Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vasistha: Yoga Class Reading

Vasistha, whom the pose Vasisthasana was named for, was a great sage who took up the challenge of being a teacher to King Ram. While Vasistha was Ram’s teacher he told Ram many stories and one of the recurring metaphors was about the crow and the coconut. The story goes that a crow lands on a tree, and at the same moment, a coconut falls to the ground. Now, does the crow’s momentum cause the coconut to fall? Or, is it just the coconut’s time to fall, which coincides with the exact moment the crow lands on the tree? 

This questions refers to an idea found in many yogic scriptures: We are entitled to the action, but not to the fruits of that action. 

Whether it is our actions that cause coconuts to fall or it is simply the coconut’s time doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we continue to apply our actions-our thoughts, words, and deeds—so hopefully we can influence more coconuts. We never know when the random comment of kindness will touch a friend’s heart. It may be their time to receive that kindness, or it may be our utterance of it, but either way, it’s important. It’s important that we never give up hope that our uplifted actions will change the world, even if it is just the world’s time to change.

The crow and the coconut work together to make fate happen. For yogis there is no such thing as luck. There is only being in the right place at the right time, after doing a lot of preparation so that all the elements fall perfectly into place. 

Adapted from Myths of the Asanas: The Ancient Origins of Yoga byAlanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooij

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