This week as I reflect back on episode 166 of Namaste Yoga, Santana Lakshmi and the abundance of fertility, I am looking back on the theme of creativity. Many of us struggle with creativity, shut this part of ourselves down, or allow others to do it for us. As adults perhaps we feel there are more important things to do be doing, however, creative expression is part of our human being-ness.
Here is a story about Goddess Shasti that I didn’t share in this week’s Namaste Yoga. I have adapted it from Swapna Dutta’s “Folktales of West Bengal” published by Children’s Book Trust
There once was an affluent businessman who lived in a huge house with a big pool in the backyard. The home was beautifully landscaped and had a three car garage for all his toys. They also had a freshwater lake in their backyard with tons of organic fish to catch to eat for dinner. This wealthy businessman had seven sons. They grew up and married beautiful women. The youngest son, however married a woman who was quite interested in money. Some would even say she was greedy.
The whole family lived together at the huge mansion. The home was expansive and had many servants and personal chefs to prepare their so everybody was comfortable. Every day many beautiful foods were prepared and although there was more than enough for everybody the youngest daughter in law, Christine, would covertly take more than her share. She would steal into the kitchen when nobody was looking and drink up all the milk and eat all the sweets. She would also take the biggest and best pieces of fish. Everyone in the house noticed that a lot of the milk, sweets and fish went missing each day, but couldn’t understand where it was all going? Was somebody stealing?
One day the business man’s wife called all her daughter in law’s in and asked them if they had any idea what was going on. The wives of the six elder sons said they couldn’t understand what was happening. The business man’s wife decided to question Christine directly since they had their suspicions.
“Christine, do you know what is happening with all the milk that is going missing?” she asked
“Yes, I do,” Christine answered, “It is the black cat who steals it.”
“Really?” answered the businessman’s wife
“Oh yes,” said Christine, “I see that sneaky black cat drink all the milk, devour the best fish and then run away every day!”
“Well then!” said the businessman’s wife, “we had best catch that black cat, and give it a sound beating!”
And the next time that black cat came into the house, they did just that.
This went on and on for some time – where Christine would steal the food and blame Goddess’ Shasti’s cat and then the cat would take the beating for Christine. Finally the cat went to Goddess Shasti and complained.
“Mother, I can’t take it anymore! When the time is right, I am going to teach Christine a lesson!”, the cat told Goddess Shasti
“It is time for her to learn her lesson, dear cat,” Goddess Shasti said petting her sweet cat, “It is not right for her to lie and allow somebody else to take the blame for her actions. Karma will reach her some day, don’t worry.”
A few weeks later a beautiful baby boy was born to Christine. Everybody in the house was elated since this was the first baby born into the family. The next morning they awoke to find the baby was missing. Christine was devastated, but they couldn’t find her baby anywhere, somebody has stolen her baby. You may have guessed already that it was the black cat who took Christine’s baby straight to Goddess Shasti.
The following year Christine was blessed with another baby boy and yet this baby was stolen just like the first one! Again, nobody could find out what happened. Once more that black cat had taken the baby to Goddess Shasti. Christine had 6 sons and all were stolen. When she birthed a daughter, Christine decided to stay up all night and watch over her baby. Late into the night as she dozed out of the corner of her eyes she saw a black cat running away with her baby. She ran after the cat straight to the temple of Goddess Shasti. There she found her baby girl along with all her other children playing happily.
Christine wept at the feet of the goddess, “Mother, this despicable black cat has been stealing all my children. Now I see that you have all of them. Please, I beg you, may I have them back?”
“I can not do that,” said Goddess Shasti, “Didn’t you know that this black cat is a special pet of mine? You were stealing day after day, blaming it on my poor innocent cat and having her beaten. I can’t overlook your lies and the violence you’ve inflicted. You don’t deserve your children back.”
Christine begged again, “Please forgive me.I’ll never do it again. I’m so sorry.”
“If you want forgiveness, you better ask it of my cat, she is who you have wronged,” Ma Shasti said.
Christine turned to the black cat and asked forgiveness, promising to never steal or tell lies again. The black cat took pity on her and forgave her. Goddess Shasti gave Christine her children back and Christine returned happily home.
This story is deeply archetypal and metaphorical. How often do we get greedy for life, trying to accumulate the things that we think will make us comfortable? Just like Christine in the story we try to make ourselves comfortable by taking more than we need (remember the yama aparigraha?). In the story Christine takes more milk,sweets and fish than she needs.
In real life we may work more than we can manage physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to meet our so called material needs and end up exhausting ourselves. We then blame the “black cat” (our boss or whoever the scapegoat is) for taking what is most important in our lives. It may be our actual time with our children. It may be our enjoyment of life and our creative dance with it. It may be the creative dreams that are alive within you.
This week we will simplify and connect with our creative energy.
Namaste Yoga 167 Santana Lakshmi and the Abundance of Fertility Intermediate/Advanced
Props Needed: Yoga Strap, Yoga Block
Yoga Asanas/Yoga Postures: Ushas MudraKey-hole Stretch/Figure Four Stretch , 1/2 Reclined Hero’s Pose/Ardha Supta Virasana, 1/2 Reclined Hero’s Pose with 1/2 Keyhole, Marjaryasana/Cat Pose – Goddess Shasti’s Cat, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana/Pigeon,Adho Muka Svanasana/DownDog – with Hip Opener,Camatkarasana/Wild Thing Pose, Ardha Matsyendrasana/1/2 Lord of the Fishes Pose, Upa Vista Konasana – Wide Legged Seated Forward Fold.Ananda Balasana/Happy Baby Pose