Friday, 31 December 2010

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Prostrate Yourself

Toronto, Ontario

During the course of the day I talk so little about walking. It's something you just do. In general people do more sitting and lying than they do moving the legs. It depends on your job I guess.

Today's segment of the Bhagavatam book from Canto Six discusses the principle of prostrations. Each morning in ashrams worldwide a portion of the bhakti-yoga process is to sit down and review a verse of which today's tells of Daksha who had lain flat before the Creator. Daksha is a progenitor, a pro-creationist for the world. In humility he gestured his prostrations, often times referred to as obeisance, with root word "obey".

The traditional pose of prostration is to have face down on the floor with arms stretched out in front of you and legs together flat. The formation is like a stick which in Sanskrit is called dandavat, to fall like a stick. The dictionary defines it as to bow or cast oneself down, as in submission or to lay or throw down flat as, on the ground.. Also to make helpless or defenseless.

With the latter definition we can appreciate that the mood is one of surrender and to leave yourself open to what is ordered. As Chaitanya expressed in words as feeling oneself lower than the blades of grass. It's a humbling pose.

There are countless examples of saints detailed in the Bhagavatam who expressed their dandavat in humility and Daksha is one. In Hindi they say the word "danyavad" which means "thank you", likely derived from dandavat as the gesture expresses appreciation. Some old German and Dutch words which express thanks like dankya may have their origins from the Indo language influence.

In any event offering one's very self in the full submissive mood of prostration is a good practice for those on the spiritual path. It is a regular bhakti-yoga pose and is enacted before one's Guru, a deity a superior, or just before a peer in recognition that God is in the heart of each of us.

3 KM

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