Darshan, experiencing through vision, seeing and perception, the Deity's darshan, the Guru's darshan. Asian Tsunami of 2004 and A message to Toronto devotees for Sri Sivayogaswami's Maha Samadhi Festival, from Kauai Aadheenam.
Good Morning Everyone.
I thought I begin with a story.
When we were in Malaysia we had an event there in Sittiawan, December 25, the day before the Tsunami. And there's an Orphanage in Sittiawan we've been working with for a number of years and they put forward Gurudeva's teachings and have Gurudeva's picture up there.
So when we arrived there was a very fine Priest there, who it turns out had come quite a distance to be there with us and he greeted us with the traditional Guru chants and so forth in a very nice way and at the end of the event the Priest had a chance to talk to Yoginathaswami in Tamil. It turns out that he was there on purpose, he'd come a long distance just to be there and the story goes like this. A number of months before when he was doing puja in his temple, the temple has a Munisvar deity the murthi of the deity turned in to a person. He was doing a puja, going along and all of a sudden the darshan of a person came through the murthi and the person had white skin, long white hair and a white beard. Sound like someone we know?
The experience impressed the priest, a real darshan, a very powerful experience of this Rishi, shall we say. He wondered who the Rishi was and he started asking around, does anyone know of a Rishi with white skin, long white hair and a white beard. So it took quite a while for him to find someone who knew, I guess he came across a picture of Gurudeva finally realized it was Gurudeva who's darshan he'd had through the murthi during puja. He came just to be with us and share that story with us and to contact those of us in Gurudeva's lineage. He felt it was such a powerful and wonderful experience.
So it shows how darshan, the power of seeing of seeing the Guru, the power of seeing the Deity can be a very transforming and wonderful experience.
Afterwards, Yoginathaswami and I were talking about it and joking, Gurudeva, Subramuniya, had come through a Munisvar Deity, so we thought we could start a new cult, the Subramunisvar cult (laughter). So we combined them together, Subramunisvar Deity. So far it hasn't taken off, but we haven't put a lot of energy into it either
Anyway it's a true story, it just happened a few months ago.
Why am I telling that story? Well the lesson I chose to read from is on Darshan's Mystic Power, yesterday's lesson from Merging with Siva. So let me share that with you.
Little is known of the guru's grace or the power of darshana in Western culture. Darshana (more popularly darshan) is a Sanskrit word meaning "vision, seeing or perception." But in its mystical usage, it is more than that. Darshan is also the feeling of the emotions of a holy person, the intellect, the spiritual qualities that he has attained and, most importantly, the shakti, the power, that has changed him and is there constantly to change others. Darshan encompasses the entirety of the being of a person of spiritual attainment. In India, everyone is involved in darshan. Some at a temple have darshan of the Deity. Others at an ashram have darshan of their swami or on the street enjoy darshan of a sadhu. And most everyone experiences durdarshan. That's the word for television in India, meaning "seeing from afar." Even this seeing, through movies, news and various programs of mystery, tragedy, humor, the fine arts and culture, can affect our emotions, intellect, pulling us down or lifting us up in consciousness. Seeing is such a powerful dimension of life, and it affects us in so many ways, inside and out. Darshan, in the true meaning of this mystical, complex and most esoteric word, conveys all of this.
The concept of darshan goes beyond the devotee's seeing of the guru. It also embraces the guru's seeing of the devotee. Hindus consider that when you are in the presence of the guru that his seeing of you, and therefore knowing you and your karmas, is another grace. So, darshan is a two-edged sword, a two-way street. It is a process of seeing and being seen. The devotee is seeing and in that instant drawing forth the blessings of the satguru, the swami or the sadhu. In turn, he is seeing the devotee and his divine place in the universe. Both happen within the moment, and that moment, like a vision, grows stronger as the years go by, not like imagination, which fades away. It is an ever-growing spiritual experience. The sense of separation is transcended, so there is a oneness between seer and seen. This is monistic theism, this is Advaita Ishvaravada. Each is seeing the other and momentarily being the other.
I had an interesting conversation a few days ago, we had a pilgrim here who had attended a talk I gave at the Cincinnati Temple, the Greater Hindu Cincinnati Temple had an instillation there last year and they invited us for the installation of the Murugan Deity.
So we gave a talk and I guess I got carried away because I guess I said something I hadn't remembered, I was sharing how when you have a vision of Muruga it can become so intense that the sense of seer and seeing gets shifted. Normally when you look at the Deity, here you are looking at the Deity, there's a duality, a sense of separation. But if the experience becomes intense enough then you shift and you're also the Deity looking at you. So you're both you looking at the Deity and the Deity looking at you.
For some reason I was inspired to share that in the Cincinnati Temple and she remembered that and she was asking me about that. And I said yes, that's what happens when darshan becomes intense enough, the separation, the dualism of it vanishes. And so the seer and the seen are one. Here it is a few days later right in Gurudeva's lesson here, the sense of separation is transcended, so there is a oneness between seer and seen. This is monistic theism, this is Advaita Ishvaravada. Each is seeing the other and momentarily being the other.
