10 months later…

It’s taken me nearly 10 months to go through the Gita this time, a slow study of a few shlokas a day with some short stretches of breaks from reading. I turned the last page at about 4:30 this morning and as I sat thinking about the journey through these pages, it was interesting to see how much change was happening in my life during the course of my study. An extremely uncertain and challenging phase which fugued into an even more displaced time.

While my copy of the book is marked with words that spoke directly, it feels like I’ve barely begun to dip into its nectar. 701 verses concluding with Sanjaya’s conviction, “Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Partha, the archer, there are prosperity, victory, happiness and firm (steady or sound) policy; this is my conviction.”

यत्र योगेश्वर: कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धर:।

तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतिर्मतिर्मम ।।७८।।

There are a couple of interesting points in this shloka. The first being, the presence of both the Lord of Yoga and the archer as a necessary condition. The second is the fruit of their joint presence.

Swami Chinmayananda speaks about Krishna as the ‘marriage between the secular and the sacred’ and the natural progression of such a union being prosperity, victory/ success, happiness and firm policy.

Shree, Vijaya, Bhuti, Dhruva neeti are the sanskrit words and it intrigued me enough to spend some time wondering on the promise they held. While the common translations seem adequate, I cannot help shake a sense of something that goes beyond the word meaning to the root meaning. Unanswered for now but there is a churn inside that throws up flashes like exalted earthly existence, sthiratha and sukham of the Sutras etc. Perhaps, I’m barking up the wrong tree, perhaps not. We’ll see in time.

The last shloka is Sanjaya’s conclusion of the Divine Song and appropriate to one in the thick of a battle for dharma in the context of the Mahabharata. Goals of victory, prosperity and a stable rule. Outside of that context, in the modern day scenario, the battlefield is our internal mindscape. No less intense and the promise is a prosperity of radiant thoughts, small victories over the fears conquered, steadiness of contentment and the permanence of the purpose of our lives, like the pole star.

Finishing this slow plod through the book has only made me feel how much of an Arjuna I remain in between armies, suspended in time and space.

A wooden inlay panel that I love looking at in my home.

Yoga class in a dentist’s chair

I spent two hours in a dentist’s chair today. Painful? No. Terrifying? Yes. But after a point, it became one of curious interest in the dentist’s absorption in his work.

An unassuming man, he is as much a student as an established doctor and I was reminded of Guruji. A young man, he had numerous accolades to his credit and also teaches and speaks at many events. Unlike many others in his profession, his renovated clinic is modest and his clients mostly come to him via word-of-mouth reference.

At varying stages in the procedure, he took pictures and I pictured him stacking them up to teach a point or two. Another thing that struck me was his fearlessness. Not an arrogant bravado but the ability to persist and not fear the patient’s fear. It was an interesting yoga lesson for me at a few levels.

The overwhelming sense of asmita which is responsible for raga and dvesha colours all thoughts and actions. The order of the kleshas are progressive beginning with avidya and their subtlest manifestation is abhinivesha. The life instinct. The sutras are like a surgeon’s knife, they cut clean to the chase. Economic, efficient and stand the test of time.

The whole prospect of treatment was frightening and I could cope with humour. It was interesting to see how laughter and joking worked as a means of practising ‘pratipaksha bhavanam‘. Quite by accident, I must add. It took the bite out of the fear of pain and allowed me to witness art and science in another person.

There was a fleeting thought that I should probably ask someone to go with me and then I questioned the purpose. End of the day, no one can share pain, physical or otherwise. No one can experience your light no matter how much you want them to be bathed in it. And then I ask, why did consciousness break into so many billion souls?

I have no answers but an image comes to mind from my running days. An early morning when I was the run and saw myself as a atomic piece of the universe in all its multitude. And all is as it is meant to be.

Coincidentally, the dental x-ray clinic was located in a building which had a decorative totem pillar. One of the figures had all his teeth showing.😁

I’ll leave with a silly bit of fun before I finish.

Me: Dang, The tooth fairy isn’t going to visit me. Ask me why?

Because the dentist kept the tooth.