EMBRACING THE WILD BEASTS OF THE MIND excerpt from A Brief History of Yoga, by Ramesh Bjonnes
Offered by the Prama Institute
During my monastic training in India the 1980s, I became intimately familiar with Pashupati—the Lord of the Beasts. It happened while I spent time alone as a sadhu, meditating and begging for my food near Pashupatinat, a Shiva temple located in the small town of Deopatan, to the east of Kathmandu.
This ancient temple is a major destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over India and Nepal. It is situated to the south of a gorge carved out by the Bagmati River. Pashupatinat, often crowded by both pious pilgrims and wild monkeys, resides by the river, above the sacred funeral ghats where the dead are cremated daily on top of large piles of burning wood.
Snaking along the Pashupatinat temple walls, the Bagmati is considered as sacred as the Ganges itself. For Hindus, to bathe at Pashupatinat on particular phases of the moon is to ensure a place in Shiva’s Paradise, Kailash. For Tantric yogis, however, all rivers and places are sacred, and Shiva’s Paradise is to be realized within each yogi’s own heart, not in some distant place in the afterlife or at a sacred site.
Photo Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger