Excerpt from BKS Iyengar’s Light on Life pages 58-59
“If we ever find ourselves apart from or superior to others, purer or more elevated by yoga, we can be sure that we are becalmed or even drifting back into a state of ignorance. It was Ramanuja, the saint and philosopher, who, more than nine hundred years ago, exposed the Brahminical misconception that we can be “above” others. On the contrary, practice and purity of this life place us “among” not above. Just as we have discussed inner integration within our own bodies, this naturally leads to integration with all other life. Integrity means one. One is the number that can go into all other numbers. The fully sensitive and sensible being becomes not a “somebody” but the common denominator of humanity. This takes place only when the intelligence of the head is transformed by the humility and the wisdom of the heart and compassion is kindled.
If there is an end, then there is no God. Creation by God never ends, so creation of your movements never ceases. The moment you say, “I have got it,” you have lost everything you had. As soon as something comes, you have to go one step further. Then there is evolution. The moment you say, “I am satisfied with that,” that means stagnation has come. That is the end of your learning; you have closed the windows of your intellect. So let me do what I cannot do, not what I can do. You have always to do a little bit more than you think you can, in quality and in quantity. This is what leads ultimately to beauty and greatness.
As you take great pains to learn, continue with devotion in what you have learned. Learning is very difficult, but it is twice as difficult to keep the ground gained. Soldiers say that it is easier to win a battle than to occupy the territory conquered. While I continually try to improve my practice, I do my best and am contented with what I am able to attain. Even as the body ages and is able to do less, there are subtleties that reveal themselves, which would be invisible to younger or more athletic bodies. You have to create love and affection for your body, for what it can do for you. Love must be incarnated in the smallest pore of the skin, the smallest cell of the body, to make them intelligent so they can collaborate with all the other ones, in the big republic of the body.
This love must radiate from you to others. Practitioners of the asanas alone often forget that yoga is for cultivating the head and heart. Patanjali talked about friendliness, compassion, gladness, and joy. Friendliness and grace are two qualities that are essential for the yoga student. In yoga class, students often look so serious and so separated from one another. Where is the friendliness? Where is the compassion? Where is the gladness? Where is the joy? Without these, we have not achieved the true yoga of Patanjali.” BKS Iyengar