Bodhinatha continues with highlights from a talk he is preparing for Mauritius on God Siva, talking about the nature of God Siva. He is the supreme parent, and each of us is His child. God Siva loves and blesses us no matter what we do. Bodhinatha also talks here about what we can do to get closer to God.
Quite often, we are asked, "How should we conceive of God Siva? What is the best way to think about God Siva? What is God Siva's nature?"
The easiest way to understand God Siva's nature is to think of Him as the parent and yourself as the child. As parent, singular, He is both mother and father. Mother and father are not separate, they are both in God Siva. Why is God Siva like the parent? Because He created your soul. We call Him the Primal or Original Soul because all other souls were created by Him. So He is the parent of everyone, having created their soul.
Not only is God Siva the parent, He is the perfect parent. Because no matter what we do, Siva always sends His blessings and love to us. When we make mistakes, God Siva is never upset, angry or displeased with us. He is always the same, always loving and blessing us no matter what we do. He certainly does not punish us. He is just there, the perfect parent, never gets disturbed. No matter how ridiculous we act, God Siva is there, the perfect parent loving and blessing us at all times.
We can describe God Siva's love as perfect love because it exists at all times and extends to all beings. Nobody gets left out. It exists at all times and for all beings, the perfect love.
The goal, of course, is to find God, for God to reveal Himself to us. But if we keep searching diligently, we will eventually find Him. Even though He is hidden from our sight right now, we can perform certain actions that will cause us to eventually find God.
In finding God, we also experience Siva's perfect love. We experience the consciousness that Siva is in, which includes perfect love, love for everyone at all times.
How do we find God? How do we experience God as perfect love? Well, we need to become closer to Him and Hinduism gives us certain actions, certain disciplines, sadhanas we can perform that bring us closer to God. A number of those have to do with worshipping at a Siva temple.
We will look at those first. Worshipping at a temple is called bhakti yoga and Gurudeva gives us a beautiful definition of bhakti yoga. He says, "Bhakti yoga is the practice of devotional disciplines, worship, prayer, chanting and singing with the aim of awakening love in the heart and opening one's self to God's grace."
That is a very nice definition because it shows us a three-fold process here. First step, we are doing something, we are performing these disciplines, worshiping, chanting, attending puja. If we do them successfully, what happens? We open the heart or awaken love toward God Siva. If we are successful at accomplishing that, the third thing happens. We receive God Siva's grace or blessings. We feel His perfect love.
Some of the ways in which we can increase our devotion for God Siva are as follows. Of course, we have talked about these before here. So they won't be new, but for them they will be new.
One of the easiest ones is, we always have to travel to the temple. Unless you are a monk, you don't live in the temple. You have to travel, sometimes we travel a great distance to the temple. How we use our travel time, what we are doing during that time, relates to the depth of our worship. So if we are gossiping or listening to rock and roll or doing business on the cellular phone or accessing the internet or whatever, we are not preparing ourselves to have as profound experience at the temple as we can. If we take the time while we are traveling to put ourselves in a devotional mood, if we are driving we can play some devotional music in the CD player. If we are riding a bicycle we can sing a Devaram. It helps put us in the right mood so that we can maximize the benefits, the blessings we receive at the temple itself.