14 Jul '16
Posted in Articles, Blog by Eric Shaw
Many students of the yoga tradition know that Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888 – 1989) is credited with being the father of modern yoga, but most remain foggy about the details of his life and even foggier about the books he wrote.
It is understandable why his writings are widely unknown. His books have not been published in the West, and some remain untranslated. The compositions themselves are opaque: Krishnamacharya (I’ll sometimes call him “K”) was a hybrid of the old yogi and new, and often composed his treatises in the ancient style: his language is suggestive rather than explicit, elliptical rather than direct. Reading him takes time to understand.
Over the Christmas holidays a few years’ back, I had that time. Years earlier, I’d ordered the Yoga Rahasya (“The Secret of Yoga”) from the publishing house of K’s son, T. K. V. Desikachar. I wanted to know all of Krishnamacharya’s written works deeply, for his personal authority carries more weight with modern yogis than any other “traditional” writer, except the trinity of the generically named Vyasa (“compiler”) credited with the c. 325Bhagavad Gita (BG), our well-known Patanjali, author of c. 375 The Yoga Sutras (YS) and Svatmarama, author of the c. 1450 Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP).
The Yoga Rahasya (YR) is one of eight books by K. One is an untranslated autobiography in Tamil, one is a commentary on the Yoga Sutras, two are books of spiritual poetry of about 30slokas each, and four are compositions on yoga practice. The Yoga Rahasya belongs to the latter group.