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Awareness and Omnipresence-Yoga, Charya, Part 3


The practices of Saiva Siddhanta, thousands of years of teachings: The four padas of charya, kriya, yoga and jnana the natural sequence of the soul's evolutionary process to attain moksha, the realization of Parasiva. Abandoning desire, maintaining equanimity. The Way of the Friend: The soul looks upon God as an intimate friend. Gurudeva's approach to meditation; kaif--sustaining the experience of awareness aware only of itself for longer and longer periods.

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva


Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we're continuing our series on "Awareness and Omnipresence" and this time we're drawing from the practices of Saiva Siddhanta. For the benefit of those who aren't familiar with the practices of Saiva Siddhanta there's a short introduction.

Nalupada Saivam literally means Saivism of four stages and is an alternate name for Saiva Siddhanta. The concept of Nalupada Saivam directs our attention to the practices of Saiva Siddhanta which are the four padas of charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. The University of Madras, Tamil Lexicon. defines Nalupada Saivam as the doctrine that the initiate should pass successively through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana stages and thence obtain moksha.

Very much attuned to Gurudeva's teachings, passing through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana stages and thence obtain moksha.

These four padas are quite similar to the four yogas of Vedanta: karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga. However, there are key differences as well. In the following excerpt from "Merging with Siva," Gurudeva elaborates on the major similarities and the major differences between the four padas and the four yogas.


"This Eternal Path is divided naturally into four separate categories. The "Bhagavad Gita"--the popular book which you all know from your studies in Vedanta and which has made Hindu philosophy well known in America--defines these as four separate non-progressive paths, called karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga. In the Agamic scripture these are defined a little differently and are considered to be four stages of a progressive path, termed charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. These are all Sanskrit terms..."

The Tamil equivalents are: sariyai, kiriyai, yogam, gnanam.

Gurudeva continues:

"...According to the Agamic tradition, these four categories are the natural sequence of the soul's evolutionary process, much like the development of a butterfly from egg to larva, from larva to caterpillar, from caterpillar to pupa, and then the final metamorphosis from pupa to butterfly. Every butterfly, without exception, will follow this pattern of development and every soul will mature through charya to kriya, through kriya to yoga and into jnana.

"Charya, or karma yoga, may be simply defined as service. Kriya, or bhakti yoga, is devotion. Yoga, or raja yoga, is meditation, and jnana is the state of wisdom reached toward the end of the path as the result of God Realization and the subsequent enlivened kundalini and unfoldment of the chakras through the practices of yoga.

"The soul does not move quickly from one stage to another. It is a deliberate process, and within each stage there exist vast libraries of knowledge containing the sum of thousands of years of teachings unraveling that particular experiential vista."

End of Gurudeva's comparison there.

As our subject is awareness and omnipresence that's not really related to the first two padas charya and kriya so we're starting with the yoga pada skipping charya and kriya. We're trying to show how awareness fits into the yoga pada.

The yoga pada focuses on the regular practice of meditation, detachment and austerities under the guidance of a satguru through whose grace we attain the realization of Parasiva. It has four stages:

[1] Charya in yoga consists of cleaning the meditation room or portion of a room and the collection of all the necessary substances for worshiping one's guru and Deities relating to meditation.

[2] Kriya in yoga consists of offering a prayer, a chant or a short puja to one's guru and the guru's lineage after beseeching the grace of any Deities your guru has asked you to worship prior to meditation.

[3] Yoga in yoga consists of asana--proper meditation posture, pranayama--regulated breathing, pratyahara--sense withdrawal, dharana--concentration, dhyana--meditation in which one can experience the sustained state of awareness aware only of itself. Dhyana finally leads to enstasy--first to savikalpa samadhi, the contemplative experience of Satchidananda, and ultimately to nirvikalpa samadhi, Parasiva.

[4] Jnana in yoga is the experiential knowledge gained by these practices.

Tamil word for experiential knowledge is: Anupava unarcci.

The yoga pada is also called the sakha marga, meaning "Way of the Friend," for here the soul looks upon God as an intimate friend. The patavi is sarupya -- likeness to God.

Patavi is a technical term, Gurudeva doesn't use it. In Gurudeva's writings he calls it "The Attainment." English, just uses the English word attainment. So patavi -- The Attainment, patavi is sarupya, likeness to God.

Sundaramurti Nayanar is the Samaya Acharya who exemplifies the yoga pada.

The charya component of yoga has two general guidelines for conduct in addition to the specific activities to be performed in the meditation room. The Tirumantiram gives the first general guideline in verse 1465 in stating the charya in yoga that deprives him of desires.

Sabharathnam Sivacharya elaborates on this line:

"Charya in yoga in which there is no place for self-centered and worldly ambitions will lead to kriya in yoga."

