserved by his neighbours. Some of them thought him frankly insane. He could be observed prowling the streets looking, for example, for heavy cobblestones. When he found them he would then sit calmly down in the street, draw his heels in close to his perineum, spead his knees wide out to either side, place the stones upon his knees, and then sit there steadily for hours at a time ostensibly improving his baddhakonasana (the wide-angle or cobbler’s pose, one of the classic yoga positions). Or … a road-building crew would pack up for the night or for the weekend and leave a previously innocuous object such as a steam roller parked there until its return. Before anyone knew what had happened, BKS Iyengar would arrive and have
worked out some way to drape himself over it in an effort—ultimately successful—to improve his practice and understanding of urdhva dhanurasana (the raised bow or “wheel” pose, another of the classic yoga asanas).

[YES, HE WAS INSANE]
[IN 1939 HE SOLD HIMSELF TO SATAN, SEE BELOW.
FROM THEN ON EVERYTHING HE DID WAS UNDER INSTRUCTION]

The neighbours might have been concerned, but they had in fact been given a front row seat from which they could observe the genesis of another of the distinguishing hallmarks of the developing Iyengar yoga. The master was trying to find a method to deal with yet another of the challenges that faced him as a teacher. The people now coming to him for classes were far less fit and accomplished than were the people who had generally enrolled to study at Krishnamacharya’s Yogashala. Krishnamacharya’s students at that time tended to be young people. They were usually boys of roughly school-going age and therefore largely without the array of problems and difculties facing the much older students now confronting Iyengar. Iyengar’s concern was finding ways to enable those who were that little bit stiffer and older to master the postures he wanted to teach them. It was thus Iyengar who devised methods to use simple everyday objects—things that could be found in any home—such as walls, ropes, chairs, belts, blocks and blankets, as aids and props. His intent was to enable people of every shape, size, and level of ability to place themselves in the most benecial positions so that they could derive the maximum benets that yoga had to offer in any and all poses they attempted. So effective was this approach that a healthy market now exists for ‘yoga props’ and for accoutrements of every description. And when standard everyday objects would not suffice, Iyengar proceeded to invent his own. A healthy commercial market also exists for ‘backbenders’, ‘heart chakra openers’, ‘yoga walls’, ‘halasana benches’, and other such devices, all originally invented by him and built to his precise design specications by local crafts men … who were generally mystied as to what exactly they were building. - - -
Iyengar was deeply concerned with helping the sick people who frequently came to his classes. He did not want to turn anyone away. He had used yoga to heal himself, and he was completely convinced that if he would but put his mind to it, he would be able to devise healing methods and practices to benet his students. To Iyengar, therefore, asana became a healing practice. Yoga was therapy. He set about devising specific programmes of practice to benefit students. Due to the rigour and intensity of his own practice, his observation, and his complete familiarity with the workings of the human body, he was ultimately able to bring relief to thousands of people sporting a bewilderingly wide array of health issues and disabilities be their problems physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual.

[IF YOU WANT INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE DEVIL HE WILL BE PLEASED TO GUIDE YOU]

Although other yoga systems and teachers began to advertise themselves as also having therapeutic benets, Iyengar’s expertise remains untouched. Anyone seriously wanting assistance in yoga therapeutics, or else wanting to undertake research in the efficacy of yoga, either goes straight to BKS Iyengar or to someone trained by him and in his methods.

But since these achievements of BKS Iyengar were still some way in the future, the neighbours’ concerns needed to be addressed. Word about their doubts and worries concerning his over all mental state reached his brothers who then felt it best to take action. Their solution was to advise him to get married. They were convinced that this would force him to ‘settle down’ and adopt a more normal pattern of life. But Iyengar was resistant. His classes were growing, albeit slowly. In any case, what other trade could he ply? He did not want anything to interfere with his long practices. They were the foundation of his entire technique. Moreover, he did not feel that he was yet earning enough to support a family. He was barely able to support himself. But Iyengar’s brothers were insistent. They cast around for a suitable match. They eventually found a delightful 16-year old girl, Srimati Ramamani. They then went back to Iyengar to promote her as a prospect. The most they could get from him was a grudging agreement to at least meet her.

