Reincarnation tales from India

Reincarnation tales from India
Reincarnation is a subject that intrigues me hence when I came across this subject in a book that I recently had the good fortune to read, I thought I must share the accounts with like-minded people. The title is “Lancer at large” by F.  Yates-Brown published in 1936. Yates-Brown was an educated man born in 1886 and was a Cavalry officer stationed in Bareilly in India. He was very at home in India and even Yogis recognized in him a kindred spirit and he could go amongst them in places where other Englishmen cannot.
These tales of reincarnation were published by a well-known counsel of the High Court, Krishna Kekai Nandan Sahai, B.A., LL.B Town Hall, Bareilly.
Little Jagadish and his car
One day, out of the blue, the infant son of Mr. Sahai, named Jagadish, urged his father to procure a motor car at once. Mr. Sahai had never owned a car. On being questioned further, little Jagadish replied that he had a car of his own at the house of his father, Babuaji Pande in Benares. The boy was able to describe his house in Benares in great detail even to the extent of describing his mother’s pock-marked face and how his father and neighbors would watch the dancing of a prostitute named Bhagwatia, in their courtyard every evening. Also the boy claimed that Jai Gopal was his name and that his brother Jai Mangal died in suspicious circumstances.
Mr. Sahai sent a letter with all the details related by his son to the Chairman of the Municipal Board of Benares asking him to verify the details in his letter.  
The chairman replied that he had made all necessary enquiries and that the things told by the boy were true.
The father, Mr. Sahai, later took the boy to Babuaji’s house in Benares and the child recognised the house and raced around it like he had always lived there. His ‘mother’ was indeed pock-marked and a neighbour confirmed the evening dancing and even the name of the prostitute.
Bareilly is 320 miles from Benares. Jai Gopal died in Oct 1922 aged 10 and Jagadish was born on 4th March 1923 , 5 months later.
Wine, women and fish
Vishwa Nath, son of Babu Ram Ghulam was born on February 7th 1921 in Bareilly. When he was 3 years old he began to ask when he would be taken to Philibit (40 miles north east of Bareilly). He also stated the following:
1. That he was a Kayasth (a respectable class of merchants) by the name of Lakshmi Narian, nephew of Har Narian
2. He died at 20 years of age and was unmarried
3. That he was fond of wine, women and fish
4. That he had studied up to the sixth class in the government high school near a river, and knew Urdu,Hindi and English.
5. His neighbour’s house had a green gate and in whose courtyard nautch-parties were held.
The boy was taken to Pilibit and directly to the school by the river which was at once familiar to the boy. He ran up to the roof and pointed out the house he used to live. He also showed the investigators the classroom of class 6. This was confirmed by 2 school fellows of the time,
They asked him the name of their teacher. Vishwa Nath said that he was a fat bearded man which his comrades agreed was correct.
He was asked the embarrassing question; the name of the prostitute with whom he had associated with in his previous life and he reluctanty replied that she was called Padma which was also confirmed by his comrades.
The boy spotted a pair of drums and started to play on them with ease and eagerness, although his father declared that Vishwa Nath had never seen such instruments before.
A member of the Narian family brought out a photograph of Har Narian and his son. The boy immediately put his finger on the photograph and said ” Here is  Har Narian, and here I,”
Lakshmi Nath’s mother who had moved to another village came forth to question the boy.
Q:”Did you fly kites?”
A “Yes”
Q “ With whom did you fly them?”
A “Everybody but particularly with Sundar Lal our neighbour”
Q “Why did you throw my pickles away?”
A “I did not want you to eat worms”
Q “Who was your servant?”
A” Maikua, a short, dark Kahar. He was my favourite.”
Lakshmi Narian’s mother was overwhelmed that the boy before her was indeed her dead son reincarnated. How else could he have the answers to those questions .
She said that her son died on 15th Dec 1908 of fever and lung trouble. His disembodied soul must have waited 11years and 5 months for another body.
Naughty tortoises
In Aug 1922, a station master, his wife, nursemaid and small daughter called Hira Koer went on a pilgrimage to Muttra. At the sacred spot, the girl suddenly and unexpectedly struggled out of the arms of her nurse and ran towards a doorway at which an old lady was sitting. Hira Koer rushed into the house followed by the old lady and her mother. She was familiar with the house and recognized everything in it. She then begged her mother to go away declaring that she had found her real home. The mother and nurse dragged the child out of the house followed by the old lady. On the banks of the Jumna where they had gone to feed the tortoises with parched rice, Hira Koer cried out: ” You naughty tortoises! You drowned me last time, and now I believe you have come to do it again!”
Thereupon the old lady burst into tears, for her 12 year old son had been drowned at this spot 4 years ago.
The first two stories are very well authenticated and documented by local officials (investigators) who were present when the boys were taken to Benares and Pilibit respectively.
The reader must judge for himself whether or not he agrees with me that reincarnation is an open question.

