An Integrated Life
I felt my first post in this new website would be best if it reflected on Yoganusasanam, Geeta Iyengar’s Intensive during my last trip to India, in December 2014.
If I knew nothing else than that his children loved him that would be enough – but there is more.
He lived an integrated life.
I cannot share all the details of a two week intensive with Geeta. I am going to focus on what is absorbing me still almost 2 months later. The intensive was largely a tribute to Mr. Iyengar. Geeta’s love and devotion for her father shone through her eyes, her voice, her words and in her efforts to manage her physically challenged body. She brought tears to my eyes every day. They were the kind of tears that one gets when we see or hear something that is truly beautiful, pure.
As I reflect on some of the stories that were told by Geeta and Abhijata(Guruji’s granddaughter), I begin to see how Guruji integrated the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras into his life. I am thinking about Kriya Yoga, the tapas – burning zeal, sustained practice, svadhyaya – the study of self and scriptures and Isvara pranidhana – surrender to God.
Guruji, without a doubt had a burning zeal in regards to his practice. He had long practices, day after day, year after year. His body of written work is evidence of his self-study and study of scriptures. He has lit the path for us with his long hours of focused attention that was required to complete it. His devotion to the Lord is reflected in his living a simple life, being a householder, with family, contributing to the community. His work in rebuilding Bellur his birth place, is evidence that he was not attached to the fruits of his labor. He knew his life was not his own. He surrendered his work, doing his best always, letting it go and staying in the present. What often happens when we see or hear of someone who has excelled, is we put them on a pedestal and think we cannot do that. That may be true, however it seems to me that we show our love and honor, by following their lead, like Geeta is doing for her father, carrying on as best we can, giving our whole self.
What would Guruji say when he would show us an asana? “Now, you do!”
One of the stories that was told was when Guruji was quite ill in the hospital. Abi and others were hanging around, just to be with him. He apparently asked them if they had done their practice. They replied that,”no, they had wanted to stay with him.” He sent them away to do their practice.
So, my trip to India, to Geeta’s Intensive in 2014 stoked the fire in my heart and reminded me I have a lifetime’s worth of firewood in what Guruji has left us. It is still up to me to keep the fire burning. I can do that every moment of every day by following his lead. May I deepen my practice, continue to study and learn. May I purify my heart, remembering that my life is not my own – surrendering my work and my life to my Source.
Thank you Geeta for sharing your father!