Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Even as humans we can defeat our demons! A myth about Ram (Vishnu)

(I started thinking about this and researching and reading about this story after being inspired by Cltie)
Long ago, the story goes, the entire earth was overrun with demons. The ten-headed demon king Ravana had prayed to his grandfather, Lord Brahma, asking to be granted to be immortal. He asked Brahma to make it so no god, demon, plant or animal could harm him. Brahma said do you want to be protected by humans too? Ravana thought humans were a joke and he said he didn’t need protection from any human. Because of this immortality, Ravana and his demon army caused a lot of damage and chaos on earth.

As the situation on earth was getting worse and worse the three gods of Hindu mythology Lords Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu decided that something had to be done to rid the earth of the rampaging demons and restore peace and order… Whenever Earth has problems, one of these Gods reincarnates themselves on earth to restore peace and balance. They decided that Vishnu should be incarnated upon the earth in the form of Prince Ram. As a human he had a chance of destroying Ravana.

Vishnu and Lakshmi are lovers. Whenever Vishnu is reincarnated Lakshmi is reincarnated too, and they find each other on earth and get married on earth (sigh, how cute!). In this myth Lakshmi reincarnates as Sita. Ravana finds Sita and kidnaps her, then a lot of stuff happens… Hanuman (the monkey god) who does a giant leap over the ocean (which is where hanumanasana (splits) got its name). In the end Ram defeats Ravana.

I think this is a really good reminder because I know when I have a problem or a demon in my life I turn to things like books or self help tapes, and this story reminds me that I don’t need anything else. That I have the strength in my little human form to defeat any demon even a ten headed demon like Ravana. In the case of Ravana not even the Gods could defeat him but a human could. When I think about defeating my demons I also think how courage is important. Well, sometimes, fear is appropriate. We do not say, we should be fearless. However, the teaching suggests that instead of giving into the fear that you dedicate yourself to something Higher." Courage after all, is not the absence of fear. It exists in the presence of fear. The root word of courage is couer, in French means “heart”. To have heart is to have courage.

How can we practice this on and off our mat? On the mat, when a pose comes up that has a lot of demons saying “you can’t do this” smile remember that even as a human you can overcome your demons, with courage in your heart. And off the mat? Remember that you don’t need to always turn to external things, that you have the strength and he power to conquer your demons.

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Intention and Testimonials

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