Yoga Book Club: The Making of a Yoga Master
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About Guided Book Readings
The Yoga Book Club on HathaYoga.net are a way for you and I to embark on a shared journey through a particular book. Whether you start the book with me or at a later date is not important, as this yoga book club allows you to jump on the path whenever you like.
Each ‘Guided Book Reading’ is set up as follows:
- Initial Book Introduction – how I came about the book, why I chose it, and an interview with the author (when possible).
- Highlights from first chapter, including key ideas and a couple of quotes/excerpts. Questions to make you think.
- Highlights from second chapter….
- Suggested activities or points to ponder to deepen your understanding and experience of the book.
- My final thoughts on the book and, if I receive any feedback from readers I may include their thoughts as well.
I met the author of ‘Making of a Yoga Master’ on a forum dedicated to the spiritual aspects of yoga. I was impressed with Mr. Tambe for his wisdom and humility. He struck me as a true seeker. Unlike some of the voices on the aforementioned yoga forum, he was not someone looking to put himself on a pedestal or attain false glory. Rather he was just a man interested in the science of yoga. Since then Suhas has written two articles for HathaYoga.net, and plans to become a regular contributor. Please follow his posts here. I am thankful to have his voice on HathaYoga.net, as he helps people understand that yoga is a complete system, not just a set of physical postures.
The Making of a Yoga Master: A Seeker’s Transformation
PAGES: 392, soft-cover
AUTHOR: Suhas Tambe
PUBLISHER: HOHM PRESS
BACK COVER: “Based in a never-before used original sequence of Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra, this book clearly documents the processes, progression and signposts of transformation through Yoga.”
SUGGESTED STUDY TIME: 7 weeks for initial read
- Chapter Zero: The Foundation
- Chapter One: Sadhaka (Seeker) and Inspiration
- Chapter Two: Sisya (Disciple and a Vision)
- Chapter Three: Yogi and Insight
- Chapter Four: Mahayogi and Intution
- Chapter Five: Parama Yogi (Yoga Master) and Illumination
- Appendix 1: The Rhythmic Breathing
- Appendix 2: Upgrading of Awareness
- Appendix 3: Chakras – Energy Centers of Transformation
- Appendix 4: How Do the Refining Exercises Work?
- Appendix 5: Grooming the Master
- Phases in a Seeker’s Transformation into a Yoga Master
- Exercises and Practics (Summary)
- Recommended Reading
- Contact Information.
Suhas Tambe, Author
Monique: In the Preface of your book you state that one of the reasons for ‘The Making of a Yoga Master’ is to present an organized, approachable, previously unknown sequence by which to study the Pradkpika and master the principles of yoga. Does this mean you believe the sequence of the Pradipika is not useful? And, how or why do you feel this new sequence that you are sharing with the world is more appropriate?
Monique: You mention that you gathered the knowledge for this book from your Guru, S.N. Tavaria, and from practicing these disciplines. Let’s first talk about your Guru. In the West some people think that a Guru is worshiped as a living God, which can be dangerous. What do you mean when you call someone a Guru? Is this person to be followed blindly? worshiped? Please explain the Guru concept to help readers understand.
Suhas: (Before the answer, you deserve my appreciation. In today’s fast-paced world we are short on patience, among other things. My book needs a lot!). This was the very first question that I struggled with. The great masters and spiritual stalwarts who have written about Sutras, made me determined not to write. Only when I started talking about it that I realized a need – a very simple need of an ordinary seeker to skip the heavy-weight esoteric and yet, seek beyond the light-weight postures, that I saw myself in the mirror. I was also convinced that the cryptic individual Sutras demand multiple interpretations and varied dimensions to bring home its profound essence. The new sequence is intended to bring out exciting, new underlying concepts that would make the earlier authoritative works richer. My fond desire is to see yogis picking up this sequence, applying it to the book they adore and discovering a wealth of new knowledge. Lastly, I am too challenged to know why this sequence needs to come out of the closet now. My guru and his guru would know it; I did what I was supposed to do – bring it to everyone. Is this sequence more appropriate? Yes, it provides a vision of a spiritual path that has practice and theory hand-in-hand, shows unambiguous milestones, defines a neat progression as seeker-desciple-yogi-mahayogi-paramyogi, provides simple-to-complex hypotheses for self-validation, corresponds comfortably with today’s scientific knowledge- all this making it a science of life.
