Liberation

Posted: 30/12/2012 in Routine
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He who knows God as the Life of life, the Eye of the eye, the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind, he indeed comprehends fully the Cause of all causes.

 

The Self God Within

The Self: you can’t explain it. You can sense its existence through the refined state of your senses, but you cannot explain it. To know it, you have to experience it. And the best you can say about it is that it is the depth of your Being, the very core of you. It is you.

If you visualize above you nothing; below you nothing; to the right of you nothing; to the left of you nothing; in front of you nothing; in back of you nothing; and dissolve yourself into that nothingness, that would be the best way you could explain the realization of the Self. And yet that nothingness would not be the absence of something, like the nothingness inside an empty box, which would be like a void. That nothingness is the fullness of everything: the power, the sustaining power, of the existence of what appears to be everything.

After you realize the Self, you see the mind for what it is — a self-created principle. That is the mind ever creating itself. The mind is form ever creating form, preserving form, creating new forms and destroying old forms. That is the mind, the illusion, the great unreality, the part of you that in your thinking mind you dare to think is real. What gives the mind that power? Does the mind have power if it is unreal? What difference whether it has power or hasn’t power, or the very words that I am saying when the Self exists because of itself? You could live in the dream and become disturbed by it. Or you can seek and desire with a burning desire to cognize reality and be blissful because of it. Man’s destiny leads him back to himself. Man’s destiny leads him into the cognition of his own Being; leads him further into the realization of his True Being. They say you must step onto the spiritual path to realize the Self. You only step on the spiritual path when you and you alone are ready, when what appears real to you loses its appearance of reality. Then and only then are you able to detach yourself enough to seek to find a new and permanent reality.

Have you ever noticed that something you think is permanent, you and you alone give permanence to that thing through your protection of it?

Have you ever stopped to even think and get a clear intellectual concept that the Spirit within you is the only permanent thing? That everything else is changing? That everything else has a direct wire connecting it to the realms of joy and sorrow? That is the mind.

As the Self, your Effulgent Being, comes to life in you, joy and sorrow become a study to you. You do not have to think to tell yourself that each in its own place is unreal. You know from the innermost depths of your being that form itself is not real.

The subtlety of the joys that you experience as you come into your Effulgent Being cannot be described. They can only be projected to you if you are refined enough to pick up the subtlety of vibration. If you are in harmony enough, you can sense the great joy, the subtlety of the bliss that you will feel as you come closer and closer to your real Self.

If you strive to find the Self by using your mind, you will strive and strive in vain, because the mind cannot give you Truth; a lie cannot give you the truth. A lie can only entangle you in a web of deceit. But if you sensitize yourself, awaken your true, fine, beautiful qualities that all of you have, then you become a channel, a chalice in which your Effulgent Being will begin to shine. You will first think that a light is shining within you. You will seek to find that light. You will seek to hold it, like you cherish and hold a beautiful gem. You will later find that the light that you found within you is in every pore, every cell of your being. You will later find that that light permeates every atom of the universe. You will later find that you are that light and what it permeates is the unreal illusion created by the mind.

Awakening comes slowly

Siva Yogaswami, was a great siddha, a master and a knower of God. He would say, “Liberation is within you.” He would order his seekers to “See God in everything. You are in God. God is within you. To realize the Supreme Being within you, you must have a strong body and a pure mind.” He was a powerful mystic from Sri Lanka, near India — perhaps the greatest to live in the twentieth century. His words drove deeply into the hearts of all who heard them. “God is in everyone. See Him there. God is overwhelmingly present everywhere. Regard everything as a manifestation of God, and you will realize the Truth” were his words. Simple words for a simple truth, but very, very difficult to practice.

As we go on through life, we see only parts of life. We don’t see the whole. We can’t see the whole. Yogaswami said, “How can a part see the whole?” So, we live with a small part, our small part. We seek to avoid the painful areas and attract to us the joyous ones. Most people live in this duality life after life, bound in the forces of desire and the fulfillment of it. Occasionally a more mature soul breaks away from this cycle of desire-fulfillment-pleasure-loss-pain-suffering-and-joy and asks questions such as: “Who is God? Where is God? How can I come to know God?”

