May 02, 2016 - Lesson 20

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Sloka 20 from Dancing with Siva

What Are God Siva's Traditional Forms?

Our adoration of the one great God Siva is directed toward diverse images and icons. Primary among them are Sivalinga, Nataraja, Ardhanarishvara, Dakshinamurti, Hari-Hara, Bhairava and the trishula. Aum Namah Sivaya.


Every form is a form of Siva. Tradition has given us several of special sacredness. The Sivalinga was the first image of Divinity. After it all other icons evolved from mystic visions. We contemplate God Siva as Parasiva when we worship the Sivalinga. Its simple elliptical shape speaks silently of God's unspeakable Absolute Being. We exalt Siva as Parashakti or Satchidananda, God's living omnipresence, when we worship any form of His never-separate Shakti, especially Ardhanarishvara, whose right half is masculine and left half is feminine, and in whom all opposites are reconciled. We adore Him as Parameshvara, the Primal Soul, when we worship Nataraja, the Divine Dancer who animates the universe. Thus we worship Siva's three perfections in three forms, yet knowing that He is a one Being, fully present in each of them. He is also Dakshinamurti, the silent teacher; Hari-Hara--half-Siva, half-Vishnu--and Bhairava, the fierce wielder of trishula, the trident of love, wisdom and action. The Tirumantiram declares, "Everywhere is the Holy Form. Everywhere is Siva-Shakti. Everywhere is Chidambaram; Everywhere is Divine Dance." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 20 from Living with Siva

Kshama: Patience

The fifth yama, patience, or kshama, is as essential to the spiritual path as the spiritual path is to itself. Impatience is a sign of desirousness to fulfill unfulfilled desires, having no time for any interruptions or delays from anything that seems irrelevant to what one really wants to accomplish.

We must restrain our desires by regulating our life with daily worship and meditation. Daily worship and meditation are difficult to accomplish without a break in continuity. However, impatience and frustration come automatically in continuity, day after day, often at the same time--being impatient before breakfast because it is not served on time, feeling intolerant and abusive with children because they are not behaving as adults, and on and on. Everything has its timing and its regularity in life. Focusing on living in the eternity of the moment overcomes impatience. It produces the feeling that one has nothing to do, no future to work toward and no past to rely on. This excellent spiritual practice can be performed now and again during the day by anyone.

Patience is having the power of acceptance, accepting people, accepting events as they are happening. One of the great spiritual powers that people can have is to accept things as they are. That forestalls impatience and intolerance. Acceptance is developed in a person by understanding the law of karma and in seeing God Siva and His work everywhere, accepting the perfection of the timing of the creation, preservation and absorption of the entire universe. Acceptance does not mean being resigned to one's situation and avoiding challenges. We know that we ourselves created our own situation, our own challenges, in a former time by sending forth our energies, thoughts, words and deeds. As these energies, on their cycle-back, manifest through people, happenings and circumstances, we must patiently deal with the situation, not fight it or try to avoid it or be discouraged because of it. This is kshama in the raw. This is pure kshama. Patience cannot be acquired in depth in any other way. This is why meditation upon the truths of the Sanatana Dharma is so important.

It is also extremely important to maintain patience with oneself--especially with oneself. Many people are masters of the faŁade of being patient with others but take their frustrations out on themselves. This can be corrected and must be corrected for spiritual unfoldment to continue through an unbroken routine of daily worship and meditation and a yearly routine of attending festivals and of pilgrimage, tirthayatra.

Most people today are intolerant with one another and impatient with their circumstances. This breeds an irreverent attitude. Nothing is sacred to them, nothing holy. But through daily exercising anger, malice and the other lower emotions, they do, without knowing, invoke the demonic forces of the Narakaloka. Then they must suffer the backlash: have nightmares, confusions, separations and even perform heinous acts. Let all people of the world restrain themselves and be patient through the practice of daily worship and meditation, which retroactively invokes the divine forces from the Devaloka. May a great peace pervade the planet as the well-earned result of these practices.

The next time you find yourself becoming impatient, just stop for a moment and remember that you are on the upward path, now facing a rare opportunity to take one more step upward by overcoming these feelings, putting all that you have previously learned into practice. One does not progress on the spiritual path by words, ideas or unused knowledge. Memorized precepts, shlokas, all the shoulds and should-nots, are good, but unless used they will not propel you one inch further than you already are. It is putting what you have learned into practice in these moments of experiencing impatience and controlling it through command of your spiritual will, that moves you forward. These steps forward can never be retracted. When a test comes, prevail.

Sadhakas and sannyasins must be perfect in kshama, forbearing with people and patient under all circumstances, as they have harnessed their karmas of this life and the lives before, compressed them to be experienced in this one lifetime. There is no cause for them, if they are to succeed, to harbor intolerance or experience any kind of impatience with people or circumstances. Their instinctive, intellectual nature should be caught up in daily devotion, unreserved worship, meditation and deep self-inquiry. Therefore, the practice, niyama, that mitigates intolerance is devotion, Ishvarapujana, cultivating devotion through daily worship and meditation.

Sutra 20 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Directing The Power Of Desire

Those who live with Siva know the great power of desire and thought, and choose theirs wisely. They also know the infinitely greater power of those who conquer desire by desiring only to know God. Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 20 from Merging with Siva

Are You Ready To Turn Inward? Basic principles for a good foundation in our lives can be established through consistency. The consistency in approach to what you are doing, a good habit pattern in living our life--as we approach our inner life, the understanding of our inner life, the study of it and the experience of it--has to be on a day-to-day basis. To develop a contemplative lifestyle that is sensible, that is positively worked out, and program that into our complete pattern of daily life gives us a foundation strong enough to face decisions and the ensuing experiences and the reaction to those experiences in a way that they enhance our spiritual unfoldment. Remember, the lifestyle that we now have was programmed for you by mothers, fathers, religious leaders, teachers, people that we had just met along the way, and good friends. It's not a particularly good lifestyle in which to hold the perspective that we're an immortal being. It's a great lifestyle to hold the perspective that we're a temporal being, and we're only here a few years and then we die.

To develop a whole new lifestyle takes thought. Our desire has to be transmuted into doing that. In the ordinary lifestyle of human consciousness, our desires generally are for things, for emotional experiences, for intellectual knowing. And that's all good, but they're not organized. We have to organize the tremendous power of desire so that it's transmuted, and we desire the realization of the Self more than anything else. Then you'll have enough desire left over to get things, to get happiness and to get all the getting that humans want.

But the tremendous force of desire is transmuted. The perspective is changed. We see ourself as an immortal being, and we work consistently with our lifestyle day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. Each decision that we make is an easier decision to make, and each reaction that we face, we face it joyfully. Each meditation that we hold is more profound than the last, and the spiritual being, the soul body, begins to merge with the physical body, as the elements of the instinct and the elements of the intellect that have been supreme life after life after life begin to give up and transmute their energies into the immortal body of the soul.