The Blind Men and the Elephant

by John Godfrey Saxe

Published by James R. Osgood and Company, 1873

 

A HINDOO FABLE.

I.

It was six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

 

II.

The First approached the Elephant

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl:

“God bless me! but the Elephant

Is very like a wall!”

 

III.

The Second, feeling of the tusk,

Cried, “Ho! What have we here?

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me ‘t is mighty clear

This wonder of an Elephant

Is very like a spear!”

 

IV.

The Third approached the animal,

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”

 

V.

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,

And felt about the knee.

“What most this wondrous beast is like

Is mighty plain,” quoth he;

“‘T is clear enough the Elephant

Is very like a tree!”

 

VI.

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,

Said: “E’en the blindest man

Can tell what this resemble most;

Deny the fact who can,

This marvel of an Elephant

Is very like a fan!”

 

VII.

The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,

Than, seizing on the swinging tail

That fell with his scope,

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a rope!”

 

VIII.

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!

 

Moral:

So oft in theologic wars,

The disputants, I ween,

Rail on in utter ignorance

Of what each other mean,

And prate about an Elephant

Not one of them has seen!

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Although credited by the author as a “Hindoo Fable,” this parable is told throughout India and China, and –in a sweet twist of irony– its origin is claimed by the Jains, Buddhists, Sufi Muslims and Hindus alike.

Among other things, it’s used to illustrate  1) the principle of living harmoniously with people of different faiths, 2) the importance of seeing the “big picture” in any situation, and 3) the fault in basing a conclusion on insufficient evidence.

It can also mean that empirical knowledge has its limitations, especially in regard to objects beyond the scope of the senses. As Einstein said, “There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.”

…..

premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti—– The pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love. [Brahma Samhita 5.38]

 

 

Posted in Old Yoga Stories, Poetry & Literature | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Envelope Please…

Thanks to the lovely Reba at Navigating By Heart, we were surprised and humbled to receive our first blog award this week at The Yoga of Living—

The Stylish Blogger Award! Thank you, Reba.

And by we, I mean the royal we, of course, since it’s only me. However, that may change shortly as The Yoga of Living introduces something very special in the coming weeks (*psst* you’ll want to subscribe so as not to miss it!).

Along with the snappy badge, below, I get:

1) To introduce its presenter

2) To reveal 7 things about myself that you might not know

3) To share the love with 5 of my own favorite bloggers

I will add that the above three things are purely optional. Also, to get into the awards spirit, I’m wearing a full-length gown right now, just so you know.

Okay, so it’s actually a nightgown –but still.

:::

May I introduce…

Reba Puente, who authors Navigating by Heart: She shines a ghee lamp into the recesses of her heart, and what she finds there is precisely what I’ve found in my own, except I don’t have nearly her courage. Well-read and well-writ, she’s as funny it as she is smart, and she comes from a place of love.

:::

My 7 things…

1) My favorite animal is the gharial, a rapidly disappearing animal that lives in the Ganges river. They are odd-looking, but beautiful in their own way; misunderstood, maligned and ancient.

2) As a young child, I spoke with a lisp. After lots of bedtime tongue-twister therapy (“She sells seashells down by the seashore”), it disappeared.

3) I made the Semi-finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking…Twice. I know. It’s nuts (see: #2).

4) I think the world would be benefitted if we all argued in song, the way they do in Broadway musicals. For my very favorite example, click here!

[Warning: In real life, singing insults may abruptly end a perfectly good argument!]

5) I played guitar in a band called Miss Demeanor when I was 14. We did covers by the Go-Go’s and The Who. We were not terrible, according to close personal friends and family members.

6) I have a long rap sheet of strange celebrity encounters, like when O.J. Simpson (with Nicole) gave me a five dollar donation. Or when we watched Clint Eastwood choose a box of breakfast cereal. It goes on and on.

7) I married my husband because when I asked him what his favorite food was, he just said, Apple. And when I asked him what his favorite color was, with innocence and sincerity, he said, Pink.

I surrendered my heart on the spot.

:::

And the envelope please…

This was difficult. I now present to you five bloggers besides Reba who impress me. They are all “stylish” insofar as they have their own, unique style –an internet thumbprint all their own, if you will.

