Monday, March 28, 2011

A story in a pose: Urdhva Natrajasana on shaming oneself into peace:)

I love Devadutt Pattanaik. He is amongst the few authors on Indian mythology who does not get into jingoism, but projects vast interpretation  shorn of individual biases... (For instance, Wendy Doniger suggesting that yogasanas had no base in Indian philosophy and that is more Christian, and setting off  a hornet's nest of rather meaningless debate -- whose only real intention seems to be to raise hackles and cause further divisions, instead of uniting .. :)

So, whenever I spot his books I dive eagerly for them..Here is a tale from the latest in my collection: Shiva and Shankara : Decoding the phallic symbol (Rs 275, Indus source books).

The pose u see above is Urdhva Natraj asana. Certain yoga practitioners take the leg around the back of the ear also. The one below is of Devaduttji's illustration, from the above book...(U can check out his site here, if u wish to place order for his books or read is vastly engaging articles on the similar topics)

Sati was destroying the demons who had to be destroyed. But so carried away by her enthusiasm was she that she did not stop her wanton rampage.. The terrified gods approach Shiva to stop her. He engages her in a dance competition, in which, if Shiva lost, he offered to be beheaded so that Shakti could drink his blood as appeasement. The passionate dance thundered through the universe. Both seem to be equally placed as far as the art was concerned.

THEN, Shiva does his trick. He lifts his left leg (as shown in Devaduttji's image above). Shakti moves to follow. But her innate feminity embarrasses her from doing that since that would mean exposing herself to the world... Shyly she concedes defeat.

This is what Pattanaik writes on this pose:
By overpowering Kali, Shiva empowers those who feel overwhelmed by the sheer power of nature. From indifferent ascetic into the informed teacher whose wisdom enables one to fearlessly face the reality of the material world.

For me, this pose offers more :
Since Shiva and Shakti represents our own selves, it is, at the cusp  of our inner transformation suddenly things fall in place, where the rampage of our minds can settle down. The inner demons are destroyed, and the questions are answered, all is peaceful once more,  as harmony is restored to its original state...

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