And for a more in depth look at how Rama, Sita and Lakshman crosses the Ganges River, refer back to episode 16 of the myth series
This week #mythmonday became #epictalestuesday when it was posted by Jivamukti, but I just received the video, so now it’s a #flashbackfriday lol
The word “utsav” in Sanskrit means ‘spontaneous celebration” which is what happened throughout Ayodhya when Rama and Sita were declared king and queen. This declaration lasted just a few hours before Kaikeyi cashed in on her boons, and then an instantaneous depression fell upon the kingdom, just as quickly as the celebration was started.
As we close 2019 and the decade of 10’s, I want to wish you a very happy new year. For many students and teachers of Jivamukti NYC, we may be thinking of the last 4 weeks rather than the last year, and are ready for something fresh. But I have to say, overall 2019 wasn’t so bad…
In the wake of Jivamukti NYC closing, I wanted to get my harmonium worked on so I could bring it to the “pop-up” Jivamukti classes I will be offering in the city. Classes wouldn’t me the same without a mantra jam session to start it off! This harmonium was a hand-me-down from another teacher, who I bought it from for only $100, about 4 years ago. It unfortunately was in no shape to bring to class – it was out of tune, some of the keys were sticking, and it was wheezing a bit. (I also realized it was SUPER HEAVY.)
I brought it to Mindra Harmoniums in Ozone Park (please go there if you are looking for a harmonium! It is a family run business, deeply connected to Jivamukti, AND they offer you home made dahl while you are there!) where Mindra told me there was a big crack in the “heart” of my instrument. He also said usually no one fixes this, but that he would look into the cost of parts. But after some investigating, it was realized that it would be too much time and effort to fix, and it was more worth it to buy a new one. So I am now the owner of a brand new Baby Bhakti, and it is much lighter and sweeter sounding than the old one.
This whole situation was a mirror image of the Jivamukti situation. My (our) heart was broken, the problem was too expensive to fix, and now we have to start new. And so off we go into 2020 with new adventures and a sweet sounding Baby Bhakti 🙂
Also in the wake of Jivamukti NYC closing, I find myself with A LOT of free time. Too much really. I have gone from 9 public classes a week, to only 3 at the moment, and although this is temporary, I am going stir crazy. But this forced “vacation” is a good thing, and I am getting back to long overdue projects, including drawing again. In the past 3 days I have created 8 drawings that are part of a larger project coming to you soon! One of which I will share with you today:
This is Nandini – a magical cow who offers to you everything you need. May 2020 offer you everything you desire.
With Love and appreciation, April
Boons and curses are narrative tools to explain karma: all actions have consequences!
The attempt to string Shiva’s Bow is also the beginning of Ravana’s wrath and desire to have Sita to himself. He bent down to pick up the bow, and almost succeeded! He got closer than any other before him, but then he lost balance and the bow pinned him to the ground.
Janaka and his warriors tried to help, but even together they were not strong enough to lift the bow off of Ravana. Sita was called for, and easily picked up the bow with one hand. Ravana sneered, ” If I could not pick up this bow, then no man can. Your daughter will die a lonely spinster, Janaka.” Unflustered by these words, Janaka said, “Alone maybe, but never lonely. She is not you.” (Adapted from Devdutt Pattanaik’s Ramayana)
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!