Eight Features of Natha Sampradaya (Version 2)


Don't put the search for the innermost divine Self in the future tense. You are Brahman. We're already identical with Siva. Kundalini is a slow awakening. Shum meditation gives you a chart, a map of the inner world. Building on established tradition and practice; the soul body matures. [Note: Bodhinatha spoke on this subject on September 17, 2014, but had much different things to say.)

The Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 151

Unedited Transcript:

This is Dancing with Siva Sloka 151 which struck me as a containing a lot about Natha Sampradaya.

So, in your mind think about Natha Sampradaya. What does it encompass? And if I run into a point that you wouldn't have mentioned make note of it.

"Natha means 'lord or adept,' and sampradaya refers to a living theological tradition. The roots of this venerable heritage stretch back beyond recorded history, when awakened Natha mystics worshiped the Lord of lords, Siva and in yogic contemplation experienced their identity in Him. The Natha Sampradaya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self, balanced by temple worship, fueled by kundalini yoga, charted by monistic theism, illumined by a potent guru-shishya system, guided by soul-stirring scriptures and awakened by sadhana and tapas. Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution."

Isn't that a good list? Lot in there. We have the search for the innermost divine Self. First of all have that in our mind. The only point there to remember is make sure you don't put it in the future tense. Keep it in the present. Was reading something this morning and, by a Saivite scholar, and he was putting, putting it in the future. He was saying Aham Brahmasmi, you are becoming Brahman. Was putting it in the future. Instead: You are Brahman.

Well Gurudeva has a nice way to clarifying that. Says: We have a soul nature, the soul body. And then we have the essence of the soul. The essence of the soul is in Sanskrit terms Parasiva and Parashakti. Or the transcendent absolute and the immanent all-pervading consciousness.

When we think of ourselves we tend to think of our self as the soul body. Said another way, when we think of our soul nature, not that we do that all day. When we think of our soul nature we tend to think of the part of the soul which is the soul body. Did I get it across second time. The part that changing, the part that's maturing, the part that's evolving. The part that's becoming more like Siva because of our sadhana and tapas. The soul body is in a state of becoming like Siva. Our soul body is becoming more like Siva's soul body through the practice of sadhana and tapas. The analogy I use is the light switch. Keep moving up, it gets brighter, the lights get brighter. You move it down the lights get dimmer. Variable light switch. If Siva has one and His is all the way at the top.

We have one in ours, if we're doing our sadhana and tapas it's moving up very slowly but we're getting brighter. We're in the state of becoming more like Siva. Our soul body is getting brighter. Siva is 100%. We're getting brighter through sadhana and tapas. So, that's the state of becoming.

But being, we're already identical with Siva then the essence of the soul. The absolute, we're already the absolute, we're already omnipresent consciousness. We just don't, can't see that part of our self that's omnipresent consciousness. But it's there; it's hidden but it's there. So we don't have to do anything for that to be true.

So the soul body is becoming like Siva but the essence of the soul is identical with Siva at all times. That's an important distinction.

"...balanced by temple worship,"

We know that one, that's our monistic theism, theistic monism. We, most traditions are either one or the other as I pointed out. They're either theistic which is Vaishnava. Monistic which is most Vedantins. And we're both.

I remember coming from some events in Southern California, we had spent probably two days participating in the ceremonies at the opening of the BAPS Swaminathan Temple in Chino Hills which is part of Los Angeles area. Very interesting temple because they had to build it to be earthquake proof. So it sits on springs. The top of it sits on springs which is above the bottom. So you have the bottom, you have springs and then the top so it'll move. Nothing will crack.

They're theistic, they're dualistic, they're Vaishnava. We spent two days worshiping. Then we went over to a satsang and they had one of the leaders of the Chinmaya Mission was there. Was very close to this Visvanathan family. I was talking about Vedanta and making the point that: Wouldn't it be nice to have all of this in one place. The theism and the monism and all. Of course we have them in one place right here. The only place I know of that combines both and looks at both as equally important.

