A Yoga Sutra a Day: I:28 Sacred Cows

Jun 16, 2012 | Humour, Wisdom, XSutras, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Yoga teachingĀ  | 0 comments

The calves have started popping out of Farmer Scott’s beef cows on the property next door to us. I haven’t actually seen any births but the numbers of these labrador-sized creatures are increasing each day. They are an amusing combination of boofy and frisky in their behaviour; it’s easy to lose track of time watching calves and mothers do very little but lick and suck.

Calf Time


The cows reminded me of a story that relates to Chapter I of Patanjali’sĀ Sutra which I have been attempting to unravel with the help of some wise interpreters over the last month or so. It goes like this:
Two sages visited an ashram to attend satsang. They found their seats right in front of the guru. The space filled with other attendees and the evening discussion on the yoga practices of asanas and pranayama began.
The sages interrupted the guru to say, “We’ve come to discuss more important things, like the philosophical implications of samadhi according to Patanjali.” But the two failed to agree with each other and began quoting from various scriptures to prove their separate points of view. Soon they were having a boisterous argument, and even the guru couldn’t get a word in.
Eventually the two sages came to blows, but the guru remained silent, even as the argument continued for some time.
Then, a big, fat, contented cow wandered in as though she owned the ashram, which caused some hilarity among the group – except for the humourless sages whose intellectual debate made them oblivious to their surroundings.
Suddenly the cow began bellowing: “M-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o.” The sages jumped with fright and were completely at a loss for words. Everyone laughed and the cow lumbered away, perhaps to find a more stimulating sat sang.
Perhaps the cow’s visit was a wake-up call, a reminder that the Sutra are not meant to be studied as intellectual exercises but rather to give practical methods for raising awareness.
The repetition of the sound AUM is such a method for gaining deeper wisdom.
tajjapah tadarthabhavanam
The mantra aim is to be repeated constantly, with feeling, realising its full significance.*
*Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar
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