Sunday, November 3, 2013

YOGA PANICS by Namrata Pamnani


a. The Cultural Origin of YOG

Yog literally means connectivity: the realisation that a single absolute consciousness works at all times , everywhere .  yog is to be in tune with OMNISCIENCE , OMNIPRESENCE, OMNIPOTENCE. 


We are all instruments of the eternal consciousness that transcends space and time .Realise this and enter into the perfection and harmony of all things and events. You shall be beloved of all creation and your being resonates the brilliance of sun , forbearance of earth , compassion of clouds , comfort and nourishment of trees. The vitality of water, air, space ,ether and fire shall function through you.

         Practicing,playing ,plunging into india s core yogic essence has been quite a journey with turbs and twists, surprises and satires ……zits and zeal to explore my body !!!!! living is only about body. it exists,emerges, evolves each day through new beginning and new ends…few years ago i read in a magazine yogaaa ig dangerous !  When u are into yog what happens ? If you are a yogi does your body reacts or responds? there can be danger of lopsided development . An isolated yoga practices a selfish approach . SERVICE , Sacrifice and surrender to find the real yogic expression. Yoga essentially is the muscle building exercise in process of virtuosity . Though mastering both material and spiritual life with great service and contribution to the world creates antidote to fanaticism. . . a infinite journey to eternity. The media, news journals , magazines today project asanas through its eroticism which allures people to get engrossed in the external rivet of its form.

THE detailing , the process, the breath ,and its flow all gets diluted leading even the yogic practitioners queuing up for appointments with orthopaedic consultants followed by physiotherapy.

Why the world doesn t approach in simplicity and beauty of the practice itself rather than it being a pride or proof of one s flexibility. A BEAUTIFUL BODY NOT ALWAYS RESONATES INNER DEEPER SPACE. The sonic body disappears in the hues of emptiness . Continuity is good but it also needs a pause ,  a thought to reflect and re implement that continuity again into conviction of practice.

Necessity is the mother of invention-YOGA 
-Is there anything that can give semblance of health and well being?
-is there anything that calm down an over anxious mind?
-is there anything that could repair relationships or even help you to stand alone?

YOGA in various forms sells in this market to fill up a vacuum - it may be the sunday church , weekly spiritual meeting , kirtan , sat sang, A visit to mosque! synagogue! gurudwara! asana class , meditation, pilates ……they all connect you to an all pervasive self that governs all that we have and need. you tend to be more satisfied and forgiving, more contemnplative and understanding. BUT sometimes subconsciously the environment where you could be healed you become sick-A fanatic ,A picture of panic.

b. HOLISM- a contemporary approach to yog or yoga

Holism states that each component of the universe is not separate and disconnected from the rest. The whole cosmos is one body and its DNA works in every part.

In other words it boils down to recognising the macrocosm into the microcosm. This very idea is the basic of vedic thought and yogic sciences . Going through works of Dr. D.S.Kothari ( First vice chancellor of delhi university ). i read a very interesting statement which relates very well to my practice .-the atom that we wish to understand in chemistry _nuclear physics or for that matter all matter are the self. If it were not so we would not be able to comprehend them. We must not imagine that a yogi in himalayas having nothing and doing nothing except meditation is of no consequence . We are connected to him , his austerities and meditation helps us to be more thoughtful and satisfied.

c. real yogis panic the world

let us go to greece the home of the olympics which celebrates the yogic idea - togetherness and friendship through excellence in sports. Let us observe how the seeds of yoga created panic in society which is always in panic. 
It is socrates ( 470-398 b.c. ) in athens he questioned the need to acquire money , learning and power to establish the meaning of LIFE. He reflected on the identity of the human being as the soul as the soul of the universe.He was accused of misleading the youth and had to drink a cup of hemlock . He died foe honour of yog. His chief disciple Plato has reported the life of this great yogi of the west in his book The republic.

Plato established an academy where young scholars came to learn and research the principles of life and social structures. Plato suggested that it is the philosopher kings who should rule. Such kings can possess nothing ,but the need to share and serve.

In this academy came aristotle who taught yog in his own way . He wrote on all aspects of education, philosophy , social and life sciences and politics. Briefly related to our area of thought he said:
Education should:

1. inspire a man to have a strong and lively body.
2. teach him to avoid extremes -moderation of senses and values is a key to find right equilibrium .
3. help see good in others and not faults.
4. teach the person to give his best in a team.

Let us now go to time of Jesus who is  also recognised as a great human yogi. He taught - the only sin is NOT TO LOVE. If you quarrel with your friend over a shirt give him the coat in the bargain. His presence generated miracles -the blind could see and sick were healed . YOG SUGGESTS THAT MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE. And this panicked the world soooo jesus was put on the cross.
Mahatma Gandhi was shot by an assassin because he believed in love and forgiveness even in the world of politics.


