Before we embark upon the Myth of Yoga, since it is the height of Spring in the Pacific Northwest, let us take a pastoral interlude and enjoy one of the most incredible stories ever told. The flowers are bursting open, the birds and the bees are flying with palpable frenzy as they sense the nectar all around. Winter has fled, and the Resurrection is upon us.
In the Golden Age of India there was written one of humanity’s masterpiece epics, that of the Mahabharata. 8 times the length of the Illiad and Odyssey combined, the stories span generations, culminating in the classic recounting of Lord Krishna and the battle of Kurukshetra.
I remember the first time I read the opening chapters of Vyasa’s work, and my reaction was that of complete disbelief. I had to read the tale again and again, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, and also to comprehend the subtlety and symbolism.
For you see, as a Westerner I was approaching the Mahabharata as a somewhat factual history of India, with appreciation for its religious teachings regarding Hinduism’s most beloved avatar, Bhagavan Sri Krishna. At the time my reference point was the same as opening the Holy Bible, where I would read the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, seeking to gain understanding of the religious history of the Judeo-Christian faith.
But you must realize that Myths are properly understood and experienced as metaphors which relate to your own psyche, and do not primarily refer to something that happened someplace a long time ago. The surest way to destroy the spiritual import of religion is to insist that the myth stories are to be interpreted as historical facts. When you force yourself to believe that the Bible, Gita or Koran is to be interpreted literally, and then you are faced with the impossibility of the stories having occurred as historical facts, the result is often doubt, loss of faith and alienation.
Aaahh, but I get ahead of myself. Here is the tale:
When Sperm Could Fly! -Vyasa and the Mahabharata