YOGA – International Day of Yoga!

Relaxation in forest at the Waterfall. Ardha Padmasana pose.

Relaxation in forest at the Waterfall. Ardha Padmasana pose.

yogaToday is the International Yoga Day!

Yoga’s root goes back to the ancient religion and culture of Hinduism all the way back to the  antiquity of Indian culture.

Almost every deity of the Hindu pantheon is shown in Yoga poses

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Since the time Yoga became popular in the  west, the  non Hindu religious conservatives and the political left  who cannot bring themselves to be pluralistic and tolerant are unable to digit the fact that Yoga is rooted in Hinduism.   These groups are trying to deal with their denial in different ways.

The honest bigoted Christians (ironically the evangelicals) are honest about it and acknowledge that Yoga is Hinduism and openly preach and discourage Christians from doing Yoga.

Few other dishonest bigoted Christians have tried to hijack and are trying to digest  Yoga by making their own version called Christian Yoga.  This is not unlike how they digested the “pagan” Solstice  or yule  tree and Santa Claus by hijacking them into a Christian Holiday.   The sun salutation is now renamed as “son salutation”.   Whelp!  I guess we have to give them props for being creative?

But the most vile group of people are the illiberal political left I call “The capitalist Hippies”, who out rightly lie for the sake of profit. These are the carpetbaggers of Western “Yogies”.  The Yoga Journal is part of this group. For this group, Hinduism means “caste and curry” and so have tried to seperate yoga from Hinduism and make a false history for Yoga.  Like writing articles saying Yoga predates Hinduism, like Hinduism even  has a specific date of origin.    Their motive is to appeal to the larger group of anti Hindu bigots of the world to sell more subscriptions.  There was even an article in “Yoga Journal” about how Yoga originated in Germany and how it went to India from Germany. This is as ridiculous as the Aryan Invasion theory”.  (e.g. THE “SICK-ULAR” INDOCTRINATION OF INDIAN CHILDREN – PART 1) 

The Controversy is discussed here in an Al Jazeera TV.

TAKE BACK YOGA – HAF.

The question of who “owns” yoga has gained traction in recent years. In the United States, the Hindu America Foundation started a Take Back Yoga campaign. Shripad Yesso Naik, India’s yoga minister, told The Washington Post, “There is little doubt about yoga being an Indian art form. We’re trying to establish to the world that it’s ours.” Shankar stressed the importance of understanding the origins of yoga and its important texts, such as the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. He also worries about “inauthentic” yoga and informed me that the Indian government is considering starting a certification program and standardizing the requirements to be a yoga teacher.

I like this Yoga.  🙂

 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE TO BE A HINDU?

Steve Jobs’s Secret to Greatness: Yogananda

Yoga, a discipline from India that is so ancient in its roots that you can credit it only to unknown truth-seekers from some glorious past era, has an outer form that has seized our collective imagination: For 30 minutes every day, disconnect from the world, take your body through an array of yoga poses, breathe deeply, keep the mind focused, and presto! You will emerge relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready again to re-engage with the relentless pace of life.

By all accounts, yoga is one of modern civilization’s great movements. In the U.S. alone, more than 20 million people today are pursuing yoga–one of every 10 adults. This yoga revival is in direct response to an increased hunger for physical and mental well-being, and a growing suspicion that there’s more to the pursuit of happiness than the material accoutrements of modern civilization. A panoply of yoga instructors have arrived to offer their own twists to ancient poses. Western inventiveness has flourished in the bountiful soil of yoga; today, some instructors are even offering doga–yoga for your dog.

Yoga’s deeper purpose: Inner transformation.

But Jobs was on a quest for something altogether more powerful than stress-reduction, toning, and fitness. He was seeking the kind of inner transformation that many practitioners sense yoga is inviting them to embark on, but don’t know where it will take them or how to get there.

For this deeper dive, you can turn to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the authoritative and few-surviving ancient texts on yoga. Patanjali teaches that “yoga” means “union”–the dissolving of one’s individual self in the larger ocean of consciousness that pervades the universe–and that to help us achieve this union is yoga’s real purpose. Now you might think: “What is this ‘universal consciousness’ that Patanjali is talking about? And how can I ever get there?”

And that may be why Jobs, in his own quest for higher consciousness, turned to Yogananda.

