Pattabhi’s Darshan

On the occasion of Pattabhi Jois’ 99th birth day, here’s the poem Einar Finstad wrote in January 2004 when traveling to Mysore:

Pattabhi’s Darshan

The Guru is the practice.
Not only his practice of long ago,
but yours and mine as well.

When he looks out across the shala floor
We are the body, his asana.
When something is not right
He feels it, goes to it
With compassion, nurture, admonition.

Pattabhi is no longer Pattabhi
When we practice asana before him.
He inhabits the asana itself.

As with samadhi where the self 
And the object of concentration
Become indistinguishable.
So it is with the asana we enact.

Have you felt it in that room?
The Guru’s being extends throughout
The movement, breath, life force.
The Guru inhabits the practice.

In earlier years he did asana
Until Pattabhi was no more,
Only asana remained.
It is the same asana that we do
In the morning, him among us.

Have you felt it?
When from across the room
Poor eyesight, dim lights and all,
“Feet together”, “head up”,
Spotting one out of the fifty.

He is the practice.

Or with the raw beginner,
The Guru is there 
With nurture and admonition.
A new limb to be trained 
And made strong for the dance.

When we enter that room 
We become as so many limbs.

Our asanas merge as one,
Like the dance of the many armed Shiva.

Our Guru is the head
And our hearts and breath
Beat out the rythm in this awesome dance.

Again, when we practice here,
Pattabhi disappears,
Only the Guru and the asana remain.



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