SLOKA 2 FROM DANCING WITH SIVA
WHERE AM I GOING? WHAT IS MY PATH?
We are all growing toward God, and experience is the path. Through experience we mature out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and union in God. Aum.
We have taken birth in a physical body to grow and evolve into our divine potential. We are inwardly already one with God. Our religion contains the knowledge of how to realize this oneness and not create unwanted experiences along the way. The peerless path is following the way of our spiritual forefathers, discovering the mystical meaning of the scriptures. The peerless path is commitment, study, discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. In the beginning stages, we suffer until we learn. Learning leads us to service; and selfless service is the beginning of spiritual striving. Service leads us to understanding. Understanding leads us to meditate deeply and without distractions. Finally, meditation leads us to surrender in God. This is the straight and certain path, the San Marga, leading to Self Realization–the inmost purpose of life–and subsequently to moksha, freedom from rebirth. The Vedas wisely affirm, ”By austerity, goodness is obtained. From goodness, understanding is reached. From understanding, the Self is obtained, and he who obtains the Self is freed from the cycle of birth and death.” Aum Namah Sivaya.
LESSON 2 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA
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 Parasiva. 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.
SUTRA 2 OF THE NANDINATHA SUTRAS
FOUR NOBLE GOALS
Siva’s followers are ever mindful that life’s purpose is to wholeheartedly serve God, Gods and guru and fulfill the four traditional Hindu goals: duty (dharma), wealth (artha), love (kama) and liberation (moksha). Aum.
LESSON 2 FROM MERGING WITH SIVA
LIKE A CHILD’S SELF-DISCOVERY
Look at a child standing before a mirror for the first time, feeling its nose and ears, eyes and mouth, looking at itself reflected in the glass. Feeling and seeing what has always been there is a discovery in experience. Parasiva is the same. It is always there in each and every human being on the planet. But involvement in the externalities of material existence inhibits their turning inward. The clouding of the mirror of the mind–that reflective pond of awareness which when calm sees clearly–or the ripples of disturbance on the mind’s surface distort seeing and confuse understanding. Without a clear mirror, the child lacks the seeing of what has always been there–its own face. Parasiva is an experience that can be likened to the hand feeling and the eyes seeing one’s own face for the first time. But it is not experience of one thing discovering another, as in the discovery of one’s face. It is the Self experiencing itself. Experience, experienced and experiencer are one and the same. This is why it is only registered on the external mind in retrospect.
Most people try to experience God through other people. Disciples see a guru as God. Wives see their husband as God. Devotees see the Deity in the temple as God. But all the time, behind the eyes of their seeing, is God. The Self, Parasiva, can be realized only when the devotee turns away from the world and enters the cave within as a way of life through initiation and under vows. We know the Self within ourself only when we fully turn into ourselves through concentration, meditation and contemplation and then sustain the resulting samadhi of Satchidananda, pure consciousness, in hopes of finding–determined to find–That which cannot be described, That which was spoken about by the rishis, Parasiva, beyond a stilled mind, Parasiva that has stopped time, transcended space and dissolved all form.