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Jivamukti Yoga FOTM Sep 2018

It’s not that easy being green

 

Hari bol Hari bol, Hari Hari bol, mukunda madhava Govinda bol Hari bol Hari bol, Hari Hari bol, Kheshava madhava Govinda bol

 

Yeah! To the one who grants liberation by removing all suffering, to that sweet-faced child of the divine ancestors,
the one with the long flowing hair who thrills his devotees with delight, yeah!

 

Haribol means, “chant the name of the Lord.” Bol means to chant or speak. Hari means, “He who steals away the distresses of his devotees and ultimately steals their heart/minds by His excellent transcendental qualities.” Hari is a name for Vishnu-Krishna, Narayana, It is found in Vishnu sahasranama.

 

In the context of Vaishnavism, Hari has found an identity as the remover of troubles blockages, pain, and bondage. Monier-Williams Sanskrit/English Dictionary defines हरिhari in over two pages, beginning with meanings like yellow or golden, green, fawn colored, reddish brown, brown tawny, pale green, and greenish. Krishna is blue/black while Hari can be green or red or yellow or gold and Hari seems to find it difficult being just one color. The brown of Hari is like the brown of the deer, the green of Hari represents growth and abundance, while the golden Hari represents the effulgent light of the sun and the Cosmic Self.

 

It’s not easy bein’ green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

 

It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over because you’re
Not standing out like flashing sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

 

But green’s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree

 

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be1

 

This song is associated with identity and the important journey of finding self worth. We could also associate it with racial inequality based on skin color. By the end of the song Kermit the Frog embraces his greenness. This is a struggle that each of us endures—to understand the circumstances of our birth, the family that we have joined, the culture that we call our own, and the time we live.

 

Hari can also mean green frog, as well as many other species and things; sun, moon, monkey, horse, lion, jackal, parrot, peacock, goose, snake, wind, and fire.Hari’s desire is to be all things to all people, and His identity should be defined as unlimited. We discover Hari in all living beings and things, and not just the murti or statue in the temple. aham uccāvacair drvyāih kriyayotpannayānaghe naiva tusye ‘rcito ‘rcāyām bhūta-grāmāvamānina.3 “My dear Mother, even if they worship with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.” Although this verse from the Bhagavatam seems quite egalitarian in its assertion of the presence of Hari in all beings, it is followed by many verses constructing an argument for “all are equal, but some are more equal” based on ridiculous comparisons of number of legs and senses between species.

 

Human beings have extended this tradition and constructed equally absurd hierarchies based on species, religion, ancestry, gender, and skin color. We find second, third, and fourth-class members in all cultures. These beings suffer economic, educational, and other deficiencies based on arbitrary delineations. In India, the darker the shade of skin has a direct relationship to caste. In the States, African Americans and Hispanics comprise approximately 32% of the total population but a disproportionate 56% of incarcerated people.4 Every country has its lower class members, and worldwide women and children are victimized with alacrity. We could cite many more examples: Albinos, Indians and Pakistanis in Sub-Saharan Africa; Muslims in China; Catholics, African Americans and Native Americans in the U.S; Kurds in Turkey and Iraq; Jewish people in Muslim countries; Palestinians in Israel (and elsewhere); Women and girls in Muslim countries; Handicapped/crippled/disabled people everywhere; But at the very bottom of these completely arbitrary discriminations live the insects, animals, and fish.

 

The animals that have been segregated to become food for human beings suffer the worst indignities and deprivation of all. Their suffering is ignored or classified as a necessary evil. Dogs and cats are loved as family members and sometimes quickly abandoned when the family moves. People who fish say that fish do not have sensation around their mouths and do not feel pain. Of course this is ignorance, but it is the same kind of insidious, intentional denial that accuses races of human beings as functionally incapable of literacy, or compassion.