They are:

1. Lo in Y is for Yogini —There are a lot of really good yoga blogs out there, but the mysterious Lo is in a class by herself. Sometimes whimsical, at other times hilariously inappropriate, Lo is first and foremost a dedicated yogini, whose lessons always contain heaps of truth.

2. Havi in The Fluent Self —Havi Brooks is a big star, but she doesn’t carry herself like one. Exploding with creativity (by dint of her brain-stimulating Dance of Shiva), she demonstrates how to become ‘unstuck’ lovingly and provides a playful, comfortable space to do it.

3. Shanna in Feed the Spark —I will never again laugh at a blonde joke because the youthful, flaxen-haired Shanna Mann has ruined them for me. She’s so smart and stimulating (while not at all pretentious) that beads of sweat form on my brow when I comment on her blog. I exaggerate only slightly.

4. Fabeku in Sankofa Song —Fabeku Fatunmise is so widely beloved, he could probably tile his kitchen with the outstanding blogger badges he receives, and for good reason. The man has good vibes. He uses the transformative presence of sound to help people thrive. Plus, he writes some of the most lyrical copy ever.

5. Kylie in Effervescence — Kylie Springman is a writer, a coach and a photographer, whose reflections on “the intricate art of liking yourself” sparkle and soothe. If I lived anywhere close, I’d sit for a portrait. She’s marvelous.

……………………………………………………………………………….

Bonus: Roxanne in Stories of Conflict and Love — Roxanne Krystalli risks her life designing and implementing programs for women in conflict areas around the world. It’s serious business made a little softer through the eyes of a woman as friendly and real as she is qualified. On Twitter: @rkrystalli

Thank you all for what you do.



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The Giant Head.

Surely you remember this scene in the Wizard of Oz:

Dorothy and her pals reach Emerald City and finally get an audience with the Wizard. Turns out, “The Great and Powerful Oz” is a giant, disembodied head –and he’s not happy to see them.

But wait!

Toto pulls back a curtain to reveal a diminutive guy operating a hologram projector and speaking nervously into a voice-altering microphone. As the “Wizard,” he bellows:

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

The jig is up.

Ever felt like that guy? I know I have.

At some point, I think most of us have projected an image of ourselves to the world  –The Giant Head, if you will– an image we think will elicit respect from others and provide for us the evidence that we’re “okay.”

The Giant Head will bring us credibility as experts in our field, acceptance by those we admire and an end to bad hair days forever.

But in the middle of the night, when there’s no one to impress –and especially at times when we are uncomfortable, uncertain and just plain overwhelmed– it’s the guy behind the curtain we most identify with, isn’t it?

You know the guy– the one franticly spinning the dials and adjusting the projector; the one who’s scared that the curtain will be drawn to expose him for the little man he (or she) is.

But who could blame him?

Nearly everything out there suggests that happiness will be ours if only we had a greater presence. If only we were living our best life. If only we were more beautiful, or had more resources or… something.

So we buy followers on Twitter to make our ‘salad bar’ look full and inviting. Conversely, we stash our clutter when company comes over so that we look fashionably zen. We go to extreme measures to alter our appearances because we fear becoming irrelevant as much as we fear our own mortality.

And we never, ever admit that we’re scared shitless or could use a hand.

And the craziest part in all of this?

We’re all in these damned booths  —but we think we’re the only ones!

In her book, Broken OpenElizabeth Lesser expounds upon a favorite quote by activist-clown, Wavy Gravy, who uses the phrase, bozos on the bus, to describe humanity on Earth. Lesser writes,

“We are on the bus that says BOZO on the front, and we worry that we may be the only one on board. This is our illusion that we labor under –that we’re alone in our weirdness and uncertainty; that we may be the most lost person on the highway…

“It may be the first step to enlightenment to understand with all your brain cells that the other bus –that sleek bus with the cool people who know where they’re going– is also filled with bozos –bozos in drag; bozos with a secret…

“If we’re all bozos, then for God’s sakes, we can put down the burden of pretense and get on with being bozos.”

In this world, perfection eludes us.

Every action is covered by fault just as fire is covered by smoke (sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ -Bg 18.48). Therefore, the practice of yoga is not to become perfect but simply to become humble.

