3 responses to the Other, or to our own shadow:
1. Annihilate - remove or destroy it
2. Assimilate - engulf it and sand down its edges so that it becomes no different
In the Mahabharata, King Janamejaya thinks to annihilate the snakes, the nagas: the Other, the shadow, the dark, unseen shapes that rise from underneath. This effort at annihilation will result in self-annihilation.
Shankara's opening commentary on the Bhagavad Gita defines nivrtti vs pravrtti traditions: unless you turn from (nivrtti) the endless process of consumption of desire, you are subject to samsara.
Nivrtti or renunciate traditions have an inherently parasitic feature --- those who turn from the world are supported by those within it.
In the case of nivritti traditions, annihilation as a response and strategy toward Otherness or shadow is in this case turned inward --- it is the self that has to be annihilated.
For the early Vedic peoples, the Other is always adversarial --- there are 31 instances of snake (ahi) and the mythic archetypal demon is Vrtra, the giant serpent.
Yet no more numerically dominant feature in the Hindu temple than the naga, the snake.
The Aryan gods come from above --- Rudra (proto-Shiva) comes from the vault of the sky, and becomes Shiva, who comes from the vault of our consciousness (the skull) --- yoga becomes re-manifest and interiorized.
The Ayyappa story suggests that often the uncomfortable thing (Ayyappa) is your solution.
Indra stories suggest ways you protect yourself by creating the threat of the Other.
Masculine toxicity - only counts the self.
Feminine toxicity - fails to count the self.
Tillai Kali must further fragment herself in order to midwife the birth of Ayyappa --- striving to unify the selves only presents the Other --- "uttanita" - to turn it inside out.
We must not only reconcile discomfort, but discomfort must become our asset.
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.