 

When I step on a bug I do not feel like I am killing a person. But why don’t I feel that way? These feelings are confusing to me. Some decisions are clear, like black and white. But most of our ethical decisions are multi colored. Vegans take the lives of plants to support their living, but cause less suffering than meat eaters. By “less suffering” I am drawing a line between those plants and beings with a nervous system and their ability to feel pain. But is this an arbitrary line? Other people draw their lines in different places than me, according to different criteria. Are those people wrong, ignorant, or unconscious, or are these divisions ingrown over millennia by humans who try to scramble to the top of the heap by any means possible? To come to right decisions and proper actions we have to ask what is our desired result.

 

If our desired result is to create a world where the green ones can live as free as the yellow ones and the red ones, we need to proceed carefully—one step at a time to untangle the confusion and ignorance that underlies much of the life we share on this Earth with infinite beings, who are all holy temples of an infinite Hari. Eventually, we can come to the knowledge that “otherness” itself, is avidya –misknowing. We will become aware of the ways to sift through the important ethical decisions we make every day and be sure that we do not act unconsciously with biases wired invisibly and arbitrarily into our nervous system by each other, and the larger culture. As we make the important decisions that each of us need to make, we must pray for the grace to make the right decision, the conscious choice: to be kind and compassionate.

 

Written by David Life

From Jivamukti yoga official site: https://jivamuktiyoga.com

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Jivamukti Yoga FOTM 2018 Aug

H2OM

patraṁ  puṣpaṁ  phalaṁ   toyaṁ  yo  me  bhaktyā  prayacchati  tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam  aśnāmi  prayatātmanaḥ

 

Whatever is offered to Me with a pure loving heart, no matter if it is as small as a leaf, a flower, a piece of fruit, or sip of water, I will accept it from one who’s mind is restrained.

BG IX.26d

 

I turned the faucet and filled a small glass with water just as I had daily for a month. The water was still brown, not brownish like weak tea, but thick and brown, like a puddle of water on the ground when it is disturbed. Today, Cape Town’s reservoir is almost empty, California has its usual drought, and the crisis of drinking water is hitting home. At our home in Woodstock, we have our own water well and I have taken the clear, untreated water for granted for many years. Panic stricken—with the vision of the heat system and water tanks filling with mud, I wondered: Will Krishna accept my offering of mud?

 

This verse from Bhagavad Gita says that the substance of the offering is less important than the sincerity with which it is offered, but I can’t help but wonder, if by “sip” of water, drinkable is implied. I rushed to the grocery store to buy big plastic containers of “spring” water. They cost 3 dollars each, and I wondered if that was just the cost of the fancy plastic container with built-in handle and spout, or if it is the cost of the water inside. Many of the cities that we have visited to teach yoga over the years are threatened with imminent drinking water shortages: Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Moscow, Istanbul, Mexico City, London, Tokyo, and Miami. In each of these places we were offered plastic bottles of “drinkable” water.

 

Each city has different stressors and it is not really possible to conceive of a universal cure. Surely, changing the underlying water usage patterns of human beings is called for. These patterns are deeply ingrained and propelled by a tendency to take clean water for granted, as we flush it down the toilet or run it from the tap. Although the Earth is 70% H2O, only 2.5% of it is drinkable, and only 1% is accessible. More than a billion people live without enough clean, safe water.

 

The use of water in animal agriculture is probably the single most profoundly wasteful use of water resources. It takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef 1, compared to potatoes at 60 gallons, or wheat at 108 gallons per pound. But it is not just water usage that we need to look at in order to preserve safe drinking water. For the bulk of human history we have regarded elements like water and air as inexhaustible and infinite, as well as always replenishing, free, and unpollutable. As we see our resources dwindling or spoiling, the door opens for the corrupt elite acquisition and privatization of the vital elements that are necessary to sustain life and that should be freely available to all.

 

A few years ago there appeared on New York City streets some amazing guerilla art posters depicting a popular brand of bottled water containing air rather than water. The point of the poster was that unless we safeguard our precious natural resources and protect them from privatization we will lose them in an ocean of plastic. In California, scarce water resources irrigate pomegranate and almond fields–exotic foods for a privileged class.

