Vasistha was a great sage and teacher to King Ram, one of the avatars of Vishnu. Ram’s purpose on earth was to restore the path of righteousness or dharma, which had become corrupted by negative influences.
While on some travels Ram became quite disillusioned at the state of the world, actually falling into a depression. His father, King Dasharatha, was worried about him and contacted Vasistha to see if he could help. Upon hearing Ram’s story Vasistha was actually pleased, because he felt that the disillusionment that Ram was experiencing was a precursor to the spiritual path: “One must first see the cracks in the ceiling before one can start to see the light shining through it”1.
Ram was skeptical that Vasistha would be able to help him as he was feeling so depressed and the world seemed so uninspiring now. Vasistha explained that this dull vision was meant to help Ram regain his clarity and that he simply needed some guidance now, which a good teacher could provide.
Just like Ram, many of us need to hit rock bottom before we can begin the journey back to the light. This transformation is part of our soul’s journey and helps us to see what we need in order to grow emotionally and spiritually. It gives us an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at what no longer serves our highest self and begin the sometimes painful process of letting go of that which no longer serves us.
I wrote the story of Vasistha today because it was very timely for me and perhaps others too. I have always been prone to bouts of depression but have typically been able to pull myself out with movement (yoga asana and running), with reading spiritual texts and refocusing myself. In the last several weeks I have experienced a more severe depression that I wasn’t able to pull out of in my usual ways. Oddly, I have spoken to or heard from several other people that have also been feeling unusually low either energetically or in their emotional state. I wonder if this doesn’t have something to do with the shift in consciousness that many spiritualists believe is occurring in our world. Whatever the cause, I do know that I am once again at a crossroads in my life and that I will figure out what I am meant to do next in order to continue on my path. Sometimes we need a bit of a jolt to get moving again, don’t we?1:Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya & Arjuna van der Kooij, page 123