October 29, 2010 on 11:00 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: Is it necessary to do severe austerities to realize God? Richard R., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Hindu God Shiva
Dear Richard: When you talk about austerities I guess you are speaking of those exceptional stories about those Himalayan yogis who meditate for years in frozen climes or conversely yogis who bake under a hot sun in India to achieve transcendence. Both of these archetypical yogis are said to endure without clothing, libation and food. This also brings to mind the Goddess Uma, who purportedly subsisted on just nuts and fruit her whole lifetime to achieve some recognition from the Hindu God Shiva. My friend Uma tells me that this is probably why she has an eating disorder this lifetime. My favorite legend, however, whether apocryphal or not, is of the guy who cut off his hand and threw it at the backdrop of a great teacher who had literally turned his back waiting for the “divine student” to appear.
Other equally enticing stories appear throughout yogic annals that only make me ashamed when I reach for my frozen yogurt and other goodies and still manage to call myself a yogic aspirant, which brings to mind my next sell on this blog. I have to admit that it is difficult at this time to speak to you while I am warmly wrapped up in my Laxmi Tapestry Throw Blanket.
And so, without shame, well, perhaps a touch of embarrassment, I am recommending for those cold, austere nights on your rooftop to simulate the Himalayas, that you renounce austerity and wrap yourself in a Deity Tapestry Throw Blanket. Now I am not talking about just any Deity Tapestry Throw Blanket. First and foremost, what I like best in these times of real austerity for some folks who don’t have a choice about what to eat or whether they are going to eat, is that these blankets are made in the USA and miraculously, one hundred per cent cotton. Yay for that!
I give my wholehearted adoration to these wonderful, soft, oh so comfortable Deity Tapestry Throw Blankets. I console myself sometimes when swaddled in these blankets, since I am not without spiritual aspiration myself, by perhaps deliberately turning the heat off on some cold nights. I might then decide to wear my Ganesh Deity Tapestry Throw Blanket, because the great God Ganesh can soothe my mind and remove any obstacles or pernicious thoughts I might have about freezing just wearing a blanket.
And lastly, but not leastly, when I pine for the lover of my dreams, having heard of Krishna’s abilities to render himself the complete object of adoration for an unbelievable number of Gopis, I gaze at my Radha/Krishna Tapestry Throw Blanket and know that the gods will eventually look down and grant me my dream of perfection in a human lover. Oh, who am I kidding? Oh, well, ever since I heard they were really speaking of divine love and not mere mortal love, the dream perishes, and I have to forgive them.
Please excuse me for sounding a bit cynical. But I guess I feel that the average person today is truly struggling in these times and that one doesn’t have to undergo severe fasting or austerity to achieve enlightenment. Sometimes it is enough to endure complexity and difficulty with grace. And that is not a small feat.
Thanks for writing. Spiritual Explorer
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