This morning's Siva homa invoked the presence of the devas and mahadevas, as notes were burned in the fire to be read by the inner worlds. It is a great blessing to have such a connection, one which is utilized daily by our order to make all our projects go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. People often ask how the monasteries monks are able to do all they do. This cooperation with the inner worlds is the answer. Through renouncing personal preferences and ambitions, the inner-world beings are able to work with and through the monastics, who endeavor always to remain open to their perfectly calculated guidance.
Following the homa, Satguru Bodhinatha gave a wonderful talk, reading from this passage in Merging with Siva, and elucidating on it many mystical verses.
Lesson 272 from Living with Siva
The Evolution Of Humanness
Ahimsa, nonhurtfulness, is the essence of dharma, and the muladhara chakra sets the pattern of dharma. The muladhara chakra is a very interesting chakra, because it is the base center of energy and consciousness, and consciousness is energy, ever creating, preserving and absorbing. Karma is the self-perpetuating principle of cause and effect, shaping our experiences as a result of how we use our energies, mentally, verbally or physically. So, once we narrow down the individual awareness from freedom without responsibility, which is the lower nature, into the consciousness of freedom with responsibility, which is the higher nature, the individual awareness, or consciousness, must pass through the portals of the muladhara chakra and rest comfortably within the energies of its four petals. Four petals, of course, form a square. Three dimensionally, two squares put together with a space between can well be defined as a box. This box is defined as dharma.
Briefly, at this point on the path to enlightenment we put our cumulative karmas into a box called dharma. Once encased within dharma, the various karmas may fight each other. As the individual progresses on the path, the box lightens and rises. The box of dharma is the base from which the aspirant must live at this point. Strictly contained, he may rise through the hole in the top of the box in consciousness, or open a hole in the bottom of the box and seek freedom without responsibility in the world of darkness. To seek freedom in the chakras above is the San Marga. To seal off the hole at the bottom of the box is his sadhana, penitent tapas, japa, bhakti and Sivathondu, all of which is eloquently explained in Merging with Siva.
Who holds the lid on the box? Community, community pressures, both religious and secular. There are certain things you can do and certain things you can't do. The stronger ahimsa becomes at the family level, the more subtle it gets, and the violence gets more subtle, too. A careless word can cut the heart of someone you love, but someone not loved may not be wounded by anything less sharp than a knife.
Someone asks, "I am trying to seal off the chakras below the muladhara, but whenever a trying situation comes up, the feelings of resentment and retaliation are paramount. What can I do?" When the feelings that come up amplify resentment, squelch reason and paralyze memory, we must assume that the box of dharma is empty and does not contain the cumulative sukarmas and kukarmas of this and past lives (the kriyamana and prarabdha karmas), and that he is not bound by dharma at all, or that it has no influence in guiding his future karmas. There are no excuses on this path. This means that the person has really not yet come to Lord Ganesha's feet. Therefore, vrata--he must take a vow and live up to it.
Ahimsa is a vrata. Rishi Patanjali called it the mahavrata, or great oath. When it is not lived up to, there are consequences. Remorse must be felt, apologies made, penance endured and reconciliation accomplished. The ego experiences embarrassment. All this and more occurs, depending on the individual's sincerity, steadfastness and resolve never to reenter the lower nature of himsa, hurtfulness, again.
Those who have found it necessary to take the mahavrata of ahimsa and are prepared to make amends if they do not live up to it are well on their way to entering the muladhara and svadhishthana consciousness. Being penitent is rising to reason and remembering the dharma. Being belligerent is lowering to selfishness and, through confusion and anger, attaining his wants. To proceed further, he has to listen to the wise, listen to the swamis, read scripture, perform bhakti and do Sivathondu, selfless service. Those who remain prone to anger should not do raja yoga or any form of intensive mantra, japa, or pranayama amplification of the energies into higher chakras--lest that collective energy plummet into the corresponding lower chakras and be vented through fear, anger and jealousy.
The fourteen chakras have been described as a pole one must climb. The pole is heavily greased with ghee. It's a slippery pole. Therefore, the helping hand of our loving Ganesha, who reaches down from the muladhara, is needed to lift up the aspirant. It's the helping hand of Lord Murugan that reaches down from the anahata chakra, grabbing and lifting the devotee up. It is the helping hand of Siva that reaches down from the ajna chakra and lifts one up. One cannot do it alone. Total surrender to the Gods is the only way. Karma yoga, bhakti yoga, japa yoga is the way to attract their attention. The guru keeps the path in view, but he does not walk it for you.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.