The Sanatana Dharma, or ”eternal faith,” known today as Hinduism, is a family of religions that accept the authority of the Vedas. Its four principal denominations are Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. Aum.

The world’s billion Hindus, one-sixth of the human family, are organized in four main denominations, each distinguished by its Supreme Deity. For Vaishnavites, Lord Vishnu is God. For Saivites, God is Siva. For Shaktas, Goddess Shakti is supreme. For Smartas, liberal Hindus, the choice of Deity is left to the devotee. Each has a multitude of guru lineages, religious leaders, priesthoods, sacred literature, monastic communities, schools, pilgrimage centers and tens of thousands of temples. They possess a wealth of art and architecture, philosophy and scholarship. These four sects hold such divergent beliefs that each is a complete and independent religion. Yet, they share a vast heritage of culture and belief–karma, dharma, reincarnation, all-pervasive Divinity, temple worship, sacraments, manifold Deities, the guru-shishya tradition and the Vedas as scriptural authority. While India is home to most Hindus, large communities flourish worldwide. The Vedas elaborate, ”He is Brahma. He is Siva. He is Indra. He is the immutable, the supreme, the self-luminous. He is Vishnu. He is life. He is time. He is the fire, and He is the moon.” Aum Namah Sivaya.


One suggestion is for marriageable youth to give up those summer vacations and study around the year to get through school and into a profession so they can wed and establish a family while they are still young, rather than delaying the completion of education and the time of marriage.

Can you tell this to the young people of today? No. They will say, ”We will deal with it when it happens.” To delay marriage until age thirty or later and go into a situation with no plan of how to deal with the problems when they come up is flying blind, isn’t it? We don’t even buy our automobiles like that. Will youth listen to such advice from elders? No, not any more. ”It’s not cool,” they say. Well, it won’t be cool when emotions get hot and the family has to live through the seven teenage years of puberty simultaneously with the five or more fortyish years of menopause. Think about it.

Here’s a story: Little Jyoti got interested in sailing when his father purchased a boat. Dad was reliving his youth, but had no time to take Jyoti out on a sail, except once, and that was the time they nearly capsized. Dad was forty-seven, and Jyoti was seventeen. There were thirty years between them. Imagine! It certainly didn’t used to be that way, but it is now. All their lives the father and the son lived in different universes, seldom communicating. Even when they thought they communicated, they didn’t. The distance between the ages of Jyoti and his parents contributed to the breakup of the family.

Jyoti went to live with mom after the divorce. They were all happier, now that the fights about the cost of the boat were over. Mom thought the money spent on the boat would be better spent on a new wing built on their house for her mother, who was getting old. Now mom and Jyoti live in her mother’s house, which is big enough for all three of them. Jyoti and dad have finally become friends. Dad sees Jyoti whenever he comes over. Jyoti does not visit dad’s place too often and only when dad’s ”significant other” is at work and it’s dad’s day off. It’s all too true that this story is the tale of many families in today’s world.

Another story: Rani’s mom was married at seventeen to a boy who was twenty. They were both virgins and grew together as they discovered each other physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Then came little Rani, then Kumar and then Krishna. Mom, dad and the kids were all children together, and they are still together. Mom stays home. She has never held a job. Dad makes enough for the whole family; they live simply. Mom is always there for her family, laughing and smiling. She is rarely tired and never stressed out. Dad has mutual-interest projects going in the attic, the basement and the garage for the two boys. Mom is teaching her daughter how to sew, cook, sing and serve. Mom, dad, Rani and the boys enjoy each other because they are not so far apart in age. Are those days gone? Are there going to be no more happy times when the entire family enjoys each other without too much distance between their age and interests? Dad doesn’t have to worry about giving quality time to his family. He is there with them–there for them–and so is mom. They have no marriage counseling bills to pay; no problems, really.

The moral to these stories is simple. There is a wisdom in the old ways of marrying early, which is exactly what happened in tribes and cultures for thousands of years prior to World Wars I and II. That is the natural way, the way that avoids frustration and promiscuity, marriage failure and unhappy families.
Siva’s close devotees take a vow and joyously tithe ten percent of their gross income to their lineage monthly. This is God’s money. Using it otherwise is forbidden–a karma reaping loss exceeding all anticipated gain. Aum.


Aum Namah Sivaya is such a precious mantra because it is the closest sound that one can make to emulate the sounds rushing out of the Self into the mind. Chanting it is profound because it is a sound channel which you can follow to get close to the Self of your self–sort of like following a river upstream to yourself. Aum Namah Sivaya can be equated with Siva’s drum of creation, called damaru. When ”Aum Namah Sivaya” is repeated, we go through the chakras, Na-Ma Shi-Va-Ya Aum. The Aum is in the head chakra. Within Namah Sivaya is each of the elements–earth, water, fire, air and ether–which in the mind are transmuted into all-pervasive consciousness, and that is also transmuted, into the great chakra way above the head at the end of the Aum. In just the breath, the space of time between the next repetition of ”Aum Namah Sivaya�Aum Namah Sivaya�Aum Namah Sivaya,” the pranas, having reached Parasiva, fall back into the spiritual, mental, astral and physical worlds, blessing them all with new energy, new life and new understanding. ”Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum” is the constant process of life. It is the essence of life itself. We must realize that at any given moment we are a complete Parasiva-Satchidananda jiva, only working on the ”Maheshvara part”–on the jiva’s becoming Siva. Parasiva is there. Satchidananda is there. The maturity of the purusha, of the jiva, the embodied soul, is not. Therefore, Aum Namah Sivaya takes us into the reality above and beyond the relatively real. To know it is to experience it, and to experience it is to become initiated.

I have been performing Aum Namah Sivaya for over fifty years. At first it had no meaning other than, ”Wonderful, at last I got my mantra, and an assignment from my guru to perform japa regularly.” As the japa progressed, all the inner worlds opened, all the doors of the mind. All the spiritual forces were unleashed, and the ability to control them came naturally. You see, Namah Sivaya Aum brings the totality of the individual to the forefront and makes it manifest in daily life. This most pragmatic mantra is found at the center of the Vedas, in the hymn known as Shri Rudram, and Siva is at the center of Namah Sivaya Aum. As the center of the Vedas, it blends Vedanta with Siddhanta, fusing them together with the fire of realization. So, I and all Saiva Siddhantists are a fusion of Vedanta and Siddhanta, with all doors open of understanding of the fourteen windows, the chakras of the mind, and even more than that.

My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, placed great emphasis on japa, repeating the name of Siva with concentration and feeling. This great Natha jnani explained, ”May we not forget that mantra is life, that mantra is action, that mantra is love, and that the repetition of mantra, japa, bursts forth wisdom from within. Japa yoga is the first yoga to be performed toward the goal of jnana. In the temple perform japa. Under the sacred tree, perform japa. I performed japa all of this life as a silent sadhana, and it is automatic now.” Siva Yogaswami enjoined his devotees: ”Wear rudraksha beads, repeat the Panchakshara, let your heart grow soft and melt. Chant the letters five, and in love you will discover Siva’s will. Chant so that impurities, anxieties and doubts are destroyed. All hail Namah Sivaya.”

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