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Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II): - If while you are practicing and your thighs cannot handle any of the pressure or anytime life demands a great deal of you, maybe you should invoke the spirit of the great warrior for whom this pose is named.

Virabhadra

The Story….

Sati, Shiva’s first wife was the daughter of king Daksha. Sati’s family had not seen Shiva, and did not know much about him except from their trusted daughter’s words that he is the love of her life and the Lord of Universe “Jagadisha”. In Indian tradition, the groom goes to the brides house on horseback accompanied by his friends. Shiva however arrived in a very inappropriate form, with long hair, body covered with ashes, wreathed in snakes, and accompanied by a troop of ghosts and demons. Sati’s Family was appalled and wanted to cancel the wedding. Shiva, however decided to please Sati and re-represented himself in magnificent aspect, radiantly handsome, dressed in silk and gold, and accompanied with splendid courtiers. The marriage took place, but Dakhsa did not let go of the incident.

Short time later Daksha was planning for a magnificent Yagya “religious ceremony” at his court. However, Shiva and Sati did not receive an invitation. Shiva kept ensuring Sati that her father must have meant to send it but forgot, but she was not convinced, and found it very disrespectful, considering the fact that her husband is the Lord of the Universe and must be invited to such an important event. As the day of the ceremony had come, Shiva refused to attend, even though he felt bad for Sati, but could not push himself to do it. So Sati decided to go to understand the situation of her family. The Yagya was a mockery in itself; Daksha was offering nothing of value, only flaunting his wealth and power.

When Sati arrived to her Family’s house, it was quite obvious that she was not welcome anymore; she was insulted multiple times by her Father and his friends about her husband, her wedding and her taste in men. In addition, to the fact that the Lord of the Universe was not invited and mocked. The Veda tells us that in a true sacrifice, God is the offering, the one who offers, the recipient, the flames, the fuel, the ritual. This all became too much to bare for Sati, so with one swift movement she flung herself into the fire and was burned to ash, herself becoming the sacrifice.

Shiva heard what happened, and was overcome with grief and fury. His eyes stood out, his blood boiled, his hair stood on the end. In an ecstasy of rage, he tore a hair from his own head and flung it to the ground. The next moment, where the hair had been stood a warrior, the personification of Shiva’s emotions, red-faced and grunting with the lust of vengeance.

This was Virabhadra, the personification of righteous anger and the noble impulse to defend the innocent.

The warrior Virabhadra saluted Shiva, the flew to Kind Daksha’s Palace where he ripped and roared through the sacrifice, destroying everyone and everything in his path. He tore off Daksha’s head. As for Sati, she was reborn as Parvati, this time with a father who supported Shiva and her love for him. As for Daksha, Shiva forgave him and restored him to life, but he had to live with the head of a goat.

Virabhdadra is not simply a bloody warrior. Like Shiva, they destroy to save: Their real enemy is the ego. “By cutting off the head of the ego, Virabhadra help remind us to humble ourselves.”

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