Thus emptied of false pride, not only do we connect with each other more deeply, but we also become worthy recepticles of divine grace.

When the Wizard stepped out from behind the curtain –away from his preoccupation with his image and into the role of a servant– amazing changes occured in him.

Ultimately, he was liberated from the bondage of his identity as a wizard altogether: His balloon became untethered, and he floated freely through the sky.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

oldworldballoonery.com

 

What are your thoughts? I value them.

Giant Head courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment


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A Love Letter to Japan

It’s been almost a week since the air raid sirens sounded at 1 a.m…

The voices on the radio were very calm, with their warm Hawaiian accents, telling us to seek higher ground.

We had lots of time, two hours, before the first wave was expected to hit Maui.

So, we showered and dressed in bright clothing (per the radio man’s request), without thinking too deeply on the why of that; then we gathered our essential belongings –family photos, legal documents, warm clothes, water, japa mala, and we headed for the hills.

We spent the next 8 hours in the parking lot of the Kapalua Center, alternately sleeping and listening to our self-powered radio, before the all-clear signal was issued and we returned home, exhausted but unharmed.

Later, when the footage of Japan was released, a different type of shock-wave rolled through our islands.

“That could have been us,” I heard someone say.

But it was us, my heart responded.

It was all of us.

In his commentary on the 16th-century treatise, Bhakti-rasamrta Sindhu (The Ocean of the Nectar of Devotion), A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes how one’s false identification with the body as the self extends itself to one’s family, society and nation —my body, my family, my society, my country.

Extended selfishness, he called it.

For many, it stops at the border of their countries.

Often, our concern for others is relative to how closely we identify with them. As Pacific Islanders, we may see ourselves in the seaside communities that were razed by the tsunami waves. As spouses or parents, we may see ourselves in the young man pictured in the New York Times whose family was swept away while he was at work. As souls, we feel connected to all other souls.

It can be overwhelming.

Please take heart.

There are many organizations working towards healing the wounds inflicted by this disaster. The U.S. State Department has issued a list of 28 ways you can donate, which is very helpful.

Please also consider the power of prayer. It cannot be overestimated.

The following is a Japanese Buddhist Prayer of Universal Love taken from the Metta Sutta. As you might know, I am neither Japanese nor Buddhist, but does it matter? It is a beautiful prayer.

I’ve concluded with a Vedic chant known as the maha-mantra, my own sweet spot, known by devotees as the great prayer of deliverance.

Please pray in whatever way your own heart dictates —a love letter to Japan.

:::

May all beings be filled with joy and peace.

May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak,
The great and the small,
The mean and the powerful,
The short and the long,
the subtle and the gross;

May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become;
May all be filled with lasting joy.

Let no one deceive another,
Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.

Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Namu Amida Buddha.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

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For the Love of Coziness

gymcanboutique.com

You’ve heard it before –all of the excellent reasons why getting up early is good for your health, for your business and for your laundry pile.

Maybe you’ve even heard that early morning is the best time for your sadhana.

But sometimes you’d rather just roll over and be…untroubled…by it all.

I know, I know.

The world is such an uncomfortable place sometimes. It really makes you long for softness and warmth, doesn’t it?

Well.

You’re not lazy or weak.

And you’re definitely not alone.

Let me tell you a story:

When I was a teenager and into my early thirties, I was invigorated by austerity. In the ashram, I ate tapasya for breakfast. Pre-dawn awakenings, cold showers, hours of hearing and chanting and rituals…I loved it. In fact, as I write this, I’m starting to hyperventilate. I’m telling you, it was better than great.

So what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened.

Somewhere along the line, I developed a doppelgänger –an alter ego who represents the most sinister, forbidding, baneful brand of pure, unadulterated eee-vil …or so I thought.

I will call her Cozy Girl.

Turns out, Cozy Girl is actually her own brand of superheroine, whose unique superpower is that she has the highest tolerance for comfort of any living entity in the world. In the world!

Her purpose: to remain unchallenged by the forces of obligation.

Her rallying cry: More blankets!