The icing on the cake



Exactly a week after my 200 hr YTTC was my birthday; one of the big “0”s. To celebrate the beginning of a new century and having survived the 3 week gruelling course, my husband and I drove across the Malaysian peninsula to the East Coast to spend a few well-deserved halcyon days at a spa resort.
The resort was breathtakingly beautiful and our accommodation was a luxurious and spacious wooden Malay style bungalow facing the South China Sea. The spa or warong was just a stone’s throw away and the sea breezes wafted the scents of essential oils that engulfed our balcony with intoxicating sweet aroma. A huge scented frangipani provided a canopy over our open air bath tub. As we laid in it looking up, the flying squirrels in the tree entertained us with their acrobatic prowess.
At dawn the following day, I saluted the sun as it appeared above the horizon on a platform built under the casuarina trees on the beach. As if by magic, the hues changed on each inhalation as I looked up.
Later that day, the guest liaison manager approached me and asked if she could join me the following morning. Nothing escapes this young lady (Ms G) who had clearly spotted me amongst the trees. I was delighted at this request and asked her to spread the word that there will be a Yoga class at 7 am the following morning. What an opportunity for me to conduct my first Yoga class with students other than family members.
I was thrilled and could not hope for a better birthday present that came so unexpectedly. I spent an hour preparing my lesson plan.
The class was held by the infinity pool and one other guest joined us. Ms G apologised as she did not have time to approach many guests. But I was grateful for the class of 2!
The other lady who was from Australia, was a dedicated gym bunny and contemplating taking up Yoga as years on the treadmill had given her bad knees and the weights had bulked her muscles but her chest was concave. Her joints were very stiff so I extended my warm up by about 5 mins to loosen her up further. When it came to sun salutation, she struggled as her spine was inflexible. Whilst Ms G who was very flexible carried on with her 5 rounds of surya namaskar I concentrated on the gym bunny, breaking down the sequence and helping and aligning her in each pose. After the third round she was able to almost touch her heels on the ground in downward dog and I sensed that she was happy with her progress.
Interestingly, although she claimed her knees were giving way, she was able to cope with Baddha Konasana (butterfly pose) and Virabhadrasana 1 & 2 without too much difficulty and no pain was felt. There is hope there and how I wish we had more time!
I asked for feedback and they both felt that they had had a good work-out. Ms G said that my class was a good re-introduction for her as she had not practised for 6 months. They both enjoyed the sequence and the warm up exercises.
The Australian lady said that she appreciated the attention and encouragement given to her and just as she felt that she had had enough during the sun salutation, I came to align her and coaxed her further into the poses by reminding her to breathe. She also appreciated the calmness of my voice and the explanation of the benefits of the asanas. The breathing practice they both found useful.
Although there was no negative feedback, I felt that the feedback given was genuine and it was so fulfilling to see for myself how a stiff body can within a short time be gently eased into a pose with encouragement and working with the breath.
I am over the moon about this unexpected experience; indeed the icing on my birthday cake!

