Kapilasana  - the posture of Kapila

Most often when we think of Kapila, we think of the founder of the Samkhya system philosophy.

However, the name Kapila appears in many texts prior to the conception of Samkhya. Kapila is even mentioned as one Vishnu’s names.

There is a story in the Brahma Purana where King Sagara commands his 60,000 sons to go searching for his sacrificial horse that he believes was stolen, as he can not complete the vedic ritual without it. The sons track the horse to a great chasm in the earth, and as they begin digging down they see the horse along with a magnificent man seated in meditation (or possibly sleeping) near by.  

In some versions, this great being is the god Vishnu himself, who is said to be resting in the “form of Kapila,” and in another version it is the ancient rishi Kapila meditating.

In both accounts, the horde of sons make a loud disturbance and come rushing towards this serene figure, awakening him from his deep state of absorption. As Kapila, or Vishnu as it may be, lifts his eye to gaze upon the motley crew, the brilliance of his eyes burn up all 60,000 sons.

Upon hearing the tragic news, a distressed King Sagara sends his sole remaining grandson to go and collect the sacrificial horse. The young boy follows the same path as his father and uncles. Upon seeing the horse and the man still meditating close by, he humbly addresses Kapila, and politely asks if he might take the horse back with him.  

Kapila, impressed with the boys reverence, gives him his blessing, and releases the horse into his keeping.

This story and posture can remind us that it is always best to be gracious and respectful when interacting with strangers. You never know - they might be a deity in disguise!

 

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