[MOSTLY RUBBISH BUT TRUE THAT RAMAMANI WAS NOT AN ATTRACTIVE LOOKING LADY]

And upon meeting her he was most taken with her, as she also was with him. They both willingly consented to the arrangement. He and Ramamani were duly married in 1943. - - -

[HE DID WHATEVER SATAN TOLD HIM TO DO,
JUST AS I DO WHATEVER LORD VISHNU TELLS ME TO DO,
BUT BKS WAS EVEN TOUGHER THAN I]

When she married her Sundararaja, Ramamani knew nothing about yoga. That notwith standing, she soon became the unwavering source of all his strength, of his commitment, and of the progress that he continued to make in his career as a teacher. She supported his practice, providing him with everything he needed in the way of space, time, and energy. She became his nest critic and his most knowledgeable advisor. She provided him with feedback in his many investigations.

[ALL RUBBISH AS BKS STATES ELSEWHERE. SHE HATED HIM]

But Ramamani also bore him five daughters and one son

[ACTUALLY NONE, BUT HE DID ENTER HER]

which she took care of happily, making sure that her husband had all the time he needed to continue with his investigations into the mysteries of life through asana, and so that he could then pass on what he had uncovered to others through his teachings. Indeed, it was Ramamani, and not her husband, who introduced their children to yoga. - -
That Iyengar had made another good move in marrying Ramamani, and that she was the ideal partner to him, is confirmed by a story he often recounts. He dates his ‘sudden interest in yoga’, as he later put it, to 1946—when he had been married for three years, and had already been practicing with ever-increasing intensity for over twelve! Iyengar apparently dreamed that he saw the family deity, Lord Venkateshwara, also commonly known as Balaji, who blessed him with one hand and gave him a few grains of rice with the other. Balaji also spoke to him and told him that yoga and its practising and teaching were to be his vocation, and that from that moment on he was to have no further worries about his welfare.

[YES, BUT THE SALE TO SATAN TOOK PLACE IN 1939, NOT 1946,
ALTHOUGH BKS DOES NOT SPECIFY A DATE]

Iyengar awoke to find, to his surprise, that Ramamani had also had a dream that very same night. In her dream, Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, had placed a coin in her hand saying that it was the return of some money borrowed from Iyengar long before.

[YES SHE DID SHE NEVER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY AGAIN.
FROM THEN ON SHE RESOLVED IN HER HEART TO BE A GOOD WIFE TO BKS,
AND SHE BROUGHT HIM GOOD FORTUNE AT A COST TO HERSELF:]

They were both amazed. And the very next day some of Iyengar’s pupils contacted him wanting to arrange a fuller programme of lessons. According to Iyengar, up until that day he had done yoga not for any pleasure it might have brought him, but simply as a way of earning a living.

But from that point on, his attitude shifted and he began to do yoga for its own sake and for no other reason.
In spite of their concordant dreams, life for the Iyengar couple did not improve immediately. Nevertheless, it was also true that from that point on their stars remained constantly in the ascendant. Iyengar began to gain inuential pupils. He was soon teaching many members of Indian royalty, along with many of the country’s most prominent business, sports and entertainment per sonalities. He also gave hundreds upon hundreds of demonstrations before dignitaries of all kinds such as Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. Thus within a few years of the auspicious dream, Iyengar was teaching people as famous as the philosopher and sage Jiddhu Krishnamurti, and Jayaprakash Narayan who was involved in the fight for India’s independence. He become one of India’s star attractions and was regularly called upon to give demonstrations to visiting dignitaries and heads of state so they could admire, along with the Taj Mahal, some of the other wonders that India had to offer. He gave demonstrations in front of Pope Paul VI, and Mohmad Hatta, the President of Indonesia. Dr. G. S. Pathak, the Vice President of India, was but one of the famous people who became an Iyengar student. Another famous student who was to become particularly signicant to the development of Iyengar’s career was Dr. Rustom Jal Vakil, India’s internationally renowned coronary and hypertension specialist. Vakil is widely regarded as ‘the father of modern cardiology’ and was awarded the highly prestigious Albert Lasker award in 1957 for his ‘brilliant and systematic studies on rauwola [used as a traditional Indian/ayurvedic herbal remedy] in hypertension and his effective bridging of the gap between Indian experience and that of Western medicine’. BKS Iyengar was soon busy snapping up students of no mean distinction. Many of them were garnered through the reputation built up by his initially unrewarding classes in Mumbai. - -