3 weeks & 2 kilos lighter


Why I went on the course?
Yoga was my saviour at the lowest point of my life and embarking on this 3 week intensive YTTC was a dedication to yoga and to myself for pulling through.
It brought focus into my life at a time when I was hanging on by a thread and my body was much weakened by chemotherapy. The attendance at Yoga classes was difficult in the cold wintry evenings and keeping my wig on was an added challenge. After a few lessons, I was so engrossed in my practice and my head was boiling hot that I threw caution to the wind, took my wig off, revealing my baldness to the world. That was most liberating!!
Ten years have gone by and long overdue, I would now like to teach Yogasana and spread the word about this ancient philosophy that I call the elixir of life.
In my opinion, introducing Yogasana to the not-so-young (40+++) would bring great rewards for me and hopefully my potential students; freeing creaking joints, coaxing stiff backs to bend and dissolving the cerebral cobwebs with pranayama. To further encourage attendance, my classes will be f.o.c
What I got out of the course?

  1. The most important lesson for me was the “breath” factor ; Consciously working with the breath in my asanas helped my practice tremendously. For the first few days I was exhausted after the classes but in the second and final weeks when I paid particular attention to the breath (Ujjayi breath) I was not exhausted but healthily weary.
  2. With correct breathing, cells and muscles had sufficient oxygen to prevent lactic acid build up thus recovery was much faster. ( this was evident when I did not have to resort to borrowing my 98 year-old mum’s U-tap machine in the second and final week)
  3. To my astonishment, my energy levels also increased . This could be the result of  PRANAYAMA

My resting heartbeat also improved from high 70s to just below 70 with my systole and diastole remaining constant. Could it be the kumbukha (retention) in pranayama?
Although I have never considered weight as an important measurement, I am happy to note that I had shed 2 kilos during the 3 weeks and lost ONE full inch off my waist. One inch may not seem very much but believe me the waist is quite a” stubborn” area to reduce.
I was very happy to have left behind anatomy and physiology (biology) in my school days. The textbook that came with the course was a good tool to cure my insomnia when it happened. But by the end of the course, I was marveling how my vital bodily functions work without any interference on my part and from now on deserve more of my respect. I have to say that master trainer Satya really brought these potentially ‘boring’ subjects to life. I am now on good terms with my intercostal muscles and diaphragm.
Marichyasana was for a long time the bane of my life and I was convinced that my short arms and fat tummy prevented me from binding. Could be the ONE inch off my waist that made the difference, but I can now ‘bind’! The secret is ‘technique with breath!’ and a lot of sweat and help from Adeline! (the ‘Tapas’ teacher!)’
Lastly, my neighbour Ju, who has not seen me for the three weeks is convinced that I have had a face lift in Singapore. I shall send her to Haji Lane!

YOGASANA – the elixir* of life

Yogasana is the ultimate workout
A wonderful elixir without a doubt
With deep breathing and own body weight
To increase circulation and oxygen intake
With the breath, pranic energy** is introduced
Penetrating the cells and fatigue is reduced
This vital energy is the source
For awakening the dormant spiritual force
All joints and muscles are challenged into action
Lubricating the joints and increase their flexion
The spine is coaxed to bend in all directions
To maintain its flexibility and increase retraction
With the twisting, bending and body resistance
The internal organs are reminded of their existence
Glands are encouraged to secrete and work properly
Normalising imbalances within the body
The practitioner becomes lithe and agile
The bones bear weight and become less fragile
The skin is nourished with increased blood flow
The whites of the eyes shine and glow
Each asana is carefully designed
With spiritual and physical benefits in mind
Postures are practised with purpose and precision
With proper alignment and correct positions
At times, the body may show some resistance
But the body is pliable so practise with persistence
Practise with Tapas*** and mindful concentration
The results will bring you great satisfaction
The standing poses strengthen and revitalise
The prone poses energise
The sitting poses are calming and soothing
The twists are cleansing and rejuvenating
The supine poses are restful and relaxing
The backbends are exhilarating
The balancing poses give a feeling of lightness
The inversions bring mental brightness
Yogasana removes tension and relieves pain
Invigorates the body and refreshes the brain
Sharpens the intellect and aids concentration
Stills the mind and steadies the emotions
Yogasana strengthens the body in every way
Improves the immune system and keeps diseases at bay
Promotes healthy sleep and aids recovery from illness
Creating a vigorous being with overall wellness
To term Yogasana an exercise is a gross insult
The elixir of life will give rewarding results
Get on the mat!! I do plead
How much more convincing do you need?
An original
By Val Adams
15th Sept 2010
* Elixir=supreme remedy
**Pranic energy= vital force or ‘chi’
*** Tapas =A burning effort which involves purification, self-discipline and austerity. “Light on Yoga” B.K.S. Iyengar

