Theism, Monism, Meditation, the Shumif Perspective


urudeva's teachings and Saiva Siddhanta: Monistic Theism, Advaita Ishvaravada. Become a great Theist first. When perfected, through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana, when devotion to God Isvara is really strong, only then focus on Monism. We're Monists when we meditate; we're Theists when we worship. Shumif: See the inner light, hear the high eee sound, go in and in and stay within one's self; awareness is traveling and consciousness is stationary.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

Yesterday I was thinking about Advaita Ishvaravada, which of course, you all know what that is, right? Vada is a doctrine. Advaita, Advaitavada would be a doctrine of Monism. Ishvaravada is a doctrine of Theism. So, you put the two together, what do you have? You have Gurudeva's teachings. Monistic Theism is the English word. So we take it for granted, Monistic Theism.

But you go elsewhere and you don't find it. You find this Hindu group is Theistic, this Hindu group is Monistic but you don't find groups that are both. Very unusual to practice both. For example, you go to to the, you know very good Theists, Swaminarayan monks, you know they're very good Theists, very devotional. Watch them do the puja and all, you get a good sense of their personal devotion.

Of course, the most famous group in the U.S. is ISKCON. They're so Theistic that when they see Siva meditating they think He's meditating on Vishnu. They can't imagine anything but Theism. Even in their meditation they can't imagine anything but Theism, personal God.

And you go to a group such as Transcendental Meditation or probably Art of Living, I believe that they're, which is an offshoot, they're focused on Monism. Going in and realizing one's Self.

But Gurudeva's teachings and in fact the teachings of Saiva Siddhanta are both. Specifically, we have to become a great Theist before we try and be a Monist. That's the teaching of Saiva Siddhanta. First we perfect our Theism, and when that's really strong, when our devotion for God is really strong, then we can start to focus on our Monism. That Theism is the foundation for Monism. That's contained in the teachings of charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. That's charya and kriya is where we perfect our Theism and then we're ready for our yoga which leads to jnana.

Our festival, Ardra Darshanam is one of two times a year that all the monks participate in a festival. The other one is Maha Sivaratri. Otherwise, just some of the monks are conducting the festival. But these two times a year we all get involved in one way or another. At least we're in the coconut line. How many coconuts was that? One hundred and thirty-nine. Oh we're trying for one hundred and eight minimum and we, we exceeded it. We have to go out and collect the nuts and cut them open; it's a big preparation. One hundred and thirty-nine coconuts. Have to protect the whole Guru Peedam in this plastic, if you see some getting splattered. Everything's covered in plastic till the coconuts are done.

That's our Theism. We're great Theists. Then we throw ourselves into worship of God Siva as a person, as Ishvara. That's personal God. But we're also focused on our Monism, our meditation. So we're doing both and that's, as I say, it's unique. I don't know of any other group that does that, focuses equally on Theism as well as Monism.

One of the insights I had into meditation was when I was doing some research. Was trying to point out the nature of meditation that Gurudeva taught. The research I did, it started with Eknath Easwaran, very great translator, shall we say. He translated some scriptures in a very fine way. His form of meditation really surprised me. It's repeating quotes from the great scriptures of the world, any scripture, it doesn't have to be Hindu. Just sitting there and repeating verses from the great scriptures of the world. I said: Whoa! I had never thought of that as meditation before. But that's what he taught. And I said: Oh, my goodness, that's very interesting. So, of course our meditation doesn't have anything to do with scripture.

And then some forms of meditation are really just japa. Involving a mantra. You're repeating a mantra. So if you're sitting with your eyes closed and repeating a mantra we don't count that as meditation, we call that japa. Japa is repeating a mantra. Your mind is doing something. Consciously doing something. That's not our form of meditation.

Then some forms of meditation are really Theism. You're sitting there thinking about Nataraja in some form. Focused on the form, the personal form of God. That's to us still is Theism. You're focusing on God as a being separate from you. That's Theism which we practice. But, we don't practice that when we meditate. We're Monists when we meditate; we're Theists when we worship. We don't' want to get the two confused. We don't come in the temple and during the puja, sit there in meditation. And during meditation we don't want to sit there doing a puja in our head. You know, gotta, gotta have the right one in the right place.

That's what we don't do. Well, if we don't do that, if we don't repeat scripture, if we don't do japa, if we don't think of the form of Nataraja or personal Deity, what do we do? We go inside our self. What's the simplest way to go inside our self? Gurudeva says: Hear the high eee sound. The high eee is a superconscious or intuitive sound. See the inner light. That's Monism. We're going inside our self. There's no second being; there's no activity of mind. We're just going inside our self and seeing what's there in our superconscious mind. But it's inside of us. There's no being. If we see a being we've, we've gone out. That's, some forms of meditation do that, they go out. They go into the light and they go out. And then you can see a being. Oh, good morning Gurudeva. How are you? Whoops, I'm supposed to be meditating. Talk to you later.

That's the wrong practice; you don't want to see a being. You've gone, you've gone in and then you've gone out. So, we don't try and do that. We go in and we stay within our self. That, that's our form of meditation. If we go into the light it's our light; we're not seeing somebody else. That's our Theism. It's nicely documented in the Shum-Tyeif language. Gurudeva uses the term shumif to describe the type of meditation we follow which is, we identify as awareness. It just means the observer and we travel through consciousness.

Because we had a center in San Francisco for so long the textbook talks about San Francisco. Cause when you travel to San Francisco, you go through Chinatown, you go through the financial district. If you go down to Market Street, all these different districts are like states of consciousness. But, you're the traveler through the different states of consciousness. That's shumif. Where awareness moves, consciousness is stationary. Therefore, when you hold that perspective it's easy to be detached from the state of consciousness you're in because you're the awareness traveling. If you don't like what's going on in Chinatown you go down to Market Street.

If you don't like your state of mind, which is a bit unhappy, you move over here to something that's happier. Think I'll move next door; that's a more enjoyable state of mind over here than this one. We get more detached when we use the shumif perspective: Awareness is traveling and consciousness is stationary.

Have a great day.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Be equal to whatever you meet! That is a better way to react to life. It is accomplished simply by meeting everything in understanding, by demanding understanding from within yourself.
—Gurudeva