If you’ve attended an Indian wedding, you probably are aware of the elaborate rituals and ceremonies that can last for several hours or span into days! The rituals symbolize everlasting prosperity, happiness and peace in married life.
In a South-Indian wedding, after the fire ceremony, where the couple takes seven rounds around fire, the bride and groom head out to the open skies, to view the twin stars, namely Arundhathi-Vashistha nakshatra (star). These twin stars are a part of the Ursa Major (Great Bear/Big Dipper) constellation and can be spotted in the 2nd position from the tail of the Big Dipper.
The groom and bride are asked to spot the twin stars together. The fascinating story behind this playful star-gazing tradition is that as we look closely at these twin stars, we notice that instead of one star being static and the other revolving around it, both these stars circle around each other!
The stars are named after the ancient Indian Sage Vashistha and his beloved wife Arundhati -who was always by his side. Much like them, the newly married couple take a vow to be loyal to each other and experience unbound love. While promises of a happy and love filled life are made, what makes relationships flourish?
February reminds us to be grateful for the love and appreciation we share with our family and friends. However, many of us might find the celebrations trite or too commercialized. No matter how and when you choose to convey deep appreciation/love, it is the ultimately the thought that counts! Yoga philosophy pieces it all together. Practicing yoga off the yoga mat by using the tenets of yoga philosophy, we connect to our true nature-not influenced by other people or circumstances.
In the 1st chapter, 1:33 of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sage Patanjali expounds four methods or attitudes that can help us cultivate a peaceful and balanced mind. By adopting these four sublime attitudes, we gain the ability to navigate through the ups and downs of relationships with strength and equanimity.
The attitudes are maitri or friendliness, karuna or compassion, mudita or joy and upeksha or disregard (Swami Satchidananda). Similar concept of maitri, karuna, mudita and upkesha is also found in the Buddhist teachings of love (Thich Nhat Hanh).
Maitri-Sharing the happiness of people in our lives unconditionally, leaving behind jealousy, bitterness, contempt, disagreement or competition. This quality nurtures an attitude of friendliness or maitri.
Karuna-Showing compassion in times of trouble, when someone is unhappy/sad, understanding the circumstances and what the other person is going through, casting away judgements and comparisons, nurtures karuna or compassion.
Mudita-Being a part of a meritorious act, delighted by the good qualities and virtuousness of a person can help raise you to a joyous state of mind. Recognizing the noble qualities in a person can foster mudita or joyousness and strengthen the relationship.
Upeksha-If a person has evil tendencies or exhibits destructive behavior, adopting upeksha or disregard for that behavior can help restore peace of mind. Becoming mindful of the other person’s behavior, by forgiving shortcomings in ourselves as well as others, we learn to let go of our expectations from them. We act in a balanced way and master calmness in our mind.
Life can become a boundless source of love and inspiration when we develop a deep sense of understanding and compassion for each other. Often miscommunications and misunderstandings plague relationships. Cherish the love you feel, accept a person for what they are and not what you wish them to be and leave regrets behind.
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
— Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
Author : Deepti Gupta
All of us have a story to tell. Turning ideas into words and life's experiences into stories is empowering and fulfilling.