Perhaps a week before my yoga teacher training began, I happened upon the the video, above. Since then, I have learned more about the “M” in AUM (“ohm”), and have practiced Kirtan that invoked a God that is often known as the Destroyer. There’s a lot of destroying going on, for a relatively pleasant yoga practice that for the most part is life-affirming. I’m used to thinking that destruction is bad and scary.

And yet instead of recoiling in fear or dread, I’m coming around to the idea that destruction is a life-giving event. It’s not that hard of a concept to grasp, when I look at my garden. Things out there grow, bloom, wilt, and die (or at least appear to die), then it starts all over again, the next season.

Putting in into the context of my own life, however, is more of a challenge, but not so much because of the destruction part. Pattanaik says, “…Nothing lasts forever in India, not even death.” Raised Christian and yet skeptical, life is linear for me with a big unknown at the end. I’m optimistic and believe that what’s on the other side will be a different (possibly wildly so), lifetime. And maybe more than one. I have to be optimistic, in this life, in order to not live in dread. It works, for the most part.

The one thing that seems problematic with what Pattanaik says is the Indian perspective – of starting over in perpetuity – is that it seems utterly exhausting: there’s NO true end??? This is where Shiva the Destroyer comes in. With death comes an end, but not a permanent end; there will be a rebirth.

It’s a lovely way to look at it. Where you’ll end up, is unknown, but you do have some idea of what is in that world, having lived in in for awhile.

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