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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 No. 3. 15th March 1972



The appearance of a swami on campus brought a response of somewhere over two hundred people on two successive nights to hear him talk on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Patanjali was supposed to have taught over fifteen hundred years ago. By comparison, the visit of Germaine Greer caused the union hall to be packed, with the overflow clustered round speakers outside in the rain and thereby hangs a tale.

Such is the nature of people that a woman who can use emotive and sometimes colourful language in talking about the inferior position of women in the world today can elicit a far greater number of willing listeners than can a man who talks about some of the most profound aphorisms that have been handed down to man today.

There was an unusual resemblance between the two bases of the talks, namely, that each was speaking to some extent about liberation. Dr. Greer is as I hardly need" mention, concerned with the liberation of women whereas Swami Vekatesenanda's toe lectures tackled the question of the liberation of the soul. One can, of course, contend that neither the soul nor women are in any form of bondage, so that one can listen good-humouredly to both, and be none the wiser.

Perhaps a sad reflection on the kind of education that is presented at university it in its concentration upon the physical materiel world, and its scant regard for anything beyond.

Those who might have considered that the Swami's lectures would be "out of this world" would have been mistaken. He dealt at some length with the problem of knowledge, whet it is, what kinds there are-more in the form of questions than statements - such as "what is right knowledge or wrong knowledge, how do we know that we know anything, what is it that knows or does not know that we know anything" Questions like these one hopes, interest students other than those doing philosophy, and possibly psychologoy.

Since Patanjali's Sutras deal with the struggle of the soul towards liberation (God?), the Swami had the following comments to make: "if I understand what God is, with what do I understand what God is?.. Do I know what God is, or do I think I know what God is?.. The world outside is a mare construction of my own thoughts. Yoga, is a technique of finding an instrument other than God to understand God."

Yoga, in its fullest sense of meaning and interpretation, is far more than just a series of physic-el exercises that twist and contort the body into a number of spine-stretching positions. It is a serious task of introspection and self-analysis that requires much dedication and effort. Maybe that's why people take no more than a passing interest in it - it's too much like hard work.