August 30, 2016 - Lesson 140
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Sloka 140 from Dancing with Siva
How Is the Affirmation of Faith Used?
Intoning the affirmation of faith, we positively assert that God is both manifest and unmanifest, both permeating the world and transcending it, both personal Divine Love and impersonal Reality. Aum Namah Sivaya.
On the lips of Saivites throughout the world resounds the proclamation "God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality." It is a statement of fact, a summation of truth, even more potent when intoned in one's native language. "God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality," we repeat prior to sleep. "God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality," we say upon awakening as we recall the transcendent knowledge gained from the rishis during sleep. These sacred words we say as we bathe to prepare to face the day, God Siva's day, reminding ourselves that His immanent love protects us, guides us, lifting our mind into the arena of useful thoughts and keeping us from harm's way. Devotees write this affirmation 1,008 times as a sahasra lekhana sadhana. It may be spoken 108 times daily in any language before initiation into Namah Sivaya. Yea, the recitation of this affirmation draws devotees into Siva-consciousness. The Tirumantiram says, "The ignorant prate that love and Siva are two. They do not know that love alone is Siva. When men know that love and Siva are the same, love as Siva they ever remain." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 140 from Living with Siva
A Personal Testimony
By way of illustration I will ask you now to read a fine message we received from a Saivite lady in Sri Lanka who follows beautifully the spirit of stri dharma.
"I am a Hindu wife and take pride and pleasure in being one. I am a graduate of the London University and was a teacher in a girls' school before I got married in 1969. I belong to an orthodox Saivite Hindu family, and when I reached age twenty-six my parents proposed a marriage. My future husband, too, hailed from an orthodox Saivite family and was thirty years of age. After our parents discussed and decided upon details, an opportunity was afforded to us to meet. The venue was a Ganesha temple, and the time was 7am. As each of us stepped into the temple from different directions almost simultaneously, the temple bells started ringing to herald the 7:00 puja. 'A good omen,' both of us thought independently. After the puja was over, we were introduced to each other by my mother. Out of inborn shyness and a certain amount of fear of meeting a stranger, I was hardly able to look up and even see the color of the man who was going to be the lord of my life. I heard him talk and even noticed him gazing meaningfully at me all the time. The 'confrontation' lasted about ten minutes, and we parted. Each of us approved the selection so carefully made by our parents and, to make a long story short, our marriage was solemnized in due course.
"From the date of marriage, I resigned my job as teacher because my duties as a housewife appeared more onerous and more responsible. My husband earned enough to maintain a family, and we started setting up a home of our own. I brought in some money by way of a dowry, and this helped us to furnish our home with all essential requirements. We loved each other very much and lived like Siva and Shakti. The most important corner of our house is the shrine room where our day-to-day life starts every morning.
"I get up from bed at 5am every day. After a wash, I enter the shrine room and clean up the place. Remnants of flowers from the previous day's puja are removed, the brass lamps and vessels are polished, water is sprinkled on the floor and the place kept ready for the day's puja, performed by my husband. Then the kitchen is swept and the pots and pans washed. Water is kept on the gas to boil, and I go for a bath. Returning from the bath, I do a short prayer and pick flowers for my husband's puja. By now it is 6am--the time my husband awakens. I go to the bedroom and wait there ready to greet him for the day. He looks upon me as the Lakshmi of the home, and it pleases him a lot to wake in my presence--all gleaming with holy ash and kumkum pottu on my forehead. As soon as he gets up, he goes out for a half-hour walk and is back home by 6:30. A cup of coffee is now ready for him. He takes this and, after five minutes' rest, enjoys a fine bath. He then makes the necessary preparations for the puja. I could do this myself, but my husband feels these preparations are also a part of the puja. Sharp at 7am, the puja starts. I join him and so do our children (we now have two boys and a girl). It is a pleasure to watch my husband at puja, which he does very piously and meticulously. At 7:30 we come out of the shrine room for our breakfast. I personally serve my lord and the children meals prepared by my own hands and then get the two elder children ready for school. By 8:30 all the three are out of the house on their respective missions. I then clean up the house, put my little three-year-old son to sleep and by 9:30 I am back in the kitchen preparing lunch.
"In the evening I am dressed up and ready for an outing with my husband and children. Almost every day he takes us out, but occasionally he comes home tired and prefers to remain indoors. At 6pm I start cooking the dinner and at 7:00 we have a joint prayer in the shrine room. Dinner at 7:30, then a little bit of reading, listening to the radio, some chit chat and off to bed by 9:30. This has been my routine for the last eleven years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
"In the house, I give first place to my husband. It has never been my custom to find fault with him for anything. He understands me so much and so well that he is always kind, loving, gentle and compassionate towards me. I reciprocate these a hundredfold, and we get on very well. My husband is the secretary of a religious organization, and I give him every help and encouragement in his work. My household duties keep me fully occupied, and so I don't engage myself in other activities. I respect my husband's leadership in the home, and so life goes on smoothly."
Sutra 140 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Timely Observance Of Sacraments
Siva's followers provide their children the essential sacraments at the proper times, especially name-giving, first feeding, head-shaving, ear-piercing, first learning, rites of puberty and marriage. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 140 from Merging with Siva
Grace of The Gods
When you worship the God in the temple, through puja and ceremony, you are bringing that Divinity out of the microcosm and into this macrocosm. You supply the energy through your worship and your devotion, through your thought forms, and even your physical aura. The pujari purifies and magnetizes the stone image for this to take place. The Gods and the devas are also magnetizing the stone image with their energy, and finally the moment is ready and they can come out of the microcosm into this macrocosm and bless the people. You observe that they stayed only for an instant, but to them it was a longer time. The time sense in the inner worlds is different.
If you want to get acquainted with the Gods, first get to know Lord Ganesha. Take a picture and look at it. Put a picture of Lord Ganesha in your car or in your kitchen. Get acquainted through sight. Then come to know Him through sound by chanting His names and hymns. This is how you get acquainted with your personal Deity. You will get to know Him just as you know your best friend, but in a more intimate way, for Ganesha is within you and there ahead of you to guide your soul's evolution. As you get acquainted with Him, Ganesha then knows that you're coming up on the spinal climb of the kundalini. He will work with you and work out your karma. Your whole life will begin to smooth out.
Religion is the connection between the three worlds, and temple worship is how you can get your personal connection with the inner worlds. You never really lose connection with the inner worlds, but if you are not conscious of that connection, then it appears that you have.
The Gods of Hinduism create, preserve and protect mankind. It is through their sanction that all things continue, and through their will that they cease. It is through their grace that all good things happen, and all things that happen are for the good. Now, you may wonder why one would put himself under this divine authority so willingly, thus losing his semblance of freedom. But does one not willingly put himself in total harmony with those whom he loves? Of course he does. And loving these great souls comes so naturally. Their timeless wisdom, their vast intelligence, their thoroughly benign natures, their ceaseless concern for the problems and well-being of devotees, and their power and sheer Godly brilliance--all these inspire our love.