So I left off the last blog with my discovery that the goddess on my bright yellow shirt was not Tibetan afterall! This was a great disappointment to me since for a long time I have been enamored with Tibet, Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhism. I was being told by Tibetans however that she was probably Hindu.
One would think that I would be just as happy about that since I have been a longtime practitioner of yoga, have spent significant time in India and Nepal, and appreciate much about the Hindu culture. However, I was disappointed because this meant that I would have to search further.
Although a born seeker, when I returned to the US from Tibet, I let the search for the goddess’ identity go. It wasn’t on purpose. It just didn’t seem as pressing and I went back to my life as a preschool teacher and yoga teacher in New York City.
Two years later, after having moved out to California, I was on a New Year’s yoga retreat just north of Santa Barbara and of course, brought my favorite yoga tee (see the first blog)! In my room, I had the tee layed out on my bed, and one of my roomies, Lindsay, noticed it. She said, “that looks like Lakshmi.” “Lakshmi,” I thought. Who is Lakshmi?”
Although I had been studying yoga for more than 10 years and had always tried to understand the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses, they never really made sense to me. They never really stuck with me. They felt like a big mass of complicated information and layers of life that I was not ready to engage in.
“Who is Lakshmi?” I asked my roomie. “She is the Hindu goddess of abundance and prosperity,” she told me. “Hmmmm…are you sure that is who this is?” I asked, not wanting to be mixed up AGAIN. “You can ask some others, but that who she seems like to me.”
Later, on that same retreat, we were doing a special event where we picked a card that was meant to be significant for us and give us guidance. The cards were made up of various yoga teachings and terminology. I picked “Sarasvati.” Hmmm….another Hindu goddess. I did not know ANYTHING about her except that she was a Hindu goddess. I wondered what this guidance meant.
When we got back to the room that night, in typical roommate fashion, Lindsay asked what card I picked. I told her, “Sarasvati.” “Oh, that makes sense since she is the goddess of the arts and is particularly known for her connection to music,” she said. Here I was a yogi, a singer and a songwriter and had no clue about Sarasvati!
On that special New Year’s yoga retreat Lindsay opened me up to two goddesses:
– Sarasvati, Goddess of the Arts and Music, and
– Lakshmi, Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity
I felt that it was very important for me to be introduced to these two goddesses, but did not know at that moment the bigger role they would eventually play.
Have you come across goddesses on your path and had some deep connection that you did not really understand at first or that you are still trying to understand?
I’d love to hear your stories!
I look forward to hearing from you.