Saturday, December 12, 2009

Margas... Different from Margaritas!

"There are different paths (margas) by which a man travels to his Maker. The active man finds realisation through Karma Marga, in which a man realises his own divinity through work and duty. The emotional man finds it through Bhakti Marga, where there is realisation through devotion to the love of a personal God. The intellectual man pursues Jnana Marga, where realisation comes through knowledge. The meditative or reflective man follows Yoga Marga, and realises his own divinity through control of the mind."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, seventeenth paragraph of the Introduction.

So margas ARE more than just an affectionate term for "margaritas" but we still might get "drunk" along the way!

When I read this paragraph I feel like I recognize myself at the end: Ah! I am the reflective one (as recently recognized by a blogging friend), so yoga IS the right path for me. Go figure...

Even though I AM reflective which would indicate that Yoga Marga is right for me, I also lead a life of action in the world so Karma Marga also applies. And, God KNOWS, I can be ruled by my emotions (especially love) so sign me up for Bhakti Marga! And, yes (!), I do like the life of the MIND so Jnana Marga, too!

Maybe I can just have one of those HuMonGouS multi-flavored monstrosities at one of those Mexican restaurants, famous for their dangerous concoctions! Just give me a Marga-rita!

But really...

The Margas are PATHS that someone takes as they LIVE their LIFE! Perhaps it is like a way paved with different colored stones, depending on where we are at a given time. Surely, everyone is active in life! And who hasn't been brought to their knees with emotions? Haven't we all been turned on by thoughts? This would indicate an Intellectual Path. Also, we have the capacity to be reflective... Yeah, Yoga!

Ahem. (I think I'll have another...)

Okay, there is also a reminder of where we are all going: "to our Maker." We are on our way to Death. It appears to be True.

In consideration of our common end point, perhaps we should take seriously the paths we are on right now. And if I am ruled by my emotions, I can offer this toward my own interpretation of the divine--walking my Bhakti Marga. When I am doing my work in the world, I can offer it in service to the best I can perceive in that moment--stepping for Karma Marga. When I am in thought can I use this gift towards Jnana Marga? And when I am practicing Yoga, can I fully devote myself to this process, and standing tall on my Yoga Marga?

I think I'll cancel my drink order. This is enough. I do not require further intoxication. My love of this life is enough.

With love,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


YogaforBadlyRepressedIntellectuals said...

So...what if drinking margaritas is my marga? (Actually, now I'm feeling a bit of deja vu, since I just left a comment on the topic of margaritas and yoga on Roseanne's blog, earlier...then, maybe you read that post, too, and it influenced this's the butterfly effect!...or, maybe the margarita I just drank with dinner...which might not have been ordered had it not been for the influence of Roseanne's post...oh, but what a tangled web we weave).

Anyway, yeah, I find the notion of each person taking a unitary path kind of difficult, myself, since it seems like different parts of who I am would seem to be on different paths, then. When I was in grad. school, I had a professor who made a big deal about what it means to be an "intellectual"--a term which of course applied to all of us, as academics...which I had some problems with. I mean, obviously, if you look at the way I drop pretentious references to poets, philosophers, Zen masters, and the more literate rock stars all over my blog posts, it might seem strange for me to reject the label...but there's more to me than intellect...which, of course, is true of everyone, but my big problem is the idea that I, as an "intellectual," should automatically privilege the intellect above all else, and in fact give as little serious regard to those other sides as possible. There's a William Butler Yeats poem (which, of course, I can site precisely because I'm an intellectual...) that pretty much sums it up:
Bald heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love's despair
To flatter beauty's ignorant ear...
And, with that, this rambling comment probably having exceeding the length of your post, I bid you namaste 'til next time, Brooks...

Bob Weisenberg said...

Beautifully written, Brooks. You've got it just right--no one is purely one type or the other. We may have a preferred or dominant style, but we are all a mix of things, just a you say.

To me, this is one of the most remarkable things about the ancient Yoga texts. These four general categories of Yoga were all spelled out quite explicitly in the Bhagavad Gita, and they match pretty closely modern psychology's four main "personality types"!

If anyone is interested in reading more, I wrote a blog about this very same topic that echoes all your points:

"Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks"

Great stuff, isn't it. Every time I read a little more of your account of "Light on Yoga" it goes up higher on my reading priority list.


Bob Weisenberg

Anonymous said...