July 20, 2018 - Lesson 99

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Sloka 99 from Dancing with Siva

What Are the Main Karttikeya Festivals?

Vaikasi Vishakham celebrates the anniversary of Lord Karttikeya's creation. Skanda Shashthi is a six-day festival honoring His conquest of light over darkness. Tai Pusam is a time of sadhana and public penance. Aum.


On Vaikasi Vishakham day, Lord Karttikeya's birthstar, Vishakha nakshatra, in May-June, elaborate abhisheka is conducted in all His temples. It is a time of gift-giving to panditas and great souls, weddings, feedings for the poor, caring for trees, spiritual initiation, diksha, and conclaves of holy men. Skanda Shashthi is celebrated on the six days after the new moon in October-November with festive processions and pujas invoking His protection and grace. It honors Karttikeya's receiving the vel, His lance of spiritual illumination, jnana shakti, and culminates in a dramatic victory celebration of spiritual light over asuric darkness. Tai Pusam occurs on Pushya nakshatra in January-February. During this festival we fast and perform public penance, called kavadi, seeking Karttikeya's blessings to dispel our selfishness, pride and vanity. His special monthly days are Krittika nakshatra and Shashthi, the sixth tithi after the new moon. The Vedas say, "Like the cry of watchful birds swimming in water, like the loud claps of thundering rain clouds, like the joyful streams gushing from the mountain, so have our hymns sounded forth to the Lord." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 99 from Living with Siva

Taming Distraction

Throughout your inner investigations in meditation, cling to the philosophical principle that the mind doesn't move. Thoughts are stationary within the mind, and only awareness moves. It flows from one thought to another, as the free citizen of the world travels through each country, each city, not attaching himself anywhere. When you are able, through practice, to sit for twenty minutes without moving even one finger, your superconscious mind can begin to express itself. It can even reprogram your subconscious and change past patterns of existence. That is one of the wonderful things about inner life. That's why it's inner life--it happens from the inside.

If you just sit and breathe, the inner nerve system of the body of your psyche, your soul, begins to work on the subconscious, to mold it like clay. Awareness is loosened from limited concepts and made free to move vibrantly and buoyantly into the inner depths where peace and bliss remain undisturbed for centuries. However, if you move even a finger, you externalize the entire nervous system. Like shifting gears from high to low, you change the intensity of awareness, and the outer nerve system then is active. Superconscious programming ceases, awareness returns to the body and the senses, and the external mind takes over. By sitting still again at this point, it is just a matter of a few minutes for the forces to quiet and awareness to soar in and in once again. Sitting quietly in this state, you will feel when the superconscious nerve system begins to work in the physical body. You may feel an entirely different flow through your muscles, your bones and your cells. Let it happen.

As you sit to meditate, awareness may wander into past memories or future happenings. It may be distracted by the senses, by a sound or by a feeling of discomfort in the body. This is natural in the early stages. Gently bring awareness back to your point of concentration. Don't criticize awareness for wandering, for that is yet another distraction. Distractions will disappear if you become intensely interested and involved in your meditation. In such a state, you won't even feel the physical body. You have gone to a movie, read a book or sat working on a project on your computer that was so engrossing you only later discovered your foot had fallen asleep for a half hour because it was in an awkward position. Similarly, once we are totally conscious on the inside, we will never be distracted by the physical body or the outside.

If distractions keep coming up in meditation over a long period of time, then perhaps you are not ready to meditate. There has to be a point where distractions stop. Until then you are hooked very strongly into the instinctive or intellectual area of the mind, and the whole idea of meditation won't inspire you very much. Therefore, you need something to spur you on inwardly. In Hinduism when this occurs, the grace of the satguru is sought. By going to your guru openly, you receive darshana, a little extra power that moves awareness permanently out of the areas of distraction. You are then able to sit in inner areas for long periods of time. Distractions become fewer and fewer, for he has wrenched you out of the instinctive and intellectual areas and changed the energy flow within your body.

After the meditation is over, work to refine every attribute of your nature. Learn to work and work joyfully, for all work is good. Learn to be happy by seeking happiness, not from others but from the depths of the soul itself. In your daily life, observe the play of the forces as they manifest between people and people, and people and their things. Don't avoid the forces of the world, for the meditator lives fearlessly, shying away from nothing. The "out there" and the within are his playground, his kingdom. He becomes vibrant and confident in himself. He learns to lean on his own spine and not on any other person, teacher, book, organization or system. Answers begin to become real and vibrant, hooked onto the end of every question. His body radiates new grace and strength. His mind, disciplined and uncluttered, becomes one-pointedly agile. His relationships take on new, profound meanings. His emotions are stabilized and reflect his new-found tranquillity. These and many more are the dynamic rewards of the sincere aspirant who searches within through meditation.

Sutra 99 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Mealtime Customs

Each of Siva's married women devotees joyously observes at mealtimes the ancient custom of serving her husband and family first. When they are satisfied, she is fulfilled and only then sits down for her own meal. Aum.

Lesson 99 from Merging with Siva

Restraints and Observances

When we are children, we run freely, because we have no great subconscious burdens to carry. Very little has happened to us. Of course, our parents and religious institutions try to prepare us for life's tests. But because the conscious mind of a child doesn't know any better, it generally does not accept the preparation without experience, and life begins the waking up to the material world, creating situations about us--magnificent opportunities for failing these tests. If we do not fail, we know that we have at some prior time learned the lesson inherent in the experience. Experience gives us a bit of wisdom when we really face ourselves and discover the meaning of failure and success. Failure is just education. But you shouldn't fail once you know the law.

There have been many systems and principles of ethics and morality established by various world teachers down through the ages. All of these have had only one common goal--to provide for man living on the planet Earth a guidepost for his thought and action so that his consciousness, his awareness, may evolve to the realization of life's highest goals and purposes. The ancient yoga systems provided a few simple yamas and niyamas for religious observance, defining how all people should live. The yamas, or restraints, provided a basic system of discipline for the instinctive mind. The niyamas, or positive observances, are the affirming, life-giving actions and disciplines. From the holy Vedas we have assembled on pages 208-209 ten yamas and ten niyamas, a simple statement of the ancient and beautiful laws of life.

Life offers you an opportunity. As the Western theologian speaks of sins of omission as well as sins of commission, so we find that life offers us an opportunity to break the law as indicated by the yamas, as well as to omit the observances of the niyamas. If we take the opportunity to live out of tune with Hindu dharma, reaction is built in the subconscious mind. This reaction stays with us and recreates the physical and astral body accordingly.