Adventures in Mysore India,  Ashtanga Quotes,  History,  Reblogs

Memories of Guruji

Beautiful story  written by Daniela Ceccarelli, KPJAYI Level 2 Ashtanga Teacher  in Ashtanga Magazine of a wedding performed by Pattabhi Jois and other events. I was captivated by this article. You will be too! Here is an excerpt. See the rest at Ashtanga Magazine.

By 2004 I was ready to return with my new partner, Peter. The new Shala had been open for a couple of years and almost everything had moved to Gokulam. I left the boys with their father and we settled into the Gokulam lifestyle. We had arrived with the intention of asking Guruji to find an auspicious date for us to have a little celebration, maybe later that year, to mark our commitment to each other. Neither of us was interested in getting married in the legal, western sense. But sometime during the trip we found ourselves in a conversation where it was revealed that Guruji sometimes married his students. Peter and I looked at each other and said, “He marries people? Let’s ask him!”

 

In his office, he looked us over, asked us how long we had been together, and seemed to view the idea of marrying us favorably. He told us to come back the next day so he could consult the stars and find us an auspicious date. The next afternoon the date was set: February 29th. For the next two weeks, we ran to and from Guruji’s office showing him things he had sent us out to procure. As ignorant westerners, we had no idea what we needed to prepare, and Guruji had no idea just how ignorant we were.

 

Our afternoon sessions went something like this: Guruji would say, “Go get incense! And then show me.” So off we would go to buy incense and the next afternoon we would show it to him and he’d say, “Good. Did you get the camphor?” And we would say, “No… camphor? What camphor?” Guruji would say “Go get camphor! And come and show me.” So off we would go, back to the market to get camphor. And the next afternoon it was like, “Oh, good camphor. Did you get flower garlands?” “No. Flower garlands?” And so on. We spent every afternoon with Guruji, who was wonderfully patient, with Sharath helping to interpret, explain, and give advice about where to buy things in between heated discussions with Peter about the cricket.

 

The wedding was to take place in the Shala on Sunday afternoon instead of conference. I went upstairs and got changed in Saraswati’s room, with Shruthi and Saraswati both in attendance. Saraswati was shocked at my lack of jewelry and sent a fellow student to buy me some bangles. When I showed her that I didn’t have pierced ears she nearly fainted – getting married without earrings! Emma O’Neill came to the rescue and put holes in my ears then and there, and so I was ready to go. Everyone had turned up in their best clothes and the Shala looked beautiful with all the flowers. Guruji and the rest of the family were dressed a bit more casually – in singlets and dhotis! I think it was a bit funny to them that we wanted to get married that way. Guruji performed the puja, with much chanting and the odd instruction for us to do various gestures of worship and walk in circles around an imaginary fire, and for Peter to put on my various bits of jewelry, the most important one was a pendant that symbolizes marriage, the mangalasutra.

 

Then he stood in front of us and gave Peter a nice long lecture on how he wasn’t allowed to leave me. “You! One hundred years living! (Pointing at me) You not leave it! No diversing!” he said. “Many childrens take!” he added. A beautiful reception followed on the rooftop across the road. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of people we had only just met, who decorated, ordered sweets and made a big fuss. If you were there, thank you again!

 

See the rest here

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

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