Thursday, September 3, 2009
Gayatri Mantra on YouTube!
First I saw it on a Facebook friend's page. Then I looked on YouTube. There are dozens and dozens of versions on YouTube, with amazing visuals, various translations (all different), various melodies and instrumental arrangements, some with explanations. This one, viewed almost 60,000 times, was posted in response to another one. Another version was viewed over 500,00 times. I am stunned. Slowly trying to get with the 21st century...
For me, a nice Jewish girl, this mantra has a very special meaning. It was given to me in the early 1970's by my yoga teacher, Dr. Vijayendra Pratap. It was only given to a handful of students, in a very private, if not secret, way. When someone asked for the translation of the Sanskrit, he said: do it diligently, daily, sincerely, for a long period of time, and the meaning will dawn upon you. After doing this for several years, the meaning dawned upon me. It changed my life, but that's a story for another time.
I haven't been in touch with Dr. Pratap for a long time now, but still consider him my yoga teacher. During the 1970's I hung out with every teacher around, but always from the home base of SKY Foundation, our ashram. It is named after his teacher, Swami Kuvalayanandaji, of the Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, India.
This morning I lay on the little blue blanket I use for yoga practice and realized that I do feel connected with this lineage. Still. Despite distance, time, and even periods of falling out, disillusionment,and disagreement (at least on my part.) This little blue blanket is the one that my dad was tucked under at the dialysis center. (Dialysis apparently makes people cold.) Over the years it has become my magic carpet.
I don't practice yoga regularly anymore, but know what to do when I need to. I am pretty well recovered from surgery, but know that in more subtle ways the tissues that were traumatized by the knife need a more refined kind of healing now. I'm grateful for the way I was taught: simple, compared to how yoga is mostly taught these days, which is much more gymnastic.
I thought about the Gayatri Mantra videos on YouTube, and all the comments posted under them, mostly along the lines of "thanks" "beautiful" "so peaceful". Did people watch it once and then move on to the next thing? What would happen if someone chose their most compatible version and spent the nine minutes and four seconds with it every day, day after day? I wonder...