February 23, 2017 - Lesson 317
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Sloka 7 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Deeply Mystical Saiva Sect?
Saivism is the world's oldest religion. Worshiping God Siva, the compassionate One, it stresses potent disciplines, high philosophy, the guru's centrality and bhakti-raja- siddha yoga leading to oneness with Siva within. Aum.
Saivism is ancient, truly ageless, for it has no beginning. It is the precursor of the many-faceted religion now termed Hinduism. Scholars trace the roots of Siva worship back more than 8,000 years to the advanced Indus Valley civilization. But sacred writings tell us there never was a time when Saivism did not exist. Modern history records six main schools: Saiva Siddhanta, Pashupatism, Kashmir Saivism, Vira Saivism, Siddha Siddhanta and Siva Advaita. Saivism's grandeur and beauty are found in a practical culture, an enlightened view of man's place in the universe and a profound system of temple mysticism and siddha yoga. It provides knowledge of man's evolution from God and back to God, of the soul's unfoldment and awakening guided by enlightened sages. Like all the sects, its majority are devout families, headed by hundreds of orders of swamis and sadhus who follow the fiery, world-renouncing path to moksha. The Vedas state, "By knowing Siva, the Auspicious One who is hidden in all things, exceedingly fine, like film arising from clarified butter, the One embracer of the universe--by realizing God, one is released from all fetters." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 317 from Living with Siva
Tantras of Communication
In our own Kailasa Parampara, there is a similar but uniquely different example of direct communion between the inner worlds and the outer. My guru's guru's guru's guru, known as the Rishi from the Himalayas, sat for meditation in a tea shop in Bangalore, South India, for seven years, never speaking a word or moving a muscle. Devotees flocked to this extraordinary sage, and with them came the normal quota of problems, questions, prayers and needs. Though they only spoke these needs in their own private thoughts, they were mystified by the way that answers came floating down on twisted-up slips of paper, from an unseen source above the rishi's head. Devotees would open up these messages to find the exact answers to their unspoken questions. Our prayers burned in the sacred fire are going in the opposite direction, and the answers are coming in more subtle, indirect ways that become obvious as satisfaction is experienced.
The knowledge of reincarnation, astral travel, channeling messages from the departed, auras and oh-so-many other psychic mysteries of the soul are an intrinsic part of the Western world in this age of communication, just as these phenomena have been an acknowledged part of life in the East since the dawn of mankind. Communicating with the Gods and their devas, invoking, courting and keeping happy angels and devas in home shrines has been at the core of nearly every religion in the world ever since religions have existed.
Methods of communication with one's guardian devas, their friends and associates and the Gods they so faithfully serve are many: the Ouija board, automatic writing, materialization seances, swinging pendulums, extracting knowledge from crystals, sending letters and gifts through sacred temple fires, clairvoyance, clairaudience, early-morning dreams, messages and predictions from entranced mediums, the readings of subtle signs, interpreting the sounds of lizards and crows, visiting psychic mentors, fortunetellers, palmists, astrologers, priests and shamans, exorcism, revelation of knowledge from deep meditation, and more. All of these are tantras of communication. A tantra is a method, preceded by learning, which often requires an initiation, but not always.
It is no accident that you and I are together and you are reading this book and have gotten this far. A great thought form and several devas accompany this book which you are now holding. They have guided you to it and are now with you, their inner mind and your inner mind communicating as you continue to read. This highly charged book is itself a doorway into the inner planes. Put it under your pillow when you sleep at night. Study it through the day and absorb the inner knowledge.
Sutra 317 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Vows For Contemplative Living
Siva's monastics who are sadhakas and yogis uphold, and renew every two years, the four vows of humility, purity, confidence and obedience. Swamis uphold for life these four and a fifth vow of renunciation. Aum.
Lesson 317 from Merging with Siva
Four Stages Of Evolution
Let me begin with something that may at first come as a surprise to you. All men and women on the Earth are doing exactly as they should and must do. People complain, "I wish I were rich. I wish I lived somewhere else. I really should be a doctor. If only things were different." But in the final analysis, we are all doing exactly as we want, as we must, doing what is next on our personal path of evolution. Nothing is wrong. Nothing should be that is not. Even the drunk, even the thief, is part of the cosmic dance of God Siva. Not that you should ever think of being a thief, for there is much difficult karma there. Just realize that he, too, is evolving. He, too, is Siva's creation, and what he does is, for him, somehow necessary.
Just look at the world. Warriors have to fight their battles. Priests have to take care of their temples. Businessmen must sell their goods. Farmers must grow their crops and tend their flocks. Teachers must pass on knowledge. Each one has to do what he has to do in the great cosmic dance of Siva. Each one follows the path of service leading to devotion, which leads to spiritual disciplines of yoga. Finally, that yoga culminates in the attainment of Truth, or God Realization. These are the four margas leading the soul to its very Self.
For Hindus, the path is seen as divided into four stages or phases of inner development. Some say karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana; others say charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Either way, it is basically the same--progressive stages followed by the soul in its quest for God. We are speaking here of the way the ancients attained their realizations, how they lived their lives, suffered, went through mental pain in their tapas, walked the San Marga path through life--charya, kriya, yoga and jnana--and in that process unwound the karmas of the past, learned to live fully in the present, abashed the person of themselves to be the soul of themselves. They practiced true yoga to obtain release from rebirth, moksha, which only the realization of the Absolute Truth can give. There is, of course, no action too great to render to persist on the path of enlightenment, once the path has clearly been defined.
Jnana is the last stage. Most people don't understand jnana. They think it is little more than intellectual study of the path, a simple kind of wisdom. But jnana does not mean simplistic reading of scriptures or understanding of philosophical books and knowing pat answers to stereotyped questions. Jnana is the blossoming of wisdom, of enlightened consciousness, of true being. Jnana is the state of the realized soul who knows Absolute Reality through personal experience, who has reached the end of the spiritual path after many, many lifetimes.
Yoga is the path of sadhana, or discipline, leading the advanced soul toward jnana. Yoga is divided into eight parts, ranging from the simple physical disciplines and diet, up to the deepest contemplation gained through perfect control of mind. Yoga does not mean just sitting in lotus for half an hour each day in a penthouse or doing hatha yoga asanas for health and beauty. It means yoga as performed by the yogis of yore, the renegades from society, tapasvins ready to face the fire of sadhana, brave souls who have given up all else in their search for Truth, persevering with an iron will until they accomplish what they seek.
Kriya is basically worship and devotion, or the expression of our love of the Divine through various ceremonies and rituals. Kriya does not mean mindlessly or superstitiously attending temple services, to look good in the community, to be with friends, to gossip or talk of politics and other human affairs. It is a genuine communion with the inner worlds, a profound stage in which the heart swells and eyes overflow with internalized worship, love and surrender.
Charya is service, but it does not mean empty service, unthinking performance of traditional rites or just marrying off daughters, thus forestalling premarital affairs. It is service done selflessly, it is dharma performed consciously, it is worship offered wholly and it is goodness in thought, word and deed.