Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

Woman

Posted: 29/06/2013 in Routine part 2
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Be a queen to thy father-in-law, a queen to thy mother-in-law, a queen to thy husband’s sisters, and a queen to thy husband’s brothers.

Sanctity of The Home

From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. The husband can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the outside world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he comes home, she greets him at the entrance and performs a rite of purification and welcome, offering arati to cleanse his aura. This and other customs protect the sanctity of the home. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body, called anandamaya kosha in Sanskrit. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems.

How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills her stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive.

If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little tougher, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She’s upset after an especially hard day at work. The children come over from Grandmother’s house or she tells the babysitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something for dinner before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children’s astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment — already upset by being in the world — and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. But is he going to get it? No. He begins to feel neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, to say angry words that make everything even worse. The pranic forces are spinning out of control. It’s seems like a totally impossible situation for both of them. Furthermore, it’s not going to get better, but exceedingly worse, as the days wear on.

The Wife’s Special Power

The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples — sixty to seventy percent, I’m told — are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. But couples never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The pranic forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can’t see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over — in another frustrating, asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get — to try to make up. When that doesn’t help, they come home still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the family Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the God is in the temple, the Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.

In the home, the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power, the very soul of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated sensitively and kindly, and with respect. She has to be given all the things she needs and everything she wants so she will release her shakti power to support her husband, so that he is successful in all his manly endeavors. When she is hurt, depressed, frustrated or disappointed, she automatically withdraws that power, compromising his success in the outside world along with it. People will draw away from him. His job, business or creative abilities will suffer. This is her great siddhi, her inborn power, which Hindu women know so well.

It is the man’s duty, his purusha dharma, to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with adornments, gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his religious sadhana and meditations, then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to her family, to the community and to the world.

The Home As a Temple

This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family’s next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar to bring the shakti power of the God and devas into their home. This is only one of the beautiful practices of her religious stri dharma, so sensitive and so vital to the furtherance of the family and its faith. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed toward her, causing her to live in the emotional astral body to ward them off, or be tempted by them. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that’s how a woman should behave.

If she does not do her dharmic duty — this means the duty of birth — then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will have its affect on her astral body and on her husband’s astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.

The Judaic-Christian-Islamic idea of just one life, after which you either go to heaven or to hell gives the impression that time is running out. Some even think “you have to get everything out of this life, because when you’re gone, you’re gone, so grab all the gusto that you can.” This has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting everything she should, and therefore the man’s world looks doubly attractive, because she is just passing through and will never come back. So, living a man’s life is very, very attractive. She doesn’t want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man’s world, because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people.

The traditional Hindu woman, however, does not look at life like that. She knows that she was born this time in a woman’s body — this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman’s body — to perform a dharma, to perform a duty, for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man’s strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man’s purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.

Mother in The Home

Now, a woman may wonder, “If I don’t work, how are we going to pay the bills?” The stated reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the wife go to work. This is an unhappy solution. Much too often the sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic and that makes him prosperous. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make ends meet.

As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home, doing whatever she naturally does as a mother — she doesn’t even have to read a book about how to do it — the husband has to support the home; he feels bound to support the home. Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion. Their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home.

How many of you here this morning were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn’t at home when you were a child? You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn’t feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn’t feel that motherly, protective feeling.

When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the helpless kid who can’t take care of himself. She may get home and think to herself, “I just can’t forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn’t be thinking about such things, but…” And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself, or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.

A Feminine Incarnation

The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman’s body to fulfill a woman’s dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly, as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man’s body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family’s clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.

Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out away from her husband, under another man’s mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided — if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child’s point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say, “Go make yourself a nice dosai and I will help you.” She is there with a kiss and a band aid for a scratch. She is there to explain why the grass is green, to tell a story, to teach a simple lesson in why things are the way they are. Mother is home, and that is very important for a young child. Yes, her prana in the house makes the house a home.

