dimanche 22 mai 2011
LOTUS, GIVERNY, MONET, YOGA, DUTY TO MANKIND
LOTUS, GIVERNY, YOGA, DUTY TO MANKIND
On this Sunday, a short ride of less than about 60km from Paris, and you are at the village of Giverny, where the Impressionist painter of the 19th century, Claude Monet lived. He was a painter as most of the world knows, but also was an astute gardener and one goes to Giverny not to see his paintings (which are better seen at the Museum especially dedicated to it in Paris) but to see the gardens. The spring is here and the flowers are in bloom and it is a good time to see the flowers.
I had also a special reason to go there to see the LOTUS flowers, represented in many of the Monet’s paintings.
I have just from Kuala Lumpur after receiving my introduction to Raja Yoga and in a few days time I will be off to the North American Indians, whose ancient philosophy has so much in common with the Yoga Philosophy.
When we talk about Lotus, one thinks mainly of Hindu and Buddhist traditions, but I am very interested in the symbolism of what Lotus stands for.
Can always look to Don Pablo Neruda of Chile for some inspiration and the following bit of poetry is from Estravagaria, excellent translation by Alistair Reid. The extract is from the Poem: Emerging /Vamos Saliendo
And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,
And running freely through the corridors
of one dream only, which belongs to you.
Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,
never let them entwine us in our bed.
Let us hold on to the shadows
to see if, from our own obscurity,
we emerge and grope along the walls,
lie in wait for the light, to capture it,
till once and for all time,
it becomes our own, the sun of every day.
So much happens in the course of a few days. Time and distance intertwines, and a flower comes to symbolize a new beginning, an emergence from the humility of its origins, an opening of our minds.
The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.
Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus, which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.
According to the Lalitavistara, "the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it."
The opening of the Lotus flower is symbolic of our own minds opening towards new knowledge and acquisition of wisdom.
Lotus has been seen in other cultures and recently I received an email from Teheran.
Darius was considered a great King. In his hand he holds a Lotus which symbolizes cleanliness and without Guilt. (Dirt also used for Guilt in Persian language). The statue was made of a special black material in Egypt with writing on the platform: I have wanted the Egyptians to make this statue to show how far the Persian Empire once extended. The name Darius is written after, in Persian, Babylonian and Akkadian. This is the famous Darius statue without its head. Many other statues or frescoes show him holding Lotus with two buds.
Lotuses in Hinduism symbolize prosperity,beauty fertility, eternity and eternal youth. Like Buddhism, it also means purity and divinity. A lotus is often used analogously for how people should live. One book that does this is the Bhagavad Gita at 5.10, where it states: "One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
I had just come back from visiting my best friend in Asia, who is the founder of MeherYoga for Better Living. She is hoping to bring the philosophy of Raja Yoga to those who are already awakened to the possibility of change in them.
When I visited the Chinese village she grew up in, the second largest Chinese village in Malaysia, I was reminded of the metaphor of Lotus, arising out of mud, clearing the murky water and rising above the water to shine like the sun.
As I was writing this blog, it was close to midnight in Malaysia and I received an email from her, which I thought was more than coincidental.
I am going to bed but completed reading chapter 11 of Gita which says that ... He who performs all his duties for my (god) sake, depends on me, is devoted to me; has no attachment, and is free from malice towards all beings, reaches me.
So, I am reminded of my duty again.
So, my best friend in Asia, the one who introduced me to Raja Yoga is truly the Lotus
And as Native American Indians would say, Mitakuye Oyasin, we are all related, so to me the events of the past two weeks are related to one another, over culture, religion and distance and that people who are ready to change can experience that change.
Giverny was just an added metaphor.
As it is written,
Yoga holds that every person is capable of having these profound, life transforming experiences. It provides a clear and correct understanding of the spiritual impulse. A detailed, elaborate technology is available to hold on to it and strengthen it to an extent. The life-transforming experience is the high ground where mysticism and Yoga merge together.
I wish all my friends and other lovers, from all corners of this planet, well… The gratitude list is long today, so many people to thank but today it includes two people who live east of Tel Aviv…by hundreds of kilometers.