About Yoga And Yogis

47 Islamic Nations also join in on International Yoga Day

 

Some  photos from around the world:

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rajpath-yoga

 

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Woman doing stretching yoga exercises outdoors on the bridge
Woman doing stretching yoga exercises outdoors on the bridge
Mother and daughter doing yoga at city
Mother and daughter doing yoga at city
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Woman doing stretching yoga exercises outdoors on the bridge
Woman doing stretching yoga exercises outdoors on the bridge
Young woman in yoga pose sitting near watefall, Rear view
Young woman in yoga pose sitting near watefall, Rear view
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Healthy family - mother and son doing exercises against blue sky
Healthy family – mother and son doing exercises against blue sky
Pacific Islander woman practicing yoga under wooden pier on beach
Pacific Islander woman practicing yoga under wooden pier on beach

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Marilyn Monroe Was A Badass Yogi

(Dhanurasana)

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) curls herself into a bow shape and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) curls herself into a bow shape and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Salamba Sarvangasana

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Paschimottanasana

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) reaches to touch her toes. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) reaches to touch her toes. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Paschimottanasana

circa 1956: American actor Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) sits on the grass with her legs outstretched, touching her toes. (Photo by Dave Cicero/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1956: American actor Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) sits on the grass with her legs outstretched, touching her toes. (Photo by Dave Cicero/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Navasana

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Navasana

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Salamba Sarvangasana

1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1948: American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) raises her legs in the air and assumes a yogic exercise position. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Our New Favorite Yogi Is Teaching Us All About Body Confidence

And then we have Angrier Yoga!

The Confidence Of Hindus

Quote: Rambachan advocates ‘self-critical humility’ as the appropriate approach for Hindus in this context; I say the days of being meek and mild are over.
 
In the context of Hinduphobia, this unlevel playing field on which we are forced to compete, this negative baggage that others saddle Hinduism with, developing a strong, positive Hindu identity founded on pride and confidence is absolutely necessary. Confidence counters bigotry and gives us the courage and conviction to stand up for ourselves, our tradition and our identity.Confidence is what allows us to define ourselves rather than letting others define us.
 
Confidence does not mean fundamentalism or fanaticism; it does not mean violence or the issuance of fatwas. It means that we will fight scholarship with scholarship (but we absolutely do not accept that the only valid scholarship is that which is produced by academic cartels in the Ivy League and other elite Western universities); we will fight bias in the media through media channels of our own; we will counter stereotypes in popular culture and art through new art forms of our own; we will proceed with gharwapsi programmes of our own so long as predatory proselytization continues unchecked and unimpeded.
 
We will not let our traditions of yoga and meditation be looted, distorted, digested and appropriated by the West and we will not concede sovereignty over the definition and depiction of our dharma to outside interests.
And then we have this evil.
https://youtu.be/VFJFvcNogFU

World War II and the Mahabharata.

Of all the wars Americans have waged, the World War II is the one that is least controversial. There is an almost unanimous agreement on the virtue of this war against Nazi Germany  and the imperial militant Japan. The only exception to that is the particular event of using nuclear weapons in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Almost every moral precepts that we preach to one another was violated while waging this war against Hitler and his henchmen.  The allies (the “good guys”) killed brothers and sisters and fellow man. They told lies through and through. They stole, they massacred, they bombed the innocent (collateral) yet, in the bigger scheme of things, what the allies did was the right thing to do.  Almost every “wrong” mentioned here had a purpose for the larger moral purpose.. The larger moral purpose here is that evil cannot be allowed to reign supreme. These immoral acts of “killing”, “lying”, “spying”, etc were the cost to pay for the larger moral purpose of stopping a larger evil.  With the few exception of the idiotic “pacifists” there was a general consensus that the war should be fought.  Most reasonable people would agree that, in the absence of the WWII Hitler would have had the nuclear weapons and even if he did not possess the nuclear weapon , he would have continued to do more evil, Hitler and his Nazis managed to eradicate 6 million Jews by following Martin Luther’s fundamentalist wish to eradicate Jews for they refused to convert to Christianity.

Mahabharata (the Great Epic) and the  Bhagavad Gita (“Song of the lord”) 

 

Tell me,  Sanjaya, of the warriors’ deeds 

On that day when my sons faced the sons of Pandu

Eager to to battle on the field of Kuru,

On the field of Valor.