VAsavasana

SAVASANA
The mother of Asanas is the relaxation pose
I am fully alert although my eyes are closed
My body is relaxed and in total melt-down
Fully supported and in touch with the ground
Tensing and relaxing each part in turn
Melting away the muscle burn
The mind is relaxed and completely at ease
Enjoying the silence and feeling the peace
Breathe steadily and deeply to ease the tension
Allowing my chest its full expansion
This asana is about letting go
In total submission I go with the flow
As worry and fatigue drain away
A gentle euphoria fills the day
A wonderful tonic is SAVASANA
Surrendering to gravity without the drama
So comforting, forgiving and sheer bliss
Why can’t all asanas be like this?
That’s Yoga…….if you must
Saving the best till the very last
An original by
Val Adams

My faithful friends

My faithful friends

Everyone of us holds treasured thoughts and mental pictures of experiences and loved ones and no one can take that away from us. For me, one of the most treasured and joyful mental pictures is of my Leo getting out of his bed and immediately doing a perfect “downward dog” to release every muscle of his body, before he trotted off about his important business. Leo, my pet dog and faithful companion of 19 years ‘taught’ me the benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Yoga Asana).
This asana is my desert island pose and will forever have a place in my heart.
It has also become my faithful friend because I can rely on it to set me right.
It is an important pose that forms part of Surya Namaskar.(Sun Salutation)
Therapeutic Benefits of Downward Dog pose

  1. Restores, gives energy and removes fatigue
  2. Eases shoulder stiffness and relieves arthritic shoulder joints
  3. Enhances blood circulation
  4. Rejuvenates the brain cells and invigorates the brain
  5. Improves the functions of the digestive organs
  6. Slows the heartbeat as the diaphragm is lifted to the chest cavity.

Physical benefits of Downward Dog pose

  1. Stretches the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons
  2. Tones the abdominal muscles
  3. Strengthens the arms and shapes the legs
  4. Strengthens the Quadriceps and anterior tibialis
  5. Increase flexibility of the ankles


Technique (Getting into the pose)

  1. Begin in Balasana (Child’s pose) with arms extended in front.
  2. Rest the palms by the side of chest, fingers straight and pointing forward. Elbows close to the ribs
  3. Press down with hands and lift forearms away from the ground
  4. Externally rotate the shoulders and straighten elbows.
  5. Inhale and draw yourself up to your hands and knees, feet hip distance apart.
  6. Exhale and press hips back and up and lift the sitting bones
  7. Draw the stomach in towards the spine.
  8. Ensure feet are parallel and let head hang
  9. Press heels to the ground
  10. Align ears with the upper arms

Technique (Getting out of the pose)
Inhaling and lower the body down to the floor. Relax the arms by the side of the body back into Child pose
Tips:

  1. Keep the weight evenly on both arms and legs
  2. Hands must be firmly grounded
  3. From the diaphragm stretch the abdomen up and chest down
  4. Focus on the power of the thighs to hold this asana steady

Contraindications:
Sciatica, lower back problems, carpel tunnel syndrome
Persons suffering from high blood pressure can do this pose.
Val Adams

