Today, July 9th, we celebrate the life and work of Sri Bishnu Charan Ghosh! So many around the world have benefited from his contributions to fitness, yoga and his dedication to teaching. We are ever grateful for his work and may we all remember him today and always.
In honor of his life, here is an excerpt from the new book Calcutta Yoga Jerome Armstrong:
Bishnu naturally took to the stage. “I showed my muscle move ments and I can still hear the resounding claps I received. The people shouted from the gallery – ‘it was worth the eight annas spent.’” Once he had “performed the muscle control” exercises of nauli and uddiyana under “gas lights shown from below with reflectors,” he came on stage “dressed like a clown” and took part in all the performances, such as “parallel bar and ring acrobatics,” creating a “storm in the audience.” As he performed, Bishnu heard someone shout, “Did I not tell you, it is the same boy who has come back as a clown? He is the best performer.” Though it was his first performance, he won a silver medal that day. Bishnu later recalled:
I was stupefied! Thank God I was in a clown’s dress or else everyone would have been witness to my highly emotional expressions that day. Lalbabu must have given such silver medals to many such students but it was like manna from heaven for me that day. I cried the whole night, tears of emotion. That silver medal gave me the incentive to proceed in this path for the last 40 years.
This was not a one-time act; Bishnu “became famous as a clown” during the early 1920s.
As he took up bayam, combat sports and feats of strength, Bishnu had two qualities that he felt propelled him to succeed: “determination finish a job” and a desire for praise. He candidly stated, “I paid full attention to anything I did so that I would be loved and praised.” Alongside Thakurta, Bishnu participated in boxing, wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu matches, lathi-khela (sticks), and lifting tonnage. They performed in Calcutta at Seller’s Circus and Gemini Circus, and at events in the villages throughout Bengal. The troupe organized demonstrations either for charity or to raise funds for the City College akhara managed by Thakurta.
Read more about Bishnu Ghosh in Calcutta Yoga by Jerome Armstrong.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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