Sita and Ram would have never met if it weren’t for an on-going feud between the sages Vishvamitra and Vasishtha!!! For full background, I’m reposting episodes 8 & 9 of the Yoga Mythology here as well. Enjoy 🙂
From Devdutt Pattanaik’s retelling of the Ramayana:
The education of Rama, Bharata, Shratrughna and Lakshman:
When Dashratha had asked the rishi Vasishtha to teach his four sons the ways of kings, Vasishtha had said, ‘I will try my best to make them brahmin.’
‘But I am a king, my sons are princes, they must be trained to be rulers, not priests,’ Dashratha responded in alarm.
‘You confuse brahmin-jati with brahmin-varna,’ Vasishtha had clarified. ‘He of brahmin-jati is a priest, transmitter of hymns and rituals of the Veda. He of brahmin-varna is one who inspires the Brahma of limited mind to move towards being brahman of limitless mind. Whether priest or warrior, farmer, herder or trader, man or woman, everyone must expand their minds, rise from the mindset of a follower to the mindset of a trader to the mindset of a master to the mindset of a seer.
‘How can a king be a servant or trader or a master of a seer?’ wondered Dashratha.
Vasishtha said, ‘A king is a servant when he mimics other kings without understanding. A king is a trader when he uses rules to get all the things that he desires. A king is a master when he uses rules to impose his thoughts on those around him. A king is a seer when he understands the thought behind the rules and so appreciates the many reasons why a rule is followed and why another rule is not. For the king with a mind of a brahmin, rules are merely functional, they are never right or wrong, and like all actions they have consequences. For him rules are not tools or power to dominate or control. For him rules are merely instruments of society that enable even the weakest to have what is otherwise cornered by the strongest.’
‘May you make my sons brahmin,’ said Dashratha on being enlightened so.
The education of Sita:
Sita’s father never knew the world that was the kitchen. Sita’s mother never knew the world that was the court. But Sita realized she knew both. This is how the mind expands, she thought to herself. This is how Brahma becomes the brahman. She was a brahmin, she realized, seeker of wisdom as well as transmitter of wisdom. And that thought made her smile.
Excited to announce that in the next 14 episodes or so of #mythmonday I’ll be telling the great Indian epic The Rāmāyaṇa – the epic tale of Rāma, Sīta, Lakṣmaṇa and Hanumān and their battle against the evil demon Rāvaṇa (and sooooooo many more characters that you are familiar with!)
We start with a prequel…Rāvaṇa wasn’t always evil! He was just a yoga nerd with lofty yoga goals! And then his 10 heads got a little too big…
The re-telling of the story of Rāvaṇa is based on the one told in The Ramayana: Divine Loophole, written by Pixar animator Sanjay Patel!
So far we’ve heard stories of 4 of Vishnu’s avatars – Matsya the Fish( 1), Kūrma the Tortoise (2), Rāma (7), and Kṛṣṇa (8). This week’s story is about Vishnu’s 4th avatar Narasiṃha, a part man part lion, with mention of his 3rd avatar Varāha, the Boar.
The story of Narasiṃha is also the reason for the Indian celebration of Holi – a celebration of good triumphing over evil.
The āsana associated with this story is siṃhāsana – lion’s seat.
Last week while in Rockaway I walked past a stone statue/lawn ornament of a lion with Mardi Gras beads on its head and took a picture of it thinking maybe it will come in handy when I post the video of Narasiṃha (the part lion/part man 4th avatar of Vishnu.)
Little did I know that Mercury in Retrograde would throw modern technology into the Stone Age this week…thus we do not yet have a video, and this photo came in handy…
New video coming as soon as possible!
Sorry for the delay! I’m back from Aloha-land and back to regularly scheduled programming! Here is the Myths of the Asanas video about how the Goddess Ganga came down to Earth as the Ganges River.
Hey everyone! I’m currently in Maui on vacation, but filmed a special Myths of the Asanas video on location! The intro was filmed at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park, and the story was filmed on the top of the Waihe’e Trail. For right now you’ll have to watch the video via the Jivamukti NYC IGTV channel (link below), until I’m back on the mainland…
The asana (or mudra) associated with this story is Viparita Karani (because it looks like a waterfall, but also see below…)
Viparita Karani translates to “reversed attitude”. In the story you will hear how the urge to obtain more and more land and take over the Earth causes King Sagara’s sons to be burnt to ashes. Unless the human race reversed their attitude, we will also all be burnt to a crisp! Global warming is a real threat, but we can do something about it!
If you need a scary story to tell the kids on Halloween, here you go! Bhairava is the scariest form of Shiva! And if it isn’t scary enough to put your leg behind your head in a yoga class, that leg represents the nail of Bhairava chopping off the head of the ego.
First…I know it’s Tuesday! I was traveling from Chicago (where this video was filmed! Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”) and couldn’t get to posting until today. Forgive me!
Ākarṇa Dhanurāsana translates as “to the ear bow seat,” and looks like an archer stringing a bow and arrow. The perfect asana to tie to the story of Ram & Shiva’s Bow!
When Vishvamitra first introduced Ram to Sita, they locked eyes over a sacrificial fire and there was an immediate spark! Not just from the crackling fire! But there was still some courting to do…
Over the course of time, Vishvamitra became more and more excited about his match-making skills, and how perfect Sita and Ram were for each other.
Sita was proving to be extremely knowledgeable about the Vedas, as well as a really good cook, which doesn’t hurt 😉 She also has super strength and was able to pick up the bow of shiva – which was so heavy that 12 men together couldn’t pick it up!
Ram was also extremely knowledgeable about the vedas and was proving to be king worthy. He was smart, extremely proficient with a bow and arrow, and understood social constructs.
But Sita, as the daughter of King Janaka, was only allowed to marry the man who could string Shiva’s bow. When it was Ram’s turn she was extremely anxious as he already had her heart.
As Ram began to string the bow, he caught Sita’s eye and lost his concentration. All of a sudden the bow broke in two with a loud thunderous crack! Everyone heard it – the devas in the sky and the nagas under the earth! There was complete stillness in the room as everyone watching was waiting to hear from Janaka. This was completely unexpected, as no one else, aside from Sita, could even pick it up! But Ram broke it! What was to happen??!!
Finally, Janaka announced that from then on Ram would be the beloved of Sita, and thus began the start of their relationship.
Krishna’s older brother Balarāma is sometimes referred to as Haladhara because he carries a plow. While I’m not so thrilled with how he came to plow the Yamuna River, he is considered the “patron saint” of farmers across India.
The asana associated with Balarāma is halasana