Since a ling time Science fiction has been the mouthpiece of religious mythologies. This podcast brings you the Star Wars Series and its resemblance to the Hindu religion. Needless to say that from time to time all the world religions have expressed their similarity with the epic series, and all of them are right! I hope you enjoy the perspective.

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Home – 30th Anniversary

Ep. 1: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth — ‘The Hero’s Adventure’

Cricket is the lifeline of India, something that unites it like nothing else. During the COVID-19 if anything India is missing the most, it is cricket. Here is an interview with one of the most exemplary coaches of our times, winner of the highest recognition for a coach in India- Dronacharya Award for the best coach, he is the coach of the most celebrated, most talented, cricket superstar Virat Kohli. He has several accomplishments in his career, the most notable amongst them being the first bowler to bowl a “doosra” as recognized by the National Cricket Academy of India.
I hope you enjoy the Varta!

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Cricket is the lifeline of India, something that unites it like nothing else. During the COVID-19 if anything India is missing the most, it is cricket. Here is an interview with one of the most exemplary coaches of our times, winner of the highest recognition for a coach in India- Dronacharya Award for the best coach, he is the coach of the most celebrated, most talented, cricket superstar Virat Kohli. He has several accomplishments in his career, the most notable amongst them being the first bowler to bowl a “doosra” as recognized by the National Cricket Academy of India.
I hope you enjoy the Varta!

Please contact me on


This episode brings the most lucid explanation of Ashtanga, mentioned in Patanjali’s Yogasutras. A lot of myths have been busted and this series of three podcasts is indeed a very valuable resource for all Yoga practitioners. Enjoy the show.

Rangaji can be reached at
My email is:

This episode brings the most lucid explanation of Ashtanga, mentioned in Patanjali’s Yogasutras. A lot of myths have been busted and this series of three podcasts is indeed a very valuable resource for all Yoga practitioners. Enjoy the show. Rangaji can be reached at
My email is:

Part two of this podcast series very nicely encapsulates the learnings in an easily understandable format and leaves scope for Svadhyay – self-learning. It is clear that asanas are only a part of the yoga practice and is in no way an end.

We will continue this series in the future, depending on when Rangaji will have time for doing another podcast. Your comments and questions will certainly go a long way in persuading him for another episode.

He is starting a Youtube channel very soon, about which he will make an announcement soon, he is also launching his website, dedicated to amateur photography, we are so much looking forward to both of his new ventures and wish him good luck.

Please subscribe to this podcast and post comments, you can also reach me on and visit my website

Rangaji recommends reading Upanishads in translation, something which as per him will contribute to the efforts in achieving your goals. He is at the moment listening to Mundaka Upanishad from his Guru in Tamil. He also recommends reading the “The Autobiography of Yogi” – a book by Parmahansa Yogananda.

He listens from Carnatic Music to Rock Music, he is an audiophile and I discovered that he really liked No Sanctuary Here by Chris Jones!

Yoga is many things to many people and usually depends on their knowledge of the subject and their reason for interest or practicing yoga. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanksrit root ‘Yuj’ which means union. (Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language). Essentially yoga is an ancient philosophy that emerged out of different philosophies in India between 2,500 and 5,000 years ago or even (longer) earlier. Many people practice Yoga at dedicated yoga (retreats) centers. The original philosophies talked in-depth about humility. They also talked about letting go of the ego, attachments, anger, and anything else that separates you from other people and the world around you. This humility allows you to connect to the world around you and to form yoga or ‘union’ with the world around you. The idea was that the whole world is connected and to tap into the feeling of union.

Ranga Ramachandran is a very promising Yoga instructor with a very wide following and lays stress on doing things right consistently, rather than doing just for the sake of it.

Books recommended by Ranga:

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Guide


The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary

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This interview with Dr. SK Pattanayak is very informative and enriching. It was a delight to talk to him at length and to be able to appreciate the advances the Indian agriculture has made and what needs to be done to maximize its potential to greater heights. It showcases the contributions of the Indian Farmer to fight the present pandemic and gives strength to others to fight it with the same spirit. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did recording it.

Book recommendation:
Die Empty by Todd Henry

Article: Mitochondria as Chi  by Douglas C. Wallace

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Amrendra Kumar  0:17  

Hi ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome to my latest episode of Varta with Amrendra brought to you by Shruti productions. My name is Amrendra and I’m a business professional based in Dubai and a noveau podcaster. As promised in the last episode, this is podcast number two in a series of podcasts on demystifying yoga practices where you will get tips about the nuances of yoga. I’m sure after listening to this podcast, you will be able to find a meaningful sense of purpose in your yoga practice something which will make your journey much more enrching, our today’s guest is the same as last time. A young yoga instructor, Mr. Rangaji Ramachandran who hails from the temple city of Tiruchirapalli in south of India. He’s based in Dubai since 2013 and teaches yoga in various yoga studios and he is very popular in the corporate world also, where he often takes workshops. He studied yoga at the Swami Vivekananda yoga Anusandhan Sansathan, Bangalore, where he got a master’s degree in yogic science. He’s also a certified Iyengar yoga instructor under Shri Nanda Kumar from Malaysian Iyengar yoga Institute. His work with famous spine surgeon Dr. John Ebenezar  is worth mentioning, as  is his work on a structured yoga program for a PhD study on osteoporosis. He’s a lifestyle coach with support of ancient Indian systems like Ayurveda, and Sidha medical systems. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Ranga Ji


a welcome back Ranga to my podcast Varta with Amrendra. I think last time your parting remarks were kind of a cliche. Yoga is simpler to approach at the same time complex as a subject. 


Ranga  2:38  

So let’s try to address the complex part and break it down to make it simpler. Yes, so does it not sound like another cliche Now to begin with? 


