Astanga Yoga London

21 march 2020
21st March 2020

Sunshine always helps, unless of course you are a vampire. I went for a nice long run today along with what seemed like half of London. Lots of smiling people. Smiles always help.

It seems we are all going to be doing a lot of being at home. So one thing that helps is routine. Astanga is of course the ultimate routine, and I feel sorry for all those who don’t have that. What else can you do? Well there are 700 verses in the Bhagavad Gita. So ten a day should get you to the end of all this. That’s five in the morning and five before you go to bed. Read them in your native language if possible. Any translation will do. And if you are fortunate to have many translations find one that appeals to your heart. If you feel like stepping this up then read it in Sanskrit too. The first chapter is a bit boring but persevere there is more than you think in there.

Last blog I started on the Mahabharata. Which of course brought up some question. What is dharma? Is anger ever ok? Why did Arjuna burn down a whole forest? All questions will be answered at the right time. But it’s all about to get really wacky for little.

Manu the first human had two sons (sounds familiar). One started the Solar dynasty the other the Lunar dynasty. The Solar dynasty is retold in the Ramayana, the other great Indian epic which is about Rama. It’s set in the second yuga (world epoch) and brings about the beginning of the third yuga. The Mahabharata on the other hand is set at the end of the third yuga and brings about our current age, Kali yuga. It is the tale of the Lunar dynasty. And where better to start than the Moon, our loving companion at night. All good yogis know when the next full/new moon is (Tuesday). Tara the Goddess of the stars had an affair with the Moon God Chandra and the child was born with ultimate wisdom so was called Buddhi, but was cursed to be neither man or woman. As Buddhi grew older they cried so much’who will marry me?’ But fate (there is always someone for you) led Buddhi to Ila who was man half of the moon cycle and woman the other half. And some how they went on to have many children and Grand children. One of whom was King Dushyanta. Out in the forest one day he met Shakuntala who was half human, half Apsara (water nymph) and of course very beautiful. One thing led to another (euphemism for a fumble in the jungle) and Shakuntala became pregnant. Dushyanta not being a particularly good man left Shakuntala but he  did give her a ring. Shakuntala gave birth to Bharata, which is how India is called. The ring? Misplaced and somehow swallowed by a fish. Bharata grew up in the forest with just animals for friends, from whom he learned so much. Nature being the best teacher.  When he asked who his father was Shakuntala took him to the royal palace and said to Dushanta this is your son, Bharata. Dushyanta still hadn’t learnt from past mistakes and asked for the ring as proof. Sadly no ring? But as luck would have it a fisherman caught a fish that day with that  ring inside and it was brought to the palace of Dushyanta. There and then Dushyanta got down on  his knees and begged for forgiveness for all the hurt he had caused. Shakuntala being half Devine forgave him, anger and revenge were never needed. Bharata became a great king, but was unable to have children. It’s said everything is in the Mahabharata and certainly we have covered a fair amount of human relationships and sexuality. Bharata adopted an abandoned homeless boy who then went onto become king himself. And in true story telling fashion many generations later Shantanu had become the Lunar king and he had fallen in love with the River Goddess Ganga and what happens next is heart breaking…

 

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