"...fueled by kundalini yoga,..."

So kundalini yoga in our tradition isn't something you try and stimulate by some kind of breathing technique or try and stimulate by going to a weekend seminar and something like that. It can actually work and kundalini can rise prematurely and cause grief. You don't want it to rise too soon. It's a very powerful force. But rises prematurely it usually goes up the wrong channel. Have three choices, Ida Pingala and Sushumna. Well, we want it to go up the sushumna; we want it to go up the center. But Siddha Yoga Dham is to me the most notorious for causing people to shake. They sit to meditate and they couldn't sit still. Part of them would be shaking cause the kundalini had been stimulated prematurely. It wasn't going up the right channel.

Kundalini is a slow awakening. But it's a powerful force and just our simple meditation technique, preparation for meditation, stimulates it slighter in every one. If you follow it all it's stimulated slightly, just by that. Which is enough. Then it gets stronger later on by, when you're ready for it.

"...charted by monistic theism,..."

Well chart is very important. We had a retreat in Malaysia in something jungle. What's it called? Layambala Jungle something. The place above the Muslim college. We had a retreat there and there's lot's of hiking trails. And one morning most of the group went off hiking to a waterfall. So they studied the map and they went off hiking and found the waterfall and came back. They had a chart. Their hike was charted. Otherwise, they might not have found it. It wasn't that simple, wasn't the only trail out there.

When you sit for meditation most people don't have a chart. Mind goes all over, they don't know what to do. So, we have a chart, just like a hike. A hike it says go two miles and you'll see a junction, take the left turn. Then go another this and that and you know, gives you a chart. Then take the right turn.

So, that's what Shum meditation is. It's a chart. Says: First feel this. From there you'll be able to feel that and from there you'll be able to go into the energy in the spine. And from there you'll be able to go there. So, it's a chart. It's a series of, it's just like a map. A map of the inner world. So we have a chart for our meditation. Provided by the Shum language.

"...illumined by a potent guru-shishya system,..."

So that's important. In other words, there's something going on in the present. So repeats. It's not all history. You go to a number of Hindu places and this happened 100 years ago and this happened 150 years ago and here's this picture and here's that and thank you very much. There's nothing potent going on. It's, it's a museum. Preserving something that happened what long ago. But Gurudeva's approach is: No, it's something potent should be going on in the present. That's the idea.

"...guided by soul-stirring scriptures..."

Yogaswami's quote on that is: "Train needs to run on tracks." Meaning it's easier to make spiritual progress if you follow an established tradition and you don't start all over. That's the trouble with the New Age. The New Age has lots of great ideas but it's not based on any long standing tradition, therefore, many things are just starting from scratch and not benefiting. Take science. Science is doing as well as it is today because it treasures the past and builds on it, doesn't start over, doesn't fill things out and say we they it all wrong and start the field of science over again every generation. No, they accept that everything's a theory; it's the best understanding that we have of something and we may throw that theory out. But it's the best one we have and if we use it computers work. We're able to base our engineering upon our scientific theory. That's an example of building on tradition.

"...awakened by sadhana and tapas."

Well the whole thing is useless unless you practice. It's just there as a structure but it doesn't do you any good just to read about it without the practice.

"Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution."

So again when Gurudeva uses the word "evolution" he's talking about the evolution of the soul over spiritual unfoldment. He's not talking about biological evolution. Spiritual evolution, the maturing of the soul. The soul body matures. It matures in a couple of ways. One is it gets more distinct; it gets more well defined. It gets more, and the more distinct the more well defined it is the more control it has. So that's why we find that is the more emotional level of self control it has but the more well defined, the more control and then the whole soul just matures. It gets older and wiser.

So, thank you very much. One verse. Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Observe those who are steadfast. You will learn from them. Observe those who are not, and they, too, will teach you. They will teach what you should not do.
—Gurudeva