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Choose One Lineage and Follow it

Today there is a new feature on Gurudeva's daily upadesha. He recently began having his monks translate the upadesh into their native language. These show here as separate buttons, so you can listen to the language of your choice. In Gurudeva's talk, he answers two questions, the first about the use of leather or an animal skin in the shrine room and the second about the wisdom of having pictures of many gurus in one's shrine. Sadhaka Jothinatha translates the talk into French; while Brahmachariya Nanthakumar gives a reading on the story of Nambi, the boy saint, from "Saivite Hindu Religion" in Malay.

Unedited Transcript:

Today at Kauai Aadheenam. April 11. Greetings everyone!

We have a question that came in today about, "Why do yogis sit on animal skin for meditation?"

There is a very simple answer. The animal skin protects the yogi from poisonous bugs and snakes because we are told, I have never experienced this personally, that a snake won't crawl across an animal skin or bugs won't be inclined to walk across it either. Now, technically speaking, the skin should be from an animal who has naturally died. If you have an animal skin in your shrine room for meditation, that is just wonderful. Keep it there, meditate on it. Also, the animal skin holds the vital forces, the electrical forces within the body. The same thing can be accomplished by sitting on something like a wool blanket or a wool carpet. We use wool carpets here at Kauai Aadheenam.

Another question about having a Guru's picture on the altar. That is wonderful if that is your Guru. But the question is, "Should we have other Gurus' pictures around the walls?"

Well, that is also fine, if you are admiring other Gurus and listening to other Gurus. But, if you are really attached to a Parampara, you would want only your Guru, your Guru's Guru, your Guru's Guru's Guru and the whole chain of Gurus to be in your shrine room, on the walls or wherever, so that you are sticking to one tradition.

In the great Sanatana Dharma, the Hindu religion, there are many village traditions, many guru traditions, many denominations and their traditions, within them more traditions. To follow the Hindu path, you must choose one. You can't choose them all. A generalization of the one Hindu religion is watered down so much that you barely know what it is because to really be religious and to have a spiritual leader or guide or more leaders than one, it has to be of the same tradition. Though all swamis and those leaders are respected, they are respected in the name of your Guru. For instance, if a Swami comes to your town, you can go and garland the Swami in the name of your Guru. He will appreciate that very much.

Well, we hope this sheds some light on the subject. We have Sadhaka Jothinatha here, who is going to speak in French and he will introduce Brahmachari Nanthakumar who will finish telling the story in Malay.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The greatest inhibiting factor in practicing bhakti yoga is the doubting, cynical, intellectual mind. Doubt and skepticism harden the heart and narrow the mind.