Astanga Yoga London

24th March 2020
24th March 2020

Today is Talia’s birthday and all the neighbours sang happy birthday to her. I have been worried about how the future will turn out but I do have hope that good things will come out of all this. I have been asked a few times to do a zoom class and to be honest it’s not my thing though hopefully I will get conference back up and running and try to find something other than corona virus to talk about. I’d like to say a big thanks to all the many yoga teachers out there who are offering free yoga classes/practice together at this time of need. Tom and Lauren and Corrie have something sorted out please email them for a link. Louise has just got Sat and Sun led classes sorted, this has been quite a big step for her, see the link on our website. Massive thanks to Lousie.

Being in contact with each other is amazing I think everyone is finding hope in the community. So dig out those old contacts check in on someone. And if you need to chat with me please feel free to phone, email, text, WhatsApp.

We left the Mahabharata wondering how messed up peoples relationships can become and wondering if Satyavati’s bloodline would continue. Well we come to an old tradition called niyoga. Fortunately we don’t practice this anymore as medical science has helped us, you’ll see. I’ll continue with the story and and you can find out more about the history of India. Our story continues with the King of Kashi, which is modern-day Varanasi. He had three daughters Amba, Ambika and Ambilika and they held a swayamvara where the princesses could choose their husbands, usually through some contests. Bhisma rode into the swayamvara and abducted the three princesses to take back to Hastinapura to marry Vichitravirya. But Amba said she was already in love with Shalva another king. Bhishma took her to Shalva but when Amba got there Shalva rejected her. Now Amba had no one to turn to and was furious with Bhishma for ruining her life. Amba ran to the forest and spent years doing tapas (austerities) and prayed to Shiva who eventually granted her wish that she would be able to kill Bhishma, but in her next life. With this she threw herself into a fire. At the same time King Drupada  was praying to Shiva asking for a child. And sure enough Amba was reborn as Shikandini. Draupada really wanted a boy and disguised Shikandini as a boy. This didn’t play out too well when it was time for marriage and Shikandini ended up running to the forrest. There is a lot of running and going to the forest and we can look at this as going to a spiritual retreat and sometimes back to a raw nature part of ourselves. The forest holds many secrets. Anyway Shikandini meets a forest God who changes her gender and Shikandini becomes Shikandi. He becomes important in our story but for now we leave him hanging out in the forest.

What about Amba’s sisters Ambika and Ambilika? They were married to Vichitravirya but they were not really his cup of tea, so no babies. What was to happen to Satyavati’s desire to see her grandchildren ascend the throne? Well, remember when she was slightly smelly and had made out on the river and bore a child called Vyasa. Well she prayed to him and sure enough he answers her call. (It does seem like prayers were a form of instant messaging, how useful). Satyavati instructs her son Vyasa to impregnate Vichitravirya’s  wives. This is niyoga, where a man is unable to have children he can ask another man to stand in, to have sex with the husband’s wife. This man must be revered and the sex is only for having a child, and can only be done three times. The child belongs to the husband and wife only, the paternal father has no rights. So now you can see how wonderful medical science has become. Phew

So Vyasa who remember has been living in the forest is not exactly looking or smelling  his best is slightly hesitant but his mum is insistent. And Ambika and Ambilika are not exactly smiling at the prospect either…

 

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