 

This is economic based scarcity. In sub-Saharan Africa, people’s true potential is lost gathering water and suffering water-born diseases, especially women and children. When many demonstrate on Wall Street for the re-distribution of the wealth of a hoarding, privileged 1%, how many of those demonstrators see themselves as the ones with unlimited access to 1% of the available clean drinking water? How many of them drink that water from expensive plastic bottles?

 

We travel to India often, and lately we have been traveling to China, and there are some interesting perspectives to be gained. For one thing, it is very apparent what happens when the human population grows beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth. All around us there are people eager to take from each other in order to survive another minute, day or week.

 

The Earth is running out of water that will support human existence. “Family living can be existing and everyone can come to be a dead one, and not anyone then, is remembering any such thing.” 2According to some Hindu scriptures, the Kali Yuga (the current age) will end in a fast and fiery way, wiping out all forms of life as we know it. It is our job as yogis to maintain the innate serenity of mind throughout, and to carry on with the righteous activities devoted to dharma. The destruction of this world is followed with the creation of a new one. The Satya Yuga (Golden Age), is followed by Treta Yuga (less virtuous, the advent of agriculture), then Dwapara Yuga (Tamasic, discontent, disease), then our present Kali Yuga (with some 427,000 years to go of liars, hypocrites, pollution, and scarce water). During Kali Yuga, rulers become unreasonable and no longer promote spirituality or protect their subjects; they become dangerous. People will migrate, seeking countries with water and food; people will have thoughts of avarice, wrath and murder; acquisition of material wealth, lust, addiction to food and drugs, treating living things as objects (animals, people) becomes the central facet of life. Only the lucky few will respect teachers and teachings.

 

The good news is that for the first 10,000 years of the Kali Yuga there will exist a Golden Age in which yoga practices will still be present on Earth. Today, 5,000 years of the Kali Yuga have passed and we have 5,000 years remaining where we will be blessed with the knowledge of the yoga traditions. We still have time to bring peace to this place, calming the muddy waters of distress.

 

Written by David Life
From Jivamukti yoga official site: https://jivamuktiyoga.com
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Before Visiting Rishikesh
2018.7.22 | Sami Araki

In the Beginning…

I visited Rishikesh last March. It was my second visit. My main purpose of this visit was International Yoga Festival (IYF) Rishikesh 2018 because my guru and founders of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon ji and Jules ji were going to join this Festival. They were going to teach Jivamukuti yoga almost every day. I started planning this trip at the end of 2017 as I came to know my yoga friends are also in Rishikesh and Mari sensei (also teaching at Nami Yoga Studio) agreed to join me.

 

I sometime hear people say “You go to India when India calls you.” I wasn’t sure what this really meant, but I decided to go to India again anyway. When I travel abroad alone, I get really nervous about my safety. With my bravery and charm, I overcame the difficulties and worries. Smile is a universal language. Also, saying “Thank you” with gratitude and “I’m sorry” when I did something wrong are also universal. Especially when I can’t communicate with language, these helped me to understand one another.

 

Our Journey to Rishikesh, India

We arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in the morning, the flight was delayed about an hour and a half. Our taxi driver was waiting for us patiently and we felt at ease when we found him. Now our long road trip to Rishikesh started. It took about 7 hours including 1 hour break for the lunch. If you are not a road-trip-type-of-person, I strongly recommend you to take the domestic flight from New Delhi. If you can enjoy the sight from car window or chatting with the local driver, you will probably enjoy this long drive.

