October 25, 2004

of kings and demons

once upon a time there was a king who was loved and respected by all his subjects.
this king went out for a walk one day, and a demon grabbed the chance to sit on his throne. the king’s ministers were at once terrified and disgusted with the demon’s appearance, so they all looked away from the throne and decided to ignore him. enraged, the demon began to grow larger and larger, laughed menacingly and growled for their attention.

some days later, the king returned, unaware of the recent developments. but when he saw the demon, he didn’t flinch even once. “hello there, demon,” he smiled lovingly, “I hope you are enjoying yourself on my throne. i just got back, but i am in no hurry to sit down. you can stay there for as long as you want to.”

this left the demon greatly puzzled. suddenly all the king’s ministers too turned towards the demon and as a result, he began to shrink steadily. he grew smaller and smaller until he disappeared totally from the scene…
— old indian myth casually retold by my srilankan yoga teacher, santoshini.

we all have our demons inside us. sometimes we don’t recognise them, and sometimes, we do. sometimes we think if we ignore them long enough they will go away. but they don’t. we are all so wrong.

these days when i’m not painting my clay pots, writing, or learning to breathe, i am looking at my demons.
i think they too are just beginning to notice me now.


  • Rahul said:

    Here’s a doubt that I got when I came across pranayama a few months back. How similar is it to vipassana or is there any similarities at all?

  • Prince Of primes said:

    Matured thoughts from a matured mind. Srilankan yoga teacher, painting clay pots,writing, learning to breathe…think you are enjoying life at its best.

  • radhika said:

    rahul: hmm, good question.
    i haven’t yet begun pranayam. i’ve just been told to practise ‘samastethi’ and some very basic breathing exercises, for my back problem.

    but i have done vipassana, and my yoga teacer said it is an excellent foundation for pranayam itself. because both of these involve ‘mindfulness’ when you do an exercise.

    there is something i had written about vipassana before; try this link:

    hope you find this helpful (?).


  • Reshma said:

    great thought…and well said!

  • Deepak said:

    Mythology is full of wisdom!
    You are a good Myth.

  • josh said:


    Good to realise that demons lurk deep in you. In us. It’s better to come to terms with them I guess. Rather than rumble.

    Rahul, Vips is entirely another way of cleansing your mind. Simple but not easy. It’s a surgery of mind. Done by oneself. Cuts deeper into you than Pranayama.

    I went some far. And unmindfully retreated. May be it’s not yet time.

    best Radhika,
    a fellow mallu here.

  • radhika said:

    shvetu: thanks for dropping by, and good luck with your presentation!

    thanks for the vipassana definition. i could have never managed to put it like that! i’m sure you will be ready for it too one day.

    i’ve been there three times. it was difficult everytime, but i guess i finally have learnt not to expect the same experience, because we are always changing. and then, we also have the occasional demons to beat.

    radhika 🙂

  • Pankaj Mishra said:

    Dear Radhika (and all EC-ians),

    My nostalgia with the Express Computer (I started my career as an IT journalist with EC, Chennai) may not sound as strong as many of you,who belong to that ‘veteran EC group’ since I was part of a ‘relatively new EC’FROM 1999-2003 in Chennai and Bangalore. But I owe a lot to the publication, the people (Sudhir, Prashant Rao, Vijay Ramachandran, Ivor Soans, Arun Kumar, Michael Neri, and many more). I also know Deepak, now at softwaredioxide, we used to bump into each other at the press conferences in Bangalore and used to discuss EC all the time!

    Here’s to my Almameter,Cheers!


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