May 2018 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami--Fly
|Note: The Fly, by Blake is my addition not Ramaswami's.|
I returned to USA after almost a five month stay in India. The stay was nice in part, I taught for about 30 days teaching verse by verses or sutra by sutra three important texts, The Bhagavat Gita, the Yoga sutras as part of the 100 hr teacher training program and also Samkhya Karika. The rest of the time in Chennai was rather rough but came away in one piece. In May I am scheduled to teach for 3 days for German Yoga Body.
When I was very young I used to like a story in the form of a poem about a fly which is called "e" in my mother tongue Tamil and who forgot its identity and name and was keen to find it out. It was living its short life around a cowshed. It was sitting on the ear of a fat lovely little calf when this question of identity came up in its little mind. The fly asked the calf "Do you know who am I, my name". The calf shook its head indicating that it does not know and also throwing the fly off. The fly then flew to the mother cow, sat on its right ear and asked the same question "Do you know...?" Again the cow shook its head vigorously indicating it does not know and also to drive away the annoying fly on its ear. The fly flew a short distance and sat on the ear of the cowherd who would tend the cow, take it for grazing and asked the same question. The cowhead knew nothing of it and again shook his head to answer in the negative and to shake the fly off.
The little fly then sat on the stick in the hand of the cowherd and asked the cane the same question,"Do you know who I am, my name please?" The stick did not even hear what the fly asked and kept mum. Desparate the fly flew from the stick to the nearby tree from which the can was taken out. Again our litlle fly asked the huge banyan tree if it would know who the fly was, its name. Then there was a stiff breeze and the leaves and branches shook as if to indicate that the tree is ignorant. It also forced the fly to go off a little. But it return to a crane (lark?) sitting on the tree. The fly got close to the crane again got near the ear and asked the same question. Annoyed at not knowing the answer, the crane flew off to a nearby waterbody, a pond as if to have a bath. The fly flew off from the crane and stood on the waters of the pond and asked the quest. "Oh dear pond on whcih the crane bathes, do you know who I am?" The pond kept quiet without answering and that time the fly saw a small fish busily swimming in the waters.Our little fly chose to ask the same question to the fish whcih ofcourse did not have the answer. By then the fly saw a fisherman also known as valaya because he uses a net (valai) to catch fish and put it in an earthern vessal to keep the fish catch. Then the fly again got to the right ear of the fisherman and asked the simple question "Who am I ?" The fisherman said that he did not know. Then it landed on the small earthern fish container the fisherman was having and asked "I am desparate you know who I am?' The earhern pot said nothing. Desparate our fly flew to the potter who made the clay container of the fisherman. It asked him the same question which all of us know by heart now."Who am I, what is my name?" The potter busy with his work waved off the fly without addressing the genuine concern of our little fly. The persistent fly then sat on the lump of clay that the potter was placing on the wheel to make another pot. The fly asked the same question and again got no reply. Then the fly flew further away on the grass that grew from the dirt. "Hello my dear green gras pray tell me who am I?" The grass gently waved off with the breeze. And in a last desparate attempt, the fly got to the ear of the horse which was about to eat the grass and asked the question for the last time "Oh dear grass eating horse , tellme who am I, what is my name?". With the fly tickling its ears the horse made its unique sound -a neigh a whiny, a bray or whatever. It gave a few throaty sounds 'e' the exact name of the fly in Tamil. The fly having learnt its name , identity flew away happily. It was self-realization for the small fly.
This story written after watching a fly fly short distances and sitting on different objects. It also parallels and brings a very important question the upanishads yoga and samkhya try to answer about each one of us.
A few people, very few get concerned about who he or she is, what is one's real nature like our litlle fly different from other flies. Many such people spend their entire lifetime trying to find an answer to this question. This question is said to be answered by the upanishads especially four great saying from the four vedas that contain the upanishads. The student asks the father/teacher about the ultimate reality to whcih the father/sage replies "You are that ultimate reality or tat tvam asi" as per sama veda. To the next question what is Brahman, its essntial nature, comes the answer from Rig veda "Brahman is absolute consciousness or Pragnyanam Brahma". Since the individual atman or self is pure consciousness, the next statement from atharva veda says that the self in each of us is Brahman or ayam atma Brahma or This Atma or self is brahma. With this knowledge the individual mind settles down with the last great saying from the Yajur veda "I am Brahman or aham brahmasmi"
The fly wanted to know who it was and the truth came from the horses's mouth
The truth seeker wanted to know the true nature of oneself and the answer came from the rishis or the truth speakers
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups "Vinyasa Krama Yoga Announcements" group.
You cannot post directly to this group, but you can post to our discussion group at