It was understandable, perhaps, that I considered Cozy Girl to be my nemesis; a kind of cartoon devil on my shoulder, if you will, but with footie pajamas.

She was nothing like her arch-rival: the lean, self-disciplined yogini on the other shoulder, who could run through a veritable fire of self-sacrifice.

But here’s the thing:

In many ways, I liked Cozy Girl better.

I mean, if I had to choose one for a friend, it would have been her. Sure, she was a little bit soft; a tad self-indulgent, at times –but she was also very nice.

Nice and humble and fun.

And so very, very understanding.

So, we started hanging out.

We had some delightful times, C.G. and I, until I began to miss the magic of those early morning hours —specifically, the stillness and the cooling sensation of having been handed a clean slate, rife with potential.

My mission, therefore, was to inspire Cozy Girl to get out of bed in time for the brahma muhurta (roughly an hour and a half before sunrise), the time considered by yogis to be the most favorable for spiritual practice.

So, inspired by the lovely monster dialogues and conversations with walls that Havi Brooks of The Fluent Self engages in from time to time, Cozy Girl and I put our heads together.

It was pretty casual…

as conversations with slipper-clad facets of one’s ego go.

Anyway, what I learned was that so-called self-defeating behaviors are in place for a reason. As misplaced as they might seem, they’re always well-meaning.

My doppelgänger wanted me to have safety & softness –and a stronger sense of personal sovereignty. So she hunkered down and pulled up the covers 1) to wrest control from the slumber police and 2) to defer sitting with unpleasant feelings.

And sometimes? She really just needed more sleep.

After I’d acknowledged this lovingly, the stalemate was lifted, and now Cozy Girl and I relish early morning practice “together” often –but not always. And that’s okay.

…..

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

~Rumi



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International Women’s Day: 100 Years!

Tuesday, March 8, marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

I’d never heard of it, either.

Turns out, it’s a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present, and future, and to demand a better world for millions of marginalized women and girls around the globe.

Sounds very good to me.

According to the United Nations, the idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed at the turn of the 20th century during the Industrial Revolution and was first officially celebrated in Europe on March 19, 1911.

At that time, more than a million women and men gathered at rallies to demand a woman’s right to vote and to hold public office. In addition, they demanded her right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

Since then, International Women’s Day has developed into a global day of reflection, celebration and action on issues of women’s rights. It is officially recognized by the United Nations and declared a national holiday by 27 countries around the world!

In fact, this year, there will be more IWD commemorative events held worldwide than in any year in history. As for me, I’ll be starting off the centennial (and Women’s History Month) by remembering two of the women in my family whose DNA I’m particularly proud to share…. Join me?

:::

First, I’d like you to meet my paternal great-grandmother, Frances Warren, from Brooklyn, New York.

<———–

She raised three boys on her own after her husband left her during an era when divorce was discussed only in whispers.

A savvy businesswoman, “Gram” repackaged drugstore cosmetics with her own label and sold them to society ladies whose hair she dressed at resort hotels.

She later regaled her grandchildren (my dad and his sister) proudly with hilarious tales of her entrepreneurial exploits.

Gram was also responsible for steering her youngest son (my grandfather) in the direction of his future employer: “Why don’t you try working for that nice Mr. Rockefeller?,” she said. “I hear he gives away dimes.”

Following her suggestion, Grandpa started in the mailroom at Standard Oil and ultimately retired as an executive Vice-president.

I never had the privilege of meeting Gram, but I hope that a drop of her intelligence and individualism runs through my veins.

Thanks, “Gram” Warren.

Here’s my maternal grand-aunt, Margie Cunningham, on the right.

She was one of seven children, the daughter of Irish immigrants who came through Ellis Island to escape the Potato Famine. At sixteen, Aunt Margie ran away from her native Ohio to New York City to perform in the Ziegfeld Follies.

She was hired by Flo Ziegfeld in 1929 and earned $50 per week in the Broadway production of “Whoopee!” with Eddie Cantor.

As you can see in the photo, she was quite a bit shorter than the average Follies Girl, but what she lacked in height she made up for in attitude.

Marge ended up marrying (and later divorcing) the show’s lighting director, with whom she had one child. She later remarried and raised four more children.

