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2020 AGM – thoughts from Birjoo Mehta’s 2018 visit

My learning has been like a small vessel capturing a few drops of the rain of Guruji’s teaching.  – Birjoo Mehta, paraphrased

During the Association’s recent virtual AGM, Barbara Young, of Ottawa ON, reminded us of Birjoo Mehta‘s words at the previous, in-person AGM and conference in October 2018. Birjoo had made the trek from Mumbai, India to share with us his knowledge of Iyengar yoga at IYAC/ACYI’s annual conference held in Gatineau QC.  Birjoo studied with Mr. Iyengar for many years, and travelled with him throughout the world.  He made the following remarks on the student’s learning and the teacher’s teaching.

I am not here to teach. It’s just that, in this very auspicious year, the 100th anniversary of Guruji’s birth, I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learned. I cannot dare say that these are the things he taught me, because he taught a lot.

Envision that it’s raining, and if you have a small vessel, how much of the water can you collect? But if you have a larger vessel, with a larger opening, you will be able to collect much more of the rain. So he was like rain, raining upon the vast area, and my capability was based on the vessel that I was, the small vessel. I am a small vessel. So whatever rain I collected, I cannot claim to say that is what has rained; it has rained much, much more.

… So what he taught and what I learned are not the same. What I learned is a very small portion of what he taught. He taught much more, but my capabilities were such that I could not gather everything.

But yet, do I need to gather everything? The essence of rain is there in whatever touches you, whatever has come into your vessel. That water is no different from other water. And therefore, whatever has touched you, whatever you have learned, and if you have complete confidence in that, then that is the starting point. And from thereon, the teacher is always present. So Guruji is always there. If Guruji is a symbol, the essence of learning, then that essence of learning is always there with you. Because in some manner, he has put a seed in you, and if that seed is there it will sprout; it will become a tree. The essence of the tree is already there in the seed. In that sense there is no need to despair; if the seed is there, there is a chance that if you nourish it, it will emerge into a tree.

Birjoo Mehta demonstrating a teaching point


Birjoo Mehta in Canada: Teachings from the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada/Association canadienne de yoga Iyengar 2018 Conference in Gatineau QC.

Through the generosity and approval of Birjoo Mehta, and the work of a team of IYAC/ACYI volunteers, this transcription of his remarkable teachings is being made available to members as a downloadable PDF.

All proceeds from the sale of this document will be donated by IYAC/ACYI to Guruji’s charitable organization, The Bellur Trust, to aid his home village. The amount of donations is flexible, and each donation will allow you access to one download.

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