Our Celebratory Tribute to Guruji
Many in our community gathered together on Saturday, September 27, to honor the extraordinary life and legacy of BKS Iyengar. It was a very special and reverential evening in which we offered a collective expression of gratitude to Guruji.
As attendees entered the studio, they were given a small commemorative booklet, bound with hand-made Nepalese paper and a gold or silver cord. Inside was a collection of photos and written passages by Guruji. It is meant to be kept close by oneself.
Three Short Films were Shown
We felt the most fitting way to pay tribute to this magnificent man was to behold him. So, that, we did. The films were: Samadhi, Genius in Action, and My Body is the Temple, the last film being particularly moving as it is an artistic rendition of Guruji’s practice throughout his life with a prayerful soundtrack.
Reading of Quotes and Passages from Guruji’s Writings
The films were followed by a reading of quotes and passages, culled from Guruji’s treasure trove of writings. A mixture of students and teachers participated in the reading.
Quotes & Passages Read During Tribute
“As animals we walk the earth. As bearers of a divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle, seeking to reconcile the paradox of how to make our way upon earth while striving for something more permanent and more profound. So many seek this greater Truth in the heavens, but it lies much closer than the clouds. It is within us and can be found by anyone on the Inward Journey.”
“Anyone can embark on the Inward Journey. Life itself seeks fulfillment as plants seek the sunlight. The Universe did not create Life in the hope that the failure of the majority would underscore the success of the few. Spiritually at least, we live in a democracy, an equal opportunity society.”
“Regular practice of yoga helps you face the turmoil of life with steadiness and stability.”
“Yoga brings gifts from your very first day. These benefits can be experienced even by raw beginners, who feel something beginning to happen at a deep level in their bodies, in their minds, and even in their souls. Some describe the first gifts as a new feeling of lightness or calm or joy.”
“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
“To a yogi, freedom implies not being battered by the dualities of life, its ups and downs, its pleasures and its suffering. It implies equanimity and ultimately that there is an inner serene core of one’s being that is never out of touch with the unchanging, eternal infinite.”
“Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.”
“Many scientific and technological discoveries may disappear, but yoga shall not. It is the only subject that can uplift, maintain, sustain, support, and build up the growth of mental health in each individual, to come closer to each one’s heart.”
“Mind is the king of the senses. One who has conquered his mind, senses, passions, thoughts, and reason, is a king among men.”
“From a talk in 1986: ‘In the name of peace, wars are taking place. We have landed on the moon, but we have not yet landed in our own hearts.’
“Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
“Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
“Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga—don’t take a break.”
“Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.
“Yoga is a light which once lit will never dim; the better you practice the brighter the flame.”
“You have a problem part? That is your problem child. Learn how to deal with it.”
“I am often reluctant to declare that I am a Yogi. I can only say that I am on the path, and I’m very near.”
“Teaching is a difficult art, but it is the best service you can do for humanity.”
“As a young, lost man, I was partly aspiring to artistry, partly to the yogic search for the soul. The one encouraged the other. Then pure yoga took me over, and artistry became secondary or incidental.”
“I prune human beings.”
“I never wanted my pupils to call my method “Iyengar Yoga.” Yet they continue to do so. For me, yoga is yoga, individuality has no accountability. Only the subject of yoga should be held in high esteem. Yoga is universal.”
Guruji’s daughter, Geetaji, said, on the day he died, “Like rain, he touched all of us equally.”
The program ended with an offering of the devotional Guru Brahma chant.
We then adjoined to the outdoor balcony and shared in the spectacular potluck “pupus” that everyone had brought.
A big mahalo to those who worked so hard to make the evening memorable:
Evelyn, Sandy Y., Stephanie, Ken, Lori, Aaron, Michael, May, Marlene P., Kate, Laurie, Rowen, Richard, Lynnette, Kevin, Gail and Ray.
Mahalo also goes to all those who, over the last several weeks, brought flowers and offerings for the altar in the studio: Wally, Kate, Boo Young, Mary S., Marian, Carol R., Sandy S., Sylvia, and Sam. All were appreciated very much.