Sacred Humanity (part 1)
Updated: May 1
(A three part series adapted from my final paper for the "Subtle Anatomy" course I completed for Ramakrishna Seminary at Kali Mandir.)
Before sitting to write this rendition of the current assignment, I sat to write two or three others. I couldn’t quite get my head and heart to agree on a singular topic. My head dictated that I needed to build a paper on the foundation of social justice. Perhaps dissecting the differences between a Westernized, sanitized version of Vedanta; limiting the body and anything material as “bad” and to be conquered… ideas which exist in stark contrast to the ways of the Indigenous people, of both India and what we now know as the United States.
Indigeneity and the ways in which we honor the body as sacred and holy is the canvas upon which my heart would write this essay. Tantra would be the segue between the two paths… and, of course, the essay would be peppered by statistics pertaining to trauma and the usefulness of the yogic practices to free one from the long-term effects of trauma.
It would have been a fine paper; but alas, I fear it would have lacked heart.
Tonight, on my mat and in front of Mā, the realization came that what really matters is devotion. Devotion is what drives the disciple to commit to the practices of yoga; be it through the lens of Vedanta, Tantra, Indigenous religion, etc. We’re all devoted to something, many of us entirely unaware of our own tendencies to worship at the shrine of self, wealth, fame, health… the list goes on and on.
It would also be necessary for those claiming a spiritual disposition to consider what it is we truly bow before. These “check-ins” need be done throughout the day. Do we bow before Mā simply because She is…, well, MĀ… or do we bow before Her because it looks great for our social media profiles?
Whatever the motive may be, I hope to pen an homage to the river of devotion that fuels the willingness to get up, show up, and offer the practices of yoga… the many, many forms of yoga (no pun intended) … to our bodies, minds, world… and, ultimately, that which we worship. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll keep the object of worship as the One I hope to always keep as the pinnacle of my own practice: Kālī Mā. The channel of Bhakti flows from and to Her, as a river of Grace, forgiveness, and austerity.