Chapter 16 – Two Paths
Chapter 17 – The Power of Faith
Yoga Teacher Day 16 – Amy Loftus
Yoga Teacher Day 17 – Tiffany Russo
The irony slash bullshit meter went off a little bit in todays yoga class. There’s a little bit of a disconnect in writing about the Bhagavad Gita after practicing yoga at Equinox. Equinox is an elitist over priced gym for affluent upwardly mobile mostly white people that basically is “maya”, no offense or anything but there’s a little bit of silliness in all of this. Look, I’m getting a lot out of this and based off the letters I’m getting other people are too. That’s great. But next time I think I have to take a project like this with a little more levity if I’m going to stay surrounded in these kind of environments. In the same breath, however, I don’t think that this blog would be more credible if I was doing yoga in Mysore or anything, I’m just stating the obvious irony and humor of this situation. Anyway, I digress.
My ol’ pal Rachel read my blog the other day and she called me and said “seems kinda cool but I didn’t understand any of it.” That amazed me. I actually know a thing or two about a niche topic that is completely foreign to people who don’t engage in these practices. How did that happen? A wise person once told me that “discipline is finding what you love to do and then doing it.” I’m content that my passion for the yogic way of life has made it’s way to people who are not of this ilk. This issue is why I’ve only recently started writing about my spirituality and my journey. Because I’ve led such a varied life I’ve always been a little concious about possibly turning people off who from other facets of my life (or previous lives) who will chalk me up as being “weird.” A certain self conscious and self deprecating demeanor is finally dissipating.
The 18 day thing is starting to wind down and while I feel physically amazing many of my challenges are still front and center. Studying the Gita with such an intense focus will really make you take a look at your life – the good, bad and the ugly. Yes, I feel very blessed that so much grace has been bestowed upon me but at the same time I see clearly the issues that I have to work on.
Chapter 16 is great because it deals with the humanity we’re all going to face at some point. It sheds light on even the dark side of the human condition that no one is immune from. It’s as if Krishna knows that Arjuna is going to have some darkness come up so he needs to remind Arjuna to stay steadfast and true on the path, for this is what might happen if you don’t.
Verse 4 “Other qualities, Arjuna, make a person more and more inhuman; hypocrisy, arrogance, conceit, anger, cruelty, ignorance. (5) The divine qualities leads to bondage. But no not grieve, Arjuna; you were born with divine attributes.”
The latter part of Verse 5 is one of the great subtle suggestions on a tangent topic that I like to think about. Is everyone born divine or are some born with so many samaskaras that they can not escape “evil” behavior? For instance, is even the most shocking serial killer born divine and full of bliss? Did they merely learn how to be evil through the influence of society? Fun to think about. I personally think that everyone has the ability to be divine in this lifetime and that for some it’s just tougher to access than for others. Krishna says “some have divine tendencies, others demonic.”
Simply put Krishna is reminding Arjuna to stay humble at every turn and to not let the vast temptations of wealth and desire cloud his judgement. This is explored more in Chapter 17’s topic of “The Power of Faith” but Arjuna twists it a little and asks about people who are faithful but not necessarily on this path. This is very helpful because it creates enough malleability for all of us to coexist. Krishna states that “Our faith conforms to our nature, Arjuna. Human nature is made of faith…those who are sattvic workshop the forms of God.”
Even in my cozy polished yoga studio surroundings I can still learn to see that other people have the ability to be loving, kind and sattvic despite the wrapper. We all have to be somewhere doing something and it just so happens that some people lead different incarnations than others. No one is better than the other. That’s the joy of the variety of the world. All love. Hari om.