Eight Features of the Natha Sampradaya


We have to discover that part of us that is the Self. One of the important benefits of temple worship is it softens the ego. Recognize and love a Being greater than us, building humility. Go to Lord Murugan; His worship strengthens the kundalini. There's a power in learning through listening, shruti, that which is heard. Tradition, sadhana and tapas, informs, inspires, awakens potential.

Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Sloka 151.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning

This is Dancing with Siva, Sloka 151 which caught my eye the other day when I was reading it.

"Natha means 'lord or adept,' and sampradaya refers to a living theological tradition. The roots of this venerable heritage stretch back beyond recorded history, when awakened Natha mystics worshiped the Lord of lords, Siva, and in yogic contemplation experienced their identity in Him. The Natha Sampradaya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self, balanced by temple worship, fuelled by kundalini yoga, charted by monistic theism, illumined by a potent guru-shishya system, guided by soul-stirring scriptures and awakened by sadhana and tapas. Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution."

So it struck me there was a lot in this verse. So I put each of the ideas on a separate line so I would see it more clearly.

"The Natha Sampradaya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self."

Well that one is self-evident to all of us. It's always been the priority theme in Gurudeva's teachings: We need to realize the Self. We're already the Self but we don't know that part of us that is the Self. We have to discover it. So that's why it's called 'search.'

"Balanced by temple worship..."

Well we talk about that one a lot. Most individuals if they just jump right in to the "...search for the innermost divine Self," without being familiar and having practiced temple worship they run into a problem. Called Ego with a capitol E.

Just haven't had anything reduce our ego, you know, in particularly in western society. There's not a lot of value ascribed to being humble, shall we say. More of the strong dynamic ego person who is successful and is looked up to and respected. But, if we try and go within with a strong ego all we'll run into is our ego. We won't be able to get out of it. Just bounce around in thoughts and ideas and all that comprise us, comprise our ego. So we have to soften it. And that's one of the important benefits of temple worship is it softens the ego. We have recognize it being greater than us, show respect and eventually come to love a Being greater than us. So that requires really lessening the ego and building up humility.

And when we do that, then when we go within we're not caught in our ego. So that's why "...balanced by temple worship..."

"... fuelled by kundalini yoga..."

I think that's an interesting verb, huh? If I had been asked: Well what verb would Gurudeva use there, something by kundalini yoga? I would never have guessed fuelled. Propelled maybe is the closest I would have come, you know. Propelled by kundalini yoga. But, it's like an inner rocket ship; that's the way I was imagining his idea there. "...fuelled by kundalini yoga..."

So, the kundalini, to realize the Self the kundalini has to be active. That's the fuel. What does the fuel do? It propels awareness into the inner realms. Awareness is what rides in the rocket ship propelled by the kundalini force, the inner realms.

So we need the kundalini to be active. And of course in our tradition we go to Lord Murugan. You know, once we're really solid in our Ganesha worship and we're stable in our emotions, we're not getting upset a lot. We can go to Lord Murugan and His worship can strengthen the kundalini. Strengthens the kundalini based upon what else we're doing. But it will strengthen to one degree or another.

"...charted by monistic theism..."

So that's like the sea captain with a chart, huh? Gotta have a map. We need a map of what this is all about. So monistic theism provides us an intellectual structure or a philosophy. It puts all the pieces together.

As you know I sometimes say that temple worship without philosophy can too easily turn into superstition. So sometimes that what you see in various places in Asia where there isn't much philosophy. There's, there's a strong element of superstition in the worship. If we don't do this God will punish us kind of thing. The fear aspect is one of the ways superstition manifests. It manifests in a number of ways but we need a solid philosophy. So that's what Gurudeva means by "...charted by monistic theism..." So both the temple side, the theism, and the meditative side, the monism, need to be explained as we do here. You know, we talk about theism in the temple, the monism in the guru temple. Theism for puja; monism for meditation, etcetera.

"...illumined by a potent guru-shishya system..."

Well one of the important aspects of Hinduism is shruti, that which is heard. The most sacred scriptures are called shruti: that which is heard. Originally they weren't even written down. They must have been a lot smarter then to be able to memorize them all. But anyway, now-a-days we have to write them down so we don't forget them. But there's a power in learning through listening. You can learn much more if someone who knows it explains it than if someone who knows it writes it down and you read it. Power of listening. Same person, he speaks to you. You get much more than if he writes it down and you read it. It's a very interesting factor. There's some verses in the Tirukural, talk about learning through listening.

That idea that if you can blend your mind with the person who's explaining, you can kind of catch their perspective in a way you can't do if you're just reading what they're saying. So that's one thing that a guru shishya system does when the guru's living which is important. It can't be potent if the guru's not living, is it allows you to listen, allows you to hear the teachings spoken. And of course, it allows you to get scolded. The picture on the wall won't scold you. Quite often, you know, it's the scolding. It's being reminded of the things we should be doing that we're not. So that it's helpful. The picture on the wall always is very gentle.

"...guided by soul-stirring scriptures..."

So we don't have to start all over each generation. The benefit of tradition. It's all there, been written down for thousands of years. We have a well documented tradition that informs as well as inspires. That's what this is talking about, soul-stirring, so it has the ability to inspire. Our scriptures, our songs and all.

"...and awakened by sadhana and tapas."

So, all of that is just a potential that needs to be awakened by sadhana and tapas. So, our actual practice is, regular practices make it all work. So let me read it again.

"The Natha Sampradaya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self, balanced by temple worship, fuelled by kundalini yoga, charted by monistic theism, illumined by a potent guru-shishya system, guided by soul-stirring scriptures and awakened by sadhana and tapas. Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution."

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Have a great phase.

Photo of  Gurudeva
So great is the Sanatana Dharma that it defies all who doubt it, all who disdain it, all who disregard it, all who degrade it, with personal realization of its Truth.
—Gurudeva