LESSON 22. THE RIVER, A SYMBOL OF LIFE.

SLOKA 22 FROM DANCING WITH SIVA
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF LORD GANESHA?
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-faced Patron of Art and Science, the Lord of Obstacles and Guardian of Dharma. His will prevails as the force of righteousness, the embodiment of Siva’s karmic law in all three worlds. Aum.

BHASHYA
Lord Siva, the Almighty Power, created heaven and earth and the God Lord Ganesha to oversee the intricate karmas and dharmas within the heavens and all the earths. Lord Ganesha was created as a governor and interplanetary, intergalactic Lord. His knowledge is infinite, His judgment is just. It is none other than Lord Ganesha and His mighty band of ganas who gently help souls out of the Naraka abyss and adjust them into higher consciousness after due penance has been paid, guiding them on the right path toward dharmic destiny. He is intricate of mind, loving pomp, delighting in all things sweet and enjoying adulation. Lord Siva proclaimed that this son be worshiped first, even before Himself. Verily, He is the Lord of Karma. All Mahadevas, minor Gods, devas and sentient beings must worship Ganesha before any responsible act could hope to be successful. Those who do not are subject to their own barriers. Yea, worship of Him sets the pattern of one’s destiny. The Tirumantiram says, ”Five-armed is He, elephant-faced with tusks protruding, crescent-shaped, son of Siva, wisdom’s flower, in heart enshrined, His feet I praise.” Aum Namah Sivaya.

LESSON 22 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA
DAYA: COMPASSION

The seventh yama is daya, compassion. Sometimes it is kind to be cruel, and at other times it is cruel to be kind. This statement has come forward from religion to religion, generation to generation. Compassion tempers all decisions, gives clemency, absolution, forgiveness as a boon even for the most heinous misdeeds. This is a quality built on steadfastness. Daya comes from deep sadhana, prolonged santosha, contentment, scriptural study and listening to the wise. It is the outgrowth of the unfolded soul, the maturing of higher consciousness. A compassionate person transcends even forgiveness by caring for the suffering of the person he has forgiven. The compassionate person is like a God. He is the boon-giver. Boons, which are gifts from the Gods, come unexpectedly, unasked-for. And so it is with the grace of a compassionate person.

A devotee asked, ”What should we think about those who are cruel toward creatures, who casually kill flies and step on cockroaches?” Compassion is defined as conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. A compassionate person would tell a plant verbally if he was going to pick from it, intuiting that the plant has feelings of its own. A compassionate person would seek to keep pests away rather than killing them. A callous person would tear the plant up by its roots. A cruel person would, as a child, pull one wing off a fly and, unless corrected, mature this cruelty on through life until he maimed a fellow human. Compassion is just the opposite to all this.

When we find callous, cruel and insensitive people in our midst, we should not take them into our inner circles, but make them feel they must improve before admittance onto the spiritual path. Compassion is the outgrowth of being forgiving. It is the outgrowth of truthfulness, and of noninjury. It is a product of asteya, of brahmacharya and of kshama. It is, in fact, higher consciousness, based in the vishuddha chakra of divine love.

One can’t command compassion. Before compassion comes love. Compassion is the outgrowth of love. Love is the outgrowth of understanding. Understanding is the outgrowth of reason. One must have sufficient memory to remember the various points of reason and enough willpower to follow them through to be able to psychically look into the core of existence to gain the reverence for all life, all living organisms, animate or inanimate. Compassion is a very advanced spiritual quality. When you see it exhibited in someone, you know he is very advanced spiritually–probably an old soul. It really can’t be taught. Daya goes with ananda. Compassion and bliss are a one big package.

What is the difference between ahimsa and daya, compassion, one might ask? There is a distinct difference. Not harming others by thought, word or deed is a cardinal law of Hinduism and cannot be avoided, discarded, ignored or replaced by the more subtle concept of compassion. Ahimsa, among the yamas and niyamas, could be considered the only explicit commandment Hinduism gives. Compassion comes from the heart, comes spontaneously. It is a total flow of spiritual, material, intellectual giving, coming unbidden to the receiver.

Compassion by no means is foolishness or pretense. It is an overflowing of soulfulness. It is an outpouring of spiritual energy that comes through the person despite his thoughts or his personal feelings or his reason or good judgment. The person experiencing compassion is often turned around emotionally and mentally as he is giving this clemency, this boon of absolution, despite his own instinctive or intellectual inclinations. This is a spiritual outpouring through a person. Rishi Tirumular used the word arul for this yama. Arul means grace in the ancient Tamil language.

A devotee once e-mailed me, saying, ”Recently I was going through some suffering and had bad thoughts and bad feelings for those who caused that suffering. Now that I’m feeling better, can I erase those bad thoughts and feelings?” Thoughts and bad feelings you have sent into the future are bound to come back to you. But, yes, you can mitigate and change that karma by being extra-special nice to those who abused you, hurt you or caused you to have bad thoughts and feelings against them. Being extra-special nice means accepting them for who they are. Don’t have critical thoughts or try to change them. Have compassion. They are who they are, and only they can change themselves. Be extra-special nice. Go out of your way to say good words, give a gift and have good feelings toward them.
SUTRA 22 OF THE NANDINATHA SUTRAS
MORNING SADHANAS
Worshipers of Siva, during their daily sadhana vigil, conduct or attend puja, chant the Guru Mantra and 108 repetitions of their mantra, study scripture and perform hatha yoga, concentration and meditation. Aum.

LESSON 22 FROM MERGING WITH SIVA
THE RIVER, A SYMBOL OF LIFE

You have all heard about the sacred river Ganges, but have you ever wondered why this river is sacred? Why has this river become personified among all the rivers of the world? Let us meditate on this and let the river tell its own story to us. The river is the esoteric symbol of life’s force, and as it flows it tells us how those cosmic currents flow through the physical body, quieting the emotions and awakening the willpower so that we can keep the mind under our control. This all happens, of course, providing we are in tune and flow with that life force, that illimitable power within us.

The birth of this river high in the Himalayas we can liken to our own conception and entrance into physical consciousness. As the river flows to meet the sea, it drops off many disturbances, just as our life absorbs many of its hindrances. The rapids smooth out, the waterfalls become smaller, the mouth of the river broadens, and as the river flows into the ocean we can see this esoteric symbol of life ending its manifest physical form.

Let us relate that symbol to our own consciousness, holding it within our mind, the river as a symbol of life. Now look at yourself and see what stops that river from flowing. What stops you from flowing with cosmic forces and becoming one with life’s ocean of eternal bliss? Is it not attachment that keeps us clinging to the bank of the river? Is it not fear that we are attached to? All of the personalities we know and the various material objects we are clinging to keep us holding tightly to the banks of life’s cosmic river. The river still flows on, but we do not flow with it. We are fighting against life’s currents when we allow ourselves to become attached.

Think today about the personal experiences in your lifetime and clearly view just how often you cling to the banks of life’s river by attaching yourself to personalities and possessions. Have you ever stopped to think that we even become attached to things that we do not like and to the things that we have done against our better judgment? We are attached to objects, values, schedules, habits, memories, even likes and dislikes. We become attached because we do not stop to understand that each of those experiences that conceived the attachment was just a boulder, a waterfall or an old tree trunk blocking one of the little rivulets as it tried to merge with the great stream ever merging itself into the ocean.

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