Jayary 354

Is the yogi absolved of all earthly responsibilities? Even better, do those responsibilities simply disappear with enlightenment? The traditional answer is yes, or I should say, that's the answer of the dominant tradition. From the Buddha to Shankara the yogi seeks the light away from home.

We should take that dominant tradition's advice with a pinch of salt. What about all those people whose capacity to leave home is limited or forbidden? Shouldn't we be concerned that there are so few women in the pantheon of gurus?

The Jaya isn't a liberal text; however, it clearly sides with those who think our responsibilities are responsibilities with or without enlightenment. When Jaratkaru happens upon his ancestors hanging by a fraying thread, they are insistent that no amount of yogic achievement is a substitute for progeny. We are nothing if our bodies don't produce other bodies. If you can't continue the lineage, you're going to hell.

Hidden beneath that advice is a form of deep embodiment, i.e., an understanding that liberation cannot be divorced from this fleshy existence of ours. It gives us a hint that there's a religious worldview that doesn't deny this world; in fact it demands the full acknowledgement of being a worldly creature.

I will flesh out the meaning of deep embodiment - pun intended - in the next Jayary.

Rajesh Kasturirangan

Rajesh Kasturirangan

I think. I write. I meditate. I agitate.