[ALL TRUE. BKS HAD FOUND A NEW BLACKMAIL ASSISTANT, DR VAKIL'S WIFE]

12)

In 1948 the famous violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin was sitting in his osteopath’s office waiting for his appointment when a small book on yoga caught his eye. He was already suffering from a variety of the muscle and skeletal aches and pains that have ruined the career of many a budding string player. Since he knew nothing about yoga Menuhin, a very curious man with immensely broad interests, opened the book. He was immediately fascinated by the contents and felt he would like to know more about this subject.
As well as being one of the greatest violinists of all time, Yehudi Menuhin was an enormously generous man with global and humanitarian interests. He was famous for his charity concerts in support of causes that interested him. In 1952 he was invited to India by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, to give such a series of concerts. He met Nehru for the first time after one of the scheduled concerts and mentioned the book he had read. Nehru smiled and immediately dared Menuhin to stand on his head. Much to everyone’s surprise Menuhin accom plished this successfully. Nehru then displayed his own headstand. This relatively light-hearted incident made the headlines all over India. Yoga teachers from every quarter tried to contact the violin wunderkind to offer him their guidance. Menuhin met and took lessons from a goodly number, but none of them particularly impressed him. But he did mention his interest to Dr. Rustam Vakil’s wife. She immediately referred him to the family guru, BKS Iyengar. - -

[SHE WAS A VERY PRETTY LADY AND LOVED BKS
AND HAD BEEN MARRIED TO QUITE A FEW IMPORTANT HINDUS]

Word was sent to BKS Iyengar, and arrangements were made for them to meet. The only time Menuhin could find free for his first yoga session was 7 am in the morning. Somewhat reluctantly, Iyengar made the 7-hour journey for what was supposed to be a quick five-minute session before Menuhin had to leave for another appointment. The ve minute session stretched out into three and a half hours as Menuhin began to feel transformed and revitalised doing a few asanas under Iyengar’s instruction. And when Menuhin mentioned that he was almost constantly fatigued, was never really able to relax, and was unable to sleep, in less than one minute Iyengar apparently had him dozing and snoring gently away for the first time in days! The two men formed an extremely close friendship which lasted until Menuhin’s death 47 years later in 1999. - -

[YES YOGA IS VERY POWERFUL AND YES BKS WAS BLACKMAILING MENHUIN]