We are nowadays witnessing a big wave of change rushing to the shores of Hinduism in Colombo, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Durban and London. I have seen it coming. Hindu women no longer feel they have to adhere to the old traditions. They are changing traditions. They adopt new ways these days. Now a Hindu woman can go out and work, especially if she lives in the city, and she is encouraged by family and friends to do so. She can neglect her family, and that is deemed all right, too. She doesn’t have to fulfill her stri dharma. Staying home is old-fashioned, they say. I have been told that eighty percent of all Hindu women living in the West work in the world. Eighty percent! Apparently those who have worked for the demise of Hinduism have done their work quite well. Still, I am not worried. I know the nature of waves, and this one will ebb as soon as it reaches the height of its power, replaced by the greater power of returning to tradition.

Why Respect Tradition?

Let’s look at the word tradition. Webster defines tradition as “a story, belief, custom or proverb handed down from generation to generation, a long-established custom or practice that has the effect of an unwritten law.” We all know human nature, because we are people living on this planet. We are fickle; we are changeable. We are always curious to try new things. Change is a wonderful part of life, within certain bounds. We do not want to be too restrictive, yet we do want to be strict. Be strict without being restrictive, and life will be balanced between discipline and freedom. This has always been the Asian way. Take a look back into history, back to the time of Saint Tiruvalluvar, who lived 2,200 years ago. He would not have written the Tirukural if people were perfect, if they were, as a whole, strong, steady and self-disciplined. He wrote those sparkling gems of wisdom and advice for fickle, changeable people, so that they could keep their minds controlled and their lives in line with the basic principles of dharma for men and women clearly set forth in the Vedas six to eight thousand years ago.

Tradition adapts itself to culture and climate. The Hindu women raised in Western countries will not be able to follow all the traditions of the East. But they have to fulfill enough of those traditions to fulfill their stri dharma. And, of course, they will have to adjust slowly.

Scriptural advice is just as pertinent today, thousands of years later. Why? Because people are human, because they are little different today than they were then. Societies change, knowledge changes, language changes. But people do not change all that much. That is exactly the reason that traditions do not change much or change very slowly. They still apply. They are still valid. They are the wisdom of hundreds of generations assembled together. The wise always follow the ways of wisdom, always follow tradition. Does that mean they cannot be inventive? No. Does that mean they cannot use their mind and will to advance themselves and humanity? No. Does that mean they must avoid being creative, original, individualistic? No. It simply means that they express these fine qualities within the context of religious tradition, thus enhancing tradition instead of destroying it. Tradition, with its spoken and unspoken ways, is far too precious to throw out or tear down. The unwritten laws and customs of tradition are what has developed and proved out to be best for the peoples on this planet for centuries. We cannot casually change tradition. It takes centuries to build a tradition. We cannot sit at a meeting and arbitrate a change like that.

Take all of this that has been said into your meditations. Think deeply about the natural balance of masculine and feminine energies in the world and within yourselves. You will discover a new appreciation for the woman’s role and for the traditions which allow her to fulfill it.

A Personal Testimony

By way of illustration I will ask you now to read a fine message we received from a Saivite lady in Sri Lanka who follows beautifully the spirit of stri dharma.

“I am a Hindu wife and take pride and pleasure in being one. I am a graduate of the London University and was a teacher in a girls’ school before I got married in 1969. I belong to an orthodox Saivite Hindu family, and when I reached age twenty-six my parents proposed a marriage. My future husband, too, hailed from an orthodox Saivite family and was thirty years of age. After our parents discussed and decided upon details, an opportunity was afforded to us to meet. The venue was a Ganesha temple, and the time was 7AM. As each of us stepped into the temple from different directions almost simultaneously, the temple bells started ringing to herald the 7:00 puja. ‘A good omen,’ both of us thought independently. After the puja was over, we were introduced to each other by my mother. Out of inborn shyness and a certain amount of fear of meeting a stranger, I was hardly able to look up and even see the color of the man who was going to be the lord of my life. I heard him talk and even noticed him gazing meaningfully at me all the time. The ‘confrontation’ lasted about ten minutes, and we parted. Each of us approved the selection so carefully made by our parents and, to make a long story short, our marriage was solemnized in due course.