HAVE WE UNDERSTOOD YOG or we find it convenient to work on it at the surface . If we preach,teach and sell yoga we shall panic too in the world of panic . But is yoga more than goods , then let it work in our lives, to sustain the institution called family . VASUDHEV KUTUMBAKAM - the whole world is my family . 
It could be a good beginning for the survival of human beings as a species in a catastrophic situation which does not merit discussion.

e. The yogi - A secret treasure

SHLOKAS 13 and 14 , chapter 12 Bhakti yoga from Bhagwad gita are sung in the morning prayers. DID I HEAR THESE SHLOKAS ; SAY THEM OR CONTEMPLATE AND LIVE THEM???? they are much more .

adveshta sarvabhutanam maitraye karuneva cha
nirmamo nirhamkarah samma dukkha sukhakshami
santushtah satatam yogi yatatma drananishchayaha
mayyarpittamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaha same priyaha

The yogi considers the manifest universe as a part of his being ; is compassionate and understanding and is its friend . He can possess nothing and is aware that all individual and collective behaviour of human beings is a part of the evolutionary spiral that dictates destiny. He is forgiving and steadfast in joy and sorrow. He desires nothing. He is always stationed in the absolute truth beyond space and time , which works everywhere. He has not been told and yet he is aware and has nothing to say. His mind and search is directed to the eternal principles which govern the perfection called cosmos. His life is a sacrifice to this pursuit . His thoughts and works are integrated in this endless adventure. His body is active in service.for him the absolute truth is not a matter of intellectual debate but is the love that pervades and sustains all creation. He is aware that the outside is the manifestation of within. His search transcends the pain of disease and death.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Asocial Media

Social Media, I am beginning to see, is also about voyeurism. Wanting to see what is happening in another person’s life. And I am beginning to find it a bit odd!

Such was not always the case. I found a lot of solace in Social Media for a very long time. Reasons could be many – to be in touch with lost friends (that’s good), to see what is happening in the other person’s life (why?), to feed one’s own addiction of perverse voyeurism (??) and the need to be accessible to the whole world. And be accepted, of course!

Now a few questions do come up in my head like what the need may have been to put myself out to the whole world? Was it to be acknowledged and to seek their approval? I guess so. What drives a person to seek approval from the virtual realities they call friends or connections.

The motives, if primarily are to network, to find work, is still acceptable.  Many marketing strategies have been adopted worldwide that teach professionals to use social media to build on their businesses and to reach out to the masses so that they get work. There is an integrity in this “in your face” marketing. The motive is clear – to be in your face.  Its honest at many levels.

Its when a person wants to be known and be famous wearing the mask of wanting to help the world, supposedly, by sharing quotes is where I am beginning to feel a disconnect. The makings of a pseudo intellectual; I have been there too. It worked for the time it need to but it doesn’t titillate any sense any longer. I didn’t help anyone. I just got X no of likes and comments. Some things that rung a bell with people may have been imbibed but whose credit is it?  Obviously theirs. Then why did I feel a sense of narcissistic power?

I guess media in every form has a common goal under the garb of educating and entertaining – to instill a deep sense of fear about the world that we live in. Pick up the newspaper and the news that catches your eye first is about an explosion, murder, obituaries, rape etc. Switch on the TV and the channels with the maximum TRP are the “saas bahu” serials where in every episode there is crying, deceit, anger, jealousy.  Change the channel to see a channel on animals and what do you see? A channel where the Tiger or Lion is killing its prey. And our eye balls are clued till the time the poor antelope or deer is not ripped apart by the biggies. Switch to a supposedly holistic channel and you will have a “guru” give some “gyan” about to improve your life by wearing stones, rings, metals etc.

Have we lost faith in God and our own humanity that we need to keep feeding into our fears by interacting (hardly interacting because response time is slow) with gore? All this is gory.

I attended a lecture about Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Addictions a week back and one of the strongest addictions that were spoken of were the internet and technology. And it scared the shit out of me because it made me think of all the times, I chose to be on the internet pretending to work so I didn’t have to help in the kitchen. I hid from the true realities of a beautiful life to beat something that lacked within me – the confidence that its all great. That is what happens when you break the connection with your heart and just use the mind.

There may not be anything wrong in being a mind thinker – lots of great people are. The problem may begin when the connection with the heart is not restored and renewed from time to time. To give benefit of doubt, sometimes a situation demands, like prolonged sickness, to shut the connection with the heart because I find that it is extremely difficult to be a caregiver by being emotional. Life becomes about rules and regulations, procedures, maps, directions, duality etc. For the time, it works; it is great. But then the heart is where the beat is – the rhythm is. And if you are essentially a heart thinker – this switch if not regulated properly, can create havoc, if the switch is not put back.