Suhas: Words in such discussions are always poor presenters of essence. Words like God are loaded with emotions and inflicted with pre-conceived notions. So, you say ‘worshipping’, ‘living God’ and are compelled to call it ‘dangerous.’ The word ‘guru’ has been imported into the English vocabulary but its spirit has been left behind. Guru is one who cares for the seeker and is responsible for accrual of real knowledge. Guru hardly expects blind faith, in fact, ready-made answers never come forth. Guru creates environment in which knowledge occurs via the seeker’s fiery aspiration. Worship of guru blossoms from immense gratitude. Guru is often compared to ‘mother’ in the East.
A true guru would guide only when needed and would gladly retire in favor of the ‘inner guru’.
(Ironically, at times we ourselves follow many things blindly in the West. Tell anybody anything as “proven by the latest scientific research” or let any word be heard on the TV “NEWS” and the listener won’t question it for a second.)
Another reason you mention for writing your book is the fact that Yoga in the west has become associated with various physical postures devoid of spiritual meaning. And, that without the spiritual framework we miss the entire essence of yoga. Furthermore you state that to simply ‘study’ books of yoga philosophy is not adequate, as it leads to a shallow and fragile knowledge. Instead you suggest that one must endeavor onto a path in which s/he learns the disciplines of a becoming a spiritually mature person , experiences yoga, and becomes a yoga master. My question is – what is the essence of becoming a spiritually mature person, a Yogi? Is it possible to explain to readers, briefly, in both scientific and spiritual terms the essence of a Yogi and the benefits therein?
Suhas: The religions of the world have done this to us. Instead of telling us the secrets of the One World, they have shown us a kaleidoscope of conflicting images, all fighting for legitimacy. Its first casualty is a loss of identity for us. We are spiritual beings in a constant state of denial. Life is an integral part of each object, whether the whole universe or a tiny particle. But to say that the ‘life in its essence is spirit’ makes us guilty of trespassing into the religious territory. Yoga philosophy has suffered for ages at the hands of those who must talk a lot about it but won’t walk it one step. Yoga is self-realization. It is not a journey from one location to the other where you remain what you are. It is a journey from ‘this’ you to a ‘new’ you, a transformation. ‘Doing yoga’ is grammatically correct but conceptually? – an error. It is not a surprise that a more materialistic West got hooked on to the physical side of yoga, the postures; but it is unpardonable if the yoga teachers are ignorant or insistent enough not to recognize the more potent spiritual side of yoga. A true yogi lives yoga, a more meaningful life, knows the subtle behind the appearances, enjoys freedom in every sense and knows who he/she is and why. Science doesn’t know it yet.(Yogi’s advance states of dharana, dhyana and Samadhi are often translated as concentration, meditation and contemplation. That’s incorrect. The latter three are skills honed in the externally oriented life and when the same are turned inward result in the three yogik states. Thus, yoga recognizes and facilitates these skills for achieving excellence in life and also shows how the inner domain could as well be enriched by the same skills.)
Monique: Since you have written this book that includes much wisdom about transformation, I have to ask… are you now a Yoga Master or are you still a seeker or can you be both simultaneously?
Suhas: In yoga’s true tradition, one is not supposed to share the journey on the path, except when called for. Any sense of achievement here is counter-productive and worse is a feeling of ‘holier than thou’. But, I sense a need for this question. No, I am not a yoga master; but by the grace of many factors I have permission to share the information about the path that I have yet to traverse.
Monique: What core lesson do you want people to take from your book?
Suhas: If I could live yoga, anybody can. Try it, if you haven’t.
Monique: Is there any advice you have for readers who are engaging with your book for the first time?
Suhas: Please don’t shoot any idea down even if you feel pre-disposed to do that. No blind faith is expected, but blind rejection doesn’t help either. Secondly, remember three key things – practice, practice and practice. Throw away all the books (including mine) if not a single word becomes your self-realized truth. May Ishvara bless you.
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