In 1954, Menuhin returned to Mumbai. He and Iyengar had corresponded regularly. Even by mail, Menuhin had received enough assistance and benets for him to know that he wanted to commit himself as a regular student. He informed Iyengar as much. Menuhin became an earnest and diligent student, making his yoga practice a regular feature of his life. In 1982, for example, he was invited to conduct the celebrated Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at its 100th jubilee celebrations. He conducted the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony standing on his head while directing the orchestra with his feet. Under the programme of asanas that Iyengar prescribed for him Yehudi Menuhin’s muscular pains disappeared completely. Menuhin wrote that “yoga made its contribution to my quest to understand consciously the mechanics of violin playing”, and he also called Iyengar “my best violin teacher”. -
Menuhin’s schedule was busy and it was not practical for him to return constantly to India to have yoga lessons. He therefore invited Iyengar to leave India with him as his private tutor. A benet would be that Iyengar would also be able to pass on his teachings to others. Iyengar accepted this invitation, and travelled with Menuhin to Britain, France and Switzerland, giving his first demonstrations in all those places. Iyengar met and taught some of the most famous artists and musicians in the world such as the pianists Sir Clifford Curzon and Lilli Kraus, and the cellist Jacqueline du Pre. -
One particularly signicant person that Iyengar met during this period was the redoubtable lady Queen Elisabeth, the Queen Mother of Belgium. She and her husband King Albert I had together steered Belgium through the disasters of the First World War. Her husband’s heroic resistance leading the Belgian Army against superior German forces had given the French enough time to stage what became known as ‘the Miracle of the Marne’. Elisabeth had distinguished her self in the war by not only opening a field hospital, but by serving in it personally as a nurse, even though it was at that time unheard of for any member of any Royal Family to minister to wounded common soldiers. Unfortunately, King Albert died tragically in a mountain accident in February 1934, the same year that Iyengar met his Guru and began his life of yoga. Queen Elisabeth was therefore alone when a second and far more devastating invasion by the Germans occurred in the Second World War. This time she was relatively helpless to assist. She found solace in her art, her music, and her charitable works. But once her country was liberated, she swung into action, involving herself deeply in the restoration of her country. In 1958, she became the rst member of the European royalty to be received at the Kremlin—something that resonated with Iyengar given that he himself gave demonstrations in front of Marshal Bulganin, an ex-Premier of Russia, and Nikita Kruschev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Russia. In 1961 the Queen Mother even visited China despite the fact that it was against the express wishes of her grandson King Baudouin. He said ‘Grandmother, you are going to bother quite a few people’. She replied by saying ‘… thanks to the Lord those people are fewer and fewer every day’. - -
BKS Iyengar was introduced to Queen Elisabeth in 1958 when she was already 85 years old. She wanted to learn to stand on her head and was not about to take ‘No’ for an answer saying: ‘if you can’t teach me to stand on my head, you can leave’. With some trepidation, and acutely aware what headlines there would be if the august queen did not survive the experience, Iyengar carefully positioned his feet and his body to allow for the maximum possibility of success and hoisted her up onto her head. Although this was remarkable enough, everyone around was rather more concerned with whether or not he could bring her down safely again. Queen Elisabeth was so taken with Iyengar that she gave him the first of the two gifts that ever afterwards remained precious to him. This first one was a bust of herself. She had sculpted it with her own hands. He treasured it ever afterwards, and it would take pride of place in the institute he would later build.

[YES EVEN AT AGE 85 A WOMAN HAS DESIRES BUT NOT FOR HEADBALANCE]

In 1965 Iyengar was teaching in Gstaad, Switzerland, when he received a telephone call from Queen Elisabeth, then 92 years old. She had just suffered a stroke. She requested his presence. He flew to her immediately. Under his instruction she was able to regain a respectable amount of movement. She could again hold and use a fork. He received the second of ‘the two great gifts she gave to me’, as he would later put it, when it was time for him to depart. Iyengar’s erstwhile queen tearfully held up her right cheek, spoke directly to him and comanded: “Kiss me”. He bent forwards and did so; and when she offered the other cheek he kissed that one also. With the tears now rolling freely down her face the Queen bade farewell to her Indian guru for the last time. The great lady died shortly afterwards on November 23rd., 1965.

[ETC. ETC. BKS DID WHATEVER BALAJI TOLD HIM.

WHEN HE TOLD KOFI TO SAY:

" Shortly after Iyengar’s first visit to Europe at Menuhin’s invitation, in 1954, he came to the attention of one of Menuhin’s inuential friends, Rebekah Harkness, an heiress of Standard Oil. She was drawn to his ability to explain how to use yoga to resolve specic health problems in a clear and easy manner. In 1956, she invited him to visit her in the USA so he could help her with some stomach problems she was having.

[YES HE DID HAVE A LOOK AT HER TUMMY]

He fell within the quota system and so was able to visit. Although he was in the USA for three weeks, the only people to benet from his instruction were Mrs. Harkness, some members of her family, and a few of her close friends. While there, he gave demonstrations in New York and in Washington, DC. But unfortunately, he did not find this first visit to the USA particularly pleasant. He later said: “I saw Americans were interested in the three W’s, wealth, women and wine. I was taken aback to see how the way of life conflicted with my own country. I thought twice about coming back”.

