Smartism is an ancient brahminical tradition reformed by Shankara in the ninth century. Worshiping six forms of God, this liberal Hindu path is monistic, nonsectarian, meditative and philosophical. Aum Namah Sivaya.

Smarta means a follower of classical smriti, particularly the Dharma Shastras, Puranas and Itihasas. Smartas revere the Vedas and honor the Agamas. Today this faith is synonymous with the teachings of Adi Shankara, the monk-philosopher, known as shanmata sthapanacharya, ”founder of the six-sect system.” He campaigned India-wide to consolidate the Hindu faiths of his time under the banner of Advaita Vedanta. To unify the worship, he popularized the ancient Smarta five-Deity altar–Ganapati, Surya, Vishnu, Siva and Shakti–and added Kumara. From these, devotees may choose their ”preferred Deity,” or Ishta Devata. Each God is but a reflection of the one Saguna Brahman. Shankara organized hundreds of monasteries into a ten-order, dashanami system, which now has five pontifical centers. He wrote profuse commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita. Shankara proclaimed, ”It is the one Reality which appears to our ignorance as a manifold universe of names and forms and changes. Like the gold of which many ornaments are made, it remains in itself unchanged. Such is Brahman, and That art Thou.” Aum Namah Sivaya.


The yamas and niyamas and their function in our life can be likened to a chariot pulled by ten horses. The passenger inside the chariot is your soul. The chariot itself represents your physical, astral and mental bodies. The driver of the chariot is your external ego, your personal will. The wheels are your divine energies. The niyamas, or spiritual practices, represent the spirited horses, named Hri, Santosha, Dana, Astikya, Ishvarapujana, Siddhanta Shravana, Mati, Vrata, Japa, and Tapas. The yamas, or restraints, are the reins, called Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Kshama, Dhriti, Daya, Arjava, Mitahara and Shaucha. By holding tight to the reins, the charioteer, your will, guides the strong horses so they can run forward swiftly and gallantly as a dynamic unit. So, as we restrain the lower, instinctive qualities through upholding the yamas, the soul moves forward to its destination in the state of santosha. Santosha, peace, is the eternal satisfaction of the soul. At the deepest level, the soul is always in the state of santosha. But outwardly, the propensity of the soul is to be clouded by lack of restraint of the instinctive nature, lack of restraint of the intellectual nature, lack of restraint of the emotional nature, lack of restraint of the physical body itself. Therefore, hold tight the reins.

It is important to realize that the yamas, restraints, are not out of the reach of the lowliest among us. No matter where we are in the scale of life, we all started from the beginning, at the bottom, didn’t we? This is our philosophy. This is our religion. This is the evolution of the soul. We improve, life after life, and these guidelines, yamas and niyamas, restraints and practices, are gifts from our rishis, from God Siva Himself through them, to allow us to judge ourself against these pillars of virtue as to how far we have progressed or strayed. In the early births, we are like children. We do not stray from anything. We run here and there and everywhere, disobey every rule, which when told of we cannot remember. We ignore any admonishment. As adolescents, we force our will on society, want to change it, because we don’t like the hold it has on us. Wanting to express themselves in most creative ways, rebellious youths separate themselves from other people, children and the adults. They do make changes, but not always for the best. As an adult, we see both–the past and the impending future of old age–and, heads down, we are concerned with accumulating enough to see life through to its uncertain end. When the accumulations have become adequate, we will look back at the undisciplined children, the headstrong, unruly adolescents and the self-possessed, concentrated adults and try to motivate all three groups. In our great religion, the Sanatana Dharma, known today as Hinduism, twenty precepts, the yamas and niyamas, restraints and observances, are the guidelines we use to motivate these three groups. These are the guidelines they use to motivate themselves, for each group is mystically independent of the others; so it seems.
Siva’s devotees, by remaining steadfast on the path, upholding the yamas and niyamas and relying on their indomitable will, move the forces of the world, and are not moved or affected by them. Aum Namah Sivaya.


And while this is going on, what does the body of the soul, the real body of you, what does it do? It’s about its business, working, learning, studying on inner planes of consciousness and waiting for the instinctive and intellectual and physical elements to grow up a little bit and merge, for life is just a tremendously great experience. Each lifetime has been a great experience for the soul.

The more experiences we can have during a lifetime and approach those experiences in a positive way, the more we begin to crush out the instinctive elements, the more we begin to mold the intellect so it is like the superconscious mind rather than being like the instinctive area of the mind, the more we can begin to mold the physical atoms so that they become closer attuned to the spiritual forces emanating from the soul body. The more experiences we can have and face those experiences positively, the faster we evolve. The fewer experiences we have, the slower we evolve.

The knowing of how to handle each experience that comes to us in our lifetime comes from the soul. It’s our superconscious self.

The instinctive mind will want to run after certain experiences and be repelled by other experiences. It is the area of duality, of likes and dislikes. The instinctive mind will react and resent experiences of a certain nature. The intellectual mind will rationalize other types of experiences that happen to us during a lifetime, argue them out and try to find out reasons why. The superconscious mind of the soul will know the reason why. It will come in an intuitive flash. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter anyway.

The spiritual body of you, which is permanent, has always remained constant. It has always been constant because it’s directly in tune with the constant central source of all energy of the universe. This one source of energy feeds through your spiritual body and out through the intellectual sheath, the astral or emotional sheath, and the physical body. So identify yourself as the inner being. Never see yourself as an outer being. Then experience won’t be reacted to. It will be understood from a mountaintop consciousness. Then experience won’t be sought for for the enjoyment of the experience. The Self will be sought for, and the experience will be part of the path to you.

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