VAaspirant

My Doubting Self
My Yoga path has been a long one and I take heart in the Confucius saying “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop”. Lately, as the bonds and ties of work and earning a living fade into the far distance, the ‘calling’ seems louder and clearer.
Very mindful of my ignorance (avidya) at this stage as I document my thoughts and feelings, the path ahead seems quite long and arduous! However, there must be a reason for the ‘calling’!
The principal aim of Yoga is to seek the truth (self-realisation) and the path is ultimately to transcend the mind and intellect to reach the highest level called ‘Samadhi”. Samadhi is when the mind, senses and intellect cease to function and an individual is at one with Atman, the Absolute.’
For a budding sadhaka (spiritual aspirant), this concept is mind-blowing……. what?
No mind ,senses and intellect?
A torrent of questions came a-flooding, a mini tsunami was awakened in my head.
Does the loss of mind, senses and intellect mean that I can no longer enjoy

  • good food ?
  • the sea and the ozone-charged breezes?
  • the scent of my jasmine flowers?
  • the bliss experienced after my deep sleep?
  • travelling and savoring new experiences?
  • watching my plants grow?
  • the textures and colours of my quilts?
  • the love of man’s best friend?
  • The love and company of friends and family?

What if the Absolute (which cannot be defined) is not what the aspirant wants when he finally arrives? After all only the very few are privileged to attain this level i.e. the gunpowder students. How can the student know if this path is right for him?’
Life in this “unreal” universe doesn’t seem that bad at the moment from a personal perspective even though we are in the Kali Age. Vedanta philosophy states that Samadhi is the end of knowledge. But knowledge (at least in this universe) is king and gaining knowledge is exactly what I am doing. It is daunting to imagine that there could be a time when knowledge is no more and complete silence prevails. This peace has been described as unutterable joy and words fail to describe this blissful state.
A little voice tells me “Don’t go there! and perish the doubts and spiraling thoughts!! .The aspirant will have to trust his Sattvic teacher and draw upon his experiences and find the way himself. Confucius also said “What a superior man seeks is in himself, what the small man seeks is in others”.
I have been warned that aspirants will experience doubts and encounter obstacles and that these will hinder my path if not checked. For the moment, I shall heed this advice and discard and ignore these wondering doubts and continue on my sadhana marga (spiritual path) . I am hopefully, a ‘dry wood’ Sattvic student just waiting to be kindled!
Val Adams

My bus journey

My bus journey
I find bus journeys on the whole relaxing as the control of the speed of travelling and the time are in the hands of the driver. As opposed to driving yourself, one can enjoy the passing scenery, read a book or indeed meditate or contemplate the day’s events. Sometimes it can be educational to witness human behaviours and even gauge the current fashion scene.
On one such journey on the No 12 bus, except for the droning of the bus engine, I was ‘miles away’ reflecting on the lecture just before I got on; Patanjali’s 8 limbs.
Suddenly a high pitched desperate voice behind me pierced through the silence in the bus. Despite my repeated attempts to ‘shut’ it out, it got more frantic and louder. Unfortunately, the bits that penetrated me went like this…….
“Why TV on???” LOUD
“Have you finished your homework?” LOUD
“Why are you not doing your homework?” LOUDER
“Listen, if you don’t pass your exam I will kill you!!” LOUDEST
“You must study hard so later on you will get a good job” DESPERATE
“When I reach home and your homework not finished, I won’t
give you pocket money” DESPERATE
Obviously it was a mother ‘talking’ to a child. After I alighted with a sign of relief, it dawned on me that this experience although unpleasant provided good examples of Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas NOT IN ACTION.
This lady’s outburst resulted in the following:

  1. ‘Robbed’ her fellow passengers’ enjoyment of the bus journey. (Asteya)
  2. Wasted/stole her child’s time by keeping him/her on the phone for so long. (Asteya)
  3. Threatened her child with violence (Ahimsa)
  4. Used bribery with pocket money (Aparigraha)
  5. Parenting on the bus is hardly appropriate behaviour (Tapas)
  6. Told her child that a good job is the result of studying hard (??) (Satya)
  7. Apparent concern for her child has resulted in this outburst, no restraint(Brahmacharya)

Now, in my heart, I thank this lady for her timely illustration of what I had just learnt. An unpleasant experience has been turned around (“Dissolved”)
Val Adams

