The who is who of Yoga by Uttrang Kaur Khalsa
Yogis and different spiritual paths
Our friend Uttrang Kaur Khalsa in her role as Pink namaste envoy is out in India, sharing some of the Pink namaste charity funds and sending us interviews and stories about some of the people and yogis she is meeting along the way, their practises and inspirations- enjoy following her on her journeys of discovery. We will be publishing a different article each week.
The Yogis who follow Lord Shiva are called Sanyasis and they usually worship only Lord Shiva.
“Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (Shakti). Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of destroying the ego, the false identification with the form. This also includes the shedding of old habits and attachments.
All that has a beginning by necessity must have an end. In destruction, truly nothing is destroyed but the illusion of individuality. Destruction opens the path for a new creation of the universe, a new opportunity for the beauty and drama of universal illusion to unfold.”
Their Tilac, the mark on their forehead, is three horizontal lines. Their Guru beads comes from the Rudraksh tree, and they usually wear saffron coloured clothes. They follow a disciplined life with set days for fasting and a code of practice to which all their Ashrams conform to, but unlike the Bhairagis (another type of ascetic) who are all sattvik* (pure), only the Sanyasi Yogis who attend to the Altars and perform the acts of worship to Lord Shiva live sattvik* lives.
The rest of the Sanyasis are rajasik*. They are less ‘squaky clean’ and less formal. There is more of a relaxed atmosphere about them and they enjoy a good deal of light hearted banter between themselves. Some are openly interested in money and talk of little else which may be part of their practice of being unattached. Some of them wear jewellery and wristwatches, and quite a few smoke cigarettes and marihuana or chew tobacco. They seem more interested in everyday
worldly activities and are less ‘heavy duty’ than the Bhairagis, but make no mistake, they are Yogis!
“In Samkhya philosophy, a guṇa is one of three "tendencies, qualities": sattva, rajas and tamas. This category of qualities have been widely adopted by various schools of Hinduism for categorizing behavior and natural phenomena. The three qualities are:
· Sattva is the quality of balance, harmony, goodness, purity, universalizing, holistic, constructive, creative, building, positive, peaceful, virtuous.
· Rajas is the quality of passion, activity, neither good nor bad and sometimes either, self centeredness, egoistic, individualizing, driven, moving, dynamic.
· Tamas is the quality of imbalance, disorder, chaos, anxiety, impure, destructive, delusion, negative, dull or inactive, apathy, inertia or lethargy, violent, vicious, ignorant.
In Indian philosophy, these qualities are not considered as present in either-or fashion. Rather, everyone and everything has all three, only in different proportions and in different contexts”