May 20, 2013 - Lesson 38
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Sloka 38 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Nature of the Kriya Pada?
Kriya is joyous and regular worship, both internal and external, in the home and temple. It includes puja, japa, penance, fasting and scriptural learning, by which our understanding and love of God and Gods deepen. Aum.
Hinduism demands deep devotion through bhakti yoga in the kriya pada, softening the intellect and unfolding love. In kriya, the second stage of religiousness, our sadhana, which was mostly external in charya, is now also internal. Kriya, literally "action or rite," is a stirring of the soul in awareness of the Divine, overcoming the obstinacy of the instinctive-intellectual mind. We now look upon the Deity image not just as carved stone, but as the living presence of the God. We perform ritual and puja not because we have to but because we want to. We are drawn to the temple to satisfy our longing. We sing joyfully. We absorb and intuit the wisdom of the Vedas and Agamas. We perform pilgrimage and fulfill the sacraments. We practice diligently the ten classical observances called niyamas. Our relationship with God in kriya is as a son to his parents and thus this stage is called the satputra marga. The Tirumantiram instructs, "Puja, reading the scriptures, singing hymns, performing japa and unsullied austerity, truthfulness, restraint of envy, and offering of food--these and other self-purifying acts constitute the flawless satputra marga." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 38 from Living with Siva
Giving, dana, is the third great religious practice, or niyama. It is important to remember that giving freely of one's goods in fulfilling needs, making someone happy or putting a smile on his face, mitigates selfishness, greed, avarice and hoarding. But the most important factor is "without thought of reward." The reward of joy and the fullness you feel is immediate as the gift passes from your two hands into the outstretched hands of the receiver. Dana is often translated as "charity." But charity in modern context is a special kind of giving by those who have to those who have not. This is not the true spirit of dana. The word fulfillment might describe dana better. The fulfillment of giving that wells up within the giver as the gift is being prepared and as the gift is being presented and released, the fulfillment of the expectancy of the receiver or the surprise of the receiver, and the fullness that exists afterwards are all a part of dana.
Dashamamsha, tithing, too, is a worthy form of dana--giving God's money to a religious institution to fulfill with it God's work. One who is really fulfilling dana gives dashamamsha, never goes to visit a friend or relative with empty hands, gives freely to relatives, children, friends, neighbors and business associates, all without thought of reward. The devotee who practices dana knows fully that "you cannot give anything away." The law of karma will return it to you full measure at an appropriate and most needed time. The freer the gift is given, the faster it will return.
What is the proportionate giving after dashamamsha, ten percent, has been deducted. It would be another two to five percent of one's gross income, which would be equally divided between cash and kind if someone wanted to discipline his dana to that extent. That would be fifteen percent, approximately one sixth, which is the makimai established in South India by the Chettiar community around the Palani Temple and now practiced by the Malaka Chettiars of Malaysia.
If one were to take a hard look at the true spirit of dana in today's society, the rich giving to religious institutions for a tax deduction are certainly giving with a thought of reward. Therefore, giving after the tax deductions are received and with no material benefits or rewards of any kind other than the fulfillment of giving is considered by the wise to be a true expression of dana. Making something with one's own hands, giving in kind, is also a true expression of dana. Giving a gift begrudgingly in return for another gift is, of course, mere barter. Many families barter their way through life in this way, thinking they are giving. But such gifts are cold, the fulfillment is empty, and the law of karma pays discounted returns.
Sutra 38 of the Nandinatha Sutras
God Creates Souls Who Are One With Him
Siva's followers all believe that each soul is created by Lord Siva and is identical to Him, and that this identity will be fully realized by all souls when the bondage of anava, karma and maya is removed by His grace. Aum.
Lesson 38 from Merging with Siva
Remaining Free, Detached
As we move through the mind, the mind stays the same, just as the world stays the same as the traveler moves from city to city. Paris does not vanish when he enters New Delhi. It is still there. Others remain in the city, and he can return. Fear does not disappear from the mind when we are blissfully fearless. Others still experience it. Our awareness has simply moved to a more refined area. Therefore, the goal is to make awareness totally free by not getting too magnetically attached to only a few of the many areas. If the traveler enjoys Paris and settles down there, he will never know the other cities of the world. We on the spiritual path must work hard at keeping ourselves detached from friends, places, habits. Only then can we keep awareness free enough to travel uninhibitedly through the sublime, inner areas of the mind.
Work on that every day. Observe when awareness gets so involved that it identifies with an experience. Then consciously tell yourself, "I am not fear. I am awareness flowing in the area of fear, and I can move into other areas at will." Work at that. Strive for that simple ability to detach awareness from that which it is aware of. The rewards gained will be more than worth the effort. Be renewed by a change of your mind. Be renewed by releasing awareness from one area of the vast universe of the mind, drawing it back into its source and releasing it again, sending it to another of the vast areas of the mind.