“From the date of marriage, I resigned my job as teacher because my duties as a housewife appeared more onerous and more responsible. My husband earned enough to maintain a family, and we started setting up a home of our own. I brought in some money by way of a dowry, and this helped us to furnish our home with all essential requirements. We loved each other very much and lived like Siva and Shakti. The most important corner of our house is the shrine room where our day-to-day life starts every morning.

“I get up from bed at 5AM every day. After a wash, I enter the shrine room and clean up the place. Remnants of flowers from the previous day’s puja are removed, the brass lamps and vessels are polished, water is sprinkled on the floor and the place kept ready for the day’s puja, performed by my husband. Then the kitchen is swept and the pots and pans washed. Water is kept on the gas to boil, and I go for a bath. Returning from the bath, I do a short prayer and pick flowers for my husband’s puja. By now it is 6AM — the time my husband awakens. I go to the bedroom and wait there ready to greet him for the day. He looks upon me as the Lakshmi of the home, and it pleases him a lot to wake in my presence — all gleaming with holy ash and kumkum pottu on my forehead. As soon as he gets up, he goes out for a half-hour walk and is back home by 6:30. A cup of coffee is now ready for him. He takes this and, after five minutes’ rest, enjoys a fine bath. He then makes the necessary preparations for the puja. I could do this myself, but my husband feels these preparations are also a part of the puja. Sharp at 7AM, the puja starts. I join him and so do our children (we now have two boys and a girl). It is a pleasure to watch my husband at puja, which he does very piously and meticulously. At 7:30 we come out of the shrine room for our breakfast. I personally serve my lord and the children meals prepared by my own hands and then get the two elder children ready for school. By 8:30 all the three are out of the house on their respective missions. I then clean up the house, put my little three-year-old son to sleep and by 9:30 I am back in the kitchen preparing lunch.

“In the evening I am dressed up and ready for an outing with my husband and children. Almost every day he takes us out, but occasionally he comes home tired and prefers to remain indoors. At 6PM I start cooking the dinner and at 7:00 we have a joint prayer in the shrine room. Dinner at 7:30, then a little bit of reading, listening to the radio, some chit chat and off to bed by 9:30. This has been my routine for the last eleven years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“In the house, I give first place to my husband. It has never been my custom to find fault with him for anything. He understands me so much and so well that he is always kind, loving, gentle and compassionate towards me. I reciprocate these a hundredfold, and we get on very well. My husband is the secretary of a religious organization, and I give him every help and encouragement in his work. My household duties keep me fully occupied, and so I don’t engage myself in other activities. I respect my husband’s leadership in the home, and so life goes on smoothly.”

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According to biblical scholars, the Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible.What can we learn from the Book of Job?Is there application for the believer’s life today?  Was sin involved in Job’s suffering?Is there sin in all suffering? Why does God allow suffering?

The Accuser

All was going well with Job. He had it all: A large family, wealth, and blessings of every kind imaginable.At that time, Job may have been the richest man on the face of the earth. “He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”  Clearly, Job had it all.  This must have bothered Satan because he came to God. What did God say to Satan about Job? God bragged on Job saying, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Can you imagine the God of the Universe bragging on Job from heaven?Might He also brag about you and your righteousness found in Jesus Christ? It is entirely possible however Satan was not convinced and said to God, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face”

Satan’s name means “adversary” and he has been called the “accuser of the brethren”. God sets out to prove to Satan that Job is not righteous just because he is being blessed. God challenges the Devil telling him, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger”. Job lost just about everything; his sheep, his oxen, his camels, his servants, and all of his sons and daughters – but remarkably he did not lose his faith in God. What was Job’s response? “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong”.
Here we can plainly see Job’s reaction: he worshiped God, he said that he came into this world with nothing and will return with nothing, the Lord has taken away all he had except his wife – and his wife told him to “curse God and die” – and Job also blessed the name of the Lord. In all of this, “Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong!” He blessed God’s name, he worshiped God, and he did not sin. Satan must have been angry at Job’s response. Job suffered unjustly and yet he did not blame God or say, “why me?”

