Month: April 2013

The Turning of the Hare

Moon Phase (New Moon) New Moon (Amāvāsyā)
Moon Phase (Waxing Crescent) Waxing Crescent – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (First Quarter) First Quarter (Aṣṭamī) – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (Waxing Gibbous) Waxing Gibbous – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (Full Moon) Full Moon (Pūrṇimā) = Mark of Hare (Śaśāńka)
Moon Phase (Waning Gibbous) Disseminating Moon – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (Last Quarter) Last Quarter (Aṣṭamī) – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (Waning Crescent) Balsamic Moon – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (New Moon) New Moon (Amāvāsyā)
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The Socio-politic of Pop Culture Iconography of the Übermensch (or In Search of Hanumān Part 2)

The proliferation of pop culture iconography is all about promoting a favourable, recognizable brand to capture the mainstream audience of cultural and societal sensibilities.

The celebration of Hanumān in pop culture is an example of iconography of the übermensch (“overman”). In contrast to the concept of an Absolute Reality, the übermensch represents the concept of a personal demigod or hero, who embodies an ascetic code of honour and delivers local justice. The iconography of the übermensch offers a universal appeal and a demonstrable capacity for adoption by foreign cultures across national boundaries.

My article briefly remarks on the socio-politic connected to the dissemination of metanarratives about the pop culture iconography.

Jean-François Lyotard (The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, 1979) articulated metanarratives as false appeals to universal, rational, scientific criteria.

For example:

  • Spiritual dialectics;
  • Truth and justice;
  • Economic rationalism or liberalism.

These are evident in the following examples.

Sun Wukong (derivative of Hanumān)

Changes in Chinese culture affected the narratives about the fictional character, Sun Wukong.

“Sun” implies the monkey origin, and “Wukong” means aware of emptiness.

Mao Zedong, 1893–1976, founder of the People’s Republic of China, used Sun Wukong as a role model, citing “his fearlessness in thinking, doing work, striving for the objective and extricating China from poverty”.

Sun Wukong and Jade Rabbit

19th century Japanese woodblock print was made by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, the last great master of Ukiyo-e

Hercules

The sovereign Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574) of the Florentine Republic was fixated on Herculean iconography to shape the ducal political imagery.

The marriage of Francesco I to Johanna of Austria led to several impressive sculptures in Austria.

Hercules at Hofburg Palace

Pictured is one of the statues of the “Labours of Hercules” by Lorenzo Mattielli (Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria).

The Man of Steel

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster drew inspiration from heroes such as Samson, Hercules and Moses to create the comic book incarnation of the übermensch in 1933, buoyed by the socio-politic of the vision for space exploration, as well as the rise to power of the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler. During World War II, the iconography of the übermensch was used as a tool of propaganda to present the metanarratives of truth, justice and liberty.

Fans can choose, if they wish, to adorn themselves with the trademarked symbol that represents those ideals.

Man of Steel

In Search of Hanumān

You do not have far to look for iconography of Hanumān, whose bare footprints leave deep traces across wide stretches of cultures, bridging them as one unity. This is a dedication to the supernatural vānara and folk hero named Hanumān, son of Āñjana and the wind.

Footprint of Hanuman at Lepakshi Temple, India

Hanumān Gāyatrī

Āñjaneyāya vidhmahe (May we realise the son of Āñjana)
Vāyu-putrāya dhīmahi (Let us meditate on the son of the wind)
Tanno hanumat pračodayāt (Through that, may Hanumān illumine us)

Hanuman

Hanumān wields a mace (gada) in an āsana of devotional servitude (dasya-rasa) to Lord Rama and the kingdom of Ayodhyā.

Hanumān (a.k.a. the “monkey”) represents the discipline of taming the mind (čitta-vritti).

Have you seen the venerated hirsute post-war veteran? Please report sightings of Śrī Hanumān to the Yoga community. You may earn +1,000 karma points.

Namaste to this unidentified distant relative:

Bigfoot

The Hanumān Festival is celebrated on April 25, 2013.

