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RESERVATIONS Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. 
– COLLECTION YOGA TERMS

King Manu and the Flood

In the old Indian story of the great flood, Manu looks like Noah in some respects, and like Adam in others. The tale:

  Manu was warned by a fish he had been kind to, that a flood would destroy the whole of humanity. So he built a boat as the fish advised. When the flood came, he tied his boat to the fish's horn and was safely steered to a resting place on a mountaintop. When the flood receded, Manu was the sole human survivor. He then performed a sacrifice: He poured butter and sour milk into the waters. After a year a woman was born from the waters. She announced herself as "the daughter of Manu." These two then became the ancestors of a new human race that filled the earth.

Another version runs like this:

Once King Manu washed his hands in a river when a little fish appeared. The little fish asked the king to save it, and kept growing bigger and bigger. It also informed the King of a huge flood which would come soon. The king builds a huge boat, which houses his family, nine types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth.

This story is similar to other deluge stories in ancient Sumerian mythology which preceded the story of Noah's ark.

The Serious Nix

howdy ONCE A NIX in the guise of a deer carried away the firestone of a pious anchorite. The man began to lament, "How shall I now light a fire?"

He approached five bold warriors for help. They pursued the deer but could not catch it, so it was not an ordinary deer. Exhausted and miserable, they sat under an oak tree and bewailed their fate: "So helpless and weak have we become that we cannot even render a small service to a devout man in the forest."

One of them said: "Yes, it's true."

And the great archer among them nodded too and added: "Have you thought that maybe we deserved this fate?"

Now Serious felt a great thirst, and asked his brother Big Boy to climb a tree to see whether a river or a pond was close by. Big Boy saw cranes and water plants in a not too great distance, so he went to fetch water. When he reached the pond, he at once lay down to drink. No sooner had he dipped his hand into the water than he heard a voice:

"Don't hurry! This pond is mine. First answer my questions, then you may drink!"

Big Boy's thirst was too strong, he drank at once; immediately he dropped down lifeless. When Big Boy didn't return for a long time, Serious sent Good Water to fetch water. He met with the same fate as Big Boy. Great Archer and Drummer, sent after Good Water, also didn't return.

Finally, Serious had to go by himself. Seeing his four brothers dead beside the water, he began to lament: "Is this the end of the story? Truly forsaken? How sad I feel, all of a sudden!"

While grieving, he stepped into the pond to drink. The voice was heard again: "Your brothers died because they wouldn't listen to me. First give an answer to my questions, then drink, for this pond is mine!"

Serious asked for the questions, and the hidden nix said: "What makes the sun shine each day?"

Serious replied: "It's the full power of wisdom."

"What saves a man from every danger?"

"Courage hardly saves a man from all dangers!"

"What science makes a man wise?"

"Not any science but living in the company of sages makes one wise!"

"Who is a more noble protector than the earth?"

"The mother who brings up her children well can be that."

"Who is higher than heaven?"

"They say the father."

"Who is swifter than wind?"

"Well, the mind!"

"More miserable than a straw blown about the wind?"

"It could be a little cat taken through the air by a very violent hurricane."

"Not thinking of the hurricane-riding cat, who is the traveller's friend?"

"Astute wisdom and perhaps willingness to learn!"

"Who is the husband's friend?"

"It could be a good wife, as few things amount to that."

"Who is man's companion in death?"

"Sins and recognised, righteous deals could accompany a man on his soul journey after death!"

"What's happiness?"

"It's what you feel inside after years of fine and decent conduct, hopefully."

"What makes a man popular by abandoning it?"

"Pride and a good gun."

"Which loss brings joy and not mourning?"

"Ouch! Loss of contact with bad guys is a must here."

"What makes a person rich if he loses it?"

"Wisdom - Through some confusion not a few get celebrated and rich to their later ruin!"

"What makes a man a knower of Gnosis? Is it birth, good conduct, or learning? Answer rightly!"

"Birth and solid learning don't make a man a knower of Gnosis, only the right conduct for it does, somehow. And if he has bad habits they should speak of his level as well."

"Which is the most surprising thing in this world?"

"This world. Every day people that remain behind in it behave as if they were going to live forever. This is also a lot surprising to noble men."

