A long time ago and also right now in this very moment, every character in this story is unfolding within your own experience of life…
Forever enraptured with her beloved's infinite wisdom, Shakti asked Shiva to teach her the most sacred of the yogic teachings. Of course, Shiva accepted the invitation as he simply adores how the teachings of yoga always lull his beautiful Shakti into the deep state of peace.
As Shakti settled into her seat of honor on the banks of the Ocean of Consciousness, Shiva began to unfold the secrets of the Universe at a steady and passionate pace that went on for days and then weeks and then years. With his beloved Shakti in the deepest state of absorption, Shiva wove the Tantra with luminous ease. At some point, the knower of All that Is, observed a giant fish. It looked like the fish was also in a deep state of receptivity, which enamored Shiva’s pure delight even more!
And so he paused, took a deeply expansive breath and opened his awareness to the gift of being received. He then asked the fish how long he had been listening to the secrets he was sharing with Shakti. As the fish's mouth opened big and wide, a small boy of 12 years stood in reverence to his teacher Shiva and explained that long ago he had been tossed into the Ocean as his parents were told he would bring nothing but trouble. It was shortly after that, he climbed deep into the belly of the giant fish who brought him to settle into the infinite nourishing wisdom that Shiva shared.
Recognizing the adhikara (determined studentship) of this young Being, Shiva embraced the rejected one. He asked the boy to be the first hatha yoga teacher! He named him Matsyendra, The Lord of the Fishes and sent him on the path of great honor that would share the wisdom teachings. He called upon Matsyendra to embrace all parts of himself in order to fully embody the teachings of Tantra so that he could reverently transfer their power to those who would continue to do the same.
And so a lineage is born; the student became the teacher! However, as Matsyendra navigated the landscape of the material world, he began to notice that finding those who were as ardently dedicated as he wasn’t so easy. And then, one day he saw a small boy sitting with great resolve right in the center of a pile of dung. “Hmmm, now there’s a true yogi,” thought Matsyendra! An inquiry with a local villager informed Matsyendra that 12 years ago Matsyendra himself had given a young woman ash to ingest that would procure her a son. The woman saw the gift as an insult and threw the ash into a heap of dung.
Delighted beyond belief, Matsyendra acknowledged his first student of yoga! And so the lineage that was born from teacher to student now felt fully honored. At once, two powerful teachings were revealed to Matsyendra: 1) you are only as enlightened as your ability to share your experience with those who can hold the experience as sacred. 2) Your offering may be rejected by one to become the inspiration of another!
From here forward, Matsyendra and Gorakshana shared in the sacred and illuminating path of the hatha yoga practice. As time went by, however, another powerful teaching revealed itself to Matsyendra; the true gift of acknowledging that the student becomes the teacher’s teacher. As all beings who are empowered by the intrinsic freedom of the will to choose, Matsyendra grappled with his vices and made some unsavory choices. He was, however, un-waiveringly supported by his student Gorakshana who came to his aide in time of falter and lent his guidance and strength. It seems that Gorakshana never forgot the one who believed in him the most and readily extended his inner strength as the offering that was his to make.
Alas, the powerful teachings from this tale are yours to make! Honor your insights with great reverence and bow to all those who have seen your value. To your teacher's teachers and to how you choose to share your awakenings, I bow in gratitude.