Thursday, June 02, 2011

Saraswati and the wisdom pose, lotus

In the latest column, Devdutt Pattanaik writea of  your choice of deity may actually reflect you.  If u worship the goddess Lakshmi, u want wealth. If you worship Saraswati, you want wisdom. Also, he talks of the contrast in depiction, of the former as fabulously bejewelled, in bright attire, while the latter is in pristine white.. an austere projection.
Her Veena, the flow of wisdom. The anurag or rhythm of wisdom flowing  in music or language or speech
The book, the spiritual prose that one reads ..
The pot of water, reflects the cleansing purity of purpose 
Crystal japa mala sometimes meaning poetry, or spiritual aspiration or sadhana. 
Her preferred choice of seat -- the lotus, a pose of wisdom, and comes from somewhere within I believe, for meditators: beyond flexibility of mind or contraction of muscles. 

I love the prayer too, asking to be removed from lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance. No money, no fame, no following, just you and wisdom:) 

We Sivananda students say this prayer in our yoga class, and if you are serious practitioner, u may wish to start ur practice with this  prayer, which is part of the main Sivananda starting prayer called  Gajananam. My  Monday morning batch, because it ihas been the longest with me, recites the prayer once of week (Rest of the week, we say the shorter Sivananda prayer -- Sahana vavatu..) 

So, here it is, the supplication to remove lethargy:) 

Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa,
Yaa shubhra-vastra'avritaa
Yaa veena-vara-danda-manditakara,
Yaa shweta padma'asana
Yaa brahma'achyuta shankara prabhritibhir Devai-sadaa Vanditaa
Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaa-pahaa.

She, who is as fair as the Kunda flower,the moon, and a garland of Tushar flowers;
She, whose hands are adorned by the excellent veena, and whose seat is the pure white lotus;
She, who is constantly praised and glorified by Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and other divinities;
O Mother Goddess, remove my mental inertia!

And the lotus ...

My own experience with the pose is peculiar. I don't need to be warmed up, but need to have dropped my ego (that damndest thing, ever:). I recall, while doing vipassana, for the Adhithana period of one hour (four times a day) I would decide to sit in the lotus... and then, of course, it is the ego taking that decision, and already it contracts me and my pose! So even though I can hold on in that pose, I do with with excruciating pain (the ego is that pain quotient in us yogis:)
But on other days, even when I am not warmed up I can just slip into it naturally. Then  I have the softest sense of the legs opening up just that little bit more. I am `settling' into that pose without trying at all, everything having  receded, when the pose  feels sweet and easy. And bit by bit, the pose becomes reaches even  deeper into itself, like the lotus bud opening, blossoming into a flower...  It is a peculiar experience that ... sweet beyond description. That is when the ego has gone behind, and I am in a state of yoga, and the pose happens naturally to me...
Sigh... if I can cut that shadow (ego)  off my mind-body...  Working on that for sure:)
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Happy sadhana!

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