Yoga Mythology - Moheni's Dance
So our demon friend finds himself a comfy spot under a beautiful tree and he begins to pray “Om Nama Shivaya”.
He prays and he prays with total dedication. Breaths turn to minutes, minutes to hours and hours to days. Days turned years and he became at peace with his environment, the demon became one with the tree that he was sitting under.
The King of the Yogis was impressed. The demon’s dedication to the worship of Shiva was commendable and on a ray of light Shiva appeared before the demon to grant him his wish.
The demon's peace was destroyed and he remembered his lust for power. “I want to be immortal” demanded the demon, to which Shiva shook his head. “That my friend is against the Laws of Nature. Everything that is born must die.”
The demon was frustrated with the answer and blasted out “Well then I want the power to incinerate anybody who’s head I touch”.
Shiva, regretting his decision slightly, the asked “ Are you sure?”
“YES!!!” yelled the demon “ I WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL blah blah blah we’ve all seen the text book villain.
Shiva grants the wish and the demon feels the burning sensation running through his blood. “YES!!! and now I will test my power Shiva, and I will test it on YOU!!!”
The demon lurched out with a hand but yogi King was quick on his feet and started running as fast as his legs would take him. With a maniac laugh the demon began his chase. Shiva rolls his eyes and mutters “Oh Vishnu please help me” under his breath.
Luckily for Shiva, the demon was not the fastest or the fittest and he quickly ran out of breath. As he leaned against a tree to recover he heard the most beautiful voice singing. He began to follow the heavenly sounds and in a clearing just past some bushes he discovered the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and she was dancing. The dance is complex and her body twists and turns like a tornado.
His eyes begin to weep at her beauty, he stumbles into the clearing and falls at her feet. “My Darling” he says “I love you. You are the embodiment of beauty and grace and you must be my wife. Please be my Queen.”
The woman laughs “Of course” she replies “You are handsome, strong and powerful and if you love me you will make a good husband BUT you must be able to dance with me. I can only marry the One who can dance my dance.”
The demon’s heart broke “But my Love, I cannot dance”
“Don’t worry, I will teach you.”
And they begin Mohini’s Dance. They lock eyes and he follows her every move, step by step, gesture by gesture. The dance becomes like a mantra, pulsing and vibrating to climax where their hands meet above their heads in Anjali mudra, the prayer. And when they lowered their hands to rest between the eyes, the demon burst into flame and fell to ash. His dark gift is his own undoing.
As the ash began to settle on the ground, the beautiful dancer changed her form and revealed her true form as the god Vishnu. Shiva who had been watching the whole scene from behind a bush emerged and thanked his compatriot for his swift and deceptive tactics.
The lesson we extrapolate from this tale is - be mindful about what you wish for, moderate your passions and sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.