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.
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!
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.