I never had the privilege of meeting Aunt Marge, but I hope that a drop of her courage and self-confidence runs through my veins.

Thanks, Aunt Marge.

:::

Now think for a moment about the women in your own family, past, present and future. How have the risks and sacrifices of your foremothers contributed to your worldview? To your quality of life?

How will your own choices influence the lives of women in the future?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

International Women’s Day was brought to my attention by Heather Plett, whose wonderful project, Sophia Leadership, envisions women and men trusting the feminine wisdom within themselves to bring about positive change on a personal and global level.

In honor of the IWD centennial, Heather is compiling a list of 100 ideas on how women can change the world –and how we change the world for women. Add yours.

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Finding Rapture in the Routine

Some days, you just feel trapped.

All of your best intentions are shot to hell, and the illusion of your being in control vaporizes as quickly as you can say, Danicapatrick.

Let’s face it: There are forces at work over which we have no immediate control, and sometimes our best laid plans go awry. Sometimes your dream job/family/situation bears little resemblance to life as it is.

It’s so easy to be happy and grateful and God-conscious when life is tossing flower petals in your path, but what about when it isn’t? What happens when you are in Mundane City and going nowhere fast?

Is it possible to find rapture in the routine?

Last post, we talked about how many of us defer happiness until certain material circumstances are met. We think, I’ll be happy when…(fill in the blank). We’re so focused on the when that we lose track of the nowthe yoga of living, if you will– and that makes the yoga of dying trickier when our time rolls around.

So how does one find contentment in the right here and now?

Ah, Grasshopper, the age-old question.

The Vedanta Sutra offers us a clue:

आनन्दमयोऽभ्यासात्  (1.1.12):
“In Vedanta-sutra it is stated, anandamayo ‘bhyasat: God is anandamaya, full of bliss and pleasure. Since we are part and parcel of God, we also possess these same qualities.”
~A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In other words, the happiness we’re looking for is already within us.

It’s in there.

Yoga means becoming aware (and thus connected) to the presence of divinity everywhere (everywhere!). And that’s how we taste what we’re really made of.

What is your connection strategy?


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WE WON THE N.Y.LOTTERY! And we’re giving it all away.

Like many Lotto winners, we hesitated to reveal our identities.

We were afraid that long-lost “friends” would come out of the woodwork and that we just wouldn’t know whom to trust. In addition, we needed some time to process what had happened; to get used to our new life.

You understand.

But now the time has come to step forward and claim our prize:

Four big ones.

You heard it right: FOUR U.S. dollars.

Now, before you go begrudging us our moment in the sun, please consider this:

What is your Threshold for Thrill?

What kind of winnings would justify your jump for joy?

How big should the booty be to bust a move?

If you ask me?

My booty is plenty big, thank you. Four dollars? Definitely big enough to boogie.

Here’s the point:

I believe that each of us has a secret set of circumstances that we think would make us fall-on-the-ground, roll-around slap happy: We win the Powerball. We win an Academy Award or a Nobel Prize. We are signed by the NFL or by a major publisher or record label. We discover a cure for cancer.

These are roll-worthy goals, to be sure.

But what about seemingly ordinary events, like, say, walking and talking, buying groceries and paying bills, brushing your teeth or even shoveling snow? Would doing these things bring about a sense of ecstatic rapture for you? Not likely?

Until recently, I might have agreed.

If you hang out with me on Twitter, you know that this is the final weekend of my hospice volunteer training, which means I’ll soon be going into the homes of people who are terminally ill and… I don’t know what yet.

Mostly, I’ll just be “present” to do small tasks, to sit, to listen and bear witness to the patient’s process of graduating from this life. I’m leaning into my discomfort –in this case, by meeting others in theirs.

So far, it’s helped me to realize:

  • That the things we take for granted, the little things? They’re never little.
  • That our fear of dying is proportionate to our fear of living.
  • And that in the end, all we ever want is more Now.

So please don’t defer your joy.

Neither defer your sorrow.

Instead, celebrate your windfall –the miracle of your perfect, messy liferight this moment. And should you still need a material reason to beat the proverbial drum, well then, take heart, Dear Reader, because we’re giving our Lotto winnings away.

That’s right.

All four of the dollars.

