March 27, 2015 - Lesson 349
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Sloka 39 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Nature of the Yoga Pada?
Yoga is internalized worship which leads to union with God. It is the regular practice of meditation, detachment and austerities under the guidance of a satguru through whose grace we attain the realization of Parasiva. Aum.
Yoga, "union," is the process of uniting with God within oneself, a stage arrived at through perfecting charya and kriya. As God is now like a friend to us, yoga is known as the sakha marga. This system of inner discovery begins with asana--sitting quietly in yogic posture--and pranayama, breath control. Pratyahara, sense withdrawal, brings awareness into dharana, concentration, then into dhyana, meditation. Over the years, under ideal conditions, the kundalini fire of consciousness ascends to the higher chakras, burning the dross of ignorance and past karmas. Dhyana finally leads to enstasy--first to savikalpa samadhi, the contemplative experience of Satchidananda, and ultimately to nirvikalpa samadhi, Parasiva. Truly a living satguru is needed as a steady guide to traverse this path. When yoga is practiced by one perfected in kriya, the Gods receive the yogi into their midst through his awakened, fiery kundalini. The Vedas enjoin the yogi, "With earnest effort hold the senses in check. Controlling the breath, regulate the vital activities. As a charioteer holds back his restive horses, so does a persevering aspirant restrain his mind." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 349 from Living with Siva
Respecting Temple Priests
In the past months, we have talked to many groups about the abuse of women and children, of animals and our environment. And there is yet another kind of abuse whose victims have silently suffered without our concern, without our intervention, and mostly without our even knowing about it. I'm speaking of our temple priests, who are being mistreated and abused all over the world. This is a distressing problem that I hear about nearly every week and am working steadily to solve.
It is time that we talked about this atrocity. Hindu priests, known as pujaris, are being mistreated, humiliated and bashed--emotionally, mentally and even physically--by temple managers, trustees and sometimes even devotees. We all know that this is not right. Still, with few exceptions, no one is objecting, except of course the priests themselves. Their objections and efforts to provide for their own security go largely unheard, as they are looked down upon by management as uneducated, simple people who merely perform rote rituals. In truth, they are a noble army of soldiers of the within, who are the heart of Hinduism's spiritual leadership.
Priest bashing is a popular sport outside of India. Back in India, priests have their sanga and elders to stand up for them. Outside India, when a priest falls into disfavor, the slightest infractions are used against him, and serious accusations are quickly levelled to blacken his name, hurt him and force him out. Accusation of wrongdoing in handling money is a favorite ploy and usually the first to be used. The list goes on, giving management the license to yell at him, push him, ignore his needs, embarrass him in front of his peers and humiliate him in public. In Australia, a priest spent two weeks in the hospital following an incident of severe and traumatic public humiliation. There have been too many cases for us to take lightly the himsa hurts inflicted upon priests serving in foreign lands. With a sympathetic attorney's help, one priests' group in California formed their own organization for protection, but this is still the exception.
It is bad enough inside India, but even worse outside. At least in India the priest is on home ground, knows the rules of the region and has moral, emotional and even legal support available. And, of course, he has his extended family to turn to. Outside of India, many priests have none of these support systems. Many priests are isolated and vulnerable in so many ways--often living alone, with only a temporary visa. Many don't know the laws and customs of the country they serve in, and may not know the language too well, so they are often at the mercy of the temple managers for everything. They are disadvantaged in another way, too: if a priest has to return to his village, he will face a second humiliation as elders and peers make him answer up to the gossip, insinuations and accusations that have accumulated against him.
Yes, bashing Hindu temple priests is a worldwide tragedy, and those who perpetrate these acts are also bashing the Sanatana Dharma. But abusing priests is not to be taken lightly. Those who can invoke blessings from the Gods can also invoke curses from asuric forces of this planet for their own protection when angered, embarrassed and deeply hurt. Hindu temple priests deserve respect for the richness of their holy profession, the dignity of their office and the importance of their function. They should not be mistreated or interfered with. They have earned the same respect that any professional in "the real world" enjoys. When swami bashing was in vogue years ago, swamis took it seriously. They got to know each other better, stood up for each other and put a stop to the nonsense.
Women today are taking such a stand against their own husbands who take sadistic joy in battering them repeatedly. When these transgressions are brought before the public, changes are often set in motion. Attitudes change. Soon the media changes its ways of reporting on abuse. Laws eventually change. We have seen this happen with child abuse, with racial abuse, with sexual abuse. The time has now come for us all to change our attitudes about abusing temple priests. This will require temple managers to adjust their thinking. It will also require the international priesthood of Sanatana Dharma to take a firm stand against their molesters and refuse to meekly submit, day in and day out, to harassment or to being relegated to janitorial work and the handling of shoes. Some priests work fourteen hours a day and more. They are treated like servants of the manager rather than servants of the temple Gods. Let's put an end to this shameful mistreatment and the bad karma that it creates. Let's honor, love and respect our priests. Let's make our priests happy. Happy priest, happy temple, happy Gods, happy devotees. That's the way it works.
Sutra 349 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Food Guidelines For Traveling Monastics
My Saiva monastics when traveling may partake of food prepared at home by devout families and delivered to them. They may also cook for themselves, or enjoy meals in restaurants, whether served by men or women. Aum.
Lesson 349 from Merging with Siva
Reincarnating Prior to Death
The next theory of reincarnation, governed by the throat, brow and crown chakras, states that when an advanced soul leaves the body through the brow chakra, or third eye, he enters a highly refined force field world from which he is able to pick and choose exactly when and where he will return. At this point he does not have to reincarnate as an infant, but could take an already well-matured physical body. In such a case, the soul inhabiting the body would have karmically ended this life and be involved in the reincarnation process, either dead or preparing to die. The advanced yogi would flow his awareness into the nerve system of the body, revitalizing it with the spark of his will and consciously bring it back to life.
He would face the problem of amalgamating himself with the memory cell patterns still resident within the mature brain. Affectionate detachment would have to be practiced as he adjusted to his new family and friends who wouldn't feel as close to him anymore. They would sense that he had changed, that he was somehow different, but would not understand why. Once his mission in that body had been completed, he could leave that body consciously, provided he had not created too much karma for its subconscious while inhabiting it. All such karma would then have to be dissolved before dropping off the body. This practice is exercised only by souls who have sufficient mastery of the inner forces to leave consciously through the ajna chakra at death. Those who leave through that force center unconsciously would then reincarnate as an infant.
A related law, for those far advanced inwardly, states that the reincarnation process can begin before actual death takes place. While still maintaining a body on this planet and knowing that death is imminent, the inner bodies begin their transition into a new body at the time of conception. After a three-month period, the first signs of life appear and the advanced being enters the newly forming physical body. During the nine-month gestation cycle, the waning physical body is in the slow process of death, and exactly at the time of birth the death finally comes.
If evolution continues on the astral and other inner planes, and is in some ways more advanced in these realms, then do we need a physical body at all to unfold spiritually? Is it perhaps an unnecessary burden of flesh? According to classical yoga precepts, you must have a physical body in order to attain nirvikalpa samadhi--the highest realization of God, the Absolute. This is due to the fact that on the refined inner planes only three or four of the higher chakras are activated; the others are dormant. For nirvikalpa samadhi, all seven chakras, as well as the three major energy currents, have to be functioning to sustain enough kundalini force to burst through to the Self. The very same instinctive forces and fluids which generate material involvement, uncomplimentary karma and the body itself, when transmuted, are the impetus that propels awareness beyond the ramification of mind into the timeless, spaceless, formless Truth--Siva.