Astanga Yoga London

23rd March 2020
23rd March 2020

Even though it’s Monday it felt like a Sunday and I think we’re in for a month or three of Sundays. For most of us we are stuck at home. Haven’t we all felt at some point we needed a holiday or to go on a retreat. So even though everyone seems be running, doing DIY anything to fill time I’m enjoying not doing too much. I was sharpening our knives to chop carrots for carrot and lemon soup and I was reminded of a quote from the Tao Ching.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.

It is funny how we always want more and yet we all know we need less. Contentment is not only hard won but really hard to hold on to. Just like samadhi, soon as you think you’ve got it it flits away like a flutter-by.

We have good news, Lousie is working on getting Zoom up and running for a led class over the weekend. Keep an eye on our website. Once we have had some practice we will get a conference up and running.

We return to the Mahabharata with the return of Goddess Ganga and King Shantanu’s child now a man called Devavrata, he was a perfect prince. His father, Shantanu not one to learn quickly had fallen in love again, this time with Satyavati the daughter of the fisher king. When Shantanu asked him for his daughters hand in marriage, the fisher king replied that only if his grand children ascended the throne and not Devavrata or his children could Shantanu marry Satyvati. Now Shantanu felt broken because he loved Devavrata. But when Devavrata heard of his fathers problems he vowed to remain celibate so that his father could be happy. Remember this was a massive thing in India where one needs children to do the rituals at ones death. It was such a great vow that the Gods blessed him with being able to choose the time of his death. For this he took the name Bhishma.

Satyavati is an interesting character. She was an Apsara, a devine river nymph. But she had become lost as a child and was adopted by the fisher king, all the work with fish had given her a rather unpleasant smell. So sadly she ferried travellers across a river, never finding a husband. Until Parashara a sage boarded her boat. Parashara was the Grandson of ¬†Vasishtha and Arundhati, remember those two stars in the plough (skies are clear and the plough is easy to spot). Anyway Parashara was not offended by Satyavati’s smell and so he created a mist and the two made love in the boat. As a powerful sage he returned her virginity and changed her smell to one that people would find irresistible. Their child was non other than Vyasa. Who not only tells the Mahabharata but also appears in and has a big effect in how the story unfolds. You can certainly see how the Mahabharata tops any soap opera of box set drama for sexual intrigue. And one could easily be mistaken for thinking sex was everything. But Bhisma is believed to be along with Hanuman to be the worlds greatest yogi. Hanuman plays an interesting part in the Mahabharata, we will come back to him. Satyavati had two more sons Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Satyavati still concerned about her bloodline inheriting the throne was desperate for her sons to get married and have children. Unfortunately Chitrangada was arrogant and thought he could take on a Gandharva (Devine musician) in a fight and guess who lost, yep don’t mess with a God. Vichitravirya was said to be ‘unable to find a wife’ which in a society ruled by men was a polite way of saying he was gay. So how was Satyavati going get grandchildren?

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