God has no names, but all names are the names of God. Whether you call Him this or that, He remains Who He is. But in our tradition we call God by the loving name Siva, which is only one of His 1,008 traditional names. Supreme God Siva is both within us and outside of us. Even desire, the fulfillment of desire, the joy, the pain, the sorrow, birth and death — this is all Siva, nothing but Siva. This is hard to believe for the unenlightened individual who cannot see how a good, kind and loving God could create pain and sorrow. Actually, we find that Siva did not — not in the sense that is commonly thought. God gave the law of karma, decreeing that each energy sent into motion returns with equal force.

In looking closely at this natural law, we can see that we create our own joy, our own pain, our own sorrow and our own release from sorrow. Yet we could not even do this except for the power and existence of our loving Lord. It takes much meditation to find God Siva in all things, through all things. In this striving — as in perfecting any art or science — regular daily disciplines must be faithfully adhered to.

Siva is the immanent personal Lord, and He is transcendent Reality. Siva is a God of love, boundless love. He loves each and every one. Each soul is created by Him and guided by Him through life. God Siva is everywhere. There is no place where Siva is not. He is in you. He is in this temple. He is in the trees. He is in the sky, in the clouds, in the planets. He is the galaxies swirling in space and the space between galaxies, too. He is the universe. His cosmic dance of creation, preservation and dissolution is happening this very moment in every atom of the universe. God Siva is, and is in all things. He permeates all things. He is immanent, with a beautiful form, a human-like form which can actually be seen and has been seen by many people in visions. He is also transcendent, beyond time, cause and space.

That is almost too much for the mind to comprehend, isn’t it? Therefore, we have to meditate on these things. God Siva is so close to us. Where does He live? In the Third World. And in this form He can talk and think and love and receive our prayers and guide our karma. He commands vast numbers of devas who go forth to do His will all over the world, all over the galaxy, throughout the universe. These are matters told to us by the rishis; and we have discovered them in our own meditations. So always worship this great God. Never fear Him. He is the Self of your self. He is closer than your own breath. His nature is love, and if you worship Him with devotion you will know love and be loving toward others. Devotees of God Siva love everyone.

This is how God Siva can be seen everywhere and in everyone. He is there as the Soul of each soul. You can open your inner eye and see Him in others, see Him in the world as the world. Little by little, discipline yourself to meditate at the same time each day. Meditate, discover the silent center of yourself, then go deep within, to the core of your real Being. Slowly the purity comes. Slowly the awakening comes.

Spiritual Retreat

Does this seem too difficult? Can you just contemplate what it would take to seek the all-pervasive Siva from hour to hour, throughout the day? One would have to be detached from all worldly responsibilities to a great extent in order to begin to bring this natural internal process through and into the external mind. The external mind is built up by an intellect formed from other people’s knowledge and opinions. This borrowed knowledge shrouds the soul, and the natural, childlike intelligence often does not filter through. Therefore, a period of detachment and regular spiritual retreat or separation from the external world is necessary.

On a pilgrimage we strive to see God around us, to intuit Him in the events that happen. During worship in the temple, we strive to feel Him, to experience Him more profoundly than during our normal activities. Eventually, as our spiritual efforts progress, we bring that same attention, that same one-pointedness, right into the everyday experiences that life presents to us, whether seemingly good or bad, whether causing pleasure or pain. This is the experience of the mature soul who performs regular sadhana after taking certain vows strong enough to cause a detachment of the intellect from seeing the external world as the absolute reality. All seekers hope for an occasional glimpse of Siva during their yearly pilgrimage at some venerable temple. If they develop that little glimpse, it will grow.

Many have asked me whether everyone should worship Siva both inside and out. Yes, that is the ideal according to our Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, but which of these two comes more naturally depends on the nature of the disciple. The more introverted will meditate on Siva within through their yogas, and the more extroverted will be inclined to worship in a temple or through music or religious service. The most awakened of seekers will do both with equal joy and ease.

God Siva is within each and every soul. He is there as the unmanifest Reality, which we call Parashiva. He is there as the pure light and consciousness that pervades every atom of the universe, which we call Satchidananda. We also know that He is Creator of all that exists, and that He is His creation. All this we know. Yes, all this we know. Thus, we intellectually know that Siva is within and without. This is yet to be experienced by the majority of people.

