River Ganga: The Saivite version of the origin of the Ganges. A soul can rise from being inThe Saivite version of the origin of the Ganges. A soul can rise from being in the lower chakras of fear and anger to the higher chakras of cognition and love; follow the river upstream to its source and realize Parasiva. Amrita, the flow of cosmic energy. "We are a complete Parasiva-Satchidananda jiva. Chanting Aum Namah Sivaya, Namah Sivaya Aum. The practice of affectionate detachment. work toward establishing yourself in the eternal now.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lessons 25, 111, 161.
"It is Siva, however, among the major deities of the Hindu pantheon, who appears in the most widely known version of the avatarana, meaning descent of Ganges, story. Told and retold in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and several Puranas, the story begins with a sage, Kapila, whose intense meditation has been disturbed by the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Livid at being disturbed, Kapila sears them with his angry gaze, reduces them to ashes, and dispatches them to the netherworld. Only the waters of the Ganges, then in heaven, can bring the dead sons their salvation.(So at this point the Ganges has not descended to earth.) A descendant of these sons, King Bhagiratha, anxious to restore his ancestors, undertakes rigorous penance and is eventually granted the prize of Ganges's descent from heaven. However, since her turbulent force would also shatter the earth, Bhagiratha persuades Siva in his abode on Mount Kailash to receive the Ganges in the coils of his matted hair and break her fall. The Ganges descends, is tamed in Siva's locks, and arrives in the Himalayas. This story is the origin of Siva?s name 'Gangadhara' -- He who holds the Ganges in his matted locks. ?The Ganges is then led by the waiting Bhagiratha down into the plains at Haridwar, across the plains first to the confluence with the Yamuna at Prayag and then to Varanasi, and eventually to Ganges Sagar (the Ganges delta), where she meets the ocean, sinks to the netherworld, and saves the sons of Sagara. In honor of Bhagirath's pivotal role in the avatarana, the source stream of the Ganges in the Himalayas is named Bhagirathi, (meaning ?of Bhagiratha?).? One last part here from Wikipedia: "Redemption of the Dead ?As the Ganges had descended from heaven to earth, she is also considered the vehicle of ascent, from earth to heaven. As the Triloka-patha-gamini, three worlds, path and one who travels?) of the Hindu tradition, she flows in heaven, earth, and the netherworld, and, consequently, is a ?tirtha? or crossing point of all beings, the living as well as the dead. It is for this reason that the story of the avatarana is told at Shraddha ceremonies for the deceased in Hinduism, and the Ganges water is used in Vedic rituals after death. Among all hymns devoted to the Ganges, there are none more popular than the ones expressing the worshipper's wish to breath his last, surrounded by her waters.? So we get symbolism. Symbolism interpretation is by me not by Wikipedia. Hindu mythological tales are all symbolic of deeper truths. I think in the case of the Ganges legend, the rising of the sons of Sagara from the netherworld to the heavenly realms shows how through being purified by the Ganges a soul can rise from being in the lower chakras of fear and anger to the higher chakras of cognition and love. Another symbolism relates to the experience in meditation of the inner river of actinic energy. Gurudeva gives this description: ?Within you, above the top of the head begins the flow of amrita, the flow of cosmic energy, the flow of quantum particles of many colors. This is an area at the quantum level of consciousness where all form begins, the first river. The energies of actinic force begin as far above the head as your arms and hands can reach with elbows straight.? So as with the mythological tale of the Ganges, the meditator can flow the quantum river downstream from its source into the physical body as well as follow the river upstream to its source and realize Parasiva. So Gurudeva describes the idea of going upstream in Merging with Siva, Lesson 161: ?Aum Namah Sivaya is such a precious mantra because it is the closest sound that one can make to emulate the sounds rushing out of the Self into the mind. Chanting it is profound because it is a sound channel which you can follow to get close to the Self of your self--sort of like following a river upstream to yourself. Aum Namah Sivaya can be equated with Siva's drum of creation, called damaru. When ?Aum Namah Sivaya? is repeated, we go through the chakras, Na-Ma Shi-Va-Ya Aum. The Aum is in the head chakra. Within Namah Sivaya is each of the elements-- earth, water, fire, air and ether--which in the mind are transmuted into all-pervasive consciousness, and that is also transmuted, into the great chakra way above the head at the end of the Aum. ?In just the breath, the space of time between the next repetition of ?Aum Namah Sivaya, Aum Namah Sivaya, Aum Namah Sivaya,? the pranas, having reached Parasiva, fall back into the spiritual, mental, astral and physical worlds, blessing them all with new life, new energy and new understanding. ?Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum, Namah Sivaya Aum? is the constant process of life. It is the essence of life itself. We must realize that at any given moment we are a complete Parasiva-Satchidananda jiva, (that's a great phrase) we are a complete Parasiva-Satchidananda jiva only working on the ?Maheshvara part?--on the jiva's becoming Siva. Parasiva is there. Satchidananda is there. The maturity of the purusha, of the jiva, the embodied soul, is not. Therefore, Aum Namah Sivaya takes us into the reality above and beyond the relatively real. To know it is to experience it, and to experience it is to become initiated.? That's a great lesson for sure. Then we get actual lesson from River of Life, Lesson 25. "Nobody Understands Me "In practicing affectionate detachment, we are learning to live in the here and now, right in the moment. We are awakening the power of direct cognition, the power that enables us to understand what happens, when it happens and why it happens. We are tuning into the river of life, the great actinic flow. This river flows directly from the essence of being through the subconscious basement and the conscious-mind main floor, creating life?s experiences. Along the way, our cognition of these experiences completes the cycle of its continual flow. That is what we have to learn to tune into. All of our higher teachings give us that wisdom. It is a great step to learn it intellectually and to be able to talk about it, but once that step has been taken, it is not a great step anymore. "This wisdom must first be