Sometimes an electric shock is required to realize that the heart doesn’t need the internet or the social media platform which have the ability to consume you. Sometimes, you need a jolt to hear your heart beat. Sometimes, you need you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

HT Horizon - an article on leaderhsip facilitators and training.

A mandir of Life

Its happened again! Another face to face with death! In the last 6 days since Mandir fell down, all possible belief systems have resurrected. All theories from the seers across time have been remembered and thought about. "its always the right time", "whatever is happening is right", "who can change what God wills", "Death is the logical conclusion to life", "Who are we to say what is right or wrong?" etc and many more.

But I am still hurting! I am hurting because I never saw him awake. I saw him a few hours before he was pronounced dead, lying in the ICU with many pipes and drips sticking into his smiling face and body. His body was warm because of the ventilator and the drips, yet he was lifeless. His energy, it seemed, had left him a couple of days back. He was dead! And it sucks.

Knowing Mandir for a decade and a half was good enough for anyone to fal in love with the laughter, with the magnificient cooking and the zeal for life that he exuberated. I cant forget his laughing face and noone can whoever saw him that way. He introduced me to the Didgeridoo 10 years back. Everyone used to keep ticking him off for playing a hollow wooden branch. I saw the didgeridoo with him and was completely fascinated and then my journey with the instrument started. He taught it to so many of us but only I stuck to the instrument and have been playing it for a decade now.

I met Mandir 2 years back again after he returned from Canada and we jammed again. He pointed out that he is happy that I carried on playing the didgeridoo. And immediately after that we ate. Eating is also what connecting Mandir and me. During the month of Ramadan, years back, in the freezing Delhi Winter, Mandir and I would leave around 3:00 AM for Jama Masjid to eat Nihari. We did that so often. We travelled to Pushkar together for New Years and sat on the dunes and laughed and enjoyed. That was Mandir for me! I used to pick him up at 1:00 AM couple of times a week to go and check the security guards. That used to be a bonding session between us. We used to talk, laugh, crack jokes as if it was the last day on earth and there was a competion on who could laugh more.

And now he is not there! Because we burned his body on August 24th, 2010 after the great soul donated his eyes. He was pronouned brain dead at 4:30 PM. Reason: a Grade V Brain haemmorage. Was this the end of him? I dont think so because his legacy will live on through his eyes which will give light to a blind person very soon. There will be someone who will wear our friend's eyes and see the world through them. I am hoping this man would love the colours of life in the same way Mandir did.

What I saw in Mandir's family has left me speechless. How his mother controlled her tears throughout the agonizing 24th of August. She shed two tears when I reached the hospital from the airport and shed 2 tears when she saw off her son while he was being taken for cremation. His wife of not even 2 years, Deeksha, was still, in a daze, almost looking drugged. She accompanied her husband on his last journey. Abir, Mandir's brother, who stood like the Rock of Gibraltar, unmoved, unphased, still, composed while he informed his family about his brother passing away and then performing the last rites with the same calm. Hats off to the family! I couldnt hold myself, i cried from time to time, moreso because I was left speechless.

Mandir's death brought all us friends together. Devjeet and Subro left from Calcutta, a night before. Trimon, Ronty, Soumya, Jaya, Neha, Manish and I reached on 24th. Chetan met us there. Damyant, Priyanka, PS, Himanshu and Abhishek couldnt make it but were with us in spirit bleeding and crying just like us. We connected, laughed about memories, about the same incidents that we laugh about everytime for the last 15 years, remembering him as a person of infectious laughter.

Dear God, I am not here to blame you for taking him away from all of us, because he hasnt gone. He is there in our hearts, now and for ever. His molecular structure has been burned but he exists at an atomic level here on earth. Dear God, I am upset but not angry with you because you know what is best and life and death are two rules of your game that you play with us. Dear God, I have one single request, gift Mandir one thing. Free him of the cycle of life and death and let him gain divine freedom.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kashmir - the chained paradise