Simply write in the comments how you plan to spend the loot. The winner will be drawn at random, but don’t let that stop you from being creative.

Have fun –and good luck!

……………………………………………………………………………

Hugs to Dad & S’mom for gifting us with the winning ticket.

Bonus Read: Give Until It Hurts by Danielle LaPorte


Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Dialogue With Death

In both the Vedic and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the personification of death is known as Yamaraj, or simply, Yama. Not to be confused with the Grim Reaper, Death is quite a gentleman, actually… His minions? Eh, not so much.

Anyway, the following is a very old story which first appeared in the Rg Veda and later provided the basis for the Katha Upanisad. You may want to get yourself a nice, hot beverage for this one:

One day, a young brahmin boy named Nachiketa ran away from home and found his way to Death’s door, literally.

Yama wasn’t home and “Mrs. Yama” didn’t let him in, nor did she offer him any food or water, so the boy fasted.

Three days passed as he waited for Yama to return home.

When he finally returned, Yama was mortified to find the boy waiting and fasting at his door. Having kept the young brahmin boy waiting for three days, Yama offered him three boons.

Nachiketa’s father had been upset with him before he ran away, so the boy said, “My first request is this: When I return home, may my father welcome me lovingly.”

Tathastu, replied Yama, So be it.

“My second request is to be shown a yajna, or fire ceremony, by which I can attain the celestial realms.”

Tathastu, replied Yama, So be it.

Nachiketa continued, “What exists after death? Explain it to me. This is my third request—the truth relating to the mystery of death.”

Now Yama hesitated.

He didn’t want to explain the mystery of death to Nachiketa without testing the eagerness and sincerity of the boy, so he told Nachiketa that even the gods had difficulty understanding it.

“Ask any other boon and I shall grant it to you with great pleasure,” said Yama.

But Nachiketa was steadfast.

“Oh King of Death,” he said, “I shall not make any other request. There is no boon equal to this, and I must have it.”

Yama tried another route.

He offered Nachiketa a life span of as many years as he might wish –with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren; fine horses and elephants, gold, jewels and all the pleasures of heaven.

He even offered Nachiketa the Kingdom of Earth.

But Nachiketa wasn’t interested in Yama’s temptations.

When Yama saw the clarity and determination of Nachiketa, he gladly offered to grant his third request and blessed him with knowledge of the immortal soul (atma-jnan).

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत
प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ।
क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया
दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ॥ कठ उपनिषद् – 1.3.14 ॥

Translation:

Arise, awake, and learn by approaching the exalted ones,
for that path is sharp as a razor’s edge, impassable,
and hard to go by, say the wise. ~Katha Upanishad 1.3.14

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Yamaraj illustration courtesy of Vahini Art Gallery.

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It’s All in the Delivery: What Michael Emerson of LOST Taught Me About Fear

I think I might have a tiny, little obsession with Michael Emerson, who played the delightfully creepy Benjamin Linus on Lost. We’ve been watching the DVDs here at home recently, and I can’t get him out of my mind.

I know, I know, he’s not the kind of character you expect to set your heart aflutter, but it’s not like that, reallyIt’s just the way he makes a completely benign statement sound absolutely diabolical that gets me giggling.

Here he is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This clip illustrates his unique gift and offers a valuable life lesson, too.

I dare you not to laugh:

So, I’ve had a smile on my face all day, thinking about this  —I’m even chuckling to myself in public now, and people are beginning to stare. I just can’t help it.

I keep envisioning his face when he utters the line,

The cow’s in the corn.

Then I think to myself: Oh my god. NO! PLEASE! Not the cow in the corn!

:::

It’s funny how we can get worked up about things that aren’t really that scary at all, isn’t it?

Of course, I have every right to feel afraid about anything if I so choose (and I would never make light of someone else’s fears), but I remind myself that my fears are always just that –a choice, and that I can also choose to be unafraid when I’m ready to let go of them.

Because, in truth?

Fear and love cannot coexist.

And nothing can ultimately hurt the real me, anyway.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

nainaḿ chindanti śastrāṇi
nainaḿ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cainaḿ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ

“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.” ~Bhagavad-gita 2.23


Have a great weekend, everyone! Be well & be kind.

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