March 30, 2015 - Lesson 352
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Sloka 42 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Nature of the Physical Plane?
The physical plane, or Bhuloka, is the world of gross or material substance in which phenomena are perceived by the five senses. It is the most limited of worlds, the least permanent and the most subject to change. Aum.
The material world is where we have our experiences, manufacture karma and fulfill the desires and duties of life in a physical body. It is in the Bhuloka that consciousness is limited, that awareness of the other two worlds is not always remembered. It is the external plane, made of gross matter, which is really just energy. The world is remarkable in its unending variety and enthralling novelty. Mystics call it the unfoldment of prakriti, primal nature, and liken it to a bubble on the ocean's surface. It arises, lives and bursts to return to the source. This physical world, though necessary to our evolution, is the embodiment of impermanence, of constant change. Thus, we take care not to become overly attached to it. It is mystically subjective, not objective. It is dense but not solid. It is sentient, even sacred. It is rocks and rainbows, liquid, gas and conflagration, all held in a setting of space. The Vedas affirm, "The knower, the author of time, the possessor of qualities and all knowledge, it is He who envelopes the universe. Controlled by Him, this work of creation unfolds itself--that which is regarded as earth, water, fire, air and ether." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 352 from Living with Siva
Sectarianism Is Healthy
Those who followed in the decades after the US Constitution was ratified were divided one from another because of language, religion and culture. They spoke different languages, followed many different customs and promoted many different religious beliefs. In spite of all this, they worked with and solved the problems. They set their differences aside through the separation of church and state and created friendships by not entering into discussions of church and state, business and politics. They solved the problems and decided not to talk much about religion and decided to work together for a new world, a new nation, a new democracy that the entire world is now beginning to emulate. This is because they came to the conclusion that they must be united to exist, and that working together was imperative for survival in the new world. And this is how the American people work together today. They don't speak about religion or politics in corporations or businesses.
There are good lessons for Hindus in these historical happenings, for the founding fathers of this nation did not destroy their heritage. The Lutherans coming over here from Germany and Denmark did not forsake the traditions of the Lutheran religion; rather, they strengthened them. The Baptists strengthened their religion. The Methodists became strong. The Catholics from Ireland and Italy became very strong here. That's what they did. What they did not do is just as important. They did not create a liberal Christianity in which everyone was expected to blend with other creeds for the sake of unity. They did not dismantle or dilute their religion. They did not compromise all their culture so they could "fit in." Nor did the Buddhists, the Taoists, the Shintoists or the Confucianists seek to combine all the sects of their faiths into one. They did not do this. They did not take an axe to that tree. They did not chop away at its roots. They didn't do that. They knew that individual ways of worship are important, that individual customs are important, important enough to preserve.
Many Hindus wrongly believe there is just one Christianity which all Christians support. This is simply not true. There are 33,500 sects within Christianity in this country alone, as published by the highly regarded Dr. David Bartlett. Imagine that! More than 33,500, each having its own separate identity, its own individual beliefs, creeds, doctrines and ways of worship. This is very important to remember. Of course, they are in the ninth and tenth generation now, and everyone speaks English.
Recently, while dedicating Flint's Pashchima Kashi Shri Vishvanatha Temple, Congressman Riley of the state of Michigan and I were on the same platform and he told the gathered crowd, "America is often called a melting pot. But that's not exactly true. It is more of a mosaic, where everyone fits together and nurtures their own individuality." Here we have the great cultures of many countries, and we appreciate all the cultures of every country and want the best of each culture from each country.
Now we come to Hindu solidarity. I call it "solidarity in diversity." Solidarity in diversity is really a better term than unity in diversity, just like the mosaic is more accurate than the melting pot. In America we have Saivite Hindus, Vaishnava Hindus, Shakta Hindus, Smarta Hindus, liberal Hindus, agnostic Hindus and anti-Hindu Hindus, all working together for Hindu solidarity, a grand Hindu front competent to master and reform Hinduism today.
There are different theologies, different philosophies and different scriptures for each of the various Hindu sects. We do not have 27,000 divisions to deal with like the Christians, but we do have a few major ones. Some liberal Hindus would like to get rid of these, but there is no reason why in America and the other countries of the world the major Hindu sects cannot live in harmony. Many swamis join with me in this thinking, as do other Hindu leaders. They know that unity does not mean sameness. Sameness in religion is not healthy, not natural. Sameness is a most common, dull, uninspired and unenlightened solution, for it reduces that which is vital with differences, rich in philosophical interpretation and background, to a common denominator. Such a solution would be very harmful to Hinduism in the world, and many of us are firmly against that idea. Hinduism has always taken pride in its broadness. All of history proclaims this to be true. In this most advanced age of civilization shall we abandon that lofty view? Shall we take a sumptuous feast with its rich variety of curries and chutneys and dals and stir it all together into an unappealing stew? Certainly not. I certainly hope not.
Sutra 352 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Staying Out Of Social Service And Politics
My Saiva monastics are assigned to religious work alone and, except to bless, advise and counsel, do not involve themselves with secular events or social service. Nor do they vote in elections or seek to influence politics. Aum.
Lesson 352 from Merging with Siva
Sudden Death, Boon or Bane?
As the physical forces wane, whether at sudden death or a lingering death, the process is the same. All the gross and subtle energy goes into the mental and emotional astral body. In the case of a sudden death, the emotions involved are horrendous. In the case of a lingering death, the increasing mental abilities and strength of thought is equally so. As we know, intense emotion manifests intense emotion, and intense thoughts manifest intense thoughts. These intensities would not remanifest until entering a flesh body again. This is why it was previously explained that sudden death--with its intense emotion, the intellect not having been prepared for it--would produce difficulties in getting born and in the first few years of getting raised, leading to miscarriage and abortion and later child abuse. All these experiences are a continuation of the emotional upheaval that happened at the sudden departure. The emotional upheaval of the person is compounded by the emotional upheaval of the friends, family and business associates when they finally hear of the sudden departure. Similarly, when that person reincarnates, the family and friends and business associates are aware of the special needs of the child, anticipating the crying and emotional distress, which eventually subsides.
However, if the person was prepared for death, no matter when it might arrive, sudden or otherwise, his mental and emotional astral body would have already been well schooled in readiness. Sudden death to such a soul is a boon and a blessing. The next birth would be welcoming and easy, one wherein he would be well cared for and educated by loving parents.
Nevertheless, the thought force of the departing person is very strong, as his energy transmutes into the mental body. That's why nobody wants the departing person to hate them or curse them, because the thought force is so strong. Even after he has departed, that same thought force will radiate many blessings or their opposite on the family or individuals. In the case of blessings, this is the basis of ancestor worship. Ancestors are even more immediate than the Gods, so to speak. They will help you hurt somebody, or to help somebody, depending on who they are. Ancestors are even more accessible than the Gods, because you don't have to be religious to contact them.
People wonder whether death is a painful process, such as in the case of cancer victims. Cancer, which produces a lot of pain, is a process of life which results in death, but death itself is not painful. Death itself is blissful. You don't need any counseling. You intuitively know what's going to happen. Death is like a meditation, a samadhi. That's why it is called maha (great) samadhi. A Hindu is prepared from childhood for that mahasamadhi. Remember, pain is not part of the process of death. That is the process of life, which results in death.
When somebody is about to have a tremendous accident and, for example, sees his car is going to run into a truck or his plane is going to crash, he experiences no pain whatsoever, as he dies before he dies.