When the aircraft started to descend from the clouded leviathonous skies into Srinagar, the first thing that came to my mouth was “Janaat”. I wasn’t lying. After Jahangir spoke his words marking Kashmir as paradise, the impression stuck. It deserved to. As the aircraft was about to land, another reality struck my head. The green roofed make shift huts and buildings. It doesn’t take too long for an army child to figure out that the defences were a very much a part of Kashmir’s reality. The green meant the military. It was everywhere. After the plane landed and we disembarked, the aircraft was surrounded by stern looking defence personnel with sophisticated plastic butted weapons. For a stranger, this is strange. For me, the stranger, it wasn’t. Maybe, being brought up in the army for as long as I remember, seeing weapons gave me a thrill – a rush. Iqbal came to receive me. Obviousely he is known in Srinagar. A lot of the airport staff were hovering around him trying to catch his eye. He runs one of the biggest travel agencies in Srinagar. His father is politically connected and have been one of the old families in Srinagar. Although all the importance was being given to him, it was a pleasure to stand next to him and receive the residual ego massage. After he instructed the airport official to get my luggage before it actually arrived, we left for home a drive through the city that took about 40 minutes. I was quiet with my eye balls scanning through what it could. The security was intense all over with weapons being pointed carelessly at all passing cars. It was all part of the drill. Iqbal showed me beautiful bungalows soon after we left the airport and claimed that they belonged to barbers, maids and the laundry man. 2 storey bungalows being owned by not very economically sound people. One cannot forget the riches of the Kashmiri pandits being left to the masses when most of them left Kashmir almost a decade and a half back. Honestly the beauty of the houses, the landscapes kept making me forget the enforced military reality time and time again. Even though the military was placed every 50 meters.

I fell in love with Iqbal’s house. Once you have turned into the Bakshi Manzil – a complex with many bungalows all belonging to the Bakshi family and its extensions, his house is the one tat catches your eye. The Chinar trees, only found in Kashmir, with its leaves resembling a mix of the maple and marijuana caught my attention. The trees are huge and old. Every spring, Kashmir tunes orange. The leaves start shedding with its leaves turning into the colour of the sun at dusk and the paradise is given a new face all ready for winter. I believe it is another world all together. Iqbals house, when we arrived, was flooded. There was a make shift sand bag blockage to guard against the water that was looking at a countless ways to enter the house. Kashmir this year has had incessant rains that would almost always lead to flooding houses. Once we concluded the voyage of hopping on bricks to reach the main entrance and jumping aross the sand bag bridge, his mother was there with the most pleasant and graceful smile and lunch. Although I wasn’t really hungry, the thought of having Kashmiri food in Kashmir was too tempting. Goshtababas – meat balls cooked in a white sauce along with Haak – a special kashmiri spinach preparation. What else can a person ask for? I have been very fond of Iqbals’ mother since the first day I met her. The grace with which she talks is something that is rare in today’s world. She is 60 plus but has flawless skin reminding me of my maternal grandmother who had the same complexion till a few years back. She is gorgeous and the sweetness in her voice makes my knees quiver. After food, the brains stop working for me. This is not new. Everytime I have a feast in front of me, my gustatory senses work overtime. And post the meal, siesta strikes. But I forgot I was with Iqbal. I have known this guy fro ever a decade and realised in the past few years that he loves attention and hates being ignored. After we relaxed, not slept, for a while, we moved out to the Dal. The Dal Lake offered the best view of the cloud covered mountains. It is the very beauty of the lake that has captured people’s imagination and creativity for centuries. In my mind when I was younger, srinagar was the Dal with shikharas with colourful upholstery. It was true. We went for a shikhara ride to a small island called Char Chinari in the middle of the lake. Char Chinari has four Chinar trees hence the name. There is a house boat run by J & K tourism where we sat and had toast and butter with Kashmiri Kahwa and regular tea. Yes, this is janaat. So real, so accessible, so ignored!! A road called the Boulevard runs along the lake with vendors selling bhutta and tuji – barbequed mutton pieces on skewers. Awesome!! We ate again. And once the corn and mutton were mixed well in the stomachs, we headed home. To eat again!

Iqbals’ father usually comes back from work and bride around 9 pm and that is when dinner is laid. I am always very weary of fathers in general because I know my own father very well. We have always thought that our parents are fools but contrary to popular belief, it is otherwise. His father has a very pleasant personality but the fathers will be fathers. I guess this fear goes back to when we were in college. At our naughtiest and rascaliest best. But there was nothing much to worry about now. We were grown ups, kind off, and were working, hardly, and had learnt to speak without fear, sometimes. The dinner was another orgy of meat. His father was tired so he went up soon after dinner. Iqbal and I retired to his room. My bed was laid there and honestly, I wasn’t wanting to sleep anywhere else. I always knew about certain presence in Iqbals’ house. His mom had mentioned that they saw an old lady in the attic the night before. In the four days that I was in Kashmir, I never went to the second floor. This was strange for me because I like to put my fingers in all this jazz. But something more exciting happened while I was in Srinagar. There are a few photos that were clicked with a digital camera and there are circles of light that have appeared in the photos. Most of the orbs have appeared over Iqbal, Omar and my pictures. Aamir has been left out of all this excitement. I think it has something to do with him being a chartered accountant.