RYS 200, 300, 500 in Rishikesh
The evening was warm and serene. Shy stars were peeking down from the infinite darkness above and we were gathered at the master's feet. His melodic voice was breaking the silence as he said: "A master is not so different from a butcher, isn't it? He must bring something up lovingly, but when the time comes he must be ready to kill it. Gentleness by nature is nothing, but gentleness by choice is tremendous!"
Today it is New Year's Eve. The morning sky is still dark and the master's words are echoing in my mind. Being gentle by nature or being gentle by choice... being able to know when to love and when to kill and having the caliber and strenght to act whatever is necessary.
We often praise the soft people, but their softness is not a choice...it's their nature and they are only soft because they are unable of brutality. Really, the one who should be praised is the one who is capable of brutality but masters his nature and chooses gentleness. The one who when the time comes and if needed can pick up the sword and fight without regret, without hesitation... because he knows he has to.
New Year's Eve is a time to love and a time to kill. A time to acknowledge the love and importance of what we have learnt this year and an opportunity to flip the page and kill whatever relationships, concepts, dreams or fears which no longer serve us and are holding us back. Does it sound harsh? Yes, perhaps... but mastery is not a pick-nic. One must know when is the time to love and when is the time to kill... that is mastery. Being soft because you are incapable of being brutal is not a virtue. The zebra which doesn't kill the antelope is not a hero, because killing antelopes is not a part of a zebra's nature... it can't take credit for it. But a lion sparing a life is of great importance, isn't it? The lion has the power to kill but chooses gentleness.
In the deck of Tarot, card number thirteen is represented by Death. In a reading, it is seldom referring to physical death, but to death as a process of letting go and allowing room for new seeds to grow. In Hinduism, Shiva is often referred to as the destroyer, but a buddhist monk told me that it is a misinterpretation... that Shiva is really the cleanser. The cosmic purifier, making way for life to be created again by removing the toxic obstacles of mind, body and spirit.
The whole ashram is filled with snakes, eternally arisen in stone and metal, guarding the temples... at first they frightened me, but now I see their beauty and symbolism. This is to honor the cobra, whose kingdom the ashram has invaded, but also because it represents the kundalini energy. Its snakelike movement up the spine through the chakras and just like kundalini energy, the snake is invisible until it starts to move. You will not know it is there. Only a very trained can spot a snake lying still in the forest, but when it moves...you better move slowly with extreme awareness and caution! When a snake sheds its skin it doesn't look back. A moment ago it was a part of its body and of great importance to the snake, but once it has decided to shed its skin it just does it and never looks back. Shall we perhaps learn from this creature?
Wherever you are reading this from, whatever you do this day... set the intention for next year. Take a long, hard look at what requires your softness and what requires your brutality. Consider what needs to be nurtured and what needs to be killed and execute it with great mastery and grace before entering the new year.
Happy New Year and Shiva Aum...! :)