The nature of the worshiper develops through sadhana and tapas, performed either in this life or in previous lives. We must worship Siva externally until compelled — as were the great rishis of yore — to sit down, to settle down, to turn within ourself, to stop talking, to stop thinking and thus to internalize our great energy of bhakti, devotion. This is how we evolve, how we progress along the path toward Siva, diving deeper and deeper within. Everyone must worship Siva externally prior to internalizing that worship fully and perfectly. We cannot internalize the worship that has not first been mastered externally.

When problems come in the family or workplace and emotions arise, it is only natural to forget Siva. It’s so much easier to be involved in twoness rather than oneness. It takes a lot of inner strength to remember Siva all of the time, to keep the love for Siva flowing. We forget. We get involved in ourselves and others. It is impossible when our ego is attacked or our feelings hurt. So it’s easier, much easier, to forget Siva and even regard Him as a God to be feared; whereas it is our own instinctive mind and our preprogrammed, nonreligious intellect that should be feared. That’s the demon in our house, the mischief-maker who causes all the trouble. If you want to remember God, then first learn to forget yourself a little.

By Experience We Evolve

A family provides toys for the children to make them happy. Siva provides karma and dharma to all of us to make us happy, to bring us closer to Him. He created an expanding and contracting universe and eventually absorbs all in the great dissolution of the cosmos. He gave birth to all souls, our rishi-saints tell us; and we are evolving back into His image and likeness, they further explain. The toys of experience help us in our evolution, keeping us entertained so that we can learn and grow and experience our karma, dharma and other basic cosmic laws. Just as the children can laugh joyously as they play with their toys, or break them and cry or throw them at one another, hitting and hurting each other, we too can avoid duty and dharma, make karma, hurt ourselves and others, or help ourselves and others as we play with our own evolution, strengthening ourselves, learning and growing wise.

It is natural to forget about God, but there are many helpful ways that we can avoid distraction, that we can remember to keep seeing God Siva everywhere. One of the practical ways to bring God Siva into the midst of all this is to keep repeating His name. Do japa when you find yourself forgetting, when you just can’t see God at all, let alone everywhere. Repeat “Aum Namah Sivaya.” When life becomes difficult or strained, say to yourself “Siva Siva” or “Aum Sivaya” or “Namah Sivaya.” Mentally put it all at His feet. See Him in everyone that you meet or confront, regardless of the circumstances. He is there as their life force, but you just need to quiet the mind to see. Smile when you feel unhappy with someone and say to yourself, “How nice to see you, Siva, in this form.” Animals, beggars, princes, politicians, friends and enemies, holy men, saints and sages are all Siva to the soul that loves God. He smiles and thinks to himself, “How nice to see you, Siva, in this, another of your many forms.”

Nobody can think of Siva in His formlessness. This, above all, has to be realized, and then the realizer has to realize that he has realized the Formless. The truth is that precious few will realize Parashiva, though many can and will realize Satchidananda, even in their later years or at the moment of death. The fullness of lives of experience experienced, the performance of prior goals perfected, would lead a soul to the burning desire to accomplish the ultimate goal. For each person on the planet, the immediate pattern is clear. Once it is fulfilled, the next step appears naturally. It is the same force of desire that accomplishes all of this. The desire of a mother to take care of her children and to be a good wife, the desire of the father to support his family, the desire of a scientist to discover, the desire of an athlete to excel, the desire of the yogi to merge in oneness with Siva — it is the same force of desire, transmuted through the chakras as they awaken, as the soul evolves. It is that same desire that finally draws the seeker to know That which is timeless and formless, That which is spaceless and causeless. Be patient. It comes in the course of time to all. It comes. It will come. Be patient.

Knowing Self by Self

In the earlier stages, before sadhana is undertaken, the mind is agitated by current karmas and perhaps discouraged by its inability to know or to fulfill dharma. In this agitated state the world looks bleak and terrible, and it would be inconceivable to him for God to be any place but in the temple. “Certainly God could not reside within myself,” the unenlightened concludes.

