Nine Ways to Merge with Siva, Part 1

Bodhinatha spoke today on Gurudeva's several ways, nine in all, of merging with Siva, from the simplest to the loftiest. He read from Gurudeva's introduction to Merging with Siva giving the nine steps; 1. Merging with the mother's body before birth, 2. Merging with the human race and social order of life, 3. Merging with the family guru, 4 Merging with Siva's creation through music, art, drama and dance, 5. Living an inner life and seeing oneself in others, 6. Seeing the divine inner light, 7. Hearing the high "eee" within one's head, 8. Realizing the Self beyond form and 9. Visvagrasa, perfect merger into Siva Himself at the end of evolution.

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Questions? Bodhinatha is the successor of "Gurudeva," Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. If you have questions on subjects about spiritual life you will find answers in Gurudeva's books and teachings. Learn about ways to study these teachings by visiting The Master Course site or writing to mastercourse@hindu.org.

Unedited Transcript:

I was looking at today's lesson from Gurudeva and chose a few excerpts from it. Starting out with a portion from 'Dancing with Siva', he is talking about, "What is the ultimate goal of earthly life?"

"The ultimate goal of life on earth is to realize the Self, the rare attainment of nirvikalpa samadhi. Each soul discovers its Sivaness, Absolute Reality, Parasiva - the timeless, formless, spaceless Self God. Aum Namah Sivaya."

One of the beauties of Gurudeva's teachings is that he gives us very high ideals, which is common in Hinduism. We say, "Jiva is Siva, You are God, You are a divine Being." But he also gives us very practical ways of achieving those goals and he also explains them more clearly than you usually find.

For example, in terms of realizing God or our Oneness with God, one of the useful ways that Gurudeva breaks it down is in 'Merging with Siva'. He gives us nine ways of merging with Siva. Number 8 is the one we just read. There are seven that come before it and one that comes after it..

"Nine progressive ways of merging with Siva are possible today, in fact impossible to avoid. So, we now explore these nine ways, the wonderful ways of merging with Siva as we walk the San Marga, the straight path of dharma.

A jiva, or soul, merges with his potential mother who gives a physical body to which his astral body is attached. This is the first merger. Then, when his first guru, the parents, train him to quell the instinctive mind and become a producing member of the family and the social and global communities, the second merger occurs. Why should these two developments be related to merging with the Supreme?

It is because Siva is the Life of our lives, as the venerable saints teach. Siva is the life of the life of all sentient and insentient beings, the sea of prana, ever emanating, mysteriously, from the All of the Allness of His mystery Being, by which all life exists and all happenings happen. Therefore, to merge energies with all other humans without making differences is to find Sivaness in all and within all.

Having merged with the biological and social worlds, it then is for the young jiva, embodied soul, to be introduced by the parents to the family guru for spiritual training. Obedience and devotion to the guru is again another merger in Sivaness, for the satguru is Sadasiva, or Siva in form, having realized Siva in Formlessness. It is from the satguru's constant, silent emanation that the sishya thrives, as do flowering trees, bushes and vines thrive and grow from the sun's silent rays and the occasional showers of rain" - Unless you live here, of course, a constant shower of rain - "No words need be spoken, for both sishya and guru know the same, the sishya having had his training in scripture, divine inspiration of song, meaning and dance from his first guru, the parents."

The next one is interesting and you might not have thought of it.

"Having walked the San Marga through the charya and kriya margas, and having disciplined mind and emotions, the sishya is ready for the fourth merger into Sivaness. This is accomplished through art, calligraphy, drawing divine forms, writing out scripture in one's own hand and depicting through drama, by learning and playing music, by having all bodily currents move into the rhythm of the sounds of nature, for nature is nada in the external. It has its own choreography, and this merger is with Nataraja, Lord of the Dance. It is also the merger with knowledge of all kinds, of language and mathematics, of the many sciences and arts."

So, the whole idea of cultural refinement is being brought out here. Traditional kalas of Hinduism, teaching children, taking time to master cultural pursuits, such as music, dance, calligraphy and so forth is an important refinement in merging with Siva.

"The fifth merger is deeper. Endeavoring to penetrate the intuitive world, communing with nature, encountering the many dreams, visions and other mystical experiences that await the seeker of Truth. It is merger with the selfless life, of seeing oneself in others, and others in oneself, of losing the barriers that divide one from another, and the internal world from the external world. It is living a harmonious life with a heart filled with love, trust and understanding for all, desiring to give rather than wanting only to receive.

The light that lights each thought picture when traced to its source is the sixth merger. The yoga of detaching awareness from that which it is aware of and being the Light that lights the thoughts, rather than claiming identity as being the thoughts, then tracing this light of the mind out of the mind into the beyond of the beyond. Yea, this is the sixth way we merge into the Divine. The Lord of the Dance emanates His own lighting effects, does His own choreography, creates His own music and enjoys, as the audience, His own performance."

This is a very practical practice that Gurudeva gives us in terms of meditation and quite often the biggest problem that those trying to meditate face is thoughts. The thoughts are constantly there, constantly wandering. What do we do with the mind to focus it, to quiet it down?

Gurudeva is giving us a very simple but very effective practice, which is to look at an object or visualize an object. Such as, visualizing a tree in our mind and take the tree out and what do we have left? We have the light that illuminated the tree. Like a television screen, you take away the picture, you still have the light. So the light of the mind without the picture is the sixth way of merging with Siva. This light can be traced into deeper superconscious states. In other words, we can use this light not as the destination of the journey, but as the beginning of the journey. In other words, you can first see the light and then go deeply into it and end up in deeper states of consciousness.

"The seventh merger is into the nada-nadi sakti, the unrelenting sound heard as an inexplicable eeeee, of a thousand vinas being played simultaneously by Vinadhara, another form of Lord Siva, the maker of sound, the composer of the symphony. The nada is traced to its source, deep within the within, the city of a thousand lights and sounds, for sound is light and light is sound in this sphere of Satchidananda, all-pervasive oneness with all form, the Self flowing through the mind, untouched by it, yet sustaining it in a mightily mysterious way."

So hearing the nada-nadi sakti, the high eee sound at the top of the head is an even deeper experience than seeing the inner light.

"The eighth merger with Siva is Parasiva. Becoming and being timeless, formless, spaceless is the total transformation of the soul body, the mental body, the astral body, the pranic body and the physical body. It is the breaking of the seals which subsequently makes changes never to be repaired. A new, an entirely new, process begins. It is the ultimate healing of all karmas, the ultimate knowing of dharma."

So, that is the one we started with, the ultimate goal of earthly life, as Gurudeva described it in our sloka today. There is one more.

"And now, lastly, once the soul evolves out of the physical, pranic, emotional, mental and causal sheaths - annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosa - and they are needed no more, it evolves into visvagrasa, the ninth and final merger with Siva, as an infant effortlessly becomes a child, a child a youth and a youth an adult. Yes, the soul, jiva, encased in five bodies, is indeed merged into the emanator, preserver and absorber of the inner and outer universes as simply as a drop of water merges into the ocean, never to be found again. This is the timeless path the holy Vedas of the Sanatana Dharma proclaim. As a seed becomes a bud, and a bud becomes a flower, these nine steps of spiritual unfoldment are inevitable for all humankind."

That is a very inspiring and beautiful writing that Gurudeva did and also very practical. It helps us understand the progressive way of merging with Siva so we can figure out where to start, where are we, what is our next step, how can we go deeper in merging with Siva.