April 12, 2023

It's Never Too Late: Lessons from the Virabhadra Story

As all good love stories go... once upon time, there was a boy. Who met a girl. He wasn’t just any boy. He was a young, charismatic rock-God called Shiva. She was a gentle, kind, loving, beauty named Sati. And of course, as young, foolish people do, they fell in love.

Now, Sati’s dad, Daksha, didn’t like Shiva. At all.

I mean - Shiva’s not exactly the guy you bring home to meet the parents. He was a yogi for goodness sake- who had dreads, hung out in cemeteries, sang, danced, wore a snake around his neck, and was known to have an epic temper. He even chopped one of his creator’s heads off in a rage. Unfortunately his creator just happened to be Sati’s grandfather. Error in judgement- cutting your future Grandpa-in-law’s head… ammiright?

But despite her dad’s protests, Sati adored Shiva. And so she married him.

Like a stubborn in-law, Daksha threw a big party teenage-like, inviting everyone in the universe except Sati and Shiva.

Sati arrived to confront her Dad, but we all know how it goes when you try to change your parent’s minds about…well… anything. So he got all De-Niro-in-that-terrible-meet-the-parents-movie, she cried, and then she did what all good girls do when they’re overwhelmed... she meditated until she self-immolated.

Shiva was obviously not happy to hear the love of his life had burst into flames, so he pulled one of his dreads out, threw it on the ground, and created fierce warrior Virabhadra to avenge her death.

Virabhadra broke through the ground, brandishing his sword (that’s “warrior 1” pose), raced to the party and chopped Dakshas head off (“warrior 2”) and Shiva followed shortly after, discovering what he had done.

Shiva felt pretty bad…no one had won here…and he knew Sati, when she found out, wouldn’t be thrilled he’d decapitated her Dad. So he tried to find Daksha’s head, but unable to locate it- used an excellent goats head instead.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Shiva represents our “higher selves”. The ‘good’ you.

Daksha represents our ego- our rightness, judgements and fixed sense of the world.

But if that’s the case, then according to the story- even Shiva gets it wrong. Even Shiva loses his s@&*.

Even Shiva has a little Virabhadra in him.

We all know those moments of chopping people’s heads off. Swinging our swords fueled by anger, or fear, or because we feel we are “right”.

Sometimes a boundary has been crossed, and we don’t know how to set one kindly. So go to war to create one.

Sometimes we chop the wrong person’s head off.

Sometimes we’re just shadow boxing with our swords, waving them around, hoping we’ll hit something or someone that’ll make it all better.

And sometimes, we don’t know why or how, we’ve just messed up.

There’s no point in beating ourselves that we got it wrong. Again.

The thing is- it’s not really about getting it right.

We all mess up.

All the time.

We all make mistakes.

We do stupid things. (Especially for love.)

Things that seem perfectly reasonable at the time.

You and I and everyone else, we are going to mess up. That’s the deal of being human. Even your “higher self” will mess up. Every single one of us will brandish that sword in an unguarded moment. But…


  • stop
  • make amends
  • start again
  • change
  • move on
  • do something different
  • choose love
  • set a much needed boundary

You can scream at the kids, burn all your bridges, throw your toys out of the cot. You can fight with your mum, back the wrong man and lose it all in a bet. You can be in a job that’s killing you, send that “let-me-tell-you-a-thing-or two” monologue of a text, and cut your nose off to spite your face.


You can always start again.

You can always make it right.

Because it’s never, never too late to find a goats head.

Ready to learn more with Rachael Coopes, join her Fundamentals of Yoga 50 Hours Training on 17th - 20th August, 2023.

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