In the second stage, when the mind rests peacefully in the fulfillment of a life’s pattern, dharma, when it has sufficient maturity to control and to dispatch past and current karmas through meditation, prayer and penance, then indeed God is seen as a helping hand within, but most potently felt within His temple.

In the third stage, the helping hand within becomes more than an aid to the troubled mind; it becomes pure consciousness itself. Rather than seeking God outside, God is enjoyed as a vital, integral dimension of the person, the Life of life, the power and radiant energy of the universe. The calm within is greater than the outside disturbance. In this stage of bliss-consciousness, it is clearly seen and exuberantly experienced that God is indeed within us. The experiencer’s perceptions become acute, and in his daily life he becomes a witness, observing that others do not see God within themselves. He has a secret that he has discovered. God within becomes soul-realized as Truth-Knowledge-Bliss, Satchidananda, the pervasive energy that glues all things together. Mind becomes serene, peace is seen to be everywhere, and the bliss so strong. A deeper inner eye opens at this stage, and it is truly perceived that this same presence of Siva is in each and every living being, permeates every atom of the universe as the great, sustaining substratum of all that exists. Only when this is experienced can one truly say that God is within man and man is within God.

To know philosophy without experience is like going on a vacation to a distant and wonderful place by simply reading a book about the destination, hearing what others claim is to be enjoyed there. It is not true experience at all. The only spiritual experience is personal experience. My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, made it clear that “You will not attain jnana, wisdom, even if you read a thousand scriptures. You must know your Self by yourself.”

How can we with our finite mind come to understand Infinity, come to understand God? How can we intellectually encompass something as great as God? Our scriptures tell us that God Himself is Shankara, the author of all knowledge, creator of the intellect. He is the great architect of the universe. Then if God created the intellect, how can the intellect understand Him? Well, it is possible. It has been done. The intellect has to expand, and awareness has to transcend the rational mind and see directly from superconscious knowing. That is why we worship Siva in His highest form, symbolized by the Sivalinga, the simple elliptical stone.

It is good that you are trying to see Siva everywhere. Keep trying. It will come. Who else can give your Self to you? The unfoldment of the Self within you is but Siva. He can give you wealth. He can give you health. He can bestow everything that you would ever need or even desire. But to worship Him as formless, as we are doing tonight, carries the mind into infinity. Mind can only encompass what it identifies with. Mind cannot identify Truth in this subtle form which represents Siva as beyond the mind — formless, timeless and spaceless. Yet, within you this very instant, only shrouded by your ignorance, only shrouded by the ego, which is the sense of personal identity and separation, is Siva. He is there right now, not at some fictitious future time. Just get rid of the maya, the anava and resolve the karma, and there He will be. The ego is the last thing to go. It is the last bond to break.

Once the bondage of personal ego is broken, it is seen that this mysterious God is all-pervading. He is what He has created. Think about that. It is very deep. Siva pervades His creation constantly as ever-present Love and Light of the mind of everyone, as Intelligence and Being; and yet God also has a form.

In the subtle worlds, Siva has the most beautiful form, not unlike a human form, but an absolutely perfect human form. He thinks. He talks. He walks. He makes decisions. We are fortunate to worship such a great God who pervades everything and yet transcends it, who is both form and beyond form, who is the Self within your very self at this very moment. So, all of you seekers of nondual Truth, you have a truly great path that offers God experience in form and beyond form. How fortunate you are!

Working with Your Karma

Seekers more than often ask, “Why has Siva given us karma to go through? Could He just have made us perfect from the beginning and avoided all the pain?” My answer is: accept your karma as your own, as a healing medicine and not a poison. As you go through your self-created experiences in daily life and seed karmas awaken, as your actions come back through your emotions, even in this life, not in a future one, resolve each and every experience so that you do not react and create new cycles to be lived through. Whether it is happy karma, sad karma, miserable karma or ecstatic karma, it is your karma. But it is not you, not the real you. It is the experience that you go through in order to evolve, in order to grow and to learn and to attain, eventually, wisdom. This is all Siva’s mysterious work, His way of bringing along devotees, His way to bring you close and closer to Himself.

