Eddie Stern, Sivaratri, the New Yorker and real estate

As you may have heard, Ashtanga Yoga New York / the Broome St. Temple are in the process of moving.

As a result, the temple’s final Sivaratri got the New Yorker coverage:

Stern is an expert in Ashtanga yoga, having trained with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, who developed the technique. He founded the Hindu temple, in his Manhattan yoga studio, in 2001, to create “a little slice of India,” he said. Since then, it has become an unlikely spiritual-pilgrimage site, attracting a mixture of Indians, downtown yoga ladies, and celebrities (Gwyneth Paltrow; Mike D, of the Beastie Boys; Julian Schnabel; Russell Brand). The evening’s Shivaratri ceremony was bittersweet: it would be the Temple’s last. The space had been sold to developers, who want to turn it into a hair salon. “It’s an emotional time,” Stern said. More than a hundred and fifty yogis had R.S.V.P.’d for the all-nighter, and he said they’d be drifting in and out.


The night marched on: more chanting, more offerings. By two-thirty, the room was full of yawns. By three-thirty, Dias looked wilted. “I’m struggling,” she said. Lobuglio slumped against a wall. At 4 A.M., there was a long bout of chanting: “Om namah Shivaya.” Throats grew sore. Bottoms felt numb. Even Stern seemed to be in a funk. “Real estate stresses me out,” he said, reflecting on the Temple’s relocation issues, during a chai break. (Madonna had sent her regrets at 12:46 A.M. “ ‘I just finished my rehearsal, and I’m totally exhausted,’ ” Stern said, reading her message. “I said we’d say a prayer for her.”)

It’s from the upcoming March 16 issue.

Posted by Steve

Thinking about Sivaratri

Tonight as the sun dips and the full moon lifts, Sivaratri begins.

For those who can’t wait, a livecast of the Sivaratri puja is happening in Varansi. Check it out, here. (Hat tip to both Eddie Stern and Robert Moses, and, yes, the last Namarupa Yatra and the one this October did / will stop at this all-powerful temple. Bring your passports!)

Here’s a little more to think about as you prep for tonight’s all-night event. First, from the Broome Street Temple Facebook page, in answer to the question: Why do we stay up all night?:

One symbolic reason for remaining awake all night can be viewed in the following manner: It is has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If we wish to achieve something that we see embodied perfectly in another, we may remain near that person, and try to gain the experience of their knowledge through imitating their modes of activity. For example, if I wish to learn how to play an instrument, I could remain with a master musician and follow his instructions, and imitate his methods of practice, until I could play as perfectly as he. Then, after that is achieved, my own unique potential can be fulfilled, as a result of being grounded in the ways of one who has already reached some type of mastery.

Check out the full temple schedule.

And a second thing (hat tip this time to Naren Schreiner) from the Lakshmanjoo Academy:

JOHN: “Notions of thought” means actual thoughts themselves or even thinking of . . . ?

ERNIE: Even the seeds.

SWAMIJI: No, all thoughts.

JOACHIM: Any thinking activity.

SWAMIJI: Things other than spirituality, other than Lord Śiva. Those thoughts also have ended and the ingoing breath and the out-coming breath, these also have stopped.

. . . where these have stopped and all those notions of mind have stopped, that is Śiva rātri, that supreme Śiva rātri. That unique Śiva rātri is glorified. There, that Śiva rātri is glorified,[which generally occurs on] the dark half of the phālguna month98. Śiva rātri you know?

JOHN: Śiva rātri is the night of Śiva that comes in . . .

Om Namah Siva.

Posted by Steve