On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

Viniyoga Hanuman Vyayam

The following series of Hanumān postures may be used as part of a full practice with twists and lateral bends to bring vitality to the back, knees, piriformis, hamstrings and hips. Collectively, I label my system of progressions “viniyoga-hanumān vyāyam”, which forms part of the foundation of my own regular personal practice.

Arthurian Pose

Use this preparatory pose to stabilize the core (Pilates method). Find the neutral spine by tucking in the pelvis and sucking in the abdomen.

Half Frog Pose (Ardha bhekāsana)

Ardha Bhekāsana

Stretches the piriformis. A safer alternative to the Hero Pose.

Reclining Hero Pose (Supta virāsana)

Supta Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis from a supine position. Cushions assist relaxation.

Hero Pose (Virāsana)

Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis. Kneeling is a pose of noble servitude, and only one fighter in Hindu mythology bears this association: Hanumān.

Lizard Pose Variation A (Utthan priśthāsana)

Lizard

Press hands on the mat, lift the back heel but keep the back leg straight. Hold. Use the supports to allow the back hamstring to stretch.

Crescent Moon Lunge (Añjeyarāsana)

Añjaneyāsana

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Square the hips towards the front of the mat. Lean forward slightly to open the hips. Inhale, engage the core and bend backwards.

Lizard Pose Variation B (Utthan priśthāsana)

Utthan priśthāsana

Bring both of your elbows to rest on the mat. Hold. Lift the back knee off the mat and straighten the back leg. Use this preparatory pose to loosen the hips before taking kauṇḍinyāsana and/or ekapada bakāsana.

Pistol Pose

Keep the foot slightly flexed and gently straighten the leg like a pistol. This step (sthiti) follows a crescent moon lunge to loosen the hamstring, preparing for seated splits. Use tracking to test the stability of the patellofemoral joint.

Psoas Stretch

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Keeping that knee on the mat, raise the foot. Reach the opposite hand behind and hold onto your raised foot.

Lizard Pose Variation C (Godha-pīṭham)

Godha pīṭham

Stretches the iliotibial band and the piriformis, and opens the hips. Bend your front knee and rest the leg on its side. Square the hips towards the front of the mat, and extend the back leg as far back as possible. Extend your back and walk your hands forward. The pose that brings the crown of the head to the back of the foot is called ekapada rajakāpotāsana.

Seated Splits (Hanumānāsana)

Hanumānāsana

Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana)

Balāsana

The moon signifies healing and rejuvenation. On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

The Mark of Hare signifies the auspicious full moon. The birthday of Hanumān falls on the full moon at the March Equinox. Thus, the Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana) is often called Baby Pose (Bālāsana) or Child Pose.

Flying Knee Strike

The flying knee strike (hanuman thayam) in Muay Thai is performed by rotating the body so that the side of the knee strikes the opponent.

Sūrya Gāyatrī

Gāyatrī is the name of a poetical meter (çhanda) that contains three lines of eight syllables each.

bhūr bhuva sva: alluding to the first three of seven vyahritis respectively representing physical plane (bhūr loka), astral plane (bhuva loka), and celestial plane (sva loka), which may be reached in meditation by a yogi

auṃ: pranava (The eternal vibration that binds the physical plane, astral plane, and celestial plane)

tat savitur vareṇya: that, the One God (tat), solar (savitā), venerable (vareṇya)

bhargo devasya dhīmahi: Let us meditate (dhīmahi) upon the effulgence (bhargo) of the deity (deva)

dhiyo yo na pračodayāt: may our wisdom (dhiya), who (ya), of us (na), be inspired (pračodayāt)

New books arrived in the post

I received these in the post today…

Books April 2013

Theme Weaver by Michelle Berman Marchildon is a new book about weaving effective, likable narratives, in a format that is easy to use. Recommended.

21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice edited by Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey is a compilation of essays by various authors about the contemporary yoga subculture and the narcissistic fixation with the Body Beautiful. Essential reading for those interested in the implanted transmogrification of Yoga in modern society and culture.

Çhandaḥ Śāstra

Vedāṅga disciplines comprise of  phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, prosody and astronomy. The study of Vedic prosody is called çhanda (छन्दः).

The metrical unit of verse is the foot or pāda (पद).

