It's already been over a month in India and several very intense weeks of yoga teacher training with Dominique - an incredible amount of 'doing' and 'being' every day, from four hours of asana practice and an hour of pranayama and meditation to a 3 hour block on anatomy and philosophy - eight hours a day, six days a week. It's amazing, humbling...and it'll take much more than 6 weeks to absorb everything she is giving our way. Today is a break day, and I started the morning by picking up the Bhagavad Gita and opening it randomly. And I opened coincidentally to a page that we've discussed many times over the past month - Chapter 5, Verse 18 - translated by different sources in various ways, but essentially:
The wise men treat everybody as equals O Arjuna, whether it be a learned and cultured Brahman, a cow, an elephant, or a dog and an outcaste. He does not differentiate between anybody. (http://thegita.net/thegita-chapter-5-shloka-18/) or
The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]. (http://vedabase.net/bg/5/18/en)
Seeing people, animals, people who eat animals or don't eat animals - as equal beings, all deserving of dignity and life... Not exercising judgement over other beings or seeing another life as superior or inferior to your own. These are concepts that would seem simple but are so hard to put into practice. Less judgement of others seems like it fits in so well here - and is a theme I've also been grappling with over the past few months. I see myself judge others, I see others judging me, and so many of the ills, diseases, discriminatory and harmful practices in the world stem from judgement. Across cultures, across countries. Taking this verse and trying to remember and apply it to daily life seems like a powerful way to a kinder and healthier existence. For people, animals, our planet and beyond!