Mahasivaratri, the day before the new moon. Venerating Parasiva, all energies turning within, find through multiple realizations of Parasiva over the years, that the indwelling Self is identical with God Siva. Monthly Sivaratri, a good inner time for deepening meditation, trying to go in deeper in than normal. At the level of your soul, you and God Siva are already one.
Master Course Trilogy, Dancing with Siva, Lessons 1, 97. Merging with Siva, Author's Introduction, Nine Ways of Merging with Siva.
Good evening everyone. Everyone looks wide awake, that's good. Had some coffee or tea, perked yourself up.
Start with the nature of Mahasivaratri. It's an unusual festival in that it's so strict in it's disciplines. Not a lot of laughing and sweets and dancing. It's a little bit austere shall we say. It's the only one that I know of like that though of course, there are austerities that can be done for Thai Pusam for example. But still, it's, it's a different festival in its lack of external celebration shall we say. And it's also, as I mentioned last year, I won't repeat exactly what I said last year but just the overview idea without the details. It's before the new moon, whereas, most of the festivals we celebrate are before the full moon. Go around the calendar, where do we start? Vaikasi Visakam is before the full moon, Guru Purnima, [grishta kadipa 120 sec??] we don't really celebrate it but eventually I think we will. Of course Maha Ardra, Arudhra Darshanam is right before the full moon.
Whereas, this is before the new moon. Well, what's the difference? Well the difference is around the time of the full moon a human being is, his energies are flowing more outward. Our Saivite Shastras guidebook for the monastery says the best time to plan is the day before the full moon. The best time of the month to plan is called the twenty-seventh sun in our original calendar. The day before the full moon. Your energies are all directed outward; you have a lot of foresight and all. It's a great day for external activities. So, what's the worst day to plan? The day before the new moon. Which is right now. All the energies are turning within. And the Sanskrit word which is hard to pronounce, it's pravritti and nivritti. Pravritti is the energies turning without and nivritti is the energies turning within.
So a simple way of thinking about that is, which is not correct, I'll clarify is, oh the families are on the pravritti path and the monks are on the nivritti path, right? Not quite. Gurudeva says: The first 48 years of the family path is pravritti but then you start to turn within, start to become more inner and start to want to do more sadhana, nivritti. So, it's a natural going outward in your schooling, in your employment, in birthing and raising children and then starting to turn inward more in the last part of the life.
So, the idea of an inward directed festival is we're just trying to go within our self. And, said another way it's a good time for meditation. Whereas the festivals right before the full moon are taking the Deity's blessings and really adding it to our external life, to be more successful, less stressed out, more creative. So, we're taking the Deity's blessings when it's near the full moon and we naturally apply it in our daily life. And even the festivals that are on the tithis are in the shukla paksha, the moon is getting stronger. So, its the same idea. They're not in the Krishna paksha when the moon is getting weaker. It's the wrong time to add energy to your outer activities.
So, Mahasivaratri the way we look at it is an inner time and that's one reason it's so strict. And of course, there's a monthly Sivaratri which is also a good inner time and for deepening one's meditation.
So, Gurudeva describes it in a, kind of the ultimate way here in Dancing with Siva.
"Mahasivaratri, Siva's great night, venerates Parasiva and is a time to be near the monks as they strive to realize Parasiva."
To paraphrase what Gurudeva's saying in a more general way. Mahasivaratri has an inner power to it and this makes it an ideal time to turn within in meditation and strive to go deeply into ourselves to find that part of us that is identical with God Siva.
In the first sloka in Dancing with Siva, Gurudeva gives a description of Parasiva that relates it to energy.
"Who am I, where did I come from?
"Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are, in truth, the Truth we seek. Aum.
"We are immortal souls living and growing in the great school of earthly experience in which we have lived many lives. Vedic rishis have given us courage by uttering the simple truth, 'God is the Life of our life.' A great sage carried it further by saying there is one thing God cannot do; He cannot separate Himself from you. This is because God is our life. God is the life in the birds, fish and in the animals. Becoming aware of this life energy in all that lives is becoming aware of God's loving presence within us. We are the undying consciousness and energy flowing through all things. Deep inside we are perfect this very moment, and we have only to discover and live up to this perfection to be whole..."
Then the next sentence is the one we were leading up to:
"Our energy and God's energy are the same, ever coming out of the void. (So energy coming out of the void.) We are all beautiful children of God. Each day we should try to see the life energy in trees, birds, animals and people. When we do, we are seeing God Siva in action..."
So, let's look at an analogy to try and understand energy coming out of the void. Imagine a small city whose sole source of power is a solar thermal power station. Every electrical appliance in the city receives its energy from this plant. But, of course, the power plant is receiving its energy from the sun. The sun is the ultimate source of the electricity that powers the various appliances. And of course, the sun can power as many such solar thermal power stations as man chooses to build. Worldwide, if we build 100,000 of these plants they would all be drawing on the sun for power. Similarly, all human beings have a common source for their life which is the presence of God within each of them. In English, indwelling God is called the Self with a capitol 'S' and in Sanskrit it is called Parasiva.