 

Cars, Cows, and People

The sun was setting when we arrived in Rishikesh. We soon walked to Ganga river to see the sun sets as soon as we dropped our luggage at the hotel. The Ganga River flows through Rishikesh. We use one of the two bridges that crosses over the Ganga. Ramjura Bridge is the closest one to our hotel so we passed that one every day. A lot of people walk or ride a bike over the bridge. Riding a boat is another option. There are a lot of shops near the bridge. Restaurants, cafés along with stores that sell clothes, fruits, drugstore, several goods, books, yoga, mala, jewelry and so on. They sell in stores, on the streets with a simple table, rug, or cart. The streets get really busy with cars, rickshaws cows, pigs, and horses. We often meet monkeys, dogs and other animals when we’re strolling along. Cows, who are considered gods in India, are sitting alongside people. They usually come along when you’re munching on food.

 

International Yoga Festival

Our main purpose at Rishikesh was joining the IYF between March 1st to 7th. The event was held at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. We stayed on the opposite side of the Ganga from Parmarth Niketan Ashram, but many people including teachers were staying at Parmarth Niketan Ashram as it has accommodation service in expansive grounds. The yoga class started from 4am all the way up to 9pm. You have to manage your own schedule as the choices are countless. There were also multiple events going on at the same time, including speeches, workshops, and concerts. There were only two types of tickets: 1-day pass and 7-day pass.

 

Happy Holi

Rishikesh becomes more vibrant during the festival as many people gather from all over the world. During the event, we were able to experience another festival called Happy Holi, which took place on March 2nd. On March 1st, people in Rishikesh started gathering and start the festivity a day early. One guy was making big fire to pray for Happy Holi and we sat near the fire to keep us warm. More people joined us to give their prayers. The climate was almost as same as that of Tokyo but when the sun is strong we can be with T-shirt and the air in the morning and night was chilly. You hear music when you get up early in the morning, most of those are sanskrit mantra, singing voices and other voices of prayer. In day time, you hear more sounds of bike and horn.

 

Rikshaw

If you get tired to walk or want to go where that’s too far to walk, it’s good idea to ride a rickshaw. You can get on a rickshaw from rickshaw parking near the bridge or catch one on the street. Personally, I recommend to catch one on the street because you can get on for cheaper. Usually, you share the rickshaw with other people. Now you’re on, how do you get off? The best way is to tell them a major landmark. People ride on and off at the point where they want. Just note that it you get on from Rickshaw parking with small number of people, you have to pay more. 7 to 8 people can ride on at once.

 

More about International Yoga Festival

The highlight of this year’s IYF was to meet Dalai Lama and vice president of India. Unfortunately, Dalai Lama didn’t show up in front of people, but a lot of people gathered to pay respect. I heard he was not in good condition. On a different day, a person from Shinto Japan was introduced to people. Night time was usually very energetic with live music and dancing. There are enough events to keep you busy at the ashram, but you can also walk around town or join other yoga studios in the area.

 

In the Ashram, there was buffet throughout the day. It’s only available for people who purchased the festival ticket. There are also cafes and restaurants in town that you can visit. There are all sorts of variety from Indian to Western food including fruit bowls, porridge, and snacks.

I hope you get an image of what Rishikesh is like!

Sami was born in Tokyo, Japan. As a child, she was naturally drawn into yoga as she imitated her mother’s yoga practice. After graduating University and working at various companies, she started to practice yoga. In 2013, she received her yoga teaching certification by the Government of India. In 2015, she became a certified jivamukti yoga instructor.
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Jivamukti Yoga FOTM 2018 June

Magic Ten and Beyond

 

abhyāsa-vairāgyābhyāṁ tan nirodhah

“The cessation of all vrittis, of all thinking and modifications of the mindstuff, is brought about by persistent inner practice of Self-abidance, abiding in the ‘I-am’ beyond the body and mind, and by non attachment through discrimination.”

PYS I.12 (Commentary by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati)

 

Magic happens when there is a shift in perception, perception of yourself, others and the world. For the yoga practitioner, that shift is a movement away from false identification with the temporary and towards that which is eternal. Every serious practitioner of any art or science knows that to become accomplished, to feel at ease with your art, both practice and humility are necessary. Ultimately Self-realization is a solitary journey inward and because of that we should develop independence—dependence inward. The journey within is the journey toward the eternal atman and so it is a timeless journey without end. The Magic Ten and Beyond is a practical book, offering guidance to the traveler of infinity.