In this way the nix asked many questions and Serious replied to them. In the end, the nix addressed him thus: "Yes, you know much, and there is much to heed on the other side as well. But now, one of your brothers will return to life. Which one do you want?"

Serious thought for a while and then said:

"May Big Boy, with good eyes, broad shoulders and long arms return to life. He lies right here like a felled oak tree."

The nix asked: "Why prefer Big Boy to Drummer, who has the strength of 18 000 weasels? I've heard that Drummer is your favourite! And why not Great Archer, whose skill with weapons forms great protection for you too?"

Serious replied: "Strict conduct is fit protection of man, not drumming, clubbing and shooting at all times. In many cases, if strict, good and decent conduct is violated, man will be killed. The mother of Big Boy has none else to care for her in old age and give her grandchildren, but the mothers of the rest of us do - these things count a lot to me. So let that one be returned to life!"

The nix liked Serious's sense of justice and returned all his brothers to life. He had taken on the form of a deer to test his namesake Serious. Now he embraced and blessed him fervently: "You may be terse. Yes, it will be brought to a happy end!"

[Adapted from the Mahabharata. Cf. Sf 64-66]

The puffing tale-teller

Rembrandt. Self-Portrait. 1667. Detail.
At times the question is who is the biggest troll and liar around. [See all]

YOU MAY have met the elderly man who thinks a lot and gets entertained now and then. One could say he takes time to examine old records while he pours lessons handed over. This tale-teller said on his porch one sunny afternoon:

Getting aware of the Soap Opera

"I figure you have heard I am a cosmic avatar. By that we mean "found inside the cosmos and packed with elements of the cosmic 'fabric' - sort of" and maybe something else. Elements are cosmic - of the cosmos too.

"By 'avatar' I mean someone who descends from higher up, such as from the Glittertind mountain areas. I have to concede I am one of those.

On coming down from a mountain trek (cf Sanskrit 'avatar' = step down") one can be marked by inner freedom and frivolity and a healthy appetite after the mountain trek, climbing or not. In such a case we have nearly a Norwegian ovetar, "one who eats a lot". It is written almost as the Sanskrit avatar. An avatar of this sort may reveal more zest for living, and it may last for a long time.

Maybe a few gurus mean something else by cosmic avatar than this, but here you have the fit understanding if you read between the lines (deal with metaphors). Then you find, perhaps, I am one of the enlightened ones from Western Norway, where a lot of people still are thankful for electricity and the super-natural enlightenment it gives.

Enlightened from electricity and all sorts of electric bulbs - this fits somehow, one way or the other. And now to something else:

God at the North Pole

The 'guru saviour' Paramahansa Yogananda from India once said,

quote "God is ... in the coldest .. regions ... He is at the North Pole". [Paramahansa Yogananda, in Ak 337]

Man ... absorbs through his hair electric currents helpful to the body." [Long-haired Paramahansa Yogananda, in Ak 252]

"You are already enlightened, but you don't know it." [Paramahansa Yogananda. In another place, however, he defines self-realization as knowing one is enlightened.]

"There is no other savior than your Self." [Paramahansa Yogananda, in Ak 9]

Drawing by Erik Werenskiold. Section
Three trolls sharing a single eye . . .
Read the story
The gross and hairy trolls of folklore and artists may not be able to absorb that much energy through their hairs.

Hair conducts electricity poorly. Experiments shows so, and this holds good for hair with high moisture too. [▾Hairfacts]

It ties in with Yogananda's view that God is around the Jotunheimen mountain range that runs along Western Norway too, with its slopes, peaks, glaciers, gorges and lush valleys. You could even find a cave or stave church too, nearby. In Norse mythology, the Jotunheimen is also a home of giants.

As for troll enlightenment, when a lad picked up the single eye that three trolls shared among them, it "was bigger than two quart pots put together, and so clear and bright, that though it was pitch dark, everything was as clear as day as soon as he looked through it." [The Norwegian tale]

Samson's Hair

Let me tell you of a certain fellow from the Old Testament in the words of Yogananda. It is purported that his story is true:

quote "Some yogis do not cut their hair but keep it long, to draw from the ether a greater quantity of cosmic rays.

