Friday, February 22, 2013

The Warrior - Friend Virabhadra and the Asanas Origin

Sati was the daughter of the high chief of Gods Daksha and married to Shiva. One day Daksha decided to throw a yagna (ritual sacrifice) and invited except for the couple since he despised Shiva. 
 Sati got word of this and suggested to Shiva that they go anyway however Shiva, not wanting to incite her father’s anger, prefered not to. Sati was hurt by her father’s treatment and decided to go alone.
Arriving there she got into an argument with her father in front of the guests something that made her feel humiliated. When her father tried to provoked her again she remained silent and decided she wanted to relinquish all family ties, telling her father this: “Since you have given me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it.” She walked past him and sat in a meditative seat on the ground, closed her eyes and fell into a trance. Going deep within herself she began to increase her inner fire through yogic exercises until her body burst into flames.
When Shiva learned about Sati’s death he was devastated. He cut a tuft of his hair and beat it into the ground in the middle of the yagna. From there his fiercest Warrior popped, Virabhadra (Vira means hero and Bhadra friend). Virabhadra thrusted his way up through the earth from deep underground; this is the first aspect (Virabhadrasana I/Warrior I). Establishing his arrival for all to see he then opens his arms holding a sword in each arm (Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II). Moving swiftly and precisely, he takes his swords and cuts off Daksha’s head, (Virabhadrasana III/Warrior III).

Shiva arrived at Daksha’s place to see the damage that Virabhadra caused. After this vengeful action, Shiva absorbs Virabhadra back into his own form and then he becomes known as Hare, the ravisher. His anger is gone but now he is filled with sorrow which turns to compassion when he sees the bloody work of Virabhradra. Shiva brings Daksha back to life giving his head the form of a goat. Overwhelmed by this generous gesture Daksha calls Shiva, Shankar, the kind and benevolent one, and bows in humility to Shiva Shankar. The other gods and goddesses follow his lead and honor Shiva.
So the next time you find yourself doing a Warrior pose remember its origin.

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