12 years ago, I wrote a book, Live Patanjali! Yoga Sutra for Everyday Living, which covers the first two chapters of the sage Shri Patanjali’s treatise on living in awareness. I wasn’t ready then to write my interpretation of the final two chapters. I now am, having lived through the last 12 years. Love Patanjali! Yoga Wisdom for Everyday Loving has begun.
If you would like the first book for free (you only pay the postage), email me at email@example.com.
Before I knew his name (when I just knew the name my boss referred him as, which is Belanda, meaning Dutch), I had admired the steadiness of his hands in the operating theatre.
Little did I know that years later and 10,000kms from where we first met, those very same hands would be on my heart as he fought to control its deathly gallop. His voice was steady too, though I could see the desperation in his eyes amidst the swirling skies. The steadiness of his hands that I once admired was the thread that tied me to this world in the moments when giving up was an easier option.
“Hold my hand,” he had said.
He told me that his first teacher in cardiology had taught him, “Custody of the hands”. Be in control of your hands and by extension, the rest of your limbs. When your limbs are stilled, you still your restless mind and free it from its prison. Silence, or sunya, descends upon you, and from this place you can act or make decisions without distraction. He has put in a lot of effort over the years to still those hands of his.
“But love is spanner in the works,” he said. “That’s why it’s very seldom that surgeons operate on their loved ones.”
“Would you ever operate on me?” I had asked.
“Ah, Jac, DON’T.”
Three years on, and when I was re-reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, I lit two candles in honour of those hands. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. The 30 pilgrims started their journey in London to travel to the shrine of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, Kent. Harry Bailly, host of the Tabard Tavern in Southwark where most of the pilgrims started their journey, organised a storytelling competition. These stories, that form the backbone of the book, make an interesting read because they take the reader through religious legend, courtly romance, racy fabliau, saint’s life, allegorical tale, beast fable, medieval sermon, alchemical account, and, at times, mixtures of these genres.
This is from the Nun’s Priest’s Tale. Chanticleer, a rooster with seven wives, foremost among them the hen Pertelote. Pertelote dismisses Chanticleer’s dream of being attacked and tells him to go about his business. Chanticleer listened to his favourite wife and got careless, succumbing to his vanity when the Fox flattered him. It’s an interesting little tale – here’s a Wikipedia description of it.
At the end of the Nun’s description in the general prologue, Chaucer says that she wears a brooch with the words “Amor vincit omnia” written on it. The English translation is “Love conquers all” or “Love will find a way”. And I think this is the hidden, but strong, message of this much-read book of England, which is the gist of Pada 4: Kaivalyam (Liberation) of The Sutras of Shri Patanjali. Love is indeed THE way.
I have 50 copies of Live Patanjali! to give away. You only need to pay postage for the book, and as it is posted from Thailand, the cost is: THB 470 to UK/Europe (£11.00) and THB 578 to USA (U$19) and the rest of the world. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo: those steady hands tattooed me!)