Fair Weather Friends

Job’s friends tried to console him but they soon started to blame him for his own troubles inferring that he must have sinned in order for all these trials to come upon him.  That is something that is far too easy for believers to do.  When they see a Christian suffer, they unfairly assume that there must be sin in that believer’s life.  But suffering is not always a result of sin as we see with Job.  In many cases, those who are sinners suffer little while those who are saints suffer much.  Many people see this as a stumbling block for Christianity and ask why God allows suffering.  Instead of asking “why” they might be better off asking “what”.  What is God up to?  What is He trying to produce in us?  Like the refiners fire, God often uses suffering to produce righteous character in believers.  Sometimes He wants those who suffer to be more dependent upon Him.  It may be that He is trying to get our attention.  We might even be sinning; however we can not always equate suffering with sin in a believer’s life as we see with Job’s experience.

At first Job’s friends try to help Job but they quickly turn to accusing him of some sort of hidden or known sin.  Job knows that this is not the reason and tries to justify himself against their accusations.  But his justification quickly turns to self-righteousness and that is sin before God.  Job’s friends say, “Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked.  You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land– an honored man, living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you”. This brings God’s righteous indignation upon Job’s friends.

God Answers Job

Job is not guiltless as no man is without sin. Job becomes discouraged, partly because of the blame game played by his friends. Job begins to question God Himself and this is when God answers Job out of the whirlwind (tornado?), He says, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.“ Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding”. God puts Job in his place and in effect tells Job, who are you to question the God of the Universe? God never does answer Job’s question on why He allows suffering. God, in His sovereignty, chooses not to tell us everything. That is God’s prerogative. Also notice that God spoke to Job out of the “whirlwind” which is the terminology for a tornado or great and destructive windstorm. This could indicate that God is in all things going on this world. He is sovereign and nothing happens that is not within His perfect will. This things include natural disasters and calamities. God is never caught off guard or by surprise.
Someday in eternity, God will likely make it clear why Christians suffer – why something terrible was allowed to happen or why their child was allowed to die. It is as God once said in Isaiah 45:9, “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” We can not question God’s motives. His ways are beyond human comprehension but clearly He does have a purpose in suffering. As God tells Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” . He sometimes chooses not to reveal this to believers – at least in this life.

God Restores Job

If Job had known that God would have restored to him more than he had in the first place, would he have questioned Him at all? God rewards Job for his faithfulness and his endurance through such suffering. This story has an incredible ending.
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his prosperity and doubled his [previous] possessions. All his brothers, sisters, and former acquaintances came to his house and dined with him in his house. They offered him sympathy and comfort concerning all the adversity the LORD had brought on him. Each one gave him a qesitah and a gold earring. So the LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the earlier. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named his first [daughter] Jemimah, his second Keziah, and his third Keren-happuch. No women as beautiful as Job’s daughters could be found in all the land, and their father granted them an inheritance with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days.”
So Job ended up much better off than he was in the beginning. He had considerably more than when he began his suffering and even though God did not answer Job why he was allowed to suffer so terribly, in the end Job had more blessings than any man or the face of the earth at that time. The application for Christians today is that God will bless those who endure to the end and that someday, God will reward us with unbelievable blessings that can not compare with what we have today. We will all suffer in this life. It is appointed to mankind to suffer. It is a fallen world. We may not know the “why” today but some day we probably will. Instead of asking “why”, we should ask “what”. What is God up to? What is God trying to do in me? The “why” will have to wait for someday in eternity. Until then, we can not fully grasp the purpose of God but we know that He will not allow us to suffer into eternity. One thing that is important is that Satan could not lay a finger on Job, nor can he us. God will not allow this.
For those who reject God today, they may have suffering in this life and in the after-life. For those who believe in Him today and trust in the Son of God, their suffering will be over someday. They will have eternal joy and fellowship with God. My prayer for you is that you can inherit this eternal joy where there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more suffering, and no more death. Let the Word of God tell us what is in store for the children of God someday, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.“

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.