Today the monks observed their weekly Homa in Kaduval temple, along with attending devotees. Siva was worshiped in the sacred fire, and written prayers were burned to the devas. A serene and meditative atmosphere was enjoyed by all.
Afterwards Bodhinatha discussed awareness and willpower, explaining how our interest in something effects our experience of it. He read from Living with Siva, lesson 106:
The primal life force ever resident within the body, emotions and mind of man is, when used or allowed to function, what I term willpower. Now we can see that the ever-present persistence of life force gives an overabundance of willpower and with it the ability to direct it from deep within. This ability to direct the willpower is the jñana, the wisdom we seek. We have but two choices: to gain jñana through learning the tried-and-tested, set patterns for living and conducting ourself or, through assuming a relaxed approach of ignorance, be guided by the "good" and "bad" and mixed emotional forces of the wills of others. Therefore, the devotee seeks to gain the conscious control of his own willpower, to awaken knowledge of the primal force through the direct experience of it, and to claim conscious control of his own individual awareness. ¶Thus we can begin to see that our individual awareness, willpower and the primal life force deep within body, emotion and mind are, in fact, one and the same--that willpower, individual awareness and life force, their habits and usages, are but various aspects. ¶You will notice that, through our study together, these three aspects are referred to time and time again, individually as well as collectively. However, in the study of yoga it is important to keep in mind the totality of their sameness in order to fully identify your personal and continued experience of yourself as a being with unlimited will, constantly and fully aware of the primal life force flowing through body and emotions, as you, awareness, travel through the mind. This is the goal of the jñani, the one who has attained to wisdom, to the acquisition of divine knowledge and the personal experience of what he has learned. ¶A child in his early years becoming acquainted with living with his family on this planet will show tendencies toward a quiet, peaceful will or a provocative willfulness. The wise parent teaches the culture and etiquette of the household and the community at large, ever endeavoring to bring forth the inner knowledge within the child as to the wise use of his willpower, guiding him carefully away from impulsive, willful behavior so that, little by little, he becomes responsible for the action he causes, as well as its reactions. The unwise parent with no particular cultural heritage, completely vulnerable to his own instinctive impulses, overlooks this area of childhood training. Therefore, impulsive willfulness bursts forth from within the children, cultivating abilities to hurt themselves as well as others, and to upset the home, with no particular remedy in view. ¶This of course is the opposite to what we have in mind to obtain for ourselves. It is the attainment of that ever-collected mastery over our faculties through holding our inner perspective of them that keeps a heavy reign over the aspect of awareness called willpower, maintaining an even balance between the emotional-instinctive, the intellectual and the spiritual aspects of our being. It is through the study of raja yoga, while always holding a silent overview as to what you are learning and how it relates to your particular life patterns, that you will come to know that an inner change is taking place. Harness the powers of your will in the ways indicated. The reward is simultaneous with the effort employed. The results are immediate.
Religion needs to be of the present. Mankind is evolving spiritually; mass consciousness is rising. When we go to the temple, in the right spirit, contributing devotion and prana, being open to the blessings of the Deity; it purifies the mind. The Hindu religion focuses on the mind; purifies it; controls it, subdues the ego, makes us more humble.