Interesting reading. I like the part about
energy and matter representing two 'snapshots'
along a spectrum of 'what is possible'. It made
me consider what might be denser than matter and
lighter than energy. It also made me think of
how within stillness, it is possible to hear
the subtle beginnings of movement which might
then amplify into larger movement, without losing
that sense of stillness. There was also a question
this reading recalled...
Something I've been wondering about lately is the
adoption of another culture of spirituality to
'teach' and 'learn' about spirit. While saying
that I love what Nithyananda had to say and that
Rajeev felt resonant enough with it to post it,
I also wonder what meaning and resonance the
Upanishads (since the Upanishads were mentioned)
may hold for westerners without the linguistic
and cultural heritage that the intended audience
for the Upanishads held/holds. Is anything lost
in translation? Or, is the mind flexible enough
to fully translate the meaning?
The real context of this wondering for me has to
do with the (local) presumption that in order to
study yoga, one must learn Sanskrit. So, in some
classes you have teachers who will use both the
English and Sanskrit names of poses, but more often
than not, you are learning to associate a series
of physical moves with what is in the beginning a
collection of foreign syllables. Eventually, you
create a somatic meaning that is associated with
what becomes identifiable as a word, but is it
the meaning that is intended? It seems to me that
the Sanskrit names, for someone familiar with
Sanskrit in a linguistic-cultural sense, would
most likely have been chosen to represent some
abstract, perhaps metaphorical sense of the physical
position, the asana, or the 'seat of consciousness'.
For someone who has a linguistic-cultural grounding
in Sanskrit, the larger meaning as regards the
metaphor-by-way-of-word would resonate with the mind
prior to making even the first move into the asana.
Arguably, this sort of grounding (the mind taking a
'position' prior to the body expressing that position)
is not possible for someone learning Sanskrit during
and after commencing the learning of the physical
position, or even someone learning Sanskrit in adulthood.
While it is possible to learn new languages later in life
and even become fluent in an accent, studies have shown
that the critical window for language acquisition
occurs in the womb and the months shortly thereafter -
these are the months where the mind sorts and orders
sounds into the form of language beginning in the nervous
system (response) and developing eventually into speech
(action). (Some have even gone so far as to state that there
might be some genetic or cellular heritage related to linguistic
predisposition.) The language that is acquired during this
time is the language that forms the 'circuit board' that can
be shown to structure conceptual possibilities.
As an adult, each time a word is spoken, it triggers within
the body a particular array of psychosomatic responses
associated with a person's history with use of that word, right
back through preverbal associations with the syllables and
simple sounds of that word. Sanskrit is a powerful language,
because it seems to recognize the power of syllable and
sound in a way that not many other languages do. However,
my question centers on whether this power is available for
everyone, even someone who does not have a linguistic
cultural grounding in Sanskrit that sources well into his/her
preverbal developmental stages. For instance, are the associations
we garner as adult American-English speakers when we say
"Padmasana" the originally intended associations, or even
the associations garnered by someone with a preverbal relationship
with the syllables and sounds of Sanskrit?
What prompted me to write this post was Rajeev's discussion
of healing within the context of Nithyananda Swamiji, not
explicitly about Sanskrit, but close to the issue of culture
influencing a perception of spiritual tenets. The primary
questions for me after reading the story were: where do I
find 'myself' within this story, and, is it relevant to the
intention of the story? With imagination and empathy, I can
find myself in both Swamiji and the chieftain he healed,
Ilampillai Ramaswamy. I might even have a particular sense
of what south India is like, though I have never traveled
there and don't recall seeing images of it on the internet.
I might have a general idea about India formed by my friendships
with Americans of Indian heritage, movies I have seen, and
what I have heard about India while studying yoga in the USA.
But what am I missing, and are these missing, unspoken pieces,
rooted in language and culture, critical to my full understanding
of the meaning behind the tale?
