I was fortunate to study pranayama with B.N.S Iyengar [the ‘other’ Iyengar…] during my first trip to Mysore in the early 2000s. In addition to learning sacred pranayama malas, he spit out some of the most eccentric quotes and bits of wisdom I’ve heard to date.
The aphorisms below are as accurate as I could manage to write while listening.
Seven children, three wives and two husbands make for time in society but not salvation.
Yoga is to become divine. Asana is to balance the body. Pranayama is to conquer death — to go from humanity to divinity.
All yoga begins with asana — purification of the body is important. You must have money, then go to the station and choose your vehicle.
You will hear voices and see visions. You must not be afraid, but must remain a witness. If you get unknown voices, frightened, visions — you must remain a witness.
Yogis are the witness of the society, so we will gain intensity of the mind.
[Regarding a pranayama mala he gave us which entailed 2 hours of pranayama/ day for 48 days. I’ll let you know when it’s crossed off my bucket list. ] In the last eight days, the unknown will be heard. You must not be afraid – ask ‘who are you?’ If we run, we will be followed. Sixty feet of man may appear — ask him ‘who are you?’ — he will never harm you unless you permit. Man is worse than a demon. You need not worry or fear for demons, but you may worry or fear for a man. No devils or demons will touch you without your permission. Ask him ‘who are you’ and they will run away and be burned. Man will not be burned. That is why he touches you. Even devils has got [sic] principles, otherwise society and this nature would have been burned by this time. When you ask the devil ‘who are you’ he will run away — a man will pounce upon you. Man is crueler than the devil. Devil has certain principles in this society.
If you research about mangos, you will become a scientist, not a saint. Juice is important — do not research about the mangos, it is useless. Research is not necessary for yogis.
You cannot ask where from you have gotten this milk — that is philosophy; you must sacrifice 10 years, 20 years.
Eat the pudding and subside your hunger. Do not ask how it is made.
Bandhas are as good as asanas. Do asanas perfectly, then enter into mudras and bandhas.