– The Bhagavad Gita

The story in the  Mahabharata (the Great Epic) and the  Bhagavad Gita (“Song of the lord”)  in it describes a story, a sophisticated  moral story with the background of war between brothers in the battleground Kuru  The lecture of Lord Krishna to the prince Arjuna on his obligation to fight the war. Arjuna was hesitating to kill in battle, while talking about immorality of taking another’s life. Yet Lord Krishna prompts him to wage the battle for greater good, for the moral duty a man has to prevent evil from winning.   Yes, the subtle discussion of killing, lying to win the war of righteousness is the story of the Mahabharata. Our moral obligation to help good over evil is what its about.   Many anti Hindus including the “pacifist” Wendy Doniger and Martha Nussbaum et al  (University of Chicago professors) talk about the evilness of the Gita.  They have taken the Gita out of context and say, Hinduism preaches violence . The sad irony is, Wendy Doniger , Martha Nussbaum et al  political leftist fanatics are Jewish. What did these “pacifists” expect  during Nazi reign?  Nazis to continue to gas more Jews and the allies to remain pacifist and not war against such evil?

If you are not familiar with the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita  I suggest Peter Brook’s play to get familiar (if you are interested.)

Point :  “Thou shall not kill”: Lord Krishna prompting Arjuna (Arjuna being the varna of Kshatriya/Marine. Semper fi ) to take up arms to fight even though Arjuna becomes a pacifist at the start of the battle.  The  context of this battle is, the battle at Kuru was a last resort.  After all reasonable negotiations had failed.  The battle was not the first option.  Now put this in the context of WW II and the D-Day. Imagine the doubt in a warrior’s heart and mind just at the time on D-Day. What is that soldiers duty? What is his Dharma (righteousness) at that time? What is his life worth? Why should he risk his life at that point in time? What about his Judaeo Christian obligation of “thou shall not kill”?  Lord Krishna’s lecture to Arjuna would have been perfect in the context of D-day and the soldier who is about to do his duty has a bout of “pacifist”  cowardice. Not to act at that point in time and context is evil. Allowing evil to survive is evil. To act to defeat evil is our foremost duty (Dharma aka Righteousness).  Even if it would kill us in the process. Our duty is to defeat evil. That is our primary duty (Dharma aka Righteousness).

Point : “Thou shall not bear false witness”: Anti Hindus often point to Lord Arjuna rationalizing lies and deception to win the battle to defeat the mightiest evil of his time.  Arjuna often questions Lord Krishna  about the immorality of telling lies and the immorality to deceive (even to his enemies). Yes, lies and deception are immoral and not right in absolute and isolation. But in certain context these are not evil. Lord Krishna lectures and prompts Arjuna to do the same. During WWII, deception and lies and false rumors were  used to defeat the enemy (to defeat evil). No reasonable person would consider that bad, compared to the alternate of losing to evil. The Mahabharata and the Gita are sophisticated philosophies of good vs evil, about morality and virtuousness. Its about doing our duty (Dharma aka Righteousness) and its  about the  constant moral battle that all of us have to wage in our hearts.  Its a moral precept, a guide of sort to put these things in context and judge for ourselves.. It expects us to be sophisticated in our thought and  actions. It asks of us to do our moral duty to be righteous (Dharma) and to do our duty no matter where the fruits of our labor may fall. Do the right thing.  “Doing the right thing” is not prescriptions to do certain things like “Thou shall not kill”, “thou shall not bear false witness”, “Thou shall not covet” etc. Such empty morality  without a context is not worth the stone its etched on.  These lessons are to do the right thing using our moral compass and in the context  in which we might be in at any time. It’s not about copy paste absolute rules  but to use our mind.

Point: Krishna persuades the hesitant Arjuna to kill Karna even when he knew all the misfortunes, misunderstandings and virtues of Karna. Here, Karna is a moral person. a good person fighting for the other side.  The context here is, although  karna is a moral person, he is now fighting on the side of evil. He is vulnerable at this time in the battle Taking him out at this vulnerable time is like shooting him in the back. Yet Lord Krishna prompts Arjuna to take him out. Karna is in possession of a WMD that can wipe out humanity. Karna is being prompted by evil to use the ultimate WMD.  Imagine an otherwise moral and  good person who has access to a nuclear weapon and happens to fight  for someone who is evil out of loyalty and who is  prompting Karna  to use the WMD to end all of humanity. In  this context, Lord Krishna is prompting Arjuna to take Karna out.  What about the immorality of shooting someone in the back while  a good moral man Karna  is vulnerable?.  Good and evil is not black and white at times… Yet we have to use our mind and heart to do the right thing, after taking into account all the small sins and morality and immorality and still do the right thing. This is the sophistication of the morality in the Mahabharata.

