Discovering Self through The Mahabharata
Mahabharata Immersion Lab - April 2017
The Mahabharata Immersion Lab earlier this year was a great success. We are now ready to start preparations for the next one. Please find details regarding the lab brochure here: http://goo.gl/9sxpzK
Last date for registrations : September 30th, 2017
Preparatory work starts from October onwards.
Please contact Mr. Naveen Vasudevan for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahabharata Immersion Lab - July 2017
On popular demand, we are offering another Mahabharata Immersion Lab this year from July 2-8th. More details about it can be found in the brochure here: https://goo.gl/9rXqYo
Deadline for registration: March 15th.
The one-day Mahabharata Exploration was held in New Delhi on April 19, 2016. The Mahabharata has everything- stories through which we can discover our own narrative, daivic archetypes through which we can sense our own heroic potentials, asuric archetypes through which we can look into our abyss; psychodramas through which we can explore our dilemmas; and in the midst of all this the Bhagavad Gita through which we explore a meditative location from which to do our own samudra manthan.
Our intention for each participant to discover a little something of himself/herself and to take home something that they hadn’t seen before.
The day began with an asana and pranayama practice, an important preparation for listening, reflecting, and dialogue-ing through the day. The session began with a check-in with everyone in the group, understanding what had brought them to the workshop. Most people had grown up listening to the stories of the Mahabharata in their homes, and were excited at the prospect of exploring the characters and the undercurrents and crescendos of the stories. In Indian culture, it is interesting to note, many of us have already internalized and related to the people in the Mahabharata.
We discussed what a "Purana" is, why we should study the Puranas, the difference between the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and then went on to explore the archetypes presented by 4 of the Pandavas - Yudhithira, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva. Arjuna was yet to come. The participants were presented the archetype characteristics and they chose the one they resonated with the most and divided themselves into 4 groups. Each groups discussed these characteristics amongst themselves and then a larger discussion with the whole group happened where the archetypes/characters were finally revealed.
Due to the reflective nature of the Mahabharata and the process employed in the workshop, what emerged brilliantly was that everyone began to see themselves - their own propensities and vulnerabilities - more visibly. Along with this, each person also began to recognize the propensities of someone close to him or her and the dynamics of that relationship began to unravel into better understanding. It was a remarkably spontaneous process and many "aha" moments popped in the room.
Through the day, in each session, a new layer was added - Arjuna and his dharam sankata (dilemma), Draupadi as the central aspiration of the story, Karna and his quest for validity, and Krishna as the meditative space for wisdom - each layer an offering towards contemplation on moving from “Kuruksetra" towards "Dharmaksetra.
The 1-day exploration was an experiment of sorts. Given the enormity of the story, we were not sure what the participants would take away and how deep the impact would be. But in the end, the workshop had triggered a thought process that continued to hum in the background through the next few weeks inspiring conversations around it at home, at work, and with friends and family. Very clearly, appetites had been whet and everyone was eager for more.
Philosophy and Pragmatics of Yoga
The "Philosophy and Pragmatics of Yoga" learning dialogue happened from April 15-18th. This is the second time we were co-hosting this with the Deer Park Institute and it will most likely be a regular annual event from now. There were about 30 participants from at least 10 different countries and from a wide diversity of backgrounds and professions. There were musicians, martial artists, psychologists, activists, students, engineers etc. Many of them were serious practitioners of Buddhism, with a keen interest in engaging with the Yoga Sutras.
The dialogues were largely focused on providing a basic but rigorous introduction to Sankhya philosophy and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, on which the praxis of Yoga rests. The sessions alternated between expositions on the theory and dialogues based on it, and individual and small group self-reflective exercises on how it applied to our everyday lives. Raghu's presentation of the sutras and patient responses to a wide-range of questions was deeply enriching. Being at the confluence of many decades of serious study and practice of Yoga, Process work, and Human/Leadership development makes his a unique and very important perspective. His endeavour to share his insights and understanding in a dialogic and non-didactic fashion is also quite inspiring and helps facilitate an authentic engagement with the tradition, if one is ready for it.
Personally I found the Yoga Sutras quite profound and filled with deep wisdom, much needed for our crisis ridden times. If the little one understood could be so refreshing, a more deeper and diligent practice would only be far more empowering. No doubt many major teachers/traditions from Buddha to Gandhi seem to have been inspired by the praxis of Yoga and based their teachings on some of its core principles. There is much to reclaim of our own indigenous wisdom and reintegrate it in our lives, and as a thought-colonised Indian the gap between my current worldview and way of life and that espoused by the darshana is becoming painfully clear. I am grateful to Raghu, Deer Park and fellow participants for this opportunity.
The extraordinary beauty of Bir valley, the majestic snow capped Dhauladhars, fiery sunsets, the many monasteries around along with the wheat fields, quaint villages and tea gardens all made it an extraordinary setting for the study of oneself. I would heartily invite others to join us on these explorations in the future.
The Mahabharata Immersion (MI) is intended to enable the participant to engage with inner work. The design of the programme will enable the participant to engage with the Purana from an “inside-out” location, enliven the archetypes and enact the primal drama that occurs at the various turning points in the saga. One wears the mask of the Heroes, and in playing out the archetypal drama, views oneself in the mirror of the emerging “here and now re-play” of the eternal motifs of life and of relationships with significant others.
(*Recently concluded retreat)
East Coast Road, Muttukadu,
Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu 603118
DakshinaChitra is a museum in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu dedicated to South Indian heritage and culture. It is located 25 kilometres to the south of Chennai.