Looking at the Tamil words: Takam means desire and vittal means abandoning. The idea of abandoning desire is a description of the idea of dispassion which can be defined as distaste of disgust for worldliness because of spiritual awakening. The basic approach of a yogi to dispassion is to hold the perspective that happiness does not come from people or possessions in the world but rather from the depths of one's soul as experienced in meditation.

The second general guideline is the idea of maintaining equanimity which is defined as mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

The Sarvajnanottara Agama Yoga Pada verse 4 gives this description:

"Keeping the mind balanced well when honored or abused, and in the same way when delighted or distressed and having completely freed himself from being subject to excessive delight, fearfulness and despondency, the sadhaka should repeatedly practice the disciplines of yoga."

Two verses in the Tirumantiram mention experiencing the inner light as a goal of Yoga.

Verse 1444 states:

"Beholding the Light of life is great yoga worship."

Verse 1474 states:

"Yoga in Jnana is to envision the light of nadanta."

Sabarathnam Sivacharya's explanation reads:

"Jnana with yoga is the discipline capable of leading the sadhaka to a higher state of nadanta where he could see the light."

Gurudeva gives this description of a yogi's experience of inner light:

"After his first nirvikalpa samadhi the renunciate's concentration and his practice of concentration should be easier... Then, finally, when his inner light--which he will soon find right at the top of the head--comes into prominence, he must turn his concentration onto that. And with enough mind power, he should be able to hold that inner light, a very bright white light looking just like a star, right at the top of the head. This will give him figures and conscious-mind forms, about three inches in diameter, and then he would concentrate the light into a three-inch diameter. He may not always know where the center is, especially if he has been involved in his Saiva seva. If that is so, he should press the top of his head with his finger, and that will indicate to him where the center of that light should be. This will immediately center his awareness in the center of the light. Then he tries to part it, tries to open up like a camera lens, and comes into brilliant, very brilliant, light. It will just be scintillating, much bright than a star. It will be like a carbon-arc light. This is very brilliant and very powerful. The renunciate is then schooled in how to hold that to a three-inch diameter, because the tendency will be for that light to fill up his whole head. He will feel very blissful. We don't want that to happen. We don't want the emotions or the lower mind to get out of control simply because he found a bright light in his head.

"So, when he sees this brilliant light right in his head, more brilliant than he has ever seen, intensified brilliance--he tries to find the center of it. When he finds the center of it, again trying to open up that light like a camera lens, he will then come into a state of consciousness called Satchidananda, a state of pure consciousness, a state of pure bliss, savikalpa samadhi, Here he won't be in a brilliant light anymore. Above him it will look like he is looking way up in the sky, into outer space, and the color of it will be a whitish blue. That will be the akasha he will be in."

There are a few different approaches to meditation in the yoga pada. Gurudeva's approach involves first understanding awareness as separate from consciousness..."

So, then it repeats what we've looked at before, awareness and consciousness need to be separated. We won't repeat that.

"A second perspective in Gurudeva's approach to meditation involves the concept of awareness aware only of itself which in the Shum-Tyeif language is named kaif. In the yoga pada, the goal is to practice sustaining the experience of awareness aware only of itself for longer and longer periods. "


"To attain and sustain kaif is a simple practice. You pull awareness out of the thought processes. You pull awareness out of the emotion processes. You pull awareness out of the bodily processes, and you're just completely on the pinnacle of being aware of being aware. That's so necessary to practice every day, even if you do it for a split second.

"The experience of kaif can be attained by anyone on the face of the Earth, at least for a split second, because it's so easy to be aware of being aware. To hold that experience and to stabilize the physical and emotional elements long enough to hold that intensity for even a minute takes more practice--not too much, but consistent practice. To maintain kaif for two minutes requires more effort, more will, more dedication to the life of sadhana. Five minutes requires even more. That's the test.

"Each pada causes an additional maturation of the soul to take place. Gurudeva gives this description of the maturation that takes place in the yoga pada:

"The yogi strives with a diligence and energy he never knew he possessed, with a dedication he once thought impossible, and as he strives his willpower is awakened. Finally, one day, in his first nirvikalpa samadhi, he penetrates to the essence of being. In this ultimate experience, which remains forever beyond description, he has reached the union which is yoga.

"Returning from this state of ineffable fulfillment, the devotee brings back into his life a new understanding, a new perspective. He is never the same after that experience. He can never again look at life in the same way. Each time he enters into that God Realization, that nirvikalpa samadhi, he returns to consciousness more and more the knower. His knowing matures through the years as his yoga sadhana is regulated, and as it matures he enters ever so imperceptibly into the fourth and final stage of unfoldment, into jnana.

"To the meditating yogi, darshan is more than a communication radiating out to him from an external God or Mahadeva. It is a radiant light shining from the sanctum sanctorum of his own sahasrara chakra. Worship for him becomes completely internal as he follows that light, that darshan, seeking to know its source."

Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
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