Follow the path of Hanuman — he is pure love, devotion, power, strength, generosity, dedication, dharana, kindness and humility, says LAURA PLUMB to PRITI AGRAWAL.I have always admired Hanuman, the monkey god in the Hindu epic of Ramayana. He symbolises complete and selfless devotion to his beloved Rama. He is empowered by his love for Rama and in a way, we can emulate Hanuman to be similarly empowered. Hanuman is the story of how to reconnect to your divine nature, and access the grace that is available to you.
The first mantra of the Ishavasya Upanishad, “Ishaavaasyam idam sarvam”, means the entire universe is His dwelling and is enveloped and covered by the Supreme Being. “Wake up in god; walk in god; talk in god; lie down in god…whatever you do is God’s work; whomsoever you meet, see God in the person; God is in everything and everything is in God!” recites Laura Plumb, an ayurvedic practitioner, and yoga teacher in San Diego, USA, who came to India to teach yoga at the International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh.
She enjoys the realm of silence and is fascinated by nature’s majesty. “Fortunately, life kicked me hard enough and induced me to go in search of teachers who would help me make sense of both my love of light and beauty, and the suffering I felt in the individualised human experience,” says Laura. Teachers, masters, sages, saints, people with heart from all walks of life, influenced and inspired her. She found herself leaning towards the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Paramhansa Yogananda, Anandamayi Ma, Swami Rama, don Miguel Ruiz, Rita Rivera, Vamadeva Shastri, Suhas Kshirsagar, T K V Desikachar, Maya Tiwari, Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.
She advocates the Hanuman Namaskar as a panacea for a whole lot of life’s conditions: Focus your mind on that light within, and breathe into that power. Feel your divine Self come alive. Use yourself as a fountain of energy and then channel this energy to others through devotion. “Give them an embodied experience of the divine and of humanity through service. With focus on mantra and breath, we flow through a series of poses that open and offer the heart, and offer our practice as embodied prayer. It is devotional, almost like a puja in motion. This practice takes people out of the head and makes them experience in their own cells, tissues and bones, the miracle of life, and the greatness of the heart. “Follow the path of Hanuman as he is pure love, devotion, power, strength, generosity, dedication, dharana, life and light force, kindness, and humility. Hanuman symbolises the power of mantra, the power of breath, and the power of prana. Hanuman is the power of surrender. Hanuman is ati balwan; he is so strong! As the son of Vayu, Hanuman represents the power of prana, and the power of a mind turned inward to the light of the heart. Act like Hanuman as you practise your yoga: wag your tail, breathe deep, embody your poses with power, remain single-pointed, stay strong, feel your devotional heart, offer your practice to something you believe in, and chant, letting the chant inform the breath and the breath guide your movements. The prayer is to the power of life, light and love within us, and within all. The mantra is Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Hanuman” says Laura.
Devotion And Dharana
Hanuman was a true devotee of Rama and his devotion evoked wonders. “Nowadays, everyone talks about the power of intent, effectively teaching the sixth limb of the Yoga Sutras, dharana. There is tremendous power in this and brings in clarity of mind and mental concentration. But Hanuman can teach us another greater power. When you combine dharana, the power of the mind, with devotion, the nectar of the heart, you can move mountains, leap across oceans, swallow the sun, and soar into great heights. That may not be literally true, but this is how it can make you feel — when you align yourself with the rhythm and power of the cosmos,” adds Laura.
Laura has a simple philosophy, for it is only with experimentation that you will learn the Truth. Rules are meant to be broken. So she doesn’t believe in celibacy as a rule. There are many sages who have been undone by their inability to live up to that commitment. On the other hand, there are great sages who were householders, married and not celibate. She says, “Celibacy is essential for directing all your energy to the divine, for one who is mature in practice.” All of us should ask ourselves a few questions: What is the best way to live your life? What way of living serves your highest good so that you can serve the highest good in all? “Be honest with yourself. Some people hide in celibacy. Others hide in sexual relations. Be honest about your own needs and capacity. Truth is the only way to lasting happiness. You live your life by discovering your own truth,” suggests Laura.