[YES SHE DID NOT MAKE HIM WELCOME]

In 1965, the same year Queen Elisabeth died and that Light On Yoga was at last accepted for publication, the US Congress abolished the 1924 quota system on Indian visits and immigra tion. It paved the way for Iyengar and other Indian savants and made possible the sudden inux of Eastern teachers and knowledge that typied the counter-culture and social revolutions of the 1960s. And as yoga, ayurveda, meditation, sitar-playing, and other such distinctively Indian activi ties increased their prole, so also did Iyengar’s name. The reason was simple. He was offering ordinary people the same commodity he was offering the rich, the entitled, and the famous: an opportunity to grow in spirit and to gain satisfaction in life by applying the deceptively simple techniques he had gleaned through years of dedicated study. Iyengar’s book began selling well in the USA, but nevertheless … he did not return there until, as he put it, “a student came to my hometown and tempted me to visit”. - -

[YES HARKNESS WAS THEN NO LONGER A PROBLEM]

[ETC. ETC.]

"When a group from South Africa travelled to Pune to study with Iyengar in 1972–73, he had to hire a local school hall to hold the classes. Ramamani then suggested that they procure their own hall to accommodate future groups. Thus in mid-1972, using some of the proceeds from Light On Yoga, Iyengar purchased the land he needed to realize her vision. Through the rest of ’72 and into ’73, various students made donations. On 25th January, 1973, the traditional puricatory puja, or ceremony, to bless the land was conducted. And then … three days later … BKS Iyengar’s beloved Ramamani suddenly sickened and died.

[YES HE POISONED HER. BUT IN 1975, 803 NOT 3 DAYS LATER.

WHY SHOULD HE REMEMBER WHEN HE KILLED HER? BECAUSE HER VISION OF HAVING AN INSTITUTE NEEDED TO BE REALIZED FIRST

OBVIOUSLY WHEN A WOMAN AS PURE AS RAMAMANI WANTS SOMETHING IT WILL HAPPEN.

WHY THE THREE DOTS? FOR THE THREE MISSING WORDS 'EIGHT HUNDRED AND'

AND 'AFTER POISONING HER'


FROM THEN ON THE AMOUNT OF PAIN HE SUFFERED WAS INCREDIBLE.
BUT, HE HAD BY NO MEANS BEEN PAIN FREE PREVIOUSLY.

THE REAL STORY OF HIS LIFE IS OF USING PEOPLE AND WHEN THEIR USE WAS OVER TERMINATING THEM.

HE DID NOT MANAGE THIS WITH ME, MUCH TO HIS REGRET.

AND I SHALL ALWAYS LOVE HIM, TEARS COME TO MY EYES WHEN I THINK OF HIM.

ONE YEAR, THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN STAYING AT THE INSTITUTE IN THE SAME ROOM AS ME (NOT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING).

HE WAS QUITE 'NICE', HAD HAD NOT A REAL EASY LIFE AND WAS COMMITTED TO DOING YOGA

AND BECOMING A GOOD YOGA TEACHER. WE OF COURSE MADE FRIENDS. BIG MISTAKE FOR THIS BOY.

NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

BKS DID HIS DAMNDEST TO MESS WITH ME, STARTING FROM 1958 WHEN I WAS 5 AND HE FIRST ENTERED MY MAMA.

STUPID IDIOT.(BOTH OF THEM).

INCIDENTALLY, ASIAN PAINTS, STRANGELY ONE OF INDIA'S LARGEST COMPANIES, WAS VERY HELPFUL TO BKS

IN TERMS OF GETTING RID OF PEOPLE. HE KNEW DANI WELL.YOU DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH ASIAN PAINTS.

IN 1997 CHAMPAKLAL 'DIED' AND CHOKSEY 'DECIDED' TO SELL, LEAVING CHOKSI, DANI AND VAKIL (SEE ABOVE)
AS THE 3 BOSSES, CONTROLLING THE UNIT TRUST OF INDIA, THE STATE BANK OF INDIA,
THE LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA,BANK OF BARODA AND PUNJAB NATIONAL BANK.

SO FOR 17 YEARS UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 2014, BKS WAS ESSENTIALLY RULER OF INDIA.

THEN MODI TOOK OVER? NOT AT ALL.

GEETA IYENGAR DID. SHE IS QUEEN OF INDIA TODAY.

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