Definitely we in modern yoga, we are stuck with a lot of cliches and you know, a lot of assumptions. So we have to break that.


Yes. So Okay, then let’s try to catch the bull by the horns. By trying to go deeper into each of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga Sutras, how does it sound?


Yes, sounds good.


So, in the last episode, we did touch the first limb a little bit, the Yama which has five attributes. So, let us try to understand the Satya the Ahimsa, the Asteya, Brahmacharya and the Aparigriha. Yes. So it is so peculiar that each one of them while being different, are also interrelated in a very unique way. So, can you just describe them briefly to set the tone for today’s Varta?


So, well, thank you for calling me again. And it’s always fun to share, whatever I can share, whatever I’ve learned from my teachers and part experience picking up from our previous Talk actually I made one point about linearity and non linearity in yoga sutras. It is linear for a beginner nonlinear for an advanced. So that is the same concept that can be applied for the Ashtanga Yoga. Also, Ashtanga Yoga is a linear approach, meaning beginners get a good structure. Now if if you’re already well versed in a subject, you won’t go to one on one class. To begin, you go for the levels that you are used to the same way Yoga Sutras says okay, you can’t meditate fine, you can’t surrender fine, you can’t do this. You can’t do that. There are so many other methods mentioned. So he says, Okay, fine. If you are unstructured, let’s structure it for you. So it is like a course within a course. So what he has done is okay, start structuring your mind, then we will structure your body and the breath. So it’s a it’s a step by step approach to a Novus, I would say And that’s one of the reasons why it should be the core component of any yoga practitioner. But as we we call it a limb and we start in the Asana and we stay there, you know, that is that is one Asana, well, we don’t move. So we just stay there. We don’t either look at the what is written before or what is written after. So, approaching it in a slightly linear way will help a lot for a new practitioner. So Yama, being how you interact with the world, let’s let’s put it that way. Some people call it discipline observances, and all those things. These words are fancy, but let’s be realistic. So this is like, okay, when you’re going out, we are stepping out. You’re putting on a skin called Ranga. And what that does is people see that Ranga only what we know truly about Ranga is what matters.


Amrendra Kumar  5:54  

And that is Ranga himself.


Unknown Speaker  5:56  

Exactly. Except me. Nobody knows. But at the same time, There is a perception created by the way I act and do things in other people’s mind. That perception needs to be very clear as to what is my practice. Meaning I should be as transparent as possible and to be as transparent as possible. Yamas are very required. Because some people do something inside the home and when they walk out, they’re a completely different person, a yogi cannot be like that, or at least a yoga practitioner cannot be like that. So this is what Yamas are all about. Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha, Yamaha so meaning non violence, speaking the truth, not stealing. And Brahmacharya is again, as I said, it has multiple meanings, one of which is abstinence from sex, which is the most commonly interpreted way because imagine a young student at the age of 15, or 16 wants to start on a process of yoga At age what will be the most distracting factor? The opposite sex typically. And that’s where the mind goes typically because yeah, as young we are, the energies are much higher, and it will be that it will be exposed towards a certain vulnerability. And this is that vulnerability. So one of the one of the translation for that word is abstinence from sex, but it doesn’t mean strictly that alone. So we’ll get into that later.


Ranga  7:24  

So channelizing the energy. 


Ya channelizing, in a way of Brahmacharya means like, one who walks towards Brahman, actually speaking, tries to walk charities to walk. I don’t know the Sanskrit in a detail, I mean, there is a word breakdown given by my teacher and you know, we were made to understand it in a certain way, which is a person who is walking towards Brahman Brahman here meaning the ultimate reality on the truth or are are the result of enlightenment going towards that. So a person who is walking towards us, means obviously are not getting distracted by other things. If I’m going to Abu Dhabi, that means that I’m not going to Sharjah, I don’t have to say, I’m not going to Sharjah, I’m going to Abu Dhabi, right? It doesn’t make any sense. Right? Once our goal is set, it automatically means we are not deviating from the goal. So a person who doesn’t deviate from his goal is the real meaning of Brahmacharya.


You know, also, I think, in some way to contain your energy for a certain


correct so you’re you’re you’re saving energy from wasting it and directing it towards the real goal real real purpose Yes.


Which may be different depending on the phase of life you are in.


When it comes to yoga, it’s only one goal.


When it comes to life, it can be multiple goals.


Yeah. So it will be better for our listeners, maybe you know, by giving some life examples, you can walk them into the path of getting to know like, very rightly, you started with the Brahmacharya because that is one of the Things which people say that how can we practice Brahmacharya in a family setting? But it is not about that. Exactly, isn’t it? So you have clarified that that that is only one of the meanings like any word may have different connotations, 


all of our great Yogi’s in the past, many of them not all, I would say 80% of them were family members were having kids were passing passing on their genes. Okay. They didn’t refrain from being a human being,there’s a difference Exactly. So, that is a difference between a overindulgence and doing it as a necessity for the sake of humanity Hmm, that is a difference. Nowadays, you know, there are there is counseling behind why you are not doing it and everything right. So whereas Yogi’s were like you know, this is part of your necessity to procreate, so that you you continue the humanity, so even animals know that animals have what is called mating season. Humans are the only form of animals who don’t have a season. Okay, so animals have a season, but human as animals we don’t have. So which means our energies are not meant for only that, it’s meant for much higher purposes and usage also. So that is why Brahmacharya is such a clear point of contention. As soon as somebody who’s who doesn’t have a scriptural background hears or sees the translation, abstinence from sex, or they’ll close the book and say, oh, yoga is not for me. It’s very strict. As with anything too strict, you want to get into elite colleges, you need to study hard, it is strict. You can’t say and study the way I will, and I want to go to Ivy League college. No, it won’t happen. So as with anything that has a higher purpose and higher result, discipline comes as part of the package. So the rules come as part of the package.


