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Fables of Yoga for Grown-Ups


Yoga fables 'Yoga' means union, and some fairy tales and fables are about reaching a desired union, although rather seldom by straight means. So might, trickery, deceit and magic serve union-forming and thereby becoming a lord over many others - marrying an princess and getting much land to rule over by and by. Is that it?

The tales are referred to by their AT numbers, which are explained here: [Link]. Note that AT numbers have been superseded by ATU numbers since 2004, and that AT numbers and ATU numbers do not always match. In most cases they do, however. In the updated The Types of International Folktales there are resymés of the types of tales too. [Hi]. On this page you get either summaries of a few tales, and summaries that contain rather loose comments and idea associations.

Yoga fables - Twig

The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Crumbling Horn

A boy found a magic table cloth in the woods of deep mind inside. Not seeing any possible owner around but himself, he took it with him.

He came to a man who owned a yoga knapsack that would, on command, yield seven warriors. The boy traded the magic cloth for the knapsack, but he then called up the seven warriors, who stole back the cloth for him.

Next he came to a bad man who had a magic hat with the power of twelve cannons. He gave this man the magic cloth in return for the hat, but once again he re[dis]covered the cloth deep inside with the help of the British warriors from the knapsack.

A third man had a magic horn that would cause any fortification to crumble. As before, he traded the cloth for the horn, having his warriors take back the cloth. He then went to a sort of war, making peace only after the king agreed to give him his daughter in marriage.

His bride discovered the secret of the knapsack, and she turned its warriors against their former master. But he still had the horn, and he blew on it until the castle fell in, crushing the king and his wicked daughter to death. Then he was the gruesome king of Jericho, and no one dared to oppose him. AT 569. (#2.1)

OF TIBET Mercy or pity is largely outside the real "magic" or concerns of kings.

What Kind of Bird or Kingly Totem Can Be Stout Enough to Withstand Really Nasty Fellows, Such As Father-Sucking Devotees?

To determine which of three princes should become king, each was asked what kind of bird he would prefer to be.

The first told: "A gruesome hawk, for it looks like a knight."

The second said: "An eagle soaring in the sky; all other birds fear it."

The third said: "A starling, because it hardly injures anyone but lots of worms and so on."

The third prince was chosen to be the new king. AT 920B (#4.1)

Stop if you are lying, or take to lying for getting along. Also note that in the world of nature and many nations, the large or ferocious ones are hardly run over and ruined. Adamant alliance-forming and diplomacy may act for or against that, as the case may be.

A King Tried to Steal a Poor Man's Wife

It often happens. So the poor one had to be helped by magic. It nearly always falls later.

A wicked king desired a fisherman's pretty wife. Calling the poor man to the palace, he commanded him to produce twelve fierce lions or to forfeit his wife.

The wife gave her husband a seal, which he was to strike on a certain rock. He followed her instructions, and the twelve magic lions appeared.

The king gave him other difficult tasks as well, but the magic seal always rescued him.

Finally the king commanded him to capture the sister of the seven giants (chakras). The fisherman succeeded in this too, and on their return, the giantess killed the king.

Now the fisherman became king, and no one tried to take his pretty wife from him again.

Note: Many tales numbered 465 A, contain the motif of a man persecuted for his pretty wife. AT 465. (#1.2)

Suppose our natural urges work like weapons within. And instinctive adaptations might know better than the mind-conditioned and perhaps inflated self-esteem that many run along with. (Jungian thought) [cf. Jug]

The Quest for a Handsome Bride

The Ashlad observed three girls dressed like swans soar through the air and land. Taking off their feathers, they danced about the meadow. He silently took their feathery robes, and then told the girls that he would return them only if one of them would marry him. The youngest, Maid Leena, agreed.

Then the swan-girls disappeared into the air. The Ashlad made preparations for his wedding, but he soon learned that he would have to fetch his bride from a castle that was south of the sun, west of the moon and in the centre of the earth. Undaunted he set forth.

