Part 2: readings from the retreat (Menla 2023)Kriya Yoga: Svadhyaha

Svadhyaya is self study, self reflection, contemplation.

” Patanjali asks the spiritual aspirant to begin thinking for him/herself.” (Rohit Mehta: Yoga, the Art of Integration)

” Svadhyaha or self-knowledge, is difficult. We so much associate knowledge with the acquisition of learning. In reality, svadhyaha, whether through study, or self-analysis, is the path of concentration (dharana), and dhyana (contemplation and reflection – Prashant Iyengar), leading up a cruel and stoney path to knowledge and to disrobing of the false or pretenrious self with all is flaws. It’s reward is the path of wisdom (jnana marga), which so denudes us of self-illusion that we are ready for the next great step.” (B.K.S. Iyengar: Light on Life.)

Tapas and Svadhyaha are our internal checks and balances. Tapas is outward, inviting zeal and commitment: svadhyaya is inward, asking us to measure the quantity of tapas required to act skillfully. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krisha speaks to Arjuna of “skillful action” using tapas and svadhyaya as action and inaction:

” What is action and what is inaction? This question has confused the greatest sages. I will give you the secret of action with which you can free yourself from bondage. The true nature of action is difficult to grasp. (4:16 and 17)

The wise see that there is action in the midst of inaction and inaction in the midst of action. Their consciousness is unified, and every act is done with complete awareness” (4:18)

” The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results: all his selfish desires have been consumed by the fire of knowledge.”

(The Bhagavad Gita: Translation and commentary by Eknath Eswaran)

” In tapa and svadhyaha, Patanjali asks us to inquire into the nature and the content of both the opposites. A rejection of one opposite is not enough: there has to be non-indulgence in the opposite. Tapas may enable one to reject one opposite, but it is only self study which makes it possible for the student of Yoga to refrain from indulging in the other.” (Rohit Metha: Yoga the Art of Integration.)

” You have to work with the threads. The T-shirt is made of threads, vertical and horizontal. You have to open the vertical threads, the horizontal threads. These threads create your intelligence. You thread the whole body. You are tailoring the whole body. You thread the needle with your thread. The tip of the needle is itself, like consciousness. The thread is intelligence. The intelligence following conciousness.” (Geeta Iyengar: 2009 Teachers convention)

Rumi; Quietness

Inside this new love, die.

Your way begins on the other side.

Become the sky.

Take an axe to the prison wall.


Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.

Do it now.

You are covered with thick cloud.

Slide out the side. Die,

and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign

that you have died.

Your old life was a frantic running

from silence.

The speechless full moon

comes out now.