Çhanda include:

  • Gāyatrī: 3 padas of 8 syllables containing 24 syllables in each stanza
  • Virāj: 4 padas of 10 syllables
  • Kākubh: 3 padas (8+12+8) containing 28 syllables in each stanza
  • Uṣṇi: 3 padas (8+8+12) containing 28 syllables in each stanza
  • Anuṣṭubh: 4 padas of 8 syllables containing 32 syllables in each stanza
  • Bṛhatī: 4 padas (8+8+12+8) containing 36 syllables in each stanza
  • Sato-bṛhatī: 4 padas (12+8+12+8)
  • Upáriṣṭād-bṛhatī: 4 padas (8+8+8+12) containing 36 syllables in each stanza
  • Pańkti: 4 padas (sometimes 5 padas) containing 40 syllables in each stanza
  • Triṣṭubh: 4 padas of 11 syllables containing 44 syllabes in each stanza
  • Jagatī: 4 padas of 12 syllables containing 48 syllables in each stanza
  • Atyaṣṭi: 7 padas (12+12+8+8+8+12+8) containing 68 syllables in each stanza

Soul: Dreamer

This topic follows on from my commentary regarding active dreaming in deep sleep, whereby the experience of active dreaming is that which connects our consciousness to the transcendental void.

Vedic literature describes the traversal of the Soul (ātman) over the following conditions of being that correspond to the universal vibration of औं:

“A”: Wakeful (jāgrata) state (avasthā) – the intelligence is transformed by sattva-guna

“U”: Dreaming (svapna) state (avasthā) – the intelligence is transformed by rajo-guna

“M”: Deep sleep (suṣupti) state (avasthā) – the intelligence is transformed by tamo-guna

Silence: The fourth (turīya) state (avasthā), or the transcendental void, described in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad as pure awareness

Dreaming Vishnu

Why औं? Because औं is where the heart is.

Range is not of the ego, and form is not of the soul

Alan Finger’s aphorism “range is of the ego, form is of the soul” is clearly wrong.

My linguistic analysis follows:

range is of the ego,
form is of the soul

The “is of” expression implies a part-whole relationship.

Ego (ahaṃ-kāra)
Identity (sva-rūpa)
Form (rūpa or kāra)

The correct expression is:
Form (kārais of Ego (ahaṃ-kāra)
Form (rūpais of Identity (sva-rūpa)

Soul (ātma, also known as the puruṣa principle or the Absolute Truth or the upper range limit of the Self)
Range = Birth-Living-Death-Beyond

The correct expression is:
Living (jīvais of Living Soul (jīva-ātma)

“Range is of the soul”, so to speak.

Tired? Stressed? Do you dream about a burger?

It is good to dream, but is what you dream about any good? This topic follows on from my commentary regarding active dreaming in deep sleep, whereby the experience of active dreaming is that which connects our consciousness to the transcendental void.

(By the way, I dreamt about pizza this morning, and struggled to cope with the logic.)

Dream About Burger?

Later today, it struck me that people do not get fit to be healthy, when I noticed two blokes from Fitness First smoking cigarettes at Oporto.

The stakes for health are raised as you age past forty, I know.

The older you become, health maintenance is less about taking stuff, and more about eliminating anything that you don’t use or need. We need to cultivate the virtue of aparigṛha, as the Yoga Sūtra states.

Non-hoarding (aparigṛha)

If your mind is constantly consumed by thoughts of consumption, then maybe it is time for you to cleanse out the toxins from your body that are incessantly troubling your mind and exacerbating joint pain. Fast food and cigarettes deliver dangerous chemical pollutants and additives directly into our bodies where they can accumulate and remain indefinitely, creating an ideal environment for breeding harmful bacteria and parasites, which contribute to stress, decay, decomposition, cystic acne and hair loss.

Detox

Detoxification supplementation is the appropriate kriya cleansing practice in the fast food era. If you are tired, stressed, anxious, depressed, sleepy, nervous, then you probably need to purge some serious shit out of your system before that shit takes over and ruins your life. There is a war happening, people, and it is escalating inside our bodies…

Are you ready for it?

Nuclear Threat

Bring on your Yoga!