Exactly. So you know, that also takes us to the Other Yama, which is Aparigraha, which I think in today’s COVID world is more pertinent than ever. Because you know, that takes you to possessiveness and what you should have and what you should not have it also does not mean that you should not have anything, but I think maybe you can explain Aparigraha in a life context and also in a yoga context.


Yeah, I mean it applies to both. Even non Yogi’s can practice Aparigraha for a different reason for a sense of contentment, for higher happiness. The best way to correlate Okay, so the modern word for Aparigraha is actually minimalism, which is a very hip word these days. And netflix documentaries are about it and there are many channels talking about it and that the whole movement behind it saying Japanese live minimalisticly  and we need to emulate that. There are tiny apartment concept because we don’t need antonius


antonym of consumerism,


yeah, so is this like it This concept is there for ages minimalism is not a new concept. The very fact that Aparigraha is spoken of means minimalism is part of Yogi’s life, meaning don’t have what you don’t need. Okay? Okay, so it’s like, as we say, out of sight out of mind, you don’t see something often it’s not going to stay in your head. The more objects we keep accumulating around us, the more we keep seeing it, the more we want it, the more we crave for it, the more we use it, and the more we will, again accumulate it, re accumulate it or you  know, So  Aparigraha has nothing but minimalism in every sense of the word. actually speaking. Aparigraha doesn’t only mean objects, it can also mean food. It can also mean any other thing you know, storing food is also part of greed actually speaking, the more we store, we also are not going to consume and those who require the food will not be able to reach it. So I guess in the current world that’s that’s, that makes a lot more sense. On one side, people are throwing food on the other side people are starving. And this is exactly the result of people not following this principles of Aparigraha Yeah,


true. Yeah. Yeah. So, similarly, Asteya, another Yama also is literal translation is do not steal. But it is much more than that, in the sense that what is to be stolen, you know, and what could be stolen. So if you could just throw some light on that, like, you know, stealing ideas, and this is also kind of an Asteya.


So now, we can look at it in two points of view. One is a regular person’s point of view and the Yogi’s point of view. From a regular person’s point of view, what you said is perfectly applicable not stealing something. Stealing means here possessing something that is not rightly earned by you.


Yeah, okay. plagiarism.


Plagiarism also is part of it. Yes, intellectual property violations to everything. From that point of view, yes. From a yogi point of view, it matters less than less because we don’t own anything. Anyway, we came into this world with no ownership title of anything. And we are going to leave this world without any ownership tightly. So stealing doesn’t exist as a concept in a Yogi’s mind as it exists for a regular person’s mind. You know, if a yogi sees a small kid stealing some small small food item from a store, he’ll probably forgive and say go get lost Okay, and he’ll probably say don’t do it again, he’s not going to slap him and go and hand him over to the store owner or the police or anyone, because he knows that’s not the object of life itself. Life is far more than just these petty things. So when the concept goes to a higher level, not stealing actually means don’t cause disturbance to other people’s mind by moving their materials away from them, you as a yogi should intervene and other people’s life as less as possible.


So we can put it that way.


Because if you’re going to not stealing pretty much everything is stealing these days. If you look at it, products are overpriced stores are stealing from us. You know, when we overprice  our own services that is stealing from others. So there is no proper definition for what is right and what is wrong when it comes to stealing. What we can say is don’t cause disturbance to another person’s mind. So when when somebody is you know, it’s like kids fighting 1 kid is playing with one toy the other kid exactly wants That toy, it doesn’t want anything else lying around the floor, whatever is the other kid posessing, he needs that they fight for it. Adults should not behave like that. Yeah. So I think we can leave it at that because it becomes extremely complex as a topic then literally we have to sit inside the home doing nothing. Of course the chat possible. Yeah. So Patanjali has cleverly put it Asteya not stealing meaning is that you as an individual, as much as possible, minimize intervention in other people’s life when it comes to material interactions.


Very good. very nicely elucidated. Yeah, so similarly, I think, the last attribute, we’ve covered all five in Ahimsa. You know, people can get away with saying that I’m a non violent person, I don’t kill anyone. But that doesn’t absolve them from being a Hinsak, you know, you know what I mean? So they can still be not following Ahimsa, and saying that since I didn’t kill anyone with my revolver. So can you just throw some light on? again from a life perspective and from a yogi perspective,


life perspective, I think already we are seeing the movement, you know, people becoming vegetarians, vegans not buying leather products, not at least as much as they can not causing damage to environment by using you know, reusable things. Although we know all these are going to be like at the end of the day, very small contribution to not being violent as a as a human race. But still, these are contributions. But in reality, violence is of three types. You know, Kaya, Manasa,  wacha. So you bodily harm, the mental harm and the verbal harm. So in fact, the verbal is a last one because it’s the most powerful form of hurt that you can do. When you you know, hurt someone in the mind. It doesn’t immediate Reflect in that person. When you you know harm someone physically doesn’t affect them mentally as much as you would verbally, because we’re verbal confrontations typically have a lot of emotion behind it. So it carries the most weight. So from that perspective, non violence is being spoken of here. Because in the Yoga Sutras, there are other sutras which actually come to this point in a different way. In fact, he says very specifically, even though you don’t participate in a crime or inner inner Act, which you should not be doing, you doing it indirectly also constitutes to participation also


kind of rage.


