SLOKA 9 FROM DANCING WITH SIVA
WHAT IS THE DEVOTIONAL VAISHNAVA SECT?
Vaishnavism is an ancient Hindu sect centering on the worship of Lord Vishnu and His incarnations, especially Krishna and Rama. Largely dualistic, profoundly devotional, it is rich in saints, temples and scriptures. Aum.
The worship of Vishnu, meaning ”pervader,” dates back to Vedic times. The Pancharatra and Bhagavata sects were popular prior to 300 bce. Today’s five Vaishnava schools emerged in the middle ages, founded by Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya. Vaishnavism stresses prapatti, single-pointed surrender to Vishnu, or His ten or more incarnations, called avataras. Japa is a key devotional sadhana, as is ecstatic chanting and dancing, called kirtana. Temple worship and festivals are elaborately observed. Philosophically, Vaishnavism ranges from Madhva’s pure dualism to Ramanuja’s qualified nondualism to Vallabha’s nearly monistic vision. God and soul are everlastingly distinct. The soul’s destiny, through God’s grace, is to eternally worship and enjoy Him. While generally nonascetic, advocating bhakti as the highest path, Vaishnavism has a strong monastic community. Central scriptures are the Vedas, Vaishnava Agamas, Itihasas and Puranas. The Bhagavad Gita states, ”On those who meditate on Me and worship with undivided heart, I confer attainment of what they have not, and preserve what they have.” Aum Namo Narayanaya.
LESSON 9 FROM LIVING WITH SIVA
The niyamas are: 1) hri, ”remorse,” being modest and showing shame for misdeeds; 2) santosha, ”contentment,” seeking joy and serenity in life; 3) dana, ”giving,” tithing and giving generously without thought of reward; 4) astikya, ”faith,” believing firmly in God, Gods, guru and the path to enlightenment; 5) Ishvarapujana, ”worship of the Lord,” the cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation; 6) siddhanta shravana, ”scriptural listening,” studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one’s lineage; 7) mati, ”cognition,” developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru’s guidance; 8) vrata, ”sacred vows,” fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully; 9) japa, ”recitation,” chanting mantras daily; 10) tapas, ”austerity,” performing sadhana, penance, tapas and sacrifice.
In comparing the yamas to the niyamas, we find the restraint of noninjury, ahimsa, makes it possible to practice hri, remorse. Truthfulness brings on the state of santosha, contentment. And the third yama, asteya, nonstealing, must be perfected before the third niyama, giving without any thought of reward, is even possible. Sexual purity brings faith in God, Gods and guru. Kshama, patience, is the foundation for Ishvarapujana, worship, as is dhriti, steadfastness, the foundation for siddhanta shravana. The yama of daya, compassion, definitely brings mati, cognition. Arjava, honesty–renouncing deception and all wrongdoing–is the foundation for vrata, taking sacred vows and faithfully fulfilling them. Mitahara, moderate appetite, is where yoga begins, and vegetarianism is essential before the practice of japa, recitation of holy mantras, can reap its true benefit in one’s life. Shaucha, purity in body, mind and speech, is the foundation and the protection for all austerities.
The twenty restraints and observances are the first two of the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga, constituting Hinduism’s fundamental ethical code. Because it is brief, the entire code can be easily memorized and reviewed daily at the family meetings in each home. The yamas and niyamas are the essential foundation for all spiritual progress. They are cited in numerous scriptures, including the Shandilya and Varaha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Rishi Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali. All of these ancient texts list ten yamas and ten niyamas, with the exception of Patanjali’s classic work, which lists just five of each. Patanjali lists the yamas as: ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha (noncovetousness); and the niyamas as: shaucha, santosha, tapas, svadhyaya (self-reflection, scriptural study) and Ishvarapranidhana (worship).
In the Hindu tradition, it is primarily the mother’s job to build character within the children, and thereby to continually improve society. Mothers can study and teach these guidelines to uplift their children as well as themselves. Each discipline focuses on a different aspect of human nature, its strengths and weaknesses. Taken as a sum total, they encompass the whole of human experience and spirituality. You may do well in upholding some of these but not so well in others. That is to be expected. That defines the sadhana, therefore, to be perfected.
SUTRA 9 OF THE NANDINATHA SUTRAS
PURPOSE, PLAN, PERSISTENCE AND PUSH
Siva’s devotees approach each enterprise with deliberate thoughtfulness, and act only after careful consideration. They succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push. Aum.
LESSON 9 FROM MERGING WITH SIVA
EVERYTHING IS WITHIN YOU
The Self God is within all of this. It is beyond all bodies. It is beyond all form. It is beyond all intellect, beyond time, beyond space. That is the big realization on this planet, the thing that should be yearned for, sought for; all desires should be pointed in that direction. And then, once realized, you live out the life of the physical body and do what you can do in service to fellow man who is also coming along the same path that you have walked on before.
All knowing also is right within you. This body of light of the soul is the body of the superconscious mind. It is all-knowing. We have to approach it through the physical brain, and it takes a little time to draw forth inspiration and knowing, but the more refined the physical body becomes, the more like this soul body, the knowing is there superconsciously. It’s a beautiful thing to think about, that all knowing is within man. Everything that has been brought through–all books, all systems, all religions, all philosophies–have come through man, but not always through the intellectual man or the instinctive man, but through the man whose body of his soul and his physical body have merged as one.
There are other things that are within us, too. Even the devil that they talk about, it’s also right within us. That’s the instinctive mind. That’s also the intellectual mind, the doubter that says, ”I don’t know if I should be on the path to enlightenment. Maybe I should be doing something else.” That’s the area of the mind that causes us to argue with ourselves, or have a mental argument with a friend of ours. That’s the antagonistic force of the instinctive area of the mind, as well as the intellectual area of the mind.