There are various such moral dilemma that one faces during the epic story of the Mahabharata.   This is a sophisticated thought process for all of us. Not some simpleton precepts like “thou shall not kill”, “thou shall not bear false witness”  which is meaningless in the sophisticated moral dilemma we face every day.

The Mahabharata and the Gita are not about the virtues of violence  or blood letting like the anti Hindus are telling others about Hinduism. It is a story that challenges us to exercise our own mind and to fight our own battle in our hearts and minds every day to do the “Right thing”. To Act but not to reflect on the fruit of the act.. To not act against evil while pontificating the virtues of pacifism  is not only cowardice, it’s downright evil.

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The longer version of Peter Brooke’s Mahabharata: Part 1

Part 2

Oppenheimer Quotes out of Hinduism’s Bhagavad Gita after the first Nuclear explosion

 

”The Legend of Bagger Vance”’s Hindu parallels

Louis L’Amour’s “The Quick and the Dead” – Full movie available on You Tube. See the parallels of the values in this story is to the Mahabharata 

The morals and virtues in the Mahabharata are the same values of the American Frontiersmen. I don’t mean the christian values of people who robbed the Natives of their land in the Americas using the term “Manifest destiny” or The church’s “Doctrine of Discovery “.  I mean the values of ordinary western frontiersmen who traveled west and tried to make a home for themselves and in how they fought for  the underdogs and for righteousness.

IF you want to understand a people, you need to understand their folklore.  Folklore celebrates a peoples heroes, their values.  IF anyone wants to understand the people of India (Dharmic people)_, it would help to read and understand their folklore of the Mahabharata  and the Ramayana. And if anyone wants to understand the Americans, It helps to be familiar with their folklore. Louis L’Amour novels are one of the best way to become familiar with the American folklore. (There are other movies like “The wizard of Oz”, “Its a wonderful life”. I found Oz to be quite boring…but its fascinating to see why Americans at large keep this movie close their heart)

Growing up reading the Amar Chitra Comics  (Folkore of Hindu people) and the Louis L’ Amour novels (American folklore), I saw the uncanny  similarity of  Hindus morals and values were to the American western frontiersmen values. If you really think about it, the true nature of the American to stand up to bullies and to not to succumb to cowardice  is the true nature and values prescribed in the Mahabharata.

Louis L’Amour’s “The Quick and the Dead”

This is the story of a Pacifist navigating the world of outlaws and Krishna  like benefactor lecturing the pacifist to stand and fight for what is right  and in the process helps this pacifist grow into a real man.https://youtu.be/3o5Tn5tv_eg

 

Louis L’Amour Quotes:

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“One may talk of peace only with those who are peaceful. To talk of peace with him who holds a drawn sword is foolish unless one is unarmed, then one must talk very fast, indeed.” -Kerbouchard

Book: The Walking Drum

Charlie Farnum and me we started east for the herd, riding together. When we were a few miles off we started to sing, and we sang a dozen songs before we shut up and left it to the coyotes. That Charlie Farnum had a better voice than me. For that matter, so did the coyotes.

Book: Galloway

I knew the dangers a coward can offer, for his fear will often drive him to kill more quickly than if he were a brave man. ~Mathurin Kerbouchard

Book: The Walking Drum

“Do not be afraid. A little fear can make one cautious. Too much fear can rob you of initiative. Respect fear, but use it for an incentive, do not let it bind you or tie you down.” ~Miss Nesselrode

Book: The Lonesome Gods

“What it all comes down to in the end is a matter of honor and simple decency. If a man doesn’t have that, he’s nothing, and never will be anything, no matter how many cows he owns.” ~Dal Traven

Book: The Shadow Riders

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.

Louis L’Amour

EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE WRONG IN THEIR MYTHOLOGY. BUT NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE WRONG IN THEIR FACTS!