Yeah. So for example, meat can be one such thing, actually speaking. That’s one of the reasons one of the reasons given for being a vegetarian is because causing harm to animals in a perceivable way. Right is done by somebody else. But let’s say I’m sitting in another part of the world and I’m eating that meat. And I’m saying I didn’t see the violence and hence I didn’t do it somebody else did, they’ll take the karma, no, you will be part of that whole chain, you are part of the process, you have an equal share in that act. So, whatever what So, many good statements in English What goes around comes around, yeah, simple as that. So, you you cause a harm indirectly or you are what is a giving energy for the process to continue in some form? That process affects you. Yeah, it can be applicable to anything non vegetarianism or vegetarian is one of the things. So it is actually being spoken off as a big thing. It is not really a big thing. I mean, to be very honest, all Yogi’s are vegetarians for a certain reason. You know, that is a reason why human body evolves in a certain way with a certain type of food and people Who may reject this and no problem I mean there is yoga never says you should do this or you shouldn’t do that. It only says you can try and see what happens to you


there is no end to that, because certain kinds of moderation has to be practiced. And in any case because even in vegetarianism you are causing harm to (correct)  environment Exactly, and the whole lot of like an example of any rice which you eat, has gone through so much of processes and has caused so much of disruption in the environment absolute like you should, then you should not do anything like in the last attribute also concluded that so we have to reach a kind of a moderation and what you like and what goes with you and what is recommended something in between. If you can follow


some people do consider Yogi’s as a bit selfish because they can take care of only themselves and they are very isolated from the society. They don’t contribute. In fact, they are the ones who don’t pollute the environment. They don’t own, which means they don’t consume, they are not in the corporate chain of consumption and greed. And they don’t go into other people’s life and you know, destroy their lives emotionally, and they don’t get affected, no other way around. So they are everything that we actually are striving to do. Right and they are already living that. So


yeah, this is another, you know, another way of looking at it. There is another way, which I also have, like, I heard Elon Musk not very long ago. He said that exactly the same way as you were saying that. If you are working nine to five and you’re very punctual and you’re doing your job well, this is good enough to put the food on the table for your family. And that’s being very selfish because you’re not achieving anything else. So that you can Help the society back to in order to do things which are needed to be done. Otherwise, who will do those things if everyone will go in a very systematic way, so that there is a point there too?


Absolutely. That is why Yoga is not for everyone. Yeah. So everybody who crosses a certain threshold of Okay, I’m, I’m done with this. And I would like to try something more than my current life. That’s where yoga starts typically. That’s why it’s always a one in a million million event, who becomes a perfect Yogi. So not everyone. So there is going to be this and that, because the world has to run the world has to survive. So every part of the process will exist always. The thing is, how can we minimize the impact from an individual perspective? And how to elevate ourselves from a spiritual angle. That’s what Yoga is interested in. So thank you.


No, render you yourself are an example. I think here because You have also this because you wanted to do something and your father saw something in you, you stepped out of the normal you know profession as this is popular in your generation and started doing something else. And I mean your own formation into what you are becoming and what is it what are your goals elucidates the point which you’re making?


I think so, definitely. Because I have seen


I personally feel that we should not give too much importance to the traditional angle of goals and career and all these things as COVID is clearly demonstrating. jobs can be lost anytime and with the jobs goes to mind as well for many of them. So which means your your mind is tied to the job, but it’s not supposed to be like that. So, yoga is a way to rethink our real objectives is is the way I see. But, I mean, we have to be part of the society. Of course, I am also in a profession. I mean yoga, I made yoga as my profession, it as a professional angle to it. But how far Am I tied to? It is a real question. It’s a question that I’m dealing with right now. And I constantly try to address it. So I guess I guess that level of thinking process should come. So that is why Yoga is not just a physical practice that you go and do in a studio. There is a lot of studying to be done. And there is a lot of understanding to be had towards our own mind. So


yeah, so we’re gradually going into our second limb, which is Niyama. That is where you are what you’re saying that should be followed. So let’s let’s address Niyama here, which has again, five attributes, Saucha,  Samtosa.


Amrendra Kumar  24:57  



Svadhyaya and Isvara Pranidhana.


Ranga  25:02  

So can you please try to explain this in brief by giving some examples?


Saucha, Samtosa, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishwara Pranidhana . So, Niyama is to be looked at. As I said Yama is how you polish the way you are on the outside when you interact with the society if you see all those five are typically larger by their ideas and notion and everything. Yeah, only you know, yeah, very speculative. Also, in fact, everyone can define Yama’s degree of seriousness in their own way. Whereas Niyama is a bit more specific. Saucha means cleanliness. So samtosa means contentment. Hmm, okay. So contentment Here comes from, again, from the previous limbs. When you don’t accumulate too much you you start being satisfied with what you have. you’re reaching a state of saying Okay, I think I don’t want more and more and more. Again speaking of minimalism, yeah. So when you practice all that these things kind of start settling into yourself. You know more deeper and deeper Saucha is pretty straightforward cleanliness. In fact, the following sutra for Saucha says that you will lose interest in your own body, when you keep it very clean. What he actually means is, in essence that you don’t give too much attention to your attention to your body. We’re making it go through the cycle of dirt and cleanliness, dirt and cleanline so you give too much attention. So when you always keep it clean, you you don’t get disturbed by it. It doesn’t grab your attention too much. You know. So keeping everything in yoga is all about how much I think is disturbing your mind.


Ultimately, that is a scale of measure. Okay,


so is there I think there is a concept of Shatkarma for cleaning Internal and internal


that comes under hatha yoga. Yeah.


So we’ll briefly


come under that can come under Ashtanga Yoga from a practical sense. I think that is specific to the individual. It is actually defined that there are certain people who are not capable of performing breathing exercises and asanas and everything, only those people should go through the Shatkarmas it says like that, when your physical body is not ready to do basic yoga practices, you put it through the cleansing practices, out of which the internal cleansing the six cleansing techniques, comes under that


Okay, so are these done by someone or you can do it yourself?