applied at home, then at work. Then it has to be applied among all of your acquaintances and friends. Everyone should understand you and about you, and if you feel there is someone close to you who does not understand you, that signifies that the part of yourself that this person represents does not understand what you think they do not understand. (That's worth reading again, right?) ...and if you feel there is someone close to you who does not understand you, that signifies that the part of yourself that this person represents does not understand what you think they do not understand. (So you don't understand it and therefore they don't understand it.) If someone who is close to you does not understand your inner nature, you do not understand your inner subconscious yourself. Why? Because you have only intellectually grasped certain things; you have not fully realized these concepts. He, the friend, as a reflection of yourself, therefore, will not quite grasp your studies or your concepts. As soon as you understand yourself, by having purified yourself, you can explain your realization to your friends in a way they will understand. "When explaining yoga teachings, use common examples like the following: ?If you plant a seed and water it, you will eventually give birth to the flower.' That is simple and complete. Anyone can understand it. Use little examples and stay away from big terms, mysterious words, for little examples of life are powerful. Talk about trees and how they grow. Talk about children and how they mature into adulthood. Talk about flowers and how they bloom, and relate these to the laws of life. Talk about the mind and how it can be opened up through yoga techniques of concentration and meditation, and you?ll become a great missionary of Hindu Dharma and do much for yourself as well as others. "Those who say ?Well, nobody understands me. I feel all alone on the path? are going through a period in which they have memorized everything but understand very little and therefore cannot explain or convince their fellow man of these great truths due to the fact that their subconscious basement is still full. When we only learn intellectually and have not put dharma into practice, our subconscious is still cluttered by uncognized memories." And the last section is my comments on Lesson 25. Gurudeva's first point there is: "We're learning to live in the here and now, right in the moment. This is done not thinking about the past and future unnecessarily. Just go there when you need to, otherwise stay in the present." In other words there should be a reason to go to the past or the future. We need some information from the past; we're making a plan for the future. You know those are good reasons to think about past and future but if you don't have a good reason, Gurudeva's saying it's better just to stay in the present moment. Gives this description in Merging with Siva, Lesson 111: ?It?s easy to live in the now if you work with yourself a little every day and concentrate on what you are doing each moment. To begin to work toward establishing yourself in the eternal now, first limit time and space by not thinking about or discussing events that happened more than four days past or will happen more than four days in the future. This keeps awareness reined in, focused.? So Yogaswami has a simple way of putting it: Be still--Summa Iru. Remaining still is the best exercise. So that's similar idea. Just be in the present with a still mind unless there's a reason to go to the past or future. And Gurudeva next point was direct cognition. So what is direct cognition? "Knowledge reached through intuitive, superconscious faculties rather than through intellect alone. In thinking about a decision we are trying to make, instead of the laborious process of reasoning, we can, which can take a long time, the answer comes to us in a clear way without the use of reason. That is direct cognition." So we just, we're focusing on it and the answer comes. That's what direct cognition is and that's a lot easier than the long process of reasoning. The practice I usually give for this is: A useful technique for tapping our intuition to solve a problem is at night just before going to sleep, write the problem down. Make sure how you have described it is accurate and complete. If not, then rewrite it until you have achieved accuracy and completeness. Go to sleep with the expectation that the answer will come to you from your intuition in the morning soon after arising. So that is a good practice that works really well. And Gurudeva mentioned: Apply your wisdom at home, then at work then among acquaintances and friends. So this is a good idea for letting any change in your life such as for example the way you converse with others being more a good listener rather than just a good talker. You start at home then at work then with others that you know. If you try and do it all at once it may not work. So just master the home then the work and others. And using common examples like the flower; one of the advantages of using a common example is you have to create the example. And in creating an example you're acting like a teacher. And the one thing about being a teacher that teachers know is they know more than the student. So the teacher in presenting material has to make sure first that he or she fully understands the material in case the student asks a question. So the same principle applies here, when you create your own simple example, you thought it through on your own. So, point here: "Nobody understands me" means you have only learned intellectually, you have not put dharma into practice, and your subconscious is still cluttered by uncognized memories. So when Gurudeva says that, he's focusing on practice. And the example he used to use, having studied classical dance in his youth, was classical dancing. Classical dancing, there's basic learning period at the beginning, certain things you need to know. But then after that the majority of time is put into practice rather than additional learning. So its a discipline that requires a lot more practice than learning and then once you have learned to do a routine fairly well, you don't stop. You learn to do it even better. So that relates to spirituality as well, you achieve something in meditation or in temple worship, you don't want to say: "Great I've done it." You want to take that experience even deeper. And Yogaswami, he has lots of quotes which emphasize the idea that a lot of learning isn't needed. This one is: "Don't attend lectures. You know everything inside--it is all in you. People will talk about powers, siddhis, etc. -- don't listen." So he, in other words he's encouraging practice. You need to practice what you've already learned rather than just keep learning. Have a wonderful day.