Not long ago, I sat in a pew in the Catholic Church and watched the Priests prostrate their bodies at the altar of God.
I admired this beautiful, humbling, worship, only demonstrated here once per year. It was one I would see many times at the feet of the altars in India.
I practice this pranam in my own daily sadhana and today I prostrate to Jesus, the Eternal Satguru.
On this Friday, I reflect on the yogic practice of tapas. Tapas, can translate as zeal in practice, and can also mean “to heat”. It is like when one puts gold into the fire. The fire will purify everything that is not pure, and all that is left is gold.
In the west we are told that we are not enough unless we achieve, buy, or believe.
Yoga tells us that we are one with God; made in God’s image. Simply, we are perfection. We do each day what we can, within our sadhana, to burn away or let go of whatever is blocking our true nature. All the actions and re-actions that are accumulated by our like and dislikes, mental disturbances, even the good we do that helps us feel better, gets burned away from our tapas, literally cleaning up our karma.
In India, some Gurus walk around with one arm raised for years, it may even rot and decay due to lack of circulation. They do this for the sake of tapas, and to demonstrate that we are more than our physical bodies. The body is merely a vehicle for the soul and our human experience. They demonstrate through their extreme tapas that regardless of what happens to their body, they are not attached, because they are focused only on God.
When I think of Jesus on the cross, I think of the most perfect act of tapas. He knew there was nothing that could be done to Him. He was not only willing to clean the slate of his own karmas, but ours as well. He is eternal and so are we.
And…since I still have some attachments I am working on, I prostrate to the Eternal Satguru.
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Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Crisco 1492