Ideally doing it under someone is better. Okay. I think the shocker was a Navy busted out a couple bottie Yeah, the two more Yeah.


Good. Okay, so yeah, then the samtosa is of course the contentment and being content with what you have So, can you can you also you already defined, I think Samtosa is also linked with Aparigraha in some way 


there are a lot of connections between the Yamas and Niyamas


the internal you and the outside you what is evident to the world and what is inside you. Are you following that? So, they are all interrelated It is very, very evident. So, the tapas or austerity is can you explain a little bit about that about


tapas I think because of our TV programmes in India back in 90s tapas means, you know going to a forest, setting alone with minimal clothing. That is one kind of tapas. tapas doesn’t necessarily mean that tapas is primarily of two kinds. One is a method ordained by your guru. If you have a guru and if you have a teacher And he has said do this x y Zed and then you come to me once when you’re done, you have you ever take it up as the only objective in your life and you follow that, that becomes your Tapas. But if in the absence of such a guidance, Tapas would be to try and take up certain practices and you stick to it until you start seeing some results and then you progress in your own way safely. So, many people fall under the second category, unfortunately or fortunately they don’t have a guru I think I would say unfortunately, because guru being having a guru makes job much simpler. They are saying do it XYZ they know better than you. In many sense you know when you are studying you are in a college you are in a university you are in a school at any level you are always listening to someone because you don’t know what your what is being spoken to? like what what is being spoken to you. So that’s why you need someone to guide you. Yeah. So for everything we have a guide souls to for spiritual People who have experienced will say okay, they will look at you and they’ll say, they will know better that they can understand from your psychological disposition, your physical disposition, the way you interact that can tell you 10 things about you to them even without you knowing, right? So they’ll say do this x y Zed practice and that will help you and we stick into that becomes tapas, austerity or sincerity. So, yeah,


basically, it can also be said in different words trying to do something outside your comfort zone.


Definitely, because the discipline itself is outside comfort zone. Yeah. So all these will will will entail discipline definitely. So


so if you are normally getting up at 10 or 10 o’clock in the morning, and get up at 4am to do a yoga session. That is, yeah,


please form part of the tapas. Yes. tapas is a whole effort that you put towards a certain goal, and this can be the smaller comonents towards that effort getting up on time maintaining your body, maintaining your mind, maintaining your breath, all these constitute to what is called a Tapas. So,


yeah, good, good. So let’s come to Svadhyaya which is about understanding yourself and what goes on to becoming responsible about your actions. So, can you say something about Svadhyaya,


Svadhyaya is to


commonly interpreted as self study. It is not self study it is actually studying the self


Amrendra Kumar  31:37  

studying the self. That’s right.


Ranga  31:39  

Okay. So I think people have just shortened it and put self study self study means I can just lock myself in a room and study anything that is called self study. But whereas studying the self is different. Now, if I want to become a physicist, I can study 18 hours a day, a chemistry book or a biology book, all that I want with all my vigour But I’m never going to become a physicist for pretty obvious reasons I can become a biologist or chemist, but if my objective is physics, I have to be physics related books. Yeah. subject specific Yeah. So, if I want to understand myself, there are people who have explored their self in the past Yogis, Munis, Rishis,  you can say many different names, they are not the same way as much as many people think they are all different categories and they have walked the path and then they say okay, see, these are the milestones that I have crossed, these are the pitfalls that you may face how to get around that he that as an Indian you must be familiar there are thousands of books in India about spirituality, why to each his own, they have walked the path to the self, they have found the path. So we as students and I would say spiritual researchers, we have to now pick and choose which method is suitable for us. Okay, so that is where this we finding a guru or guru finding us becomes an important part of the deal where self study or studying the self here becomes a guided process or you can go and search for these kinds of sources start reading materials, start exploring, start meeting people and see where you find that okay somebody is capable of guiding me at my capacity. If I know that I am am such a person, so for example, I can take Okay, this is where my life example comes. I know what kind of a lazy person I am. Okay, somebody must be at the back they know always pushing me and that can even spiritually speaking, that’s always been, but I’ve been lucky enough to have a guru who can understand that or gurus rather, in my case, it’s a bit difficult to explain that concept. But anyway, so I’ve been guided at several points in my life without knowing that I needed it at the time, but I exactly received it at the time.


So So


that that motivated me to understand myself more and more and more, that motivated me to understand the scriptures more. That’s where I started studying. So this is, I would say that I’m trying to kind of now understand or walking the meaning of this particular statement Svadhyaya.


This is actually


only this morning, I was reading a small note about Steve Jobs and when he was 12 years old, he wanted to make a frequency meter and he did not get he did not know where to get the parts from. Okay, so he started looking for none other than Mr. Packard from Hewlett Packard, okay. And in the in those days, you know, you had these telephone directories where you had all these names, and he started calling each for each Packard till the time he reached back, Mr. Packard himself, and he found him and he said, Look, I want I’m 12 years old. I want to make This frequency meter but I don’t have these parts. So, he had the part sent to him and he also called him for a summer. So, it is very important to know because of swag I think he knew kind of what to get and he knew where to get probably and his actions lead to the result. Mm hmm


exactly, isn’t it see goal goal leads to goal sets your methodology, methodology will lead you to resources and and resources is what is available throughout. Right You have to pick the right resource that fits your methodology, then methodology will yield you the result and the goal. So,


so don’t you think that you know journaling for today’s generation because it’s so fast that nobody has the time to put down your thought in the evening? How did the day went? And you know, what were the strengths and weaknesses and, you know, how is your ambition shaping up and ? What are the needs for that ambition to be fulfilled? Okay, I think if you could, this could become a part of svadhyaya I think the younger generation could really benefit from it.