It reminds me that all traditions, all languages and cultures,
carry with them an expression of the divine, and in this case,
a story about healing. Once, at the invitation of my elderly
neighbor, I found myself at a local revival sponsored by a
collection of Christian churches. It struck me how the ministers,
from a variety of protestant denominations, seemed to be offering
timeless messages in a language that was directly related to
the experience of the audience. Most surprisingly, towards the
end of the service, one of the ministers got up to speak about
healing... in a way that mirrored Nithyananda Swamiji's story
in a way that a mirror with warbled glass might mirror a person's
face. He spoke about the nature of healing, using words and
stories that spoke directly to the experience of the people in
the audience, in a familiarly accented voice. Most remarkably,
after the service, people were invited to come forward to be
healed. How was this performed? The ministers and those seeking
relief kneeled before each other over a rail, and then embraced,
touching foreheads as the minister lightly touched the seeker's
occiput and stated a variation on 'so be it'. It struck me that
here are westerners who are, perhaps unconsciously, working with
the energy centers of the body and a very precise way.
It has me wondering about the wisdom of using Sanskrit as
the primary linguistic metaphor for western students of yoga.
Certainly, it adds another dimension to view something from
a perspective outside of your own, to try on another 'thinking
cap' in a way. However, can a western student access yoga
This is not to question that yoga, that which may be described
or taught using Sanskrit, is accessible to western students.
It is only to bring up a reflection on what might describe
yoga in a way that is eminently accessible for westerners...
and... if I might go so far as to narrow it down... an audience
that is often comprised of predominantly western women (as
far as the makeup of most hatha yoga classes). What is the
metaphorical language that goes to the root of yoga via
the 'being of a western woman'?
Well, Rajeev, quite a springboard you have provided here...
--- In email@example.com
"rajeevi0416" <rajeevi0416@y...> wrote:
> All the words in this section are as spoken by Nithyananda Swamiji.
> Reading them carefully and trying to understand them deeply will
> bring about a radical change within us. When we transform inside,
> the outside transforms automatically.
> Please visit www.dhyanapeetam.org
> What is healing?
> In Swamiji's words, "Healing is restoring Physical and Mental
> Health. There are seven Energy centres in our body called the
> seven chakras. They manage our physical, mental and emotional
> activities. Due to our emotions or some other reason, if any
> one of them gets disturbed, disease prevails. Different diseases
> are associated with the different chakras . If you can activate
> or energise the chakras by a meditation technique, then you can
> free yourself from dis-ease."
> Can you pass energy to people? "Certainly" says Swamiji.
> "Energy is subtle matter. When it is gross, it is Matter and
> when it is subtle, it is Energy. As per Albert Einstein's
> theory of relativity, Energy becomes Matter and Matter
> becomes Energy. When people asked Einstein how energy becomes
> matter, he replied 'here ends Science and starts Spirituality'.
> Where Einstein ends, the Upanishads start .
> Diseases like diabetes and blood pressure that have their roots in
> the psychosomatic level and have no direct cure in the field of
> Medical Science can be healed through meditation techniques. If you
> are unable to adopt the Meditation techniques yourself, then
> another person does it and passes the Energy to you through
> ' Ananda Healing ' - Swamiji's technique of harnessing the
> Divine Energy to channel it into people to energise and heal them.
> When asked, "Will meditation really help?", Swamiji says, "There is
> no need to speak in the language of belief or faith. To know that
> an apple is tasty, you dont have to have any belief - just have a
> bite and you will understand!"
> The First Healing Miracle:
> As a Realised Soul, Swamiji came wandering to the banks of
> Cauvery to a place called Bahavani Sangamam (in Mukkoodal in
> South India). His first healing miracle was with a man called
> Ilampillai Ramaswamy who was the Chieftain of the village called
> Ilampillai. He was suffering from lung cancer and came to
> Swamiji for his blessings. Even as he spoke, blood spurted
> from his mouth. Swamiji gave him vibuthi (Holy Ash) and he
> could feel the energy passing through his body during the
> three healing sessions with Swamiji. Medical tests proved
> that he was completely cured.