What is the Nature of Life for Saivites?

Path to Siva, Lesson 19, Commentary


"Stand strong for Saivism." The nature of life for Saivites is to turn work into worship, to turn the secular into the sacred. Each day give a little extra warmth, humanness and upliftment to others. Every day is a holy day, all day long. We want to follow our religion even in our dreams. If we help someone, we're worshiping. Wherever we are, that's a place of worship. "To the Saivite Hindu all of life is sacred. All of life is religion."

Path to Siva, Lesson 19.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

The lesson this morning is from Path to Siva, Lesson 19:

"What Is the Nature of Life for Saivites?

"All people seek the same things in life. They want to be happy and secure, loved and appreciated, creative and useful. Saivism has a rich and gentle culture that fulfills these human wants. It has profound teachings that help us understand the world and our place in it. It gives guidance in the refined qualities of character so necessary in spiritual life: how to be patient, kind, tolerant, humble, hard-working and devoted. Saivism centers around the home and the temple. Monastic life is its core and power. Family life is strong and precious. Mother and father are a child's first gurus. Saivism possesses a wealth of art and architecture. It has beautiful traditions of music, art, drama and dance. It has a treasury of philosophy and scholarship. Saivite temples provide worship services daily. They are sacred places where devotees find peace and closeness with God. Festivals are fun for the whole family. Scriptures help us to know ourself, live a good life and love God. Our holy men and women teach us yoga and ways of worship. They inspire us in everything we do and give us daily sadhana, which are our spiritual studies and disciplines. Performing sadhana helps us control our instinctive impulses and live a pure and happy life. To the Saivite Hindu, all of life is sacred. All of life is religion. Thus, Saivite art is sacred art, Saivite music is devotional music, and the Saivite's business is not only his livelihood, it is his service to man and God. You are so fortunate to be a Saivite Hindu. Stand strong for Saivism."

Very practical and basic material. I underlined one sentence cause I though it was the most important.

"To the Saivite Hindu, all of life is sacred. All of life is religion."

So we start out, sixteen hours a day is good enough, unless you're a monk and then you have to have religion in your dreams as well. Dreams have to be sacred. But, for everyone else, sixteen hours a day, all our waking hours need to be sacred, need to be religion. And that's easier said than done. In other words, we forget to take a religious approach when we do certain things. We just set religion aside. If we're doing carpentry, for example, we set religion aside, we're just doing carpentry. We hit our thumb and we say a few words we shouldn't, you know. We set religion aside. We didn't include religion in our carpentry somehow.

So everything we do needs to be religious and how do we do that? Well there's a, it's all in our attitude, that's the point is, obviously, we're doing the same thing. But, if we can do it with with a number of attitudes. Reason I'm doing this is simply to make money. They didn't pay me I wouldn't do it. Well that's the materialistic attitude and you know, if you're an employee that's important to get paid. But as the lesson says, for the businessman, a business is not only his business it's also his service. So we always want to do more than we're required to even if we're an employee. We want to do extra. It's that doing of extra, doing something we don't have to do, it changes something from merely employment into a religions action. And if we try and uplift those we interact with, while, during our employment, then we're adding another layer to it. We're trying to uplift people. Trying to say things that help them have a better day.

One of the simplest things to do is remember someone's name. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at that but I try anyway. Someone introduces themselves and you say their name back or on the phone someone says I'm so and so and you remember their name or you write it down like I might, to remember it. And you say it back, it's a very simply way to uplift someone. Just remembering their name because it's such an impersonal world.

And one of the aspects of our digital world that we have to be careful of, it has a lot of benefits, it makes things very efficient. I'll come back to the, what we need to be careful of. But we used to be, communicating with India. When we started we'd write a letter and it takes two weeks to get there and then takes them a while to answer, another two weeks to get back, and so you'd expect about a two months turn around to communicate with India.

Then the phone came in. And the phone was better but it was really hard to understand what they were saying because the connection. Connection was so poor and if you didn't understand the accent you'd have trouble with the accent. Indian English has its own rules. In American English you say fix. F-I-X is fix. F-I-X-E-D is fixed, right? That ed is a "du" fix-du. In Indian English is fix-ed. It's pronounced and so if you don't know it's fix-ed you'd have trouble. So it's, email has made things so quick. And you know there's no accent, there's no problem, it's all written down. It's very efficient but it tends to get a little impersonal and can even get curt and impolite. That's the nature of the internet. So we need to be careful in life to give a little warmth, give a little extra humanness and upliftment when we communicate with others in our digital age to offset that.

So those are simple ways we can turn work into worship, turn the secular into sacred, is to try and be of service even just by saying a friendly word. Doesn't have to be much. But we're doing a little extra that we don't have to do. We're doing a little more in our task than our employer demands or we're doing something extra that we don't' have to.

For example, doctors. It's customary for doctors when they get in their fifties, for example, they spend part of their time doing pro bono work. Because they're well enough established in their career and such that they can do that. So they go to a foreign country and serve for free for a few months in different programs. And giving back, being of service. Wonderful way of turning all of life into religion.

And another way is simply to ask ourselves if we're doing things: Is this benefiting me religiously? Is this crazy music I'm listening to on the radio benefiting me religiously? Well, it might not be. It might not be putting you in a more religious mood. Might be putting you in a less religious mood. So, we can ask ourselves as we get involved in certain activities during the day. Cause sometimes things just come in on us. Such as television, it's everywhere. Is this show making me feel more religious? Is this what I'm doing enhancing my religiousness or lessening it? If it's lessening it we can try to avoid it or move away from it more quickly if we have that opportunity. So, that's another way of trying to maximize the religiousness of our life.

Well just to say the basics, because there are a few guests this morning, but the basic idea is: In western thinking and in western religion there's a division between sacred and secular. One day of the week is the holy day and the other days aren't holy. One day of the week you're supposed to worship in western religions and the other days you work. Certain places are holy. Western religions it's just the church or the temple. That's the holy place. So you go there to be religious and when you're somewhere else you're not being religious.

So, Hinduism doesn't have that division. Every day of the week is a holy day. Every day is the same. Doesn't have one special day. Every day is a holy day in that we're supposed to worship on every day. Every day can be a work day too. We're not restricted from working on any days. So every day is both a work day and a holy day. Wherever we are can be a place of worship by helping someone. If we help someone that's a place of worship. Wherever we are. We don't have to be in a temple or in a shrine room. Don't have to be worshiping an alter or meditating. If we can help someone we're worshiping. Do something for someone we don't have to do we're worshiping. Very simple. We have that opportunity wherever we are. So, it's a different view of life. All days are holy. All environments are a place where we can worship. Even an inspiring word that we don't have to say is a simple form of worship because we're uplifting someone.

Wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The internal difference that makes a soul a jnani is that he knows who he is and who you are. He knows Truth, and he knows the lie.
—Gurudeva