‘In this cauldron fashioned from delusion, with the sun as fire and day and night as kindling wood, the months and seasons as the ladle for stirring, Time cooks all beings; this is the simple truth.’ – The Mahabharata
Poetic discouragement on a grand scale. So why have these words left me feeling so bizarrely cheerful this morning? I remember our yoga teacher Rajiv Chanchani, eyes lit with urgency, “We are being cooked, cooked in the fires of existence — shall I put that on a t-shirt for you?” Inimitable Rajiv with his show-no-mercy intolerance for the rampant commercialization of yoga in the West, and his regular “dont be a fool and forget you are going to die someday’ invocations (he reminds me, in that latter regard of Nipun, of course).
It’s 38 degrees Celcius — 100.4 degrees Farenheit — in Madurai today, and there’s been a power cut. The metaphor has leaped to life. We are cooking in a cauldron.
Doing yoga this morning, before the day’s note-taking, interviews, observation visits, I feel the solidified fact of the body’s slumber and inertia gradually loosen its hold. “You are not a body –you are an embodiment,” once again Raiv’s crisp, cultivated vioce in my head, “An embodiment on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes.” A waking awareness begins to filter through and past the body’s dawn resistance. Unfurling is a brilliant word, and a beautiful action. An instinctive opening, an intuitive release. I feel my body — my embodiment, unfurling in its own fledgling way. I experience, to some greater degree than before, the happening change.
It doesn’t matter that there is no electricity, and that I am therefore doing yoga at an unintentional Bikram-style temperature. It doesn’t matter that later, when I sit down to meditate in that warm blanket of unmoving air, on the physical plane I am decidedly uncomfortable.
This morning I feel a tremendous buoyancy of spirit that is unusally willing to experience cauldron climes. I think of Viral who is on Day 19 of his 30 day retreat. Sometimes it’s like thinking of a still lake. As I type this, he is sitting silent in a cell somewhere. He too is ‘cooking’ — and facing the truth of that head on, with crossed legs and closed eyes.
“Time cooks all beings.”
To glimpse the unvarnished truth about our human condition can sometimes be a paradoxically comforting and oddly empowering thing.