Bodhinatha comments on excerpts from the book "Self and Samadhi." Worship of Lord Ganesha helps us get settled in our dharma. Challenge ourselves through our duties. Interests and desires change from life to life. Feel joyous, unburdened in fulfilling our duties. The goal of realizing God within will become really important.
Good morning everyone.
Going to read a bit and comment on our newest small book "Self and Samadhi."
It's been our pattern for the, every year for Gurudeva's Mahasamadhi Observance to print a small book of his teachings. This one is a bit deep but there's something in it for everyone as well, not just the deepest teachings.
"Worship of Lord Ganesha sets the path of dharma. Go to His feet. He alone can perform this miracle for you. He will release the mental and emotional obstructions to spiritual progress. He will remove the burdens of worldliness. To live the perfect life of the grihastha dharma, of family life, brings as its fulfillment the all-knowing bliss of Satchidananda, realizing our self not as formless Parasiva but as the pure consciousness that sustains and pervades all forms in the universe. Yes, there is a sense of urgency on the path of enlightenment, but only when we are unburdened of karma, only when we are walking the path of dharma. Only then can true yoga be practiced and perfected. "
So, Gurudeva makes this point in a number of places in his teachings. The idea of worshiping Lord Ganesha helps us get settled in our dharma, settled in our profession. Choose a profession if we're young that's suitable to us.
The relationship of fulfilling our profession in spiritual unfoldment is not necessarily understood. Cause spiritual unfoldment is often thought of as requiring us to drop out of the world. Someone gets interested in moving ahead spiritually and what do you have to do? You have to kind of just give everything up. That's the way you make spiritual progress. So most people aren't ready to do that and if they gave everything up in a few years they'd acquire it all back. Wouldn't quite work out.
So, there's another option. Instead of trying to give everything up it's to figure out where you are in dharma and where you are in your svadharma. Where you are professionally, what duties naturally come to you in life. And do them well. So, that's the idea of worshiping Lord Ganesha, helps us settle into that if we haven't already. It helps us settle into that.
Said in a way with an example: We want to challenge ourselves through our duties. If we were a doctor in our last life there's no reason to be a laborer in this life. You know, normally we'd move up in sophistication of our duties. We perform more and more complicated duties.
Gurudeva -- one of his definitions of moksha -- he has a two-fold definition and a three-fold definition.
The three-fold definition is: Moksha, Liberation from rebirth is achieved:
#1. When all dharmas have been lived through;
#2. When all karmas are resolved; and
#3. When God has been fully realized.
The three-fold explanation of what's required.
So, we're supposed to engage in life in a challenging way. It's part of the process. Because in doing that we develop certain qualities. We have to develop: better self-control; better control of our emotions; better control over facing difficulties without feeling overwhelmed; better control over not tangling with other individuals. All of that comes about by putting ourselves into our duties fully.
"All Hindus without exception believe in reincarnation. In each birth we must fulfill more goals leading to the one ultimate goal which after many births well lived will loom before us as the only goal worthy of striving for in this lifetime. All other desires, all other aims and ambitions pale under the brilliance of even the thought of realization of Satchidananda and Parasiva."
This is pointing out it's a natural process. The toys... We have young Aran here. How old is Aran? Four and a half, okay. He loves trucks. He can't go anywhere... How many trucks did he bring? Three or four? Okay. Well he can't travel without three of four trucks; it just wouldn't work. And then he plays on the iPad and what game does he play? Identifying trucks. So, when he's age 16 is he going to be still be so fascinated about trucks that he has to bring 3 or 4 on a trip to Hawaii? No, of course not. So, we go through natural interests as we grow up in one life. When we're young we play with trucks, teenager we do something else. In our twenties we do something else. Thirties, forties, fifties, naturally our interests, our desires change as this is pointing out. But they also change from life to life in the same way that they change within one life. So Gurudeva's saying: Eventually the goal of realizing God within us will become really important. And we have no choice but to focus on that.
"In fulfillment of our duties to parents, relations and the community at large, become a good householder, be a good citizen, live a rewarding physical, emotional and intellectual existence. These are the natural goals of many. Once this is accomplished in a lifetime, it is easy in future lives to perpetuate this pattern and evolve toward more refined and more difficult goals, such as gaining a clear intellectual knowledge of the truths of the Agamas and Vedas, most especially the Upanishads, and establishing a personal contact with Lord Siva within His great temples through the fervor of worship."
So take the point that's most related to what we're talking about: "Once this is accomplished in a lifetime, it is easy in future lives to perpetuate this pattern..." of duties to parents, relations and community.
So that's the ideal of Hindu culture is fulfilling duty but of course, in a joyous way. We try not to feel burdened by our duties. We try and find a way that we can feel uplifted. Feel fulfilled and joyous in fulfilling our duties. But, understanding what our duties are which which include duties to community, as Gurudeva says. And sometimes that 's not emphasized enough.
The example that's in one of my talks is young man who is in his late twenties I think, single. Been trained in yoga, meditation. And we're teaching it at the temple in, it's in Illinois. Was it Champagne? No, the other one. Near Champagne. The other one near Champagne Illinois.
And he was reading a bit in "Living with Siva" and came across the statement: We have to fulfill our duty to our community. And he wrote me and said: "What's this mean?" He didn't know what it meant. There he is you know, bright young man, teaching yoga at the temple and he never learned that he had a duty to the community.
So I explained it in a simple way, I said: Community, meaning the people that surround us where ever we live, regardless of their religion or their ethnicity are part, like a distant relative, because we share the same community. And as such, we need to help them out on occasion. We need to be thoughtful about what their needs are. And that, for a temple, it's good to do something once a year, I thought. A nice pattern, temples, particularly involving the teenagers have a program once a year where they outreach to the community and help with a food bank or a clothing drive. So some simple project that's benefits all members of the community. And then you've done a part of helping the community.
So Gurudeva liked to emphasize the Upanishads. "...gaining a clear intellectual knowledge of the truths of the Agamas and Vedas, most especially the Upanishads..."
Have a Upanishad quote,fits right into Gurudeva's teachings: "There is a spirit which is pure and which is beyond old age and death and beyond hunger and thirst and sorrow. This is Atman, the Spirit in man. What you see when you look into another person's eyes; that is the Atman. Immortal, beyond fear. That is God."
Very direct. Upanishads like to be direct.
Have a wonderful day.