Tuesday, April 12, 2011

cultivating friendliness, compassion, joy & indifference - part 1

On Sunday I met the the yoga tree house teachers. We get together once a month to chat teaching and studio happenings. It's pretty awesome to be with these super yogini souls.

I was checking in to see how everyone was feeling with the monthly theme of "cultivate". We shared some of the things we had been working on and pondering in class. When it was Sarah's turn she says, "Sharon I've been working with your fave yoga sutra."

As soon as she said it I knew which one she was referring to....sutra 1.33, you are a friend of mine. I immediately felt like I'd been gifted. I couldn't wait to share in class. Love when that happens.

My fave translation of this sutra is offered to us by Desikachar. He says, "In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing those praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil."

Nischala Devi puts it this way: "To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:
Kindness to those who are happy.
Compassion for those who are less fortunate.
Honor for those who embody noble qualities.
Equanimity to those whose actions oppose your values."

Swami Satchidananda in his popular translation says we should cultivate friendliness, compassion, delight, and disregard (for the wicked ;)....

In perusing the Internet I found great info on Swamij.com. In Sanskrit this sutra is maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam. Yea, a mouth full right?

He goes on to break each of Sanskrit words down and this is what we get:
*maitri = friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
*karuna = compassion, mercy
*mudita = gladness, goodwill
*upekshanam = acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality
*sukha = happy, comfortable, joyous
*duhka = pain, misery, suffering, sorrow
*punya = virtuous, meritorious, benevolent
*apunya = non-virtuous, vice, bad, wicked, evil, bad, demerit, non-meritorious,
*vishayanam = regarding those subjects, in relation to those objects
*bhavanatah = by cultivating habits, by constant reflection, developing attitude, cultivating, impressing on oneself
*chitta = mind field, consciousness
*prasadanam = purified, clear, serene, pleasant, pacified, undisturbed, peaceful, calm

Swamij's translation is "In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil."

I'm feeling like this could be a super long blog post. Rather than go on and on I'll stop here for today and give you time to ponder the translations. Tomorrow when I come back I'll offer uo my own ways in working with this sutra.

Happy pondering! Would love to hear what your thoughts are about this sutra. Love, dislike, perplexed, or challenged by it?

And don't forget that Teresa is leading this month's workshop on Cultivate this Sunday the 17th from 1:00 - 4:00. Trust me, you wont want to miss out! Be there....

**how could I not post a pic of sweet Sarah as she is such a representation for friendliness and joy. thanks for the reminder Sarah!

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