Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Everything is divine...

Well hello from Austin!  I've been back from India for a little while now, and I'm excited to tell you about my experience this go 'round.  I have so many amazing things filling my heart and mind, so much creative energy, I feel like I'm on fire!  Instead of attempting some kind of linear exposition, I'm working on a little series of writings illustrated with photos and videos which will hopefully paint a good picture.  This trip to Mysore was beyond all my imaginings... very different from last year in so many ways, but also it feels like my experience this year only could have happened in light of how things unfolded last year.  No matter pain or ecstasy, India is sweet same-same, the motherland that cracks the heart open and pours in the light.  This year I feel like my lights were turned up to high beams, everything became illuminated in such a powerful way.  And coming back home to Austin has been a smooth transition.  Even the not so smooth parts have vibrated with a clarity that makes my response an effortless one.  I've been enjoying the process of bringing the sweet soulshine of my experience in India to bear on my life and relationships here.

One of the highlights of my recent time in Mysore was the philosophy/chanting/Sanskrit classes I took with James Boag.  James has been living about half the year in Mysore for the last seven years to work on a masters degree in Sanskrit.  I met him briefly on my first visit, and I am glad I reconnected with him this year to practice and study in a substantial way.  I dedicated a large chunk of my free time to study with him, and in the process, we collaborated on a series of short films that I think capture the beauty and power of his chanting and teaching - and a bit of the magic of India.  I'll be posting some of those videos here in upcoming blog posts, and you can always go to my yoga channel on vimeo to see them all.  

Today, I am pleased to share the first of these videos, one of my absolute favorites, Harireva Jagat (Everything is Divine).  We shot this one on location in the Devaraja market in Mysore after I had an image of Neitzsche's parable of the madman in the marketplace taking place in the beautiful madhouse that is India.  But instead of the madman proclaiming, "God is dead!  It is we who have killed him!!!" the madman would tell us how "God is alive!  Look!  Look inside, that is where you will find him!  When you see him there, you will see him everywhere!"  Because indeed, it is we who must tend to the holiest and mightiest within ourselves if we ever hope for something more.  Because there is so much more… And the whole universe opens itself up to the ones who dare to look at (to re-cognize, to re-member, to be at-one with) their indwelling, divine potential.  The whole universe conspires on behalf of those who set themselves aflame in that glory.

Harireva jagat (Everything is Divine) from Laura Lea Nalle on Vimeo.

I asked James to elaborate on the origin of this piece, as it has a very interesting story behind it.  Here is what he said:
This is a real favourite with me. I learnt it from fellow devotees of Swami Lakshmanjoo Maharāja at his Īshwar Ashram, in Ishber, Srinagar. Among devotees of Swami Lakshmanjoo in the lineage of Trika Shaiva Masters, this pair of verses are often added when we sing Bhairava Stava, this stava (hymn) which was given to us by the great Master who adorns the middle of the lineage, Śrī Abhinavagupta, one of the greatest personages in the whole history of Indian philosophy, Indian art, Indian aesthetics, Indian thought: one of the greatest intellects, one of the great masters, one of the greatest Beings of all time one might say!
As I understand it, these two ‘extra’ verses were given to us by Swami Vivekananda and Swami Rāma (Swami Lakshmanjoo’s great guru). And the composition of these verses is a wonderful story.  At a certain time on his spiritual journey, Swami Vivekananda was riled by doubts. His Master Swami Paramahansa Ramakrishna told him that he must go to Srinagar, to the ashram of Swami Rāma, this great master of Trika Shaivism. And you can imagine that just the journey itself afforded so much insight back then, from Bengal all the way over to Srinagar.

Anyway, Vivekananda has been on this journey, and all along, these tremendous doubts about the nature of ultimate reality and the nature of God, have been his companions. He arrives in Srinagar, finds Swami Rāma’s ashram, and there’s satsang going on. He goes in, as satsang’s in progress, and during the discourse, these doubts start to be, as it were, acted upon, worked upon, and they start to dissolve. At the culmination of the satsang, Swami Rāma’s devotees start singing this glorious hymn that Abhinavagupta left us, the Bhairava Stava, which really communicates the essence of Trika Shaiva Śāstra, the essence of Kashmir Shaivism. As Vivekananda hears the devotees singing this hymn, it’s like his doubts just get obliterated, completely dissolved. Like raindrops becoming one with the ocean, there’s just no more of them!

Then, in rapture with his doubts cleared, when the devotees finish, Vivekananda, his creative genius set free and aflame, composes and utters forth, on the spot, this additional verse:

Harireva jagajjagadeva hariḥ harito jagato na hi bhinnamaṇu
Iti yasya matiḥ paramārthgatiḥ sa naro bhavasāgaram uttarati

Then, Swāmi Rāma, pleased with Vivekananda’s understanding and his summary of the preceding verses of Bhairava Stava, follows immediately, with a second half to this colophon to the great Bhairava Stava, and he says:

Ādāvante cidrasa rūpam madhye cidrasa budbuda rūpam
Bhātam bhātam bhārūpam syāt no bhātam cennitaram na syāt

So this pair of verses added to the glorious Bhairava Stava provide a glimpse of the wondrous rasa or flavour of the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism. Also, when we hear them sung, they give us an immediate taste of the richness and transportative power of the way that Kashmiri devotional songs are sung.

Jai Guru Deva!

What a remarkable story, thanks for sharing that with us, James!  For now, I'll leave you with one more video from the Devaraja market - James reciting the poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling.  I included this poem in a post while I was in still Mysore, so if you want to read it after watching the video, you will find it here.... Enjoy! 

If (poem by Rudyard Kipling) from Laura Lea Nalle on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for more, coming very, very soon!
Laura Lea
ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवाः ।
भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः
स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिः ।
व्यशेम देवहितम् यदायुः ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥ 

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