Shree Pashupatinath – Respected Protector of Animals

The will of ahimsa (non-harming) and respect for all animals within yogic teaching/ancient origins/Hinduism is further highlighted by this phrase Shree Pashupatinath meaning Respected Protector of Animals. Pashu means organism, pati means protector and nath refers to Lord. We can endeavour to embody this protectorship of animals through our yoga practice and in our lives.

It may interest you to know that Shree Pashupatinath is revered throughout the Hindu world and especially in Nepal where Pashupatinath has National Deity status. In fact, there is a whole temple in his name that is one of the most important Hindu temple in Nepal – Pashupatinath Temple (only slightly damaged in the recent earthquake). It is a hugely unique (and for many, culturally shocking) place. It has a constant atmosphere of death (not a negative thing from the yoga perspective – indeed, in the words of Iyengar, the whole of life can be seen as a preparation for death) as many elderly Hindus flock there in the last weeks of their life in the belief that that shall be spared from returning as an animal regardless of any former wrong-doing and impact on karma (we hasten to add, that we don’t acutally defiantly believe this part – we don’t necessarily think it’s intrinsically undesirable to be an animal – we perceive animals as wonders of their own, although we remain open-minded). It is usual for visitors to even witness an open-air cremation, there are many rituals themed around death and an endless smell of cremated bodies, which apparently has an aroma of spices rather than decaying flesh! There are Sadhus also present – ascetic yogis who have given up everything in the pursuit of liberation and freedom from death/rebirth cycle and suffering – they have a very distinctive appearance!To top it all off, there are monkeys (not overly friendly ones supposedly) and deer wandering around the temple complex! Legend has it that a god came to the area and was so blown away by the beauty of the valley and forest that they morphed their self into a deer and entered the forest – they refused to return when later being found. See more here: http://www.pashupatinathtemple.org/

Oh the marvellous history, spirituality and animal-ness to be found 🙂

Image courtesy of xlquinhosilva, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of xlquinhosilva, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of Subkanto Debnath, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of Subkanto Debnath, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of momo, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of momo, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.

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