The reason for Samson's having lost his superhuman strength when his hair was shorn by Delilah may well be that he had practiced certain yogic exercises . . ." [Long-haired Paramahansa Yogananda and an SRF editor, Ak 252 n.

"It may well be . . ." this and that - However, seek to think "Speculation: overruled" in the face of unverified and biased claims, and things could go better for you after some time.

As for the "ether" in physics, this "rarefied element formerly believed to fill the upper regions of space" in the 1800s was believed to be a "universal substance to act as the medium for transmission of electromagnetic waves (eg, light and X rays) much as sound waves are transmitted by elastic media such as air." Simplified, "a medium that in the wave theory of light permeates all space and transmits transverse waves". Einstein's special theory of relativity in 1905 buried the ether hypothesis as being unnecessary. [Ebu, "ether", et. al.]

Some words, like 'ether', could hook and catch physicists of former centuries and beginners to the degree that there is something within them which resonates to the "tunes" played, or they think as a conform lot, think as decreed by prominent ones they formally look up to somehow.

Are we onto something here?

The Mirage Consciousness that Some Call Christ Consciousness

The state that the guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) often calls Christ consciousness, can just as well be called the Soap Opera state. In that state everything is said to be unreal - much like a soap opera you see on some screen. Now, if Christ Consciousness is like a mirage, just as the guru tells, it cannot be much worth. A mirage is not substantial, and what is not substantial hardly has intrinsic value. You should rise above the soap opera.

The great-looking New Age Christs that pop ut to tell us how great their gurus are or were, maybe there is something alarmingly wrong inside some of them. You never know.

We are called actors - but how few act full well. Some act as saviours. Actors should neither be taken in by surface aims nor surface plumage."

Cruel indifference comes like a flood that seldom returns

sun THE TALE-TELLER went on,

"A Harding [(a) a tough guy; (b) someone from the Hardanger district in Western Norway; (c) it could be both] once said to me,

"How does a capable man come to cosmic indifference - in other words Jotunheim anger?"

Then he wanted to illustrate how by a tale he told about a man and a wife near Bergen. One day the woman said to her husband, a professor,

"Oh-oh, I'm so anxious about my brother. He has been thinking of leaving his wife and has been busy preparing for a single life, seeking to get free from many old carnal desires and wants."

The husband replied:

"Don't be so anxious about your brother. He'll never become a Jotunheim giant anyway. None can become a Norse giant the way he does."

"How does one forsake wife and common luxury-loving living then?" asked the wife.

"Like this," snarled the husband, tore his suit to pieces, took a map and strolled towards the Jotunheimen mountain range. The family never heard from him again, and was splendidly enlightened by what he now showed them all.

The tale-teller, airily, "That was the juvenile-looking, first Cosmic Harding." [Retold. Cf. Tas 139]

He added another alarming tale from the vaults of his memory:

Cosmic Avatar in a Castle of Ice

Rembrandt. Head of a Laughing Man. 1628. Detail. The painting was at one time wrongly thought to be a self-portrait.
Fixed eyes could be made use of . . . [See all]

DEEP INSIDE a castle of ice the giant Viking spoke up to his friends. His fixed eyes revealed he was one of the Harding avatars and master of the discourse:

"I speak figuratively as I will and have my reasons for it. Well, I was a way-farer. In a twin cave I was not fully enlightened, as I looked like a layman.

"Let all doubts melt away: Tame little, and frivolity returns - at a price. What is true, can often be made use of. What is true and useful as well, could help things to get done, eventually. There is that hope.

"Pester little, and sweep in front of your own door. To know the animals should fairly often help us to adjust maturer and simpler. To have a good day, we have to live a lot like animals in their heydays, for that's how the conditions are in general."

The Harding went on after a little pause,

"Follow up, then stay as judicious as you can. If you find yourself tired of eating, next you may find yourself tired of coping. If tired of coping, life in general could become tired of you, unless you're bulwarked like a bear in his favourite cave."

Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. 
– COLLECTION
Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. - END MATTER

Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc., LITERATURE  

Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.

Ebu: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009.

Sf: Klostermaier, Klaus K. A Survey of Hinduism. 3rd ed. Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press, 2007.

Tas: Ramakrishna. Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Madras: Ramakrishna Math, 1974.

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