Listening to one of Tara Brach’s podcasts, I heard her saysomething to the effect of, “for teachers, good stories are like gold”. She went on to say how she and her colleauges read and study trying to dig up the best stories for their classes. There is even a bit of lighthearted competition, to see who can find the best story first.
I also find my self diving into media both sacred and secular, attempting to glean something valuable, something I can sit with and savor, and something that I can share with my students.
I was thrilled to find “Wisdom’s Blossoms” in the used bookstore the other day. A lovely collection of short biorgraphies, it gives us a glimpse into the lives of many great saints, and yogis. We are treated to delightful portraits of pivotial movents that shaped our spiritual ancestors.
The authors took inspiration for this book from the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita itself is amazingly fantastic guide to yoga lifestyle and practice. A yoga teacher will probably want a couple of different translations, just to be able to look at it from different perspectives. Anyway, in Chapter 16, Krishna tells Arjuna that the devout and successful practitioner possesses certain qualities, such as “ Fearlessness, purity of heart, perserverance in aquiring knowledge and in practicing yoga, charity…Non-injury, truthfulness, freedom from wrath…radiance of character, forgiveness, patience…” (God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Paramahamsa Yogananda).
Krishna lists 26 qualities, and there are 26 corresponding stories in ‘Blossoms’. Milarepa’s life exlemplifies perserverence, and The Buddha teaches nonviolence. Jnaneshwar, a great saint who, coincidentally, penned an inspired translation of the Bhagavad Gita, offers a lesson in modesty. The Great Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, embodies fearlessness. In a very beautiful way, the authors include both men and women, and masters from many traditions. The book is structured so that we can enjoy a single story at a time, or devour the whole book at once. Its a really nice addition to my library, and it might be to yours, as well. Enjoy!