Yes, it can. Like for example, for health, we asked them to maintain a notebook, right? If you want to get healthy, they’ll say, Okay, what did you eat toward today? What kind of nutrition intake did you have? How many calories you take in you have the typical entries that you need to make. So over a period of months, you will have a certain amount of data that you can turn through and say, Oh, this is where I went wrong. Definitely. It helps. Yes. So spiritual journaling. In fact, we wouldn’t have many autobiographies, if we didn’t have the spiritual journaling. Those masters didn’t write down what they went through. One of the best example is Autobiography of a Yogi. I can’t recommend that book enough to anyone. So that I would say is a perfect life Journal of a person who is walking the path and who is experiencing as it goes and you can see that pretty chill about it, and he took it as it came. And that that is, I think one of the prime examples that really motivated me. That was my first proper book that I read. I didn’t read my school books very well. Clearly so. So that was my my first proper book, and that she really, really pushed me to ask a lot of questions after which my father got not fed up, fed up would be out of frustration. He got filled up, I would say, with a lot of questions. He said, I can’t answer these questions. Is that okay? You have to now start studying, you have to do this as a subject matter of your life. And that is like, that opened up a huge possibility. I don’t have fear that way. I don’t mind walking into anything. I’m afraid of many things, being afraid of many things is different from having fear. I don’t have fear, I am afraid of Of course heights and water and everything. So that doesn’t constitute to my fear. Yeah.


So you have to win over them. Moses.


Yeah, does that is later i think i think it’s a different story altogether. But that yes, the Svadhyaya at the I, at the time the kind of questions that I was asking for too advanced for either me or for my Dad, I’m pretty sure not for him but you know, he said Okay, first start practicing, then probably you will get your answers that was from you.


Yeah. And he was right, because everybody see, truth is something which has to be attained by each individual act, and every individual has his own truth. Correct. Cannot be passed over, I can pass over my you know what, I have accumulated the wealth to my children, but they cannot pass all the truth which I think they have to go through their own path. I think your father meant this. Exactly.


Absolutely. It’s like you know, no matter how much


a mother loves a son or son loves the mother or husband loves a wife, wife loves the husband. They all have to sleep themselves to get the night rest. One cannot sleep for another and say that I will transfer the benefits to you yeah, you cannot do it. So, sleep is as individual as spirituality.


So, brings me to another


attainment of enlightenment is an independent journey. Even though enlightenment is the same goal for the whole humanity whether they know it or not, the path is 7 billion plus paths as many as we are


as many as you rightly put. So, that brings me to the you know the the last attribute but not the least the Isvara pranidhana So, that is I think, total commitment and total surrender to the Supreme force, which I think everybody calls by different names. But from a spiritual point of view, it is bowing to something which is not under your control. Definitely,


definitely Isvara Parinadhana is.


Let’s let’s take that concept a little bit in a very humanistic way. Let’s say, I surrender to the rules of the city that I live in or else, I can live peacefully. I cant drive the car beyond 120. All right, I can’t live the way I want Truly speaking, right? for a good reason. I surrender to the power of the government. I surrender to the power of many things. I surrender to the power of let’s say consumerism, everything is a sense of power, right at the end of the day. Likewise, if if all these things that are guiding our life are more powerful than us, and we have let them take over us, like, okay, I can’t resist you anymore. Let me drive within 120 let me just follow the rules we have. It’s not giving up. It’s rather than that acceptance, acceptance of the fact that we don’t decide everything and that keeps a human life in check. Human Life, you know, needs to be checked. In that sense. Same way, spiritually speaking, something has brought us here,


you know, accepting it and saying okay.


It’s it’s hubris to say that I will understand it by studying it under a microscope or a telescope. Okay? It’s all it’s very clear that we are part of the creation and hence, we cannot see outside the creation. So we should accept at that level, we don’t have to name it in any way. So we can just say the supreme being, you know, without any male female or neutral connotation, right, the Supreme Being, which is responsible in a way of us being here, the ultimate power. If we let it in sync, be in sync with us. The possibilities of life is manifold. So he says Isvara Pranidhana. In fact, there’s only statement repeated three times in the whole Yoga Sutras, none of the other points have been directly repeated, indirectly repeated. This only point very directly repeats three times. In chapter one, he says Isvara Pranidhana, Isvara Pranidhana dhva. In second chapter, he says, in Niyama Isvara Pranidhana again, and in second chapter again he repeats Samadhi sidhi isvara pranidhana, he says you can attain Samadhi Also, if you surrender to the ultimate being, you don’t have to go through any other processes. You don’t have to do your Yama Niyama if you are at that level of progression, you can just let life force take over you and let it guide you considerably nonlinear way. Exactly. It’s a completely nonlinear way, depending completely on the individual and this progress. You know, it’s like why these college dropouts have suddenly become billionaires


because they’re nonlinear. Because first of all, they went to that those colleges.


Yeah, exactly. But they are not dated.


Amrendra Kumar  43:01  

Yeah, if you if you, if you look at all those college dropouts, they first went to those coveted colleges where everybody wants to go, then yeah, and then they dropped out from there. 


Ranga  43:12  

nd that’s also there. Yeah, nice. Yeah. But at the end of the day, like, this is an example of nonlinear in our normal life nonlinear is are the ones who are able to do anything at any point of time because their mind is ready to do it, right. Linear is when your mind is not ready and you need a discipline, you need a structure, you know, you need a template. So to follow. So  Isvara Pranidhana comes at that level, I think it can be very, very society based. It’s a very cultural based phenomena, Isvara Pranidhana, I think, I would say it’s the root of all religion, in a sense. So it can be followed in any form, you know. So it’s a very versatile statement. Actually, it’s a very powerful statement. Because it accommodates both a believer and a non believer. Yeah. So that’s it. That’s up. Yoga Sutras. Beyond many people’s understanding how one person can conceive so many deep ideas, right? Right.