The great Vedic rishis have explained that Siva has created the body of the soul, permeated that body with His being, His essence. All souls are evolving back to His holy feet, and there are many lessons to be learned along the way. The lessons learned in the karma classroom are part of the process of evolution, the mechanism of evolution, the tool of evolution. Why did He do all of this? The rishis give no reason. They call it His dance. That is why we worship God Siva as Nataraja, the King of Dance. Why does one dance? Because one is full of joy. One is full of life. Siva is all life, God of life, God of death that brings new life, God of birth that brings through life. He is all life and He is everything. He danced with the rishis. He is dancing for you. You are dancing with Siva. Every single atom in this room is dancing His dance. He is every part of you this very moment. By seeing Him, you see yourself. By drawing near to Him, you are drawing nearer to yourself. Our great satguru, Siva Yogaswami, made a most perceptive remark. He said, “There is one thing only that God Siva cannot do. He cannot separate Himself from me.” He cannot separate Himself from you, because He permeates you. He is you. He created the soul, the Vedas and Agamas tell us. He created your soul, and your soul is evolving, maturing through karma, through life, on its way back to Him. That is the goal of life, to know Siva, to love Siva and to find union in Him, to dance with Siva, live with Siva and merge with Siva. This is what the oldest religion on the Earth teaches and believes.

Siva is the God of love and nothing else but love. He fills this universe with love. He fills you with love. Siva is fire. Siva is earth. Siva is air. Siva is water. Siva is ether. Siva’s cosmic energy permeates everything and gives light and life to your mind. Siva is everywhere and all things. Siva is your small, insignificant worry, the concern that you have been holding in your mind for so many years. See God Siva everywhere and His life energy in all things. First we dance with Siva. Then we live with Siva. The end of the path is to merge with Siva, the Self God within.

Every Temple Made of Brick

How strong you must be to find this Truth. You must become very, very strong. How do you become strong? Exercise. You must exercise every muscle and sinew of your nature by obeying the dictates of the law, of the spiritual laws. It will be very difficult. A weak muscle is very difficult to make strong, but if you exercise over a period of time and do what you should do, it will respond. Your nature will respond, too. But you must work at it. You must try. You must try. You must try very, very hard. Very diligently. How often? Ten minutes a day? No. Two hours a day? No. Twenty-four hours a day! Every day! You must try very, very hard. Preparing you for the realization of the Self is like tuning up a violin, tightening up each string so it harmonizes with every other string. The more sensitive you are to tone, the better you can tune a violin, and the better the violin is tuned, the better the music. The stronger you are in your nature, the more you can bring through your real nature; the more you can enjoy the bliss of your true being. It is well worth working for. It is well worth craving for. It is well worth denying yourself many, many things for — to curb your nature. It is well worth struggling with your mind, to bring your mind under the dominion of your will.

Those of you who have experienced contemplation know the depth from which I am speaking. You have had a taste of your true Self. It has tasted like nothing that you have ever come in contact with before. It has filled and thrilled and permeated your whole being, even if you have only remained in that state of contemplation not longer than sixty seconds. Out of it you have gained a great knowing, a knowing that you could refer back to, a knowing that will bear the fruit of wisdom if you relate future life experiences to that knowing, a knowing greater than you could acquire at any university or institute of higher learning. Can you only try to gain a clear intellectual concept of realizing this Self that you felt permeating through you and through all form in your state of contemplation? That is your next step.

Those of you who are wrestling with the mind in your many endeavors to try to concentrate the mind, to try to meditate, to try to become quiet, to try to relax, keep trying. Every positive effort that you make is not in vain. Every single brick added to a temple made of brick brings that temple closer to completion. So keep trying and one day, all of a sudden, you will pierce the lower realms of your mind and enter into contemplation. Then you will be able to say: “Yes, I know, I have seen. Now I know fully the path that I am on.” Keep trying. You have to start somewhere.

The Self you cannot speak of. You can only try to think about it, if you care to, in one way: feel your mind, body and emotions, and know that you are the Spirit permeating through mind, which is all form; body, which you inhabit; and emotions, which you either control or are controlled by. Think on that, ponder on that, and you will find you are the light within your eyes. You are the feel within your fingers. “You are more radiant than the sun, purer than the snow, more subtle than the ether.” Keep trying. Each time you try you are one step closer to your true Effulgent Being.

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