On the way he came into the possession of a hat that made him invisible, boots that would carry him a hundred miles with each step, and a knife that would kill any enemy. With the help of these magic items, the Ashlad found his bride and killed the witch. (AT 400). (#8.2)

Making a Stubborn Donkey Go

A man put a dime's worth of stinging salve on his donkey's tail to make it go. Then he had to get twenty cent's worth for himself, in order to catch his runaway donkey. Maybe you have to run later, if you take to artificial means. Be as frivolous as you can, without risking a bit. That could help. (AT 1682*)

Shorthand Thoughts

  • Hansel and Gretel. False friends bring no gate to reckon with a little later. (AT 327)
  • Hans-my-hedgehog. A naive boy first had to harden, not soften, to marry. The tale indicates how to adapt to win a kingly babe even if you are shy and inexperienced like a hedgehog. (AT 441)
  • The rabbit flock. A princess had to be united with some boy. You could get hoodwinked. Topdogs go for making servile fools of innocent people the world over. (AT 570).
  • The boy of visions, he who would not tell his wildest dreams. Handsome is as handsome does. Do not tell your dreams to unwelcome intruders. Dreams can reflect intimate id aspects, intimacy. Marry rich or well in time, if you can handle what comes on later. It may not be so bad. (AT 725)
  • The ardent, naive heart. Let no one steal your heart; especially not a shark. (AT 91)
  • The jackal steals a baby bird. Save your home, save your nest. (AT 56)
  • The midnight devil promises help, but reneges. In our days the large and hoodwinking society gets nearer and nearer to Big Brothel, and seems to have taken an inferior and downward route. (AT 821C)
  • The guilty comrade falls into hell. Swearing is hardly good for anything of value. That is part of what life has shown me. (AT 136)
  • The sorcerer's apprentice and the demon. It behoves a man to say the words that sends even a serviceful demon away. (AT 325*)
  • The girl transformed into an animal. A raven of Self-revelation set free once and for all, could mean a lot. (AT 401)
  • Quarreling vemently. In sound and good communication, bodily gestures have to take over after naive talk,when even symbols have been worn down. (AT 1365B.)
  • Killing the kind bird that saved your life. A king killed a falcon for saving his life. Realising things like that a little too late in dramatic moments, makes a great impression. (AT 178)
  • The ghost's son. To escape being swallowed by the earth, a man stabbed the local priest to death. He saved the church, the Icelandic congregation thought. (AT 764)
  • The girl who gave her hands to her brother. With cut-off hands she could still live much like dames at court still do - being waited on, and so on. (AT 706B)
  • The lore-loving Dancing Apple speaks up at last. There can be much hidden wickedness behind a family. It should be best not to rest until you have surmounted the obstacles engendered. (AT 707)
  • The lord above and the one below. By perfectly concentrated Meditation [sanyama] [on the sound and the object and the thought called up by a word], there comes an understanding of the sounds uttered by all beings (Yoga Sutras 3:17)." - "By perfectly concentrated Meditation [sanyama] on mind-images is gained the understanding of the thoughts of others (Ib. 3:19)." Get a good range if you can stay sonorous for it. (AT 1355A).
  • The cat husband. A girl discovered that by night the cat was a handsome prince. When she told her stepsister about the cat, the jealous stepsister killed the girl. - Not every fairy tale ends well, not every romance either. Sibling competition may get ruinous. Better take a walk. (AT 444D*)
  • Treasure at home. A pedlar who lived in Swaffham dreamt that good fortune would befall him at London Bridge. There a Londoner said to him: "You are a fool to take such a journey." Then he told the pedlar of a dream he himself had had, describing a treasure trove in Swaffham. From the description, the pedlar recognised his own orchand, rushed home and found values. The tallest treasures may be at home and of the home. (AT 1645)
  • The husband with a lock in his navel. The world below, is that the parts below the waist of any man or husband, in all simplicity? Being wed and kind to all sorts of aliens goes before being insulted (AT 425 L)
  • The boy and the devotedthieves. A band of thieves stole a cow (and devotion) from a cowherd (insecure boy). After finding out, he visited the robbers an carried away some of their outsmarted followers' wealth. (AT 1538)
  • Added: Tibetan mysticism. Tibetan lamas teach that man - or any other being - by his own thoughts and actions, creates affinities which, quite naturally, lead him to a kind of existence in keeping with the nature of these affinities. [Alexandra David-Neel, Magic and Mystery in Tibet]. The fruits of good thoughts, words and deeds are collectively known as merit. Merit may persist for a long time; stocks of it can be built up and expended . . . to ensure rebirth into a relatively pleasant situation; . . . to loosen [the world's] bonds and advance us towards Liberation. (. . .). Hence, you may be conscious of doing yourself a good turn. [John Blofeld, The Tantric Mysticism of Tibet].

Yoga fables - END MATTER

Yoga fables, LITERATURE  

Jug: Stevens, Anthony. Jung. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Ti: Uther, Hans-Jörg. The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Vols 1-3. FF Communications No. 284-86, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2004.

Ttm: Blofeld, John. The Tantric Mysticism of Tibet. Rev. and ed. by Allan R. Bomhard. Charleston: Charleston Buddhist Fellowship, 2002.


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