The month of February was dedicated to Satya or truthfulness. As a reminder, my goal over the next 12 months of 2019 is to focus my energy and attention towards one of the ten yamas or niyamas. Thus far it has been an enlightening and interesting journey.
This month was rattling and exposing to when or when not I am truthful. This perspective can be in regards to others but also towards myself.
Let me explain.
As a mom, I am daily in the kitchen prepping, serving and cleaning up food. Satya became very evident in regards to food. But how?
I realized how often I would eat left over foods of my children because I didn’t want it to go to waste. When in true fact, I either was no longer hungry myself or more importantly, I actually didn’t even like the food!
Case in point. I’m not a huge fan of processed cereals. Nuts coated in sugar, raisins doused in palm oil, and white flour based flakes are not what I like to eat. Yet, when cleaning up the breakfast table, I finish those last two or three cereal bites in my son’s bowl.
It hit me early in the month that I don’t like this cereal. I don’t like the taste and texture.
Stop. Honour that truth.
Struggles with others this month has also demonstrated how Satya resonated. Do I tell that little white lie to pacify someone? Do I run the red light at 7:30 am Sunday morning when no other car is in sight? Do I truly expose myself and how I really feel?
February, also known as heart month or the month of love, gave me a chance to show myself truth…truth of the heart. Although an anatomical organ, to me, there is much more to the heart. Lots resides in the heart. This month allowed time for reflection to what is good and not so good in my heart.
It can suck but also be well-worth looking into.
Satya pratisthayam kriyaphalasrayatvam
(2.36, The Yoga Sutras)
“To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.”
(The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation Sri Swami Satchidananda)
Writing a book report hasn't been something I have done in years; yet it is a requirement of my teacher training program. Here is the first book report on The Bhagavad Gita.
Back in 2017 when I was starting my formal yoga teacher training with the Yoga Association of Alberta (YAA), I was presented the book, The Bhagavad Gita. It was at one of my first workshops with people I hardly knew. One teacher in training who was in my small discussion group, was rattled and unsure, if not outright dismissive, about of the Bhagavad Gita. She proceeded to tell me that it was about war and fighting and she just could not understand why it was a required reading for yoga teacher training. Her Christian upbringing (and lens) struggled with comprehending why we would need to study war and violence.
Unfortunately, this set the scene for me. I too stay away from violence and all things war-like sense. Avoiding violent television, terrorizing news stories, and sometimes conflict in general. I have no love for war.
So when I was expected to read a book about war, I was resistant to say the least.
Further into my YAA workshops, I was presented again with the ideas of The Bhagavad Gita. It was through Barbara Stoler Miller’s translation, The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishn’s Counsel in the Time of War, that I slowly began to consider the book in a new light. We were to read an excerpt from the Introduction and I soon realized that my earlier experience was not the lens I needed to look through with this book.
I purchased Stoler Miller’s translation and decided to start from there.
Then, and let’s be honest, the book sat on my shelf for months. Until it showed up again at a workshop. I finally said to myself, it is time to read it.
Having committed to read it, I usually don’t take half measures so I also bought two additional translations to guide me along. Realizing that one version, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita: was close to one thousand pages, I soon decided to stick with only two versions, Stoler Miller’s translation and Stephen Mitchell’s translation, Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation. It boggles my mind how one text is translated by so many; with the translations themselves presenting the contents in differently. I felt that reading more than one version might help me understand what this ‘story of war’ was all about.
My strategy was to read one translation chapter and then the other. I always started with Stoler Miller and followed it with Mitchell. And here is what I found:
First and foremost, the book is set on the battlefield of Kuruksheta where the Dandavas are ready to fight the Kauravas. These two separate groups are cousins and they are fighting to secure power. Arjuna, the main character is plagued with the struggle of whether or not to fight his family. In the eighteen teachings, Arjuna is discussing this struggle with his chariot driver, Krishna. Krishna is the incarnation of the cosmic power and is there to support Arjuna on the battlefield.
As I read through the verses, it becomes apparent that I will not be bombarded with violent passages and terrorizing words. Instead it is a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna moments before the war may begin. The struggle is real but it is actually the struggle from within that the book is really about.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.