God Within and Without

The highest philosophy: Everything is One. To have a well rounded Hindu philosophy both perspectives are important: To worship God in the temple; to claim our identity with God in profound meditation. The spirit we are given is to strive to do a little better, to go deeper into the experience.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone. Nice to have you all here.

A few words from our Guru's lessons of the day. Inspire us. Direct us.

Nice story:

"There was a Vedantin in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, who was very pompous and looked down his nose at duality and temple worship. He did not have a great relationship with Siva Yogaswami, (Paramaguru) who was always having fun with him in one way or another. One day Yogaswami saw the Vedantin in the marketplace and, coming up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder. The man spun around and asked, 'Who's there?' Yogaswami exclaimed, 'What do you mean, 'Who's there?' Didn't you say there was only one!'"

So, its an interesting story, may not be self-evident if you haven't heard it before but the idea is: In Hinduism, the Advaita-Vedanta philosophy is the philosophy that everything is one. The highest philosophy, of course. And, if you see letters written who, from people who are strong in that philosophy, they don't write to the other person, right? They say: To my own self. Beloved self. Because you're writing to you. So you can't acknowledge the other person. You can see some of Yogaswami's letters in the Natchintanai book are written on that basis. To my own self.

But, what Yogaswami's pointing out is: for that to be the only concept isn't realistic. Cause when somebody taps you on the shoulder you do think it's another person there, right? You don't think it's yourself tapping you on the shoulder. So obviously, a high philosophy. And then there's what we need to hold, the philosophy, we need to hold when we're not sitting there in profound meditation. The philosophy of separation.

So, why was Yogaswami making the point? Well not just to make the point in the abstract but because sometimes those who are strong in the Advaita-Vedanta tradition, as this swami is quoted, look down on temple worship. They would look down on our ceremony this morning as being dualistic. We were worshiping Siva outside of ourselves. How primitive. Aren't we one with Siva? Aren't we one with Brahman?

But many, including those in our tradition, feel we should have both perspectives or both forms of worship. Not just one. In that we want to worship God as separate from us in the temple but we also, in our deepest meditations, want to claim our identity with God. And that both perspectives are important. That's what Yogaswami was trying to point out. We need both perspectives to have a well rounded understanding of Hindu philosophy.

There's an inspiring quote in our quote of the day, actually tomorrow's quote, but close enough, right?

"Never allow yourself to be complacent in your spiritual attainments. Always continue to strive. Even rishis, swamis and yogis who have totally realized Parasiva (the Absolute) continue to work on themselves from within themselves."

Well, that was one of the qualities in Gurudeva that certainly impressed everyone. That he could, with his attainment, kind of put his feet up on the table and say: I've arrived.

And everyone would say: Fine, you've arrived. That's good. Definitely you have.

But, he didn't look at it that way. He was always working within himself to develop new abilities, challenging himself to see things inside himself. To have certain perspectives in our Shum language of meditation. Never just said: Okay, I've done enough; I've achieved enough.

Well, that gives us the right spirit that for the practices we do on a regular basis. Maybe we do puja at home or we meditate. We shouldn't just be striving for the same accomplishment. I did today what I did yesterday; that's good. No! Gurudeva's point is we should strive to do more; go deeper. Doesn't mean take more time but be more successful or go deeper in to the experience. Not just be content with the depth which we have been in previously. With the spirit Gurudeva's giving us and very important spirit. If we don't do that we kind of stagnate. I think we actually don't stay the same; we kind of slip backwards.

So, it's similar to many activities where you're constantly striving to do better. For example a dancer. You know, a dancer doesn't just say: Okay, this is good enough. No, we're always trying to do a little better, you know. Make it a little better this performance than it was the last performance. That's the spirit of the art is to not just say: I've arrived and do it the same but to keep striving to do it a little better. To go into it in a greater depth. So, that same idea applies to our, the practices we repeat such as puja and meditation. Even attending a puja we can try and get more out of it then we have in the past.

Well, thank you very much for listening. Have a wonderful day.

[End of transcript.]