Monday, October 08, 2012

It is not Them vs Us.. it is Us vs Us! Yoga story ,,

(Image from this site) 

We all know the story how the devas and asuras are constantly engaged in the tussle to get exclusive rights over the amrit/nectar of imoortality. Is it just the good vs the bad guys, always. That would be simplisitc. Unfortunately, in today viitiated scenario this suspicion of the other is getting more and more strident. 

But this, below which I wrote for India Abroad mag a few years ago, could be the sub-text? 

The immortal nectar amrit is churned out of the ocean of samsara (representing several births or endless thoughts) by both the devas and the asuras jointly (indicating of how both aspects of ourselves are needed to create the fine balance of human existence). But when it comes to drinking the amrit, both sides want it exclusively for themselves. As they squabble again, Lord Vishnu assumes the form of the irresistible seductress (apsara) Mohini. Both asuras and devas are distracted. But when Mohini directs her wiles at the asuras, they completely succumb to her charms. So distracted are they that they do not even notice the devas run off with the amrit, to consume it. Now the asuras are sentenced back to the nether regions(Patala) and are denied immortality. Here, Mohini's seduction is a reference to the raga mentioned by Patanjali, the great attachment to sensory pleasure and distractions. Falling to her wiles   sets off the yogic downslide which denies us our goal of unity with the divine. Then we must go right back to the animalistic in us, the fate of the yoga bhrashta. And restart our yogic struggle all over again.

"Finding even the knower leans towards objects and enjoyments, forgetfulness throws him off the guard, like an adulteress her paramour, by clouding his intellect. As moss moved from upon the face of water stands not away even for a minute, delusion (Maya) envelops even the knowing one, if he is off his guard," remarks the guru of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) Adi Shankaracharya in his sparkling text titled Vivekachudamani.

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