Good News from India (Mumbai)
Demystifying Patanjali: lecture-series conducted by Arni Narendran 18th February 2017, Blavatsky Lodge outdoor interactive workshop.
Amidst the whistling woods of Arrey, the only surviving green space in this burgeoning metropolis of Mumbai, the members of the Blavatsky Lodge gathered in the Guest House perched up on a hillock for a wrap up session of the six-month long series of talks on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras delivered by Bro Arni Narendran. In the backdrop of the chirping birds and the whistling winds Sis Kashmira Khambatta, President of the Lodge, welcomed the gathering for an interactive session which was interspersed with Breakfast lunch and tea breaks not forgetting walks in the mountain slopes. The commissioner of the Arrey Dairy cooperative welcomed the Lodge Vice-President Bro Navin Kumar, who had served the organization decades ago. Bro Navin’s wife Sis Lata Navin’s artistic footprints still hang on the wall in the form of a large canvas giving a flowery ambience to the visitors Lounge, she was present and visitors were elated in meeting the artist behind the masterpiece.
Bro Arni Narendran kick started the session with a brief rehash of the 196 aphorisms based on Brother Taimni’s book, The Science of Yoga which was the backdrop resource for the series. He narrated how, to the world outside-yoga had graduated from a curious activity to a philosophy and eventually a science. Yoga is today universal but yet only to the extent of being a wellness activity. These asanas are only a threshold to the world that Yoga unfolds. Yoga is far beyond Asanas; it is a body of knowledge and wisdom offering an in-depth insight into the dynamics of one’s life journey of the Jivatma merging with the Paramatma and the engineering process every soul undertakes. This holistic approach to yoga can have far reaching impact on one’s attitude and content in life. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, although written over two thousand years ago, have scientifically explained how to regulate thought and decoded the mind body and soul connect in the in an effort to liberate the soul. The various stages of the mind’s journey through Dharana, Dyana and Samadhi to reach a state of Kaivalya are described in the aphorisms. In fact, Life is looking much beyond this physical body to a deeper realm of the mind and soul; a dialogue which we Theosophists are so familiar.
Bro Navin Kumar in his talk discussed the ashtanga aspect of the sutras elaborating the fundamental concepts such as Yama, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayam, Prathyahar, Dharana Dhyan and Samadhi; his one page printed hand outs were very useful in understanding the fundamentals.
Bro Bertie Redwood described how in the catholic church yoga has come to be accepted after initial doubts by the Pope and the clergy of its religious overtones, the demystifying effort has been contributed by many as evidenced by the United Nations declaration of world yoga day. He described at length the concept of Turiyah and the deeper unfolding of the yogic science.
Sis Shernaz Vatchha who was conducting yoga classes at the Blavatsky lodge and an exponent of the Iyengar school of yoga described in detail the various Sanskrit terminologies and their meaning covering the vast spectrum of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as explained in the literature of her Guru BKS Iyengar. She had scooped a rare picture of the sage Patanjali on Adisesha the serpent. She described the various stages of the expanding consciousness at various levels of yogic practice- the asanas she said is a preparation for the inner spiritual journey of the human soul- the concept of Antaranga and Bahiranga was well explained by her covering the overall content in the Samadhi, Sadhana, Vibhuti and Kaivalya pada. In fact, each participant narrated their individual yogic, spiritual and mystic experience and how Theosophy had opened a new door in their lives. Sisters Jasmine Cawasji, Nawaz Dhalla, Aban Amroliwala, Ruby Khan, Zina Irani, Aban and Purvez Patel and Bros Rustum Cooper and Khusru Pavri shared their thoughts. All the participants returned to the city with an enriched and joyous mind, leaving behind the green pristine woods of Arrey.