Tadviddhi pranipaaténa: Lived experience and expertise and the inheritance of knowledge
The weight of the wisdom that had just been bestowed on them weighed heavily on their shoulders. The sacrifices made by the small group of students to be able to gather at this school radiated as uncomfortable heat from these burdens.
For nearly an hour the master has spoken about the movement-forms, their powers, the confluences of energies, the dangers. A small, gray figure, seated, in flowing robes.
The master returned from reverie, noticing the askance glances of the gathered groups.
"Hmm, now I will show you."
A flash of robes, and the master was standing at a short distance, subtly hiking up the flowing the robes so that the details of the footwork may be visible. First, the right foot rises slightly, and is then firmly planted into the ground, a movement both silent and thunderous. From here, the movement-forms begin. A flurry of movements. The master swiftly transitions from form to form, pausing for just a second on each, power and precision radiating from each move, impossibly easy, all the movement-forms that the master has spoken about this hour, with subtle body emphases corresponding to key lessons.
"That is what we're learning?" marveled the students, in awe of their new understanding.
The above is my "creative" recounting of watching Aditi's mom, Rama, conduct a lesson over Zoom, as part of her online yoga teacher training course for international (relative to India) students.
I'm not a participant in the course, just happened to be in the same room as Aditi, who is Rama's TA for the lesson and an instructor in her own right. It got me thinking about the nature of pedagogy and the transmission of knowlege. Is there any substitute for a good teacher? Can tacit knowledge not be passed on or inherited in any other way? A phrase from the Bhagwad Gita come to mind.
तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः ॥ ३४ ॥
Tad-vidd-hee prani-paa-téna pari-prash-néna say-vaya.
Upa-dé-kshanti té nyaa-nam nyaani-naas-tat-va-dar-shina.
To gain transcendental and true knowlege, seek out an expert or master, perform services for her and humbly request knowledge, and she will teach you the self-realized truths that only experts know.
As is often the case with the Gita, lots of great little nuggest of philosophy around Knowledge and Knowing (and being a grad student).