There is something unique here. It is hard to grasp what I exactly feel, but I shall try now. Frankly, at home I did not really like yoga classes. For those, who are just a little bit sensitive, a class was a gathering of miseries, disturbed energies, unfounded hopes, desires, baseless expectations and prides. And only sometimes a little bit of real tapas (one of the ten yogic principles; meaning more-or-less: burning zeal in practice). More often than not it was just boring how the good teachers struggled to channel the distracted energies of the pupils – not to mention the bad ones... Classes were compromised; Compromised for the sake of ego.
First time in my life I have been feeling something different here… Have I changed, or the place is magical..? I felt this difference during my Buddhist meditation retreat, at the Iyengar Institute, and in my personal discussions with sadhus, who have devoted their entire lives to have access into the divine. In every bit of their teachings I feel some wisdom beyond expression, rooted in experiences of thousands of years of thousands of extraordinary minds; Rooted in age-old traditions of this land that are not partial imports but are at home here. And one can sense these living roots to the past. To the past where the irrational part of our consciousness was much more encouraged, when it was simply acknowledged as a valuable equal part of our existence. We had it, too, in the west. But we lost our connection to it to gain something else.
Meanwhile, however, we remained the same human beings as we used to be, still having this ancient part of ours, deep within. And we leave it to be starved. We try not to accept its existence, but suppress it. Instead of real integration, when we ‘let our-selves’ to see the world from a vastly different point of view, and simultaneously express this hidden part through its own language; the language of conscious rituals, of powerful symbols/archetypes, such as, for instance, the fire, water, sacred animals, flowers, wonderful and terrifying visions, etc. Rituals, which clearly express our link to this organic world. Rituals, which after all for nothing else, but expressing that we all are part of the whole.
This ritualistic path of understanding is missing, even from the good yoga classes in the west (at least from those I used to visit). But it is all present here. The rituals, which are still organic parts of the present Indian society, shine in their bests when they are joined with deep intellectual understanding, uncorruptedly aiming the ultimate; that is, in the best yoga practices here. I feel some vast, pure force in all these classes, which is so powerful that it does not struggle with the individual distractions but aligns them with wonderful ease; or destroys…
Both the Theravada traditions and Iyengar’s yoga techniques are enormously powerful, pure, and divine. I feel my smallness very clearly when facing them. My most personal reactions, aversions, excuses, are all taken into account in the know-how of these techniques. For thousands of years they knew them… How unique I am? How unique a man is? Countless men and women went into the depth of their existence, in vastly different times and spaces, and yet, we all have been finding the same… Same weaknesses and strengths. What I think to be my most personal fears, progresses and fails are all explained in those holy texts in great detail, with no mistakes. This firmness of knowledge, this vast wisdom is just overwhelming. These ancient techniques know far more of me than I do of myself. This is embarrassing for my ego. It thought to be unique. Precious. But thousands of such tiny egos thought the very same, and thousands will, too, until they realize the truth: it is not like that.
Can the I (with capital letter, heh? :) bear it? It must. It must if it wants to carry on these paths. And they know it. Teaching is fundamentally different here. Masters know that those who remain in the class, they are serious students. They know that we all have taken a bath in the vision of our own hells and we all decided to go forward; That we are kind of over of a certain threshold. The very reason we all gathered here is to practice. Just to practice. For as long as it takes; For hours, for years, tens of years, tens of lives... So, they handle us accordingly as an adult; A matured adult.
These teachers are inhuman; Impersonal. Something immeasurably vast compare to any animated wisdom; A channel; Channel to the purity of existence itself. Both Theravada meditation and Iyengar yoga are hubs of this Light. And through them one can link to this eternal Light, the very same that was present thousands of years ago and shined for the ancient saints.