July 24, 2016 - Lesson 103
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Sloka 103 from Dancing with Siva
When Should One Attend the Temple?
We attend the temple to commune with God Siva, Karttikeya or Ganesha at least once each week and additionally on auspicious days of the month, yearly festival days and on the holiest day of the year, Mahasivaratri. Aum.
Saivites consider it most important to live near a Siva temple, and we build one wherever we find ourselves in the world. This is a most meritorious act, earning blessings in this life and the next. Religious life centers around the temple. It is here in God's home that we nurture our relationship with the Divine. Not wanting to stay away too long, we visit the temple weekly, though women never go during their monthly period. We strive to attend each major festival, when the shakti of the Deity is most powerful, and pilgrimage to a far-off temple annually. Devout Siva bhaktas attend daily puja in the temple. All Saivites visit the temple on Siva's most sacred day of the year, Mahasivaratri. Saivite temples are the most ancient of all. Being the homes of the Gods and God, they are approached with great reverence and humility. Draw near the temple as you would approach a king, a governor, a president of a great realm, anticipating with a little trepidation your audience with him. The Vedas say, "May the Lord find pleasure in our song of praise! Priest among men, may he offer due homage to the heavenly beings! Great, O Lord, is your renown." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 103 from Living with Siva
The Journey Within
Beginning to meditate can be likened to starting a long journey. The destination and the means of travel must be known before setting out. Meditation is an art, a definite art, and well worth working for to become accomplished. Meditation is not easy, and yet it is not difficult. It only takes persistence, working day after day to learn to control and train the outer as well as the subtle, inner forces. We must realize that meditation is the disciplined art of tuning into the deepest and most subtle spiritual energies. It's not a fad. It's not a novelty. It's not something you do because your next-door neighbor does. It is sacred, the most sacred thing you can do on this planet, and it must be approached with great depth and sincerity. At these moments, we are seeking God, Truth, and actually controlling the forces of life and consciousness as we fulfill the very evolutionary purpose of life--the realization of the Self God. Unless we approach meditation in humility and wonder, we will not reach our goal in this life.
Now we are in a new age. Everything is changing. Everything is different. We must believe that we can change by using our powers of meditation, for we are here, on the surface of this Earth, to value and fulfill our existence. Value yourself and your fellow man. Say to yourself again and again, "I am the most wonderful person in the whole world!" Then ask yourself, "Why? Because of my unruly subconscious? Not necessarily. Because of what I know intellectually? Not so. I am the most wonderful person in the world because of the great spiritual force that flows through my spine, head and body, and the energy within that, and the That within that."
Know full well that you can realize the very essence of this energy in this life. Feel the spine and the power within it that gives independence, enthusiasm and control. Then say to yourself, over and over, "I am a wonderful person," until you can fully and unreservedly believe it. Lean on your own spine. Depending on the greatness within is the keynote of this new age. Get your willpower going. If you find an unruly part of your nature, reprogram it, little by little, using the yamas and niyamas as your guideline. Live a dynamic, God-like life every day. Dance with Siva, live with Siva and merge with Siva. Get into this area of the mind called meditation. Make it a fundamental part of your life, and all forms of creativity, success and greatness will find expression in your life. Everyone is on this planet for one purpose. That purpose will be known to you through your powers of meditation, through seeing and then finally realizing your Self at the very core of the universe itself.
Sutra 103 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Widows' Simple Dress
Siva's widowed devotees choosing not to remarry traditionally wear unprovocative white clothing, not yellow or orange. They wear no cosmetics, marriage pendant or elaborate jewelry. Their deportment is demure. Aum.
Lesson 103 from Merging with Siva
Transcending Our Pettiness
Your journey on this Earth has only one goal, Self Realization. You are here to attain the highest possible states of consciousness. You are not here to react to the petty incidents that occur in the valley of the subconscious. You are here to learn to control the mind and live on the mountaintop. If you fail yourself, you are the one who must suffer your failure. Often, in retelling their failures or their sufferings, people react to or re-enact the original experience all over again. But learning to extract the lesson from the experience is like walking through the rain without getting wet.
We have to hold a constant vigil and keep our feet firmly planted on the spiritual path at all times, knowing that we can fall off the path until we have attained full illumination, or Self Realization, in this or future lives. By taking a stand within yourself on small issues, you can always find a different way, a way which will open the door to new opportunity, selflessness and serenity. But, to the degree that we are unable to restrain the inclinations of our lower mind, to the degree that we find ourselves incapable of entering into positive observances, so do we open ourselves to inferiority complex, jealousy, hatred, self-indulgence, lust, fear, greed and all sorts of mental and physical ailments. Being aware of the laws of life allows an uninhibited and natural unfoldment, just as a bud unfolds into a flower.
People sometimes say to me,"I am a little fearful of the path of classical yoga unfoldment, because I don't want to lose the way I am." Of course, these people are not really happy with the way they are. Look back at your baby pictures and you will see that most naturally you lost and left behind the form that was yours at that time, and assuredly this will happen in the future. As you unfold in yoga, you will lose the way you are. You will mature as a bud matures into a flower, fulfilling its evolution, but it must leave behind its original shape, and open. In this same way, through discipline, your mind will open up into its fullness.
Here is a visualization exercise. Bring before the vision of your inner eye the qualities and attributes which you would like to unfold in your nature. Visualize yourself being the kind of person you want to be, doing the kind of things that are going to benefit mankind most. Look back over your day and find out how close to the edge of the mountain you came. Train your subconscious mind to keep you away from the edge of the mountain. Make the yamas and niyamas meaningful habit patterns to your subconscious, as they were meaningful to your intellect.