“Parampara” refers to both the source and the stream of a “living tradition” of knowledge (jñāna), in the sense that “traditional Yoga” is not merely a matter of emulating community-shared rituals, forms and styles. On the contrary, the authentic pedagogy of the parampara involves cultivating the innate, intuitive learning capacity to practice, evaluate, adapt, own, improve, and disseminate, changeable, linguistic knowledge that lives with the person, throughout her whole lifetime. Every student in the tradition of Krishnamacharya represents the living bearer of the soul, or jīvātma, of the teachings for future generations. “Living” means experiencing conditions that will change over time, therefore the essence of parampara is to be the change that you want to see in your world.
The parampara, which is the legacy of tradition, is based on, and transmitted by, language, the cultural tool of communication that encapsulates and reinforces communal ideologies and sociocultural identity. The following diagram (Husu 1995) highlights the key objectives in the pedagogical framework.
Common language usage is also the means by which human beings rapidly learn to participate in, and contribute to, changing trends and technologies, as well as the perceptual separation among people, in its various forms, e.g. the loss of socio-ethical dignity, as ecology devolves beneath the pressures of economic idealism.
“The cultural task, it seems to me, is preserving what is divine, what is inspirational, transcendent about the human achievement, while rather guarding it from supernatural and superstitious claims. I think that’s a cultural achievement that one can spend a life working on.” – Christopher Hitchens (Divine Impulses, 2010)
Parampara and epigenetic legacy
Habit patterns or tendencies indicate the ingrained impressions (saṃskāra) that support the function of memory (smṛti), defined as the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience. A person clings to a notion of identity through a collection of memories.
Every organism has the genome that remembers a complete set of genetic information to encode and control the proteins that allow the organism to create differentiated cells and to regulate cell function. No organism is completely alike, because of genetic differentiation.
According to a new study in the science of epigenetics, researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that unhealthy lifestyle choices can affect the biological legacy of future offspring.
Parampara and the human condition
Suffering is an intrinsic part of the human condition.
Afflictions (kleśaḥ) represent the self-destructive psychological responses to suffering, e.g. self-loath (e.g. dysmorphophobia). Taking cherish-or-perish as the dichotomy that determines survival of the fittest in a changing environment, any self-destructive affliction is bound to perish, whereas harmonious relationships thrive above all.
The parampara suggests that self-discipline (temperament) through the practice of austerities is the true measure of strength and character in the individual. Moral and virtue are to be nurtured, as they are not part of nature. The loss of traditional values means that the philosophy of morals and virtues will disappear, and the latent afflictions, such as cultural obsessions with over-indulgence or over-consumption, will manifest.
There is a socio-ethical need to cherish dignity and responsibility in a human being compared to inanimate objects, machines and animals that can possess no knowledge of moral or virtue. Who are you, but a bearer of traditional values? Do you deserve to be cherished?
The ability to convey and interpret meanings taken with moral and value judgment in any creative context is what makes human being human.