 

Through repetition the magic is forced to rise. For a practice to yield sweet fruit it must be done regularly—daily is best. It should become a habit, a good habit like brushing your teeth. And like brushing your teeth, a daily yoga practice doesn’t have to take all day. Do it first thing in the morning and allow the benefits to unfold throughout the rest of the day. But if for some reason you are unable to do your practice first thing in the morning then do it later in the day or last thing before bed. The important thing is that you do it. Over time with consistent regular daily practice, along with a sense of detachment regarding specific results, the benefits will accumulate on their own accord. Abhyasa means to sit with something for a long time and vairaga means detachment. To practice, all the while being unconcerned with the results of the practice, is the way of the yogi who knows how to let go and let God. Transformation is always subtle and gradual, but non-the-less inevitable, if you’re willing to commit to consistency in your practice and sincerely surrender its fruits. Do your best and let God do the rest.

 

Yoga means to remember your connection to the Supreme Source, eternal happiness itself—the kind of happiness that is not dependent on any thing or condition. Yoga teaches that within each living being there is an eternal soul, the atman. Yoga practices enable us to reconnect to the atman and to understand that our mortal bodies are not who we really are—they are dwelling places for our immortal soul. Over time the practices alchemically transform our perception of who we are from the doer to the participant. The realized yogi lives in the world as an instrument for the light of truth. There are many yoga practices that can guide a person along the way to that magical remembering of who he or she really is—some of those practices are explored in this book in the form of mantras, prayers, blessings, affirmations, visualizations, asanas, dance steps, kriyas, pranayama, meditation, deep relaxation and feeding the birds.

 

The Sanskrit word sadhana means “conscious spiritual practice.” What distinguishes a yoga practice from a physical fitness exercise routine is the intention. When you engage in an activity with the conscious intention for it to bring you closer to enlightenment, then it is sadhana. Sadhana is never something you do for yourself. It is always about getting overyourself, your separate ego self, and awakening to how you are part of a higher Divine Self. But without the essential ingredient of bhakti, which means “devotion or love for God,” to help you relinquish doer-ship, your practices could keep you ego-centered and goal oriented, identified with your body and mind, tossed about by the ups and downs of life, bound in mundane reality and the pursuit of temporary happiness through material accumulation and forgetfulness of the real doer—the Supreme Self.

 

In this book I also share some of my ideas regarding the history of yoga and my speculations regarding a possible connection with ancient Egypt. Ten years ago this intuition led me to visit Egypt. While in the Great Pyramid lying in the King’s chamber I had an out of body experience. A day later while at the Cairo Museum I saw a painting of a yogini in what appeared to be an asana and met an Egyptologist who would show me a magic circle, called a cartouche, containing ten hieroglyphs that looked to me like they could be describing yoga practices.

 