It was important for him to structure it for the future generations look thousands of years if we are following it, and people have followed it. I think there is more than one reason. Okay. Yeah. for it to work for each individual in its own peculiar way.


Yes. given so many options. Yeah.


So now with the Yama and niyama in order, we can already take the asanas head on literally. Okay. Yeah. I think our listeners by now would have a fair idea what they’re getting into, if they are just starting. Or if they are continuing. They know what are they get, what are they got into already and it is better For them to be consciously aware of this fact. So yoga most clearly has the capability of taking care of a person’s physical, mental and spiritual needs, correct? Yeah. So practically a one stop shop It is, isn’t it? So, what are your views on, you know, putting everything together and giving a one stop solution to people?


Is it really like that in your thinking?


It is.


I think the answer will depend on the intensity of the goal of the practitioner. If achieving enlightenment is one of the goals, your practice will be that intense. If achieving achieving enlightenment is the only goal. Then intensity is far higher for so depends upon where your goal of your mind and achieving Your real ultimate potential as a goal well does it lie in your life if that is the higher it is the more intense your practice becomes the lower it is, it will be a bit more spread out. So in that sense why asanas have got so much attention as opposed to other aspects of yoga is because it is as an as an individual concept I’m saying it is it is the least misinterpreted


aspect of yoga.


Okay, meaning there is not much misinterpretation you can do with it. You’re doing something with the body. Yes, some people will disagree you should do this, you should do that that will always be there. When you limit it to only body the disagreements are very less. When the internet goes to mind the ambiguities are much wider or much deeper. So then it becomes extremely subjective discussion. So that is where people typically get thrown off, like what to do whom to listen to where do I start and all those things. So since Asana is the most easily approachable aspect of the eight, it has been the most practiced you know, is the is the known devil you can say. It’s like that, Oh, I know if I do just physical practice, I can just get by with it. So if if if I say oh, you have to do all this, only then you can start bending. Then people will say, Oh, no, no, it is not for me. So they are starting from asanas because it’s an easily approachable thing. You have your hands, you have your legs, you can do something with it. And that something is translating to good feeling. Feeling better. It is making your mind feel better. It is making your body feel better, you’re sleeping better. So it’s improving your quality of life, let’s say. So that’s that’s the entry point you can say. But a unfortunately it has become a stay put point for many people


Amrendra Kumar  48:01  

get stuck, they’re


Ranga  48:02  

stuck getting stuck there is is one of the biggest issues of current yoga trend, I would say it starts there, it stays there and it ends there for most people. So


yeah, I mean, I think Yeah, brilliantly,  put that way. And you know, my next question is connected to this only that, you know, as they say that


the love we give away


is the love we keep.


You know, if you try to understand from where I’m coming from, in the same way, what is what is that yoga gives you and what does it take away from you?


Yoga is first of all, not an entity to take something.


See, okay.


Our sense of


possession as a human being, our sense of ownership.


It is so strong, that something small that goes away from us, we feel like we are losing something. Whereas we came into this world without anything. So we forgot that true sense of having nothing in our lives going back to a Aparigraha. That’s why it is all connected. So what happens is when we practice yoga, yoga is trying to say, See, you’re carrying so much load on your mind and body. Drop all that for yourself. So it’s not taking it as asking you to drop Yeah, you know? So, a donkey, whether it likes or not, whether it carries weight or doesn’t carry weight, it walks the same way. Yeah, drums the same way. But human beings are not like that we are more we have more potential. When we have so much load in our mind and body And we don’t perceive it as a load. That’s a bigger problem. And when we shed that load, garbage, that garbage, whatever that we are carrying, when we shed that the sense of lightness and the sense of freedom is what we are gaining in fact Yoga is not taking it is actually letting go. That’s a real meaning of letting go. So yoga actually teaches us it is like you know, somebody standing atop a building and shouting a throw this throw that you know, you guys doing a role like that actually, it is guiding you from a better point of view. It is in a higher vantage point it is seeing very clearly you are struggling. It is saying Why do you have to struggle? So, I will tell you yoga is not taking anything it’s only giving so


good. Good. Nicely explained. Yeah.


Okay, now, one of my questions, which I was repeatedly asked after our first episode was That, you know, many people have approached yoga at a stage when they have one or the other kind of ailment or disorder or something, and they get to get into yoga and for some people it works for some people it doesn’t. So, can you explain what is the correlation between some disorders and yoga being a remedy for that?


Yoga is primarily looked at as a preventive system, not a curative system. Although Yes, there are references of Yogi’s mentioning if you do this asana this way, you will cure yourself of problems and everything. And of course, those Yogi’s are talking at a very high level. They are not talking about our 60 minute practice in our studio twice a week. They’re talking about six to eight hours of dedicated practice in a day. So when you practice that level, it becomes of course curative because you are taking the body head on and you’re saying, okay, you have to listen to me. For a normal human being that may not be possible. And second reason why most people including me, have started with yoga when they have a problem is because that also comes in yoga sutras in chapter one. Not chapter one. I don’t know how you give the reference later. So raga, dvesha, abhiniveshah, kaleshah. Okay. So, avidya avidya asmita So, there are two more, but you know, the, the main thing is these five reasons are the motivation for a human decision making process. Okay, out of which the most interesting thing is the last one, abhiniveshah, fear of death it says, fear of death is of two levels. One is fear of change of your status quo, and fear of actual death. So when a health problem comes what happens your mind start worrying starts changing your status quo. Because, oh my god, what will happen in the future will I suffer more. That prospect of more suffering brings the fear of deat in you at a very slight level deep inside, we don’t notice it as fear of death, but it is fear of death. Right? So that triggers that sense saying, okay, you better be very cautious. And that motivates them to take up yoga. So everything is written down in Yoga Sutras. It’s a perfect psychology book. So when Avidya Asmita, those things are very deep. Avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha says the panch kleshah the reasons why our mind is like this is the five sources Yeah.