Bhujangasana: Almost Perfect

More commonly known as “cobra”, bhujangasana could come as close to a perfect pose as can be.
Lying on your stomach, keeping your feet together, you connect yourself with your body and bring your awareness to the flowing movement of the pose. Bringing your hands to each side, just below your shoulders, elbows upward, inhale and slide forward, elongating your arms, rolling your shoulders outward and lifting your chest upward, using your back muscles to get farther and further into the stretch, resting on your pelvis with your buttocks engaged. As you move into the pose, your awareness is focused on the smooth flow on the many parts of the body used to achieve the benefits.
Once into the pose, you have the ability to engage the energy of four chakras. Your anahata (heart) chakra is wide open, communicating a receptiveness to the world and its beauty. Bhujangasana also opens the basal swadhisthana (groin) chakra, bringing relief and bloodflow to the area while also opening up the manipura (navel) chakra, stimulating appetite and helping to allieve constipation. As you stretch your neck back and upward, your vishuddhi (throat) chakra is activated, enabling you to tap into the energy to discriminate between right and wrong, bringing a clear head to its practitioner.
Lower back pain is alleviated in this pose, as well as sciatica and constipation. Women feel the benefits in their uterus being stretched while the circulation is opened up. The spinal stretch helps to keep the spinal cord more flexible, and massages the liver and kidneys. What a great way to flush out toxins.
In addition to the physical and mental benefits, bhujangasana forces the practitioner to regulate their own breathing. Following the inhale is the exhale; the practitioner literally breathes life inward and exhales life while following the ballet of physical release.
Bhujangasana could quite possibly be the perfect asana.
Stay bendy, everyone!

When Garbha Pindasana Cannot Be Said or Done Without a Slur (or Hiccup)

It was a reunion of sorts. A Saturday girls’ night out in Club Street with my girlfriends after I’d spent a week away working in Hong Kong. After my self-proclaimed, “booze celibacy” (AKA the 200 hour training course), we were also celebrating the first night I could go out on a proper pisser since late June.
I was flattered that they had taken such a curious interest in my progression in the course. Week after week I’d entertain them with reports of what I’d learned that week, what poses I could accomplish, and a tally of how long I’d gone without booze. 
After a great dinner (which consisted of meat; I’d also taken a reprieve from flesh eating during the course), we headed to the neighborhood rooftop bar and continued our binge. Although earlier in the night they’d insisted I demonstrate the poses I’d learned, I’d sloughed it off.  Little did I know that they would not only remember this request, but would require proof that I was indeed in training for the past month and not just blowing off their invitations to meet them for drinks.
Not very yogic, I know.
With a confidence only gained at my fourth Glenlivet, I ceded their request.
“GarrrrbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaah”.
“What?”
“GarrrrbbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaah. You know, it’s like an embryo in the womb. It’s meant to CALMMM the MINNNND and bring EMOOOOSHUNNAL stability” (I was shouting at this point because I became unaware that my own volume might not have been louder than that produced by the speakers above our heads).
“In GarrrrbbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaaah, you also massage your abs and benefits digestion…”  I even went so far to begin explaining as I began demonstrating, removing my 3 inch red heels.
Step one: Sit in Lotus.
Step two: Slide your arms, one by one,  between the gaps found in your thigh and calf.
Step three: Fold up your elbows and bring your hands up, resting your chin in your palms.
At this point, I was getting applause from the table, though I knew I was not properly in the asana. After all, Garbha Pindasana is performed in the second half of the primary Ashtanga series, and I hadn’t warmed up properly for this.
“Bhutt WHHHHait, I’m not finnnnnishhedd.”
I began to attempt the nine rolls back and forth, however my arms, legs and everything flew akimbo as I was desperately flailing for balance. I’m thankful there were no cameras to capture this mess.
I’ve learned my lesson. Having respect for the practice is necessary for achieving the benefits. I clearly did not respect Garbha Pindasana, and I was not met with the rewards that this pose intends to provide.
Stay bendy, everyone.