Hello everybody !!!

Almost exactly a year ago, on January 15th 2009 - actually, on the day an American pilot landed his airplane on the Hudson river and thus saved all his passengers - I filmed a very inspiring interview of Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Amma, the Acharya of Ananda Ashram and of the International Center for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) in Pondicherry.

The interview is part of a project on "Courage" and on the "Courage of Alternatives". Nowadays, in Europe at least, many people feel quite embarrassed to talk about courage or virtue. It may be because those who are "courageous" or "virtuous", usually do not really talk about it, and those who are not do not feel legitimate to do so. The appeal to courage and virtue may also be a little tricky as it can be understood as an appeal "to play the hero" and to close down to the realities of day to day life and to listening to others and to the situations we find ourselves in.

Virya is an important notion in Indian thought and in Yoga. This sanskrit word has the meaning of virtue and of courage and is probably at the root of English words like "virtue", "virile", "virility". In this little extract of the interview, Amma draws an amazing panorama of the scope of Virya. She shows its different levels, its relationship to spiritual growth and to the development of other skills. She highlights its inner and outer dimensions and reminds us that what may be courageous for one, may be foolish for someone else ... we can only see as far as our own perception goes ...

A lot more could be said on the richness of this interview. One important message is the need for a framework. As Amma points out, without a framework, without restraint, it may well be that "the hero becomes a zero, and the zero becomes a hero (...) That's what happens when there is no virtue, when there is no restraint, when the idea of heroic heroism gets divorced from the daily life, from the restraint that is necessary to live daily life in a dignified way."

A BIG thank you to Amma and a lot of good and virtuous inspirations and energies to all of you !!!

Christoph

(18.01.2010)

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