Written by Sharon Gannon
From Jivamukti yoga official site: https://jivamuktiyoga.com
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Jivamukti Yoga FOTM 2018 May
Our Parents and Our Yoga Practice
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara
 Guru Sakshat Param Brahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah
Our creation is that guru; the duration of our lives is that guru; our trials, illnesses and calamities is that guru. There is a guru that is nearby and a guru that is beyond the beyond. I humbly make my offering to the guru, the beautiful remover of ignorance, the enlightenment principle that is within me and surrounds me at all times.
from Guru Stotram
Guru means teacher, the enlightenment principle. The Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva symbolizes the process of creation, sustenance and destruction that all of manifestation is subjected to.
Brahma is creation and refers to the circumstances our birth, our parents, the relationship between our parents, the emotions and energies our mother exposed herself to during pregnancy and birth, and the culture and socio-economic circumstances. In this mantra, we are invited to look at all these aspects as a teaching.
In Western society, there has been an increasing trend towards individualization and single-handedly taking credit for everything we accomplish. We have forgotten the people who have opened doors for us, and we take any sacrifices our parents have made for us for granted. We have replaced gratitude with entitlement, and we no longer know the secrets of what holds an ecosystem, a community or a family together. We are all suffering in varying degrees from the disease of disconnect.
Some years ago, respect became confused with punishment and oppression, instead of an attitude of deep love, reverence and appreciation. We began to reject expressions of respect towards our parents, teachers and elders, and have stopped teaching it to our children. When students are asked to reflect on their parents, the mood tends to become very quiet, solemn and tearful. So many of us have heavy issues with our parents, and often have stopped talking to them altogether. We continue to live with unresolved pain and hurt lingering under the surface, until it is too late. A parent falls ill or dies. Misunderstandings, unskillful communication or abusive patterns are left in a puddle of darkness, confusion and regrets.
Some of us are in our eighties, our mother or father has been under the ground for 25 years, and still, day after day, we are making ourselves miserable thinking about what horrible things our mother or father did to us. We are still waiting for the deceased parent to apologize or somehow fix the situation, not realizing that the only person, who can relieve us from all of that suffering is us.
Yoga practice teaches how to reconcile the relationship from our end. The physical presence of the other person may not even be required. We train ourselves to be humble, get over false pride and see strength in making the first gesture towards reconciliation. Often, it is not even a matter of a huge drama or catharsis, but just a small energetic shift, comparable to actively engaging the spiraling movements in our thighs, lifting our inner arches or pressing our big toe mounds into the ground. These are small, almost invisible adjustments that will create a ripple effect through the whole body and bring the whole pose into balance. In the same way, a small internal shift brought about by setting an intention to look at one good quality in each of our parents, can totally change the relationship. Remember: any rift with our parents is a reflection of a rift within ourselves.
Harmonizing the relationship with our parents and our teachers is the key to managing all other relationships. We need to stop projecting outward, stop blaming, stop looking for fault and start by generating an energy of gratitude. We have to stop making exceptions that Yogic teachings only apply to certain situations, but not to others. We need to assume our responsibility in the conflict, and see it appearing from of our own projections.
Responding to any form of abuse, resentment will not lead us to liberation. Forgiveness is the only thing that will allow our hearts to become light. Forgiving is not so much about letting the other person off the hook, but it is about dropping the darkness that makes us sick and stops us from moving forward. Forgiveness is essential for spiritual growth. A famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr. says: “I have decided to go with love, hate is too heavy a burden to bear.”
When we are young, we see our parents as perfect, and when we grow up to be teenagers, our parents look like everything else than perfect. Yet, our expectation of perfection remains and creates a constant friction with our criticism. Can we perhaps accept that our parents always did their best, but may not always have been able to do this skillfully, because of the difficulties and suffering they encountered? Perhaps, if we ourselves are now a parent, we can see that being perfect all the time is an impossible task?
Sometimes parents forget that a child cannot be forced into the mold of their unfulfilled dreams. Sometimes, a mother is incapable of nurturing a child with maternal love, because of her own trauma. Still, she is doing her best. We may wish to see ourselves as totally different from your parents, but as we age, we may realize how much we are like them; we are a continuation of our parents, and our ancestors.
If we love our parents, we don’t have to say anything; our love is enough, and when they pass away, the love will continue, and there will be no regrets. Michael Franti gives us this beautiful contemplation: Your father is just an ordinary guy who fell in love!
Written by Yogeswari
From Jivamukti yoga official site: https://jivamuktiyoga.com
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Jivamukti Yoga FOTM 2018 April

Black is the True Face of Light

Tad evā-artha-mātra-nirbhāsam sva-rūpa-sūnyam iva samādhih

Through the power of fixating suggestion on a chosen object the object alone shines forth, and there is undistracted identification with it. This trance is called Samadhi or same as the highest.

