This evening we have an interesting planetary event to witness. About an hour after sunset in the western sky we will see the waxing crescent moon nestled between Saturn and Mars, with the former underneath and the latter above. This conjunction happens in the Nakshatra called Chitra (the Pearl). It is represented by a single star known as Spica, located where the “hips of the maiden” lie in the constellation Virgo. Ancient Vedic seers considered this the residence of Vishwakarman, the Divine architect. Vishwakarman uses his knowledge of Maya to create new forms out of preexisting ones—an act that seems magical. The Moon, Mars, and Saturn create an interesting dynamic when placed in such close proximity to each other. Saturn is said to be the most astringent of planets and when it is close to the Moon is thought to “suck the juice out of it”. This aspect creates the dreaded Sade Sathi—seven and a half years of the “school of hard knocks” when Saturn irons out the defects of character and encourages us to become more spiritual, humble and pragmatic. This current transit will only last a couple of days—the Sade Sathi occurs when Saturn comes close (within a sign) of your natal moon position. The best treatment when Saturn begins to suck the juice out of the Moon is singing the Hanuman Chalisa. One of the obscure stories from the Ramayana tells of Hanuman finding Shani (Saturn) hanging upside down in a cave -- captured by Ravana, the demon king—strung up by his ankles with his face turned away from the opening so he was unable to cast his malefic glance at anyone and cause them misfortune. Hanuman, in his infinite compassion, cuts Shani down and releases him back into the world. The grateful Shani says to Hanuman, “Because of your great kindness I will spare all of your devotees my misfortune.”
Six and a half hours after its “Yoga” with Saturn, the Moon lines up with Mars. This combination can make us extremely irritable and willful, prone to flying off the handle, and very attached to getting our own way. If we can exercise some self-control we can use this energy to move us through some formidable barriers. It’s a great time to work on the Klesas—Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egotism), Raga (attachment), Dvesa (aversion), and Abhinivesa (clinging to form). Once again, the best thing we can do is to sing the Hanuman Chalisa. Hanuman is called “Sankata Mochana”—the dispeller of sorrow. He is the inspiring example of perfect Sadhana, the combination of Strength, Intelligence, and Devotion, and exemplary conduct. Tuesday is ruled by Mars and sacred to Lord Hanuman. If we can channel this fiery Martian energy into our Sadhana we will become more like Hanuman. Although Hanuman is endowed with many extraordinary abilities, a curse renders him unaware of them unless reminded by some one else. When we sing the Chalisa we remind Hanuman of his abilities, and he in turn reminds us of ours.
On Sunday August 19th at 7:46pm, Taj Eli Miller, my first Grandson and second Grandchild, was born. Mama, Baby Taj, and Papa are all doing well and looking forward to celebrating Papa Eli’s 30th birthday next Sunday.
On Saturday August 25th at the Ashtanga Yoga Center, my friend Naren Schreiner, director of Sangita Yoga—the Yoga of Music—will be performing a concert of Indian devotional and classical music at 7pm, accompanied by tabla player extraordinaire, Janzel. These guys are amazing musicians and bring a quality of sincerity and authenticity to their art that is rare in the world today—don’t miss this very special event!