I enjoyed yesterday’s conference by Sharath (see the notes below) – particularly a saying he mentioned that I hadn’t heard before. When talking about family difficulties he said that in his local language of Kannada they say “every dosa has holes but in some houses the pans have a hole!” Not exactly sure what it means but I like it!
Dosa is a popular South Indian breakfast and I have definitely been eating my fair share since being here. I’ve also been taking advantage of the great cooking skills of Laksmi who comes a couple of times a week to cook a delicious lunch of dhal, different vegetable dishes and chappatis. Home-cooked South Indian food is very different to the rich and heavy North Indian curries on the menu in most Indian restaurants in the west. The food is kept very simple, often cooked in ghee and delicately flavoured with spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander.
(Laksmi making chappatis and looking very glamourous as always!)
(Dhal, chappatis, beetroot salad, okra and spinach – so good!)
It’s always lovely meeting again the different people that make up the Mysore community from the rickshaw drivers, the coconut and chai wallahs to local fruit and vegetable man. Every year the greeting is the same “Oh Madam, when did you come?”
Maney, my first rickshaw driver, is also an excellent cook and recently catered for a friend’s breakfast, making specialities such as pongal, upma and dosas for more than 25 people. He told me that his son is about to start studying engineering! Now I am starting to feel old!!
(Me and Maney in 2008)
Excerpts from Sharath’s conference below…
Yoga and Karma
In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that once we practice yoga and put effort into knowing what yoga is, we will carry this on to the next life. Our rebirth will take place in the family of yogis, scholars or a family rich in knowledge.
Whatever karma we have created in this life, we will carry on to the next life. The body is just like clothes. We have to change our clothes. The atman leaves the body and takes rebirth. Our good actions and bad actions – everything is recorded. If we follow the yamas and niyamas, we carry our good karma to the next life.
Yoga as Entertainment
Yoga has to come from parampara (lineage). You can’t just watch videos and become a yogi. These days there are many yoga conferences and workshops. These are just entertainment. They won’t educate you in spirituality. There are some people who know yoga very well, but often these aren’t the popular teachers. Then there are those doing handstands. They are very popular but they don’t always know what yoga is. Entertainment is very different from the real experience of yoga. Ashtanga yoga is about how we realise ourselves. It is the transformation that happens with in us, not entertainment.
Our Purpose in Life
What is the purpose of our lives? Is it just to eat, work, meet people and watch TV? The real purpose is spirituality. To realise what we are. To break boundaries, to go further, to realise our true selves. This is spirituality.
These days everyone is going somewhere or doing some training. “I’m going to Bali, or I’m going to Thailand.” Where are you going? What are you searching for? A new posture? Does that make you a good yogi? Go to the source within you. Realise who you are, why we are here and what your purpose is.
Dharma means to be true in your actions and reactions. If I have studied this yoga system for many years, then my dharma is to teach. But I have to have trueness in that teaching.
We have to recognise our own power. It is like nuclear power, it can be used for many good things or you it destroy the world. Our bodies are the same. We can use them either way. How you use your power is important.
If you protect dharma, dharma will protect you.