Good. So, it s more of


you know, kind of a thing which has to be practiced and then it is more of prevention.


Yes, prevention of future problems lead to problems heyam, dukham, anagatham, that also comes in yoga sutras so Everything he has mentioned each and every point possible. So what is to be suffered can be avoided? And what is your suffering right now should not disturb your mind. The two things objectively what Yoga is for


one more really, you know, trivial question which came up also was, how important is flexibility for starting yoga practice? Because some people just after looking at the yoga asanas and YouTube videos, they think they cannot do it and give up before even taking it. So what is your advice to those people?




the whole reason why we would start yoga itself is the fact that we accept that we have limitations and to overcome the limitations only we start yoga. We can’t say I have this limitation and hence I won’t do that is counterproductive. So immaterial of what problem you have starting Yoga is the requirement of yoga. In fact, that is a qualification of being a yogi is to recognize the fact that you have a problem and then say, Okay, I want to fix the problem, and hence I’m getting into it. So in fact, inflexibility should be a motivation to start yoga.


So not a hinderance!


Yeah, it’s been very nicely put. Good. So I think we have covered a lot in this episode already. And before closing, I would like you to set up the tone for pranayama which is one of the most important limbs.


So if we could throw some light on from Am


I ama


I can live Arsenal’s Yeah, it’s all interconnected. Definitely. But some Yogi’s are of the opinion that yoga starts at the level of pranayama not at the level of asanas because they completely even say asanas are aren’t even required. It is an IT IS A aspect that you can eliminate out of your practice completely. And that is preferred, which we can discuss in the future. But pranayama is like you can live without food for 21 days and live without water for seven days. We can’t live without the breath for five minutes. So that shows the role of or the importance of breath in our life. So as soon as you are unhealthy or somebody is unhealthy, they will first try to change the diet. You can live without food for 21 days. That’s least important. They cannot live without your breath for five minutes. That’s your first source of energy. So working with the breath should be the first step to health. Not going into this diet, that diet I will change this I will change that  that I will drink eight liters of water, I’ll drink four liters of water. All those are elements that can, that the body can live without for a while. Which means their importance in the body is also equally less proportionally that’s not equally, that’s proportionately less. What body cannot sustain with without is the breath. So working at that level is both important for a physical practice or physical health. And at the same time, it connects a lot to the mind. So I think there can be some food for that.


Yeah, I think you have already in the last episode, and in this episode, you have incited the minds of people who are listening to you to go and read those recommended books. You know, which you recommended in your first podcast. So what are you reading these days or listening these days? And what are you recommendations for our listeners, this time, 


I am not much of a reader reading Yes, I read a lot of reference books when I have doubt.


Rather I listen to Upanishads right now I’m I’m in pursuit of learning the not learning, understanding the 10 Upanishads we can say the


visualizations which which one are you listening right now?


Right now I’m in Mundaka Upanishad,


Mundaka Upanishad.


Yeah. Okay.


So, are you listening to any particular format?


I am currently listening to my own guru’s, lectures, which are in local language of Tamil, okay. But I’m pretty sure there are very decent translations out there, which can be started off with and Upanishads give a good perspective. Definitely. They’re not some random piece of information. It definitely directs your your effort towards your goals. It will be more fine tuned when you When you are able to go through all these books,


you also told me that you are also kind of an audiophile. So what kind of music you like to listen to?


I listen from Carnatic classical music all the way to rock. So that is not disparaty in that I have been brought up with carnatic music all around me. So I’m a big fan of all that. And I still keep listening. And I listen to anything that kids listen to from 90s all the way till now. Okay, so it’s good. Yeah.


Amrendra Kumar  59:36  

Okay, so we’ll, we’ll finish our episode now and thank you very much for being on the show. I’m sure you would have enjoyed the podcast as much as I did, recording it. As promised. Ranga Ji did walk us through the four main limbs of yoga, Yama, niyama, Asana, and pranayama. As many of you are already dedicated yoga practitioners, and some of you are still deciding a piece of advice from me, please do practice the yamas you may take one attribute and practice it consciously for a month and then see the results please subscribe to Varta with Amrendra on Apple, Google Spotify tune in and other podcast platforms. Please reach me on my email Amrendra at m will be also mentioned in the podcast notes. The music for this episode is from Banaras Gharana and it’s played by Ankur Mishra  on sitar and Pankaj Rai on tabla playing Rag Shudh Sarang. So see you next week. And until then goodbye. Stay safe and take care of yourself and bye for now.




The world is going through unprecedented times. Countries are under lockdown, economies are down, global supply chain strategies are failing on the other side, the world is getting together to fight the pandemic, countries are learning from each other, scientists are cooperating with each other, record clinical trials are being undertaken, it looks like that the whole world is after the Covid-19. The world will be a different place post-Pandemic and every industry will have to go through a transformation in order to survive. Only the ones who manage this well can see their way through!

Our interview today is with:
Mr. Parvesh Bareja – an ace entrepreneur par excellence, with extensive global experience in design, manufacturing, and packaging of cosmetics and perfumes through his own state of the art manufacturing facilities in India and UAE. He is a partner in an exclusive supply chain set up in Hangzhou, China from where he supplies industry consumables to his own factories as well as to the industry at large. He has a passion for creating brands and has created many successful brands, including the Man Company in India, a men’s grooming brand, which was initially set up as an e-commerce company but now sells its products through a chain of stores across India. Last but not least Parvesh is an avid angel investor in numerous startups and has a keen eye for talent.
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