 

PYS III.3

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras III.3 Sanskrit pronunciation by Manorama – www.sanskritstudies.org

 

Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun often translated as “power” but more exactly means “accomplishment,” “attainment “or “success.” A siddha is one who has accomplishment or success. The third pada (chapter) of the Yoga Sutra is titled Vibhuti, and addresses the acquisition of siddhi. Imagine a conversation between two Siddha Masters, Patanjali and Nikola Tesla…

 

Patanjali: By performing samyama on the form of the body in order to suspend its reflective and receptive power, the contact between the eye of the observer and the light from the body is broken, and the body becomes invisible. 1

 

Tesla: Matter is created from the original and eternal energy that we know as light. It shone, and then appeared stars, the planets, man, and everything on Earth and in the Universe. Matter is an expression of infinite forms of light, because energy is older than it. There are four laws of creation. The first is that (it is) the source of all the baffling, dark plot that the mind cannot conceive, or mathematics measure. In that plot fit the whole Universe. The second law is spreading a darkness, which is the true nature of light, from the inexplicable and it’s transform (ation) into the Light. The third law is the necessity of the light to become a matter of light. The fourth law is: no beginning and no end; three previous laws always take place and the Creation is eternal.3

 

Patanjali: This principle also explains the power of appearance and disappearance of sound and the other sensations of taste, touch, and smell by samyama on the tanmatras, which are mostly psychic in nature. 2

 

Tesla: I am part of a light, and it is the music. The light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense. Particles of light are written note. A bolt of lightening can be an entire sonata. A thousand balls of lightening is a concert. 3

 

 Patanjali: These powers are uplifting and encouraging when the mind is turned outward, but they are obstacles to samādhi.4

 

Tesla: Knowledge comes from space; our vision is its most perfect set. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual. It is recommended that it become one eye. 3

 

Nikola Tesla, a visionary, and accomplished being of the modern era, said that he had family conversations with lightning and the colors of a sunset taught him invention. We know less about the historic Patanjali, but it is said that in his continuous pursuit of the light of knowledge he became a grammarian, an ayurvedic doctor, and a philosopher. Both of these people urge us to find perfection and capture our universal identity.

 

So also does Kapila, the founder of Samkhya Philosophy, in this excerpt from the Srimad Bhagavatam where he instructs his mother, Devahūti: “Egoism in the mode of passion produces two kinds of senses—the senses for acquiring knowledge and the senses of action The senses of action depend on the vital energy (prāna), and the senses for acquiring knowledge depend on intelligence (buddhi).5 By interactions of the air and the sensations of touching, one receives different forms according to destiny. By evolution of such forms, there is fire and the eye sees different forms in color.6 My dear mother, the characteristics of form are understood by dimension, quality and individuality. The form of fire is appreciated by its effulgence.”7

 

 The Sun is the original source of light that makes vision possible. The fire/light of the yogi is the tapas that burns away impurities, and the ash that remains is the vibhuti; the sacred ash. Siddhi is the power that rises out of the black ashes like a phoenix from the fire of tapas. Patanjali reminds us that it is dangerous to be self-satisfied and halt progress with the acquisition of siddhis—restings  on our laurels.

 

In ancient Greece, the laurel wreath (Laurus nobilis) was a symbol of victory and status. Apollo is depicted with a laurel wreath on his head and is said to have declared the sacred nature of the laurel or bay tree after the nymph Daphne, who he was pursuing, would turn into the tree to avoid being captured. A laureate is one who is crowned with laurel leaves signifying their accomplishment. “Resting on one’s laurels” has come to mean becoming lazy and self-satisfied with temporal success.

 

We could never accuse either Patanjali or Tesla with resting on their laurels. In fact, most outstanding historic personalities worked feverishly to complete each day with the full potential of that present moment joined to the momentum of previous moments and moving into a future potential. This is Yoga as the perfection of action.

 

Author: David Life

Jivamukti Yoga Website

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