Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Patanjali Jayanti Day - October 26, 2008 - by Tori

It is a new month here in Pune with quite a few of us continuing and a lot of new faces too, including three from IYAGNY – Leslie Mannes, Susan Turis and Cynthia Worby. I ran into them in the lobby of The Ambiance Hotel down the road and as Susan’s eyes focused on me she said “Tori! A familiar face!!” Since then, we have, of course run into each other on the sidewalk several times.

Last week, I took a few days to travel by overnight train with six others to Goa’s coast and had a lovely time while the Institute was closed for Diwali. The morning of the 26th was Patanjali Jayanti Day and those of us going on the trip made sure we stayed for that celebration before we went to the beach! I’m so glad we did.

The three hour program began with Geetaji reciting Patanjali’s 108 names, which she did quite quickly. We tried to follow as best we could without a handout, and she very patiently broke the words down into manageable pieces as we went. It was very energizing and great preparation for reciting the Yoga Sutras as well. Since reciting all of the Sutras was going to take too long for the program, Geeta explained, Guruji recommended that we first do Sadhana Pada (Chapter 2), the first 13 sutras of Vibhuiti Pada (Chapter 3) followed by Samadhi Pada (Chapter 1). After the recitation, there was a yoga demonstration put on by the Indian teachers performing asanas of various types with detailed explanations of sequencing, organic effects and more. After the asana demonstrations, two teachers did a pranayama demonstration/lecture. Geeta praised the teachers for doing such a fine job with their last-minute organization.

Then, Geeta asked Guruji to speak. The room turned away from the marble platform toward Guruji, who was seated against a pillar in the middle of the room, on the floor with the rest of us. He gave a short talk connoting how the kosas, which he condensed into the three bodies – the gross body, the subtle body and the causal body relate to Kriya Yoga, the first sutra of Sadhana Pada. 11.1 tapah svadhyaya Isvarapranidhanani kriyayogah. He explained how the gross body (anotomical) needs tapas, the subtle body ( physiological, intellectual, mental) needs svadyaya and the causal body (blissful, spiritual) needs Isvara Pranidhana. After Guruji’s incredibly intelligent words on such a vast subject, we were invited down to the courtyard for prasad, Indian sweets, including a special ladu made for Diwali, as that day was Diwali’s official beginning. Geeta and Guruji welcomed us all into this extension of their humble home as many swarmed like paparazzi for a photo opportunity. The mood was light and warm, and each was good-natured as the shutterbugs clicked away.

As I walked out of the driveway, I paid homage to Patanjali, lavishly dressed in a garland of flowers. Then I took all my kosas to the train and spent the next several days enjoying a rest by the Arabian Sea, including the common sighting of cows on the beach, dolphin spotting from my sea kayak and a great motorbike ride with my friend Larry Lopez from San Francisco. With no pollution and ample time, I reflected on the profundity of my first month in Pune. Here’s to another one!

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