Yesterday evening, Prashantji spoke about the difference between the humbleness of a giver and a receiver in the context of breath and mind. And that stayed. As I begin to find my way around his classes, I am keenly aware that I am not quite eligible but I persevere. There is enough faith in the subject and the process that I know things will become apparent when the conditions are right. In the meanwhile, all I am required to do is show up sincerely. The question he posed made me feel as though his class really begins when it ends. The precepts he talks about, while to do with the breath and mind, are really more a nudging into enquiry, practice off the mat.
Coming back to the question about the humbleness of giver’s mind and the receiver’s mind, I can’t help but marvel at the subtlety and nuance of the bhava in each of the roles. One can draw a parallel with the ‘knower’, ‘known’ and ‘knowing’ here which is quite a recurrent theme in philosophical studies. First of all, it is interesting to see the terms used as giver and receiver versus giver and taker. The former, for me, implies value which cannot be quantified. It could be considered akin to two sides of a coin, a completion of circuit, a oneness. The giver is not really separate from the receiver. Seen in this manner, yoga of/for the breath and the mind begin to make sense.
Giver and taker are more in the nature of a transactional exchange. I suppose the initial inhale and come up, exhale and go down could be considered in this fashion. Vaishyavarna or the class of traders. Guruji has referenced the castes in context of stages of a student/ practitioner. In fact, today’s class was an interesting one in terms of these exchanges while we cycled through a few krounchasanas towards the end of the class. It was something to observe even as the class started from the very first samasthithi. Tadasana or Samasthithi has always been a fascination for me. It is a whole body asana and coincidentally, also one of the options in Sunday evening’s class. These symmetrical poses are wonderful in their ability to hold a mirror, to show the sama in samasana.
I think about posting here but somehow the day slips away from me and I barely manage to make notes about my thoughts/ reflections from class. And before I know it, many days, weeks pass. I did think about doing a regular wrap to consolidate the week’s learnings/ reflections but that seems a herculean task now, considering the way the subject is opened up by different teachers. It is like rain, wonderful life-sustaining rain. And perhaps, I am not ready for all that profusion as I find myself trying to navigate the vastness that is yog. But I do believe that it will seep into my being and sprout some saplings when the time is right.
That firm man to whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for realizing the Immortality of the Self. 2:15
Having made – pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat – the same, engage in battle for the sake of battle; thus you shall not incur sin. 2:38
Image and shlokas from
The Holy Geeta
Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda
This week showed me how much I needed to find my inner samasthithi.
The moment of understanding actually happened when I received news that my daughter had secured admission into school when just the day before they had asked me to check elsewhere. That 24 hour period saw me disappointed, stoic, frustrated, dejected, sad, accepting and ecstatic. The moment I got a call asking me to get to the school was when I experienced joy and the realization that in happiness too, I need to find the calmness.
The samasthithi that is firm and unshakable in every situation. Just like the mountain it is named after. Learning to stand in tadasana has a big parallel in my life to standing strong and tall in my own life.
In the mad scramble to get life organized around admissions and work, all I managed was 10 minutes of asana for a few days. I felt lazy about unrolling my mat for practice thinking I would be stiff but somehow managed to shake off that lethargy and get moving. Standing asanas and wound up with Setuband Sarvangasana. At the end, I experienced the same sense of lightness that I felt in class a few months ago. Just before I saw sound.
I later learnt from my friend that there is a medical term for the phenomenon which is called synesthesia. Intuition says there is something there but for now I am content to focus on alignment since there is a long way before I achieve proficiency in asana.
In the meanwhile, I can use the two shlokas from the eternal song to help me find my grounding.
Sometimes I think life is like a computer game. By the time I figure out how to play one level, the game changes and becomes difficult.
The biggest stress right now is getting admission into a school for my little girl. I get out most mornings, do the rounds of schools and come back with nothing. It takes me a while to shake the dejection and dive into work. In the meanwhile, chores happen, a little homeschooling happens and meals get prepared.
My practice is very basic, repetitions of what is done in class. While in tadasana, I am aware of the check points. The moment it changes into another asana like urdhva hastasana or uthita trikonasana, I lose that awareness and start again from the feet.
My life situation is similar to this state. One variable changes and I lose the samasthithi in my life and have to work upwards slowly. It is slow work and I struggle some days. On one hand I can see the human drama while on the other, I am in the thick of it.
Tadasana is a good way to come back to the fullness of now, an ideal of equanimity.