Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What is this debate all about, heaven's sake

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Soon somebody will try to finish me off .. I have a Muslim name, wear a Buddhist tattoo, have Buddha icons everywhere, am married to a Hindu,  practice yoga and chant Vedic hymns, byheart Shankaracharya's fantastic songs,  learn Kabir bhajans, attempt Sufi singing,  have won Bible exams in my school (for every year!) and know most of the Christmas carols by-heart too... 

The thing is, a real yoga practitioner does not debate. I have found this out too late in my life, but better late than never ... Every Hatha Yoga text (the Pradipika, for starters) strictly warn against getting into debates and arguments as futile and expensive waste of time that prevents you from relating to your idea of the cosmic energy, the mystical experience... It even says that having a fixed point of view is a serious hurdle in the path...

This  warning and alert against debates is to prevent the ego from bursting forth into full glory ... because the debates arise from this sense of the ego and `I'. My point of view. The minute that steps in, the ego, yoga goes out..(Ego does not rhyme with yoga:)....

So, somebody says something (Deepak Chopra, a priest there, an ethnic forum there ) and it has everybody -- must be those who don't practice -- frothing at the mouth.

Reading Wendy Doniger's line, even I almost started to froth, but heaven's, I won't be bothered... Nevertheless, here is this priceless observation of hers:
The (yoga) postures developed much later, some from medieval Hatha Yoga and Tantra, but more from nineteenth-century European traditions such as Swedish gymnastics, British body-building, Christian Science, and the YMCA, and still others devised by twentieth-century Hindus such as T. Krishnamacharya and B. K. S. Iyengar, reacting against those non-Indian influences.

A scholar can make such statements, hoping in the future that some imbecile will come along and make it a fact. But let them talk, who have nothing to do. But of course, she is saying something else... but how does she manage to do this and that.. so vague, some scholars...

But we won't try to decipher her, or where that statement came from  Those of us who do, we will continue doing what we do best: yoga:)
In yoga, Vishnu granthi is a central knot -- it comes from a strong sense of identity we enjoy -- male-female, caste-religion, this identity, that identity... Most people, including extremely  good people, can get stuck there... and never know the difference.

 Pure yoga must break through all identities...

1 comment:

Anila said...

Hi Shameem,
I am an indian who lives in the US and so am almost always caught up in the midst of this debate about who 'revived' yoga in India.I have had people telling me some really outrageous things such as yoga teachers were a "low caste" in india and treated with contempt till the west made it a 'hep' thing to do(!!!!). I really dont know why we need to dispute on who 'owns' yoga!Its the same case with pilates too- People get touchy when i even gently mention(in my pleasant 'did you know?' tone) that most of its exercises are yoga asanas, there is rolling of the eyes, 'o here we go again with the indian claiming its theirs'...Why dont we just enjoy our sadhana and leave the rest!