A comment; Gurudeva's point about the oneness of seer and seen is a profound one and illustrates an important point in our Siddhanta philosophy which is that theism, worshipping God as separate from you, eventually leads to monism, you and God being identical which is why one of the names for our philosophy is monistic theism. Of course this requires an intensity of worship to take place such as usually only happens on a festival day or when on pilgrimage.
That's the point for this kind of experience to occur, which is certainly uplifting, a wonderful aspect of darshan. It takes more than just a casual visit to the neighbor temple, it can't be just a casual worship. There has to be certain intensity there which usually requires something special like a festival day or even a festival of many days long to get in the right mood. Or being on pilgrimage for a week or two, going to special temples can also catalyze that kind of intensity of worship whereby this dualism of worship is transcended and seer and seeing are indeed one.
So continuing with Gurudeva's lesson;
Darshan embodies shakti. Darshan embodies shanti. Darshan embodies vidya, perceiving on all levels of consciousness for all inhabitants of the world. It is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual perception. Hindus believe that the darshan from a guru who has realized the Self can clear the subconscious mind of a devotee in minutes, alleviating all reaction to past actions and alter his perspective from an outer to an inner one. Darshan is the emanating rays from the depth of an enlightened soul's being. These rays pervade the room in which he is, penetrating the aura of the devotees and enlivening the kundalini, the white, fiery, vapor-like substance that is actually the heat of the physical body in its natural state.
In the Orient, whenever the cloud of despair covers the soul of a devotee, the darshan of a guru is sought. Whenever it becomes difficult to meditate, his grace is hoped for to lift the veil of delusion and release awareness from the darker areas of mind to soar within. Consciously merge into the inner being of yourself, and you will know your guru when you find him.
Moving on to another area. As you know we've sent out some messages in response to the tsunami, which is of encouragement and philosophical perspective. We're just sending out a new message that's been requested by some of our Paramaguru's devotees, Yogaswami's devotees in Toronto were the first group to ask. They're preparing for their annual Maha samadhi celebration in March. I've created a message for that which I'm going to read which takes part of this tsunami message and then develops it further
Many blessings from the Kauai Aadheenam peedam of the Kailasa Parampara to the devotees of Sri Sivayogaswamy on the occasion of his annual Maha Samadhi Day Guru Puja March 21, 2005. All of us are still reacting and saddened by the Asian Tsunami of 2004 that caused so much destruction in Sri Lanka. Many years ago Yogaswami foresaw the difficult times that Tamils in Sri Lanka have faced for over two decades. He expressed his advise on how to cope with these adverse situations in his Natchintanai song, Nalluran Tiruvadi: "Even if war and famine come and the world is burnt to ashes, shall we know any fear, O Parrot? Arumukam is our refuge." In other verses Yogaswami stresses that the atma is eternal and states that Murugan is our protection and clinging to his holy feet will cause all distress and anguish to disappear. Yogaswami's sagely advise is clear - difficulties are a part of life on this planet and the sorrow they bring can be overcome through the worship of Lord Murugan.
Those with strong faith when confronting a major disaster such as the recent tsunami have the ability to step back from life's daily routine and look more deeply at themselves to see if there are changes they could make to add deeper meaning to their life. The physical and psychic power of this tsunami offers such thoughtful people an opportunity to examine and change their own lives, for life-changing moments are rare and are often provoked by something bigger than us.
One of the major ways we can add deeper meaning to our life is through performing more seva, selfless service. As we know, Yogaswami referred to service as Sivathondu and encouraged all his devotees to perform it regularly. There are many opportunities to perform Sivathondu by helping out at temples with the many chores and puja preparations. We can also take time to teach children the basics of our religion and culture. Visits to the elderly is another form of service and are greatly appreciated by those who are visited. How much service should we perform? Our guru, Subramuniyaswami, suggested four hours a week as a good guideline. All such acts of Sivathondu earn punyam, good karma, merit that we carry into our next birth. In fact merit is true wealth, in that it is the only possession we are able to take from one life to the next.
As Yogaswami says in his Natchintanai, "I am He"
"If you do service and in Bhairavi mode these lines of Yogaswami sing, All your sins will fly away and on this earth deliverance you'll win."
That's our message for Toronto, performing service, karma yoga is the emphasis.
For the last item I thought I'd read the full Natchintanai song. It has a refrain that repeats four times.
Fear not like thistle down with all your sins be blown away. Be ever wakeful and repeat the five letters in your heart. I am He, you must affirm and meditate each day then all desires will leave you and Gods grace will fall in showers.
Give worship to the Gurus feet and start gradually to do your best to subjugate the mind, anger and jealously expelled and scorned to kill and steal. Then dance and sing together with the Lords true devotees, I am He, you must affirm and meditate each day then all desires will leave you and Gods grace will fall in showers.
Repeating for the atma their is no end or beginning. Frequently and with ardent dance and sing, you are without a second, who is there who knows? All, all is truth, so as the Master of Nallur declared, I am He, you must affirm and meditate each day then all desires will leave you and Gods grace will fall in showers.
In this world you may acquire a multitude of siddhis but do not stray from bhakti's path nor disobey the words of bhaktars. If you do service and in Bhairavi mode these lines of Yogaswami sing, All your sins will fly away and on this earth deliverance you'll win. I am He, you must affirm and meditate each day then all desires will leave you and Gods grace will fall in showers.
Aum Namah Sivaya