That make sense? So we can understand the idea, just like the sun powers lots of appliances through solar panels, the one sun powers everything that's electrical, everything with solar, so the one void, the one Parasiva, powers all of us is what it's trying to say. Just like the sun all our appliances. We all have the same source of energy.
The second aspect of Hinduism's monistic philosophies is the idea that core of man's being is already in a state of oneness with God. Nothing needs to be done for this to become the truth. It is there to be realized in personal experience. To use our analogy in a fanciful way, imagine that electrical appliances and consciousness then were capable of tracing the source of the electricity that powered their unique functions. Take a computer for example. It would find first the cord to the wall, the wiring in the building, the transmission lines leading to the power station and finally the sun whose rays make it all possible. So he's tracing backward to the source. Man can go through the same process and trace the life force within him back to its source of the Self, Parasiva.
So, Gurudeva explains how to do that. "You have to go into the elements of the physical body, into the elements of that and into the energy of that and into the vast inner space of that and into the core of that, and into the that of that, and into the that of that and finally you realize that you have realized the Self. And you lost something. You lost your goal of Self Realization. And you come back into the fullness of everything, and you are no longer looking, you are no longer asking and you are no longer wanting. You just are. When you get tired of the external area of the mind that you are flowing through you simply dive in again."
So that's the idea of going from physical consciousness to mental, to superconsciousness and then into more subtle levels of superconsciousness, just tracing back the life energy.
Today as I mentioned, it's an excellent night to put extra effort into going deeply within through meditation. So remember, at the deepest level of your soul you and God Siva are already one. Sivohum: I am Siva.
So one of the explanations I gave of stepping inside yourself is in a Publisher's Desk called: "An Alternative to Happiness." So it's starting from the lower aspects of superconscious and getting more and more subtle. So, it relates to the chakras. So the first chakra that relates to superconsciousness is the fourth chakra, right? It starts by saying: "After taking those four steps within, (which means you're getting here) within the superconscious, we find our self immersed in endless inner-space, pure awareness and the transcendent source of that awareness. This is the realm of the deepest samadhis. Three steps within takes us to the level of brilliant inner light and the possibilities of visions of deities and rishis..." If you're interested in that kind of experience.
"Two steps brings us to the level of divine love for all beings and one step inward takes us to a consciousness that is content, creative and intuitive..."
So the article goes on to say: Let's be content with just taking one step within. Let's start there and get really good at taking one step within. And then, once we've perfected that we could take two and then eventually three and four and then we can find the source of the fourth step within. And that, of course, is Parasiva.
Last idea is the same concepts expressed in Merging with Siva. Sometimes I forget it's there and I'm sure all of you do too if I forget it. In the beginning of the book Merging with Siva, Gurudeva gives nine ways to merge with Siva. Some of them are pretty simple, like getting born. That one's not, you don't have to do anything, right? You just get born. I think that's the first way of merging with Siva.
So I thought we could again look at, from the inside out, look at how Gurudeva describes this same idea. And all of this relates to the idea that, you know, we don't want to not try or become discouraged by the thought: Oh I can't realize Parasiva; that's for monks. Even though Gurudeva talks about it in those terms what he means is we want to go in as far as we can and strive to go in deeper than normal on a day like Mahasivaratri.
So, the ninth one is the deepest. The ninth one is final merger, vishvagrasa in Sanskrit, where the soul body merges with the primal soul. The analogy given is: "As simply as a drop of water merges into the ocean never to be found again." So we can't do that one tonight. We can't have a physical body or a mental body. Can only have a soul body. So we still all have physical bodies. So that one's out of reach, definitely.
Eighth merger: "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 seals which subsequently makes changes never to be repaired. A new and entirely new process begins. It is the ultimate healing of all karmas. The ultimate knowing of dharma."
So just to make one, one comment there. In many places in Gurudeva's writings he stresses the point that its not enough just to realize Parasiva once. If you've realized Parasiva once, great; well now do it again. If you've realized Parasiva twice, great; now do it a third time. You know its, there's a process that takes place which is what he's referring to here. "It is the breaking of seals which subsequently makes changes never to be repaired." So it takes multiple realizations of Parasiva over the years to make all the changes that need to be made.
"The seventh merger is into the nada-nadi sakti, that unrelenting sound heard as an inexplainable 'eee' 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..."
So that's the seventh way. There's, I know many of you are able to hear the high 'eee' so that's a pretty deep experience to be able to sustain the high 'eee' or nada-nadi sakti.
And Gurudeva says: "...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."
Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of the ceremony.