The "life seaving sessions" of Sri T Krishnamacharya went to publicity with the film "Der atmende Gott" in which Sri Sribhashyam leads through stages of life and teachings of his father, in Mysore and in Chennai. The expression did the work, it was ment to do - to catch the interest of western people towards a spiritual practice. If you would name it soul nourishing practice or similar - that would not attract people in west - the term soul is rather something that detracts or even causes fear.
Sri Sribhashyam would say that as we know our physical-home-adress - the practice of yoga and mudra is to get to know the adress of our soul, to get in touch with the spiritual element in us - whatever names you may use for the seeking for inner peace.
For the search for the connection to the divine - the Mudra Practice, with the central element on diving into the Marma Sthanas- the Vital Points or just "Concentration-Points" - which are the valves inbetween the body and the soul - is the tool. Concentration here is called DHARANA - and with the tool of emerging in this points - we clear different levels of the mind and stabilize our concentration, to be fit for DHYANA - Meditation.
For this aim, these sessions have a special structure, to which I want to refer in an other blog.
Here I want to share notes from a seminar with Sri Sribhashyam, in Heidelberg OKT 2012,
about the name and goal of these Mudra sessions, and why his father Sri T.Krishnamacharya, taught Western and indian students differently.
For givining an impression of his talks - I will change little in my script - to not change content!
Sri Sribhashyam told us
HE must stand by what HIS father taught HIM.
Because you think that others are not doing it right.
The Indian mind is different (developed) than in the West.
"the fundamental structures of "valves" are different!
For example - how life looks like in India might be surprising for us!
Hindus are "by nature" very devotional. And are this and keep this in everything and all the time.
We might not talk about God, but hold that devotion even in business.
Even when we open a computer we would do a prayer!
In a HinduLife you can not separate GOD from life!
A Hindu, getting elder has only 1 thing in his head: How to lead a devotional life. (That which one could not do in youth, not out of guilt, but the time was not there).
So in the Seventies of the life the intention goes more to God! Reading spiritual writings, or going on a pilgrimage.
an example - The Indian owner here in the shop in Heidelberg has complained to Sri Sribhashyam, that someone from Bangalore will pray again instead of sending the goods.
You can't tell a Hindu how to go into devotion, into surrender (no need), that's inside him.
We have so many Gods, and 1 family God also.
For a prayer = we invoke the family God first! (This cannot be devalued.)
When an Indian closes his eyes > the familyGod comes first. This is in him from childhood.
Calling God spontaneously should, even must be "part of your life".
You can't start when you are 30/40!
NO Hindu would say, yoga is the way to find God. HE already HAS his way!!!
In everything he does, he finds God somewhere!
Why Krishnamacharya did not have the same method as others:
If Krishnamacharya had Hindi students: He would first ask for the family God!
According to the situation, he would teach another prayer!
First comes the Family God
Then immediately the Spiritual Master of the family!
This comes AUTOMATICALLY for Hindus.
> Means not to impose any GOD!
> what is not already in your heart - will NEVER be in your heart!
So Sri Krishnamacharya (KM ff) knew, he could not impose / put this on anyone!
He even had Muslims as students!
KM knew! That the western students had difficulties to feel God in their hearts!
KM did not want to impose a spiritual concept, an idea of GOD on anyone!
However, as human beings we have ONE goal -
However, KM did not believe that if we Westerners adopt Indian prayers, we will reach God.
It is not the same whether I read a book in English or one in Sanskrit.
When you remove everything, what remains is the desire IN EVERYONE,
the longing to know the truth!
KMs main interest was, that the students maintain and find their own inner values (connected to THEIR culture).
Perhaps he wanted to use the yoga practice, to shed light on their spiritual quest (in relation to Westerners).
The inner value (GOD) cannot be changed if you don't like it anymore! - it would only be intellectual!
Therefore KM was more interested in the student finding HIMSELF what is the truth in HIM.
With every Hindu Krishnamacharya would start the session with a prayer!
With westerners he would tell something, e.g. a story about the values of Indian festivals.
"small things added - give the whole!"
You will forget the small stories, but you will not forget the value!
You too have something very important in your life > a foundation > the desire to find the thruth!
So KM simply nourtured the Westerners, and used the yoga practice to bring them closer to the values!
Your idea, what you have, is more intellectual, it came later, may be with 30 year.
So you search for workshops, and you find so many pictures in India,
but it is not sure that this is in your heart!
As teacher, my/the goal is, to realize, that "YOU HAVE something, which is very precious in you - keep that light alive in you!"
About the "LIFE SAVING SESSIONS" or "ATMA SUDDHI"
The existence of our Soul is not separable from our existence.
If we say, we want to be united, we unit our individual soul (ATMA) with the highest Soul (PARAMATMA)
= that is called - Liberation - Union - redemption.
Soul is MENT TO BE united with Paramatma!
What prevents the soul from uniting? The "impurities".
In this respect, removing the impurities leads towards unity with Paramatman!
When our human emotions are not kept in harmony betwen eachother = the impurities will cover the soul.
This process of cleaning is called:
Indians often use this word! Everyone knows what it is about!
For example, it is also the reading of spiritual scriptures, such as the epics, or the Bhagavadgita!
When we meet an Indian person who is too involved in emotional matters, we recommend religious reading, or recommend visiting a particular temple! No matter! How far away it is!
"We know as Hindus that ATMA SHUDDHI is absolutely necessary!
In this context we NEVER use any objection or discussion!
That is always part of our preoccupations! We do not discuss whether we have a soul or not! How or where...
Same with the name GOD - we don't care why it is called and how it is called.
The concept looks logical... but how many in the West would accept this concept WITHOUT DISCUSSION (also the instructions to go to the temple etc - the whole concept of ATMA SHUDDHI)?
1) We cannot be sure if/that all students accept the concept.
2) there is the identification of ego through knowledge...and we (Westerners) always WANT MORE details, and forget what we are actually looking for!
As teachers we have to find a means to convince these people (who don't accept this concept) and this is how KM wanted to attract the westerners without forcing his beliefs on them!
So, when he said to me (as a Hindu), it is about purifying the soul -
he would tell the westerners - it is about "saving the life or to lead a pure life!
> this is about the "lifesaving asanas" in the KM movie!
For Hindus "SOUL" is more important.
For Westerners "LIFE" is more important.
FOR HINDUS - EXISTENCE (UNIVERSAL, ETERNAL ASPECT - SOUL) IS LIFE.
FOR WESTERNERS LIFE IS EXISTENCE.
("For me (Sri Sribhashyam) it is soul-saving - but there, in the West - "life" is the word")
The exercises are not exclusive to Westerners, KM simply modified it.
So KM then asked the westerners
"what is LIFE", as it is a western question! -
and so they became curious what he thinks about "life" (more precious than just biological life).
He created a yoga practice session that helped them to learn about the soul!
He called it "life saving" session.
And said: Even if you don't come to me anymore, don't stop the practice! (In the sense: Don't stop the spiritual search!)
Sri Sribhashyam says - the "life saving sessions" were a gift from KM to the westerners, to guide everyone to what the soul is!
Hope you enjoyed his talk, and it shed light on the Mudra Sessions!
Clear that we have to explane, how these Mudras clean ourselves from the "impurities" of the mind.