August 13, 2020 - Lesson 123

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Sloka 123 from Dancing with Siva

Are There Other Terms for Holy Ones?

Many terms name Hindu masters, teachers and aspirants including: jivanmukta, rishi, muni, siddha, mahatma, guru, swami, sannyasin, tapasvin, yogi, sadhu, sadhaka, pandita, acharya, shastri, pujari, shishya and brahmachari. Aum.


A jivanmukta is a liberated soul. Rishi refers to a venerated sage or seer. A muni is an ecstatic mystic, especially one living in seclusion or vowed to silence. Siddha refers to a perfected being or one who has attained magical powers. Mahatma denotes a great soul or renowned guru. The term guru usually describes a spiritual master, but can connote a teacher of any subject. A sannyasin, or swami, is a formally ordained renunciate monk. A tapasvin is an ascetic seeking purification through rigorous disciplines. The yogi is dedicated to intense meditation for inner attainment. Sadhu is a general term for a holy man or wandering mendicant. A sadhaka is a serious seeker of the Self, and is often a monk. The acharya, like the pandita, is a respected teacher and advisor. Shastri refers to an expert in scripture. A pujari is a temple priest. A shishya is a formal disciple. A brahmachari is a celibate student, often under simple vows. Some titles have feminine equivalents, such as sadhvi, yogini and brahmacharini. The Vedas explain, "The brahmachari moves, strengthening both the worlds. In him the devas meet in concord; he upholds earth and heaven." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 123 from Living with Siva

Suitable Prescriptions

Anger, I have observed, is the most difficult fault for people to overcome, because it comes in so many different forms: pouting, long silences, shouting, yelling, swearing and more. Psychotherapist Ron Potter-Efron says in his book, Angry All the Time, that there are eight rungs of anger on the "violence ladder:" sneaky anger, the cold shoulder, blaming and shaming, swearing, screaming and yelling, demands and threats, chasing and holding, partly controlled violence, and blind rage. Some people are just angry all the time because they live in the lower nature, constantly engaged in mental criticism and arguments. Anger can eventually be controlled by putting a sum of money--five dollars, for example--in a jar each time one becomes angry and then donating that money to an orphanage. It soon gets too expensive to get angry. However, for devotees who are wealthy, that doesn't work. For them, I've found the penance of fasting for the next meal after they get angry works.

The "flower penance" has proven useful especially to young people who have been beaten and abused by their parents. They put up a picture of the person who beat them--father, mother or teacher--and every day for thirty-one days place a flower in front of the picture. While doing so, they sincerely forgive the person in heart and mind. Some are able to see the experience as their own karma. They forgive their parents and experience a great deal of freedom. Others have so much hatred and resentment toward their parents that they can't do it at all. This penance has also worked for those who have a mental conflict with their employer. There is a severe penance, too, for one who beats his children. It involves private self-punishment and giving public lectures against corporal punishment, as well as teaching classes on Positive Discipline to the public many times throughout the years.

For wife-beating, adultery and various collections of smaller transgressions, I advise the traditional, age-old penance of kavadi, putting small spears in the body, at least fifteen, and circumambulating the temple many times during a temple festival with the supervision of trained priests. Wife-beating and adultery are very serious matters; they break up homes astrally and often physically and create for the perpetrators a rotten birth in the next life. To atone for all that is very difficult.

Without resolve and remorse, no penance will work. People have an internal ego and an external ego, and for many, one is quite different from the other. For instance, someone may be smiling and joking all the time, but inside himself be angry and critical of those around him, though he lets no one see that he is. There are also those who are smiling and sociable on the outside but crying on the inside over hurts and memories of things that have happened in the past. The maha vasana daha tantra--writing down and burning all the emotion out of the memories of the past, the hurts of the past, the good things and the bad things that have happened to us since birth--harmonizes the internal and external ego so that we are the same person on the inside as on the outside. When we write down our hurts and fears and misunderstandings, as well as all the happy times, our loves and losses, our joys and sorrows--and then crumple up the paper, light it with a flame and watch it burn, thinking of it as the garbage of yesterday--we detach the emotion from the memories. Almost magically, the emotion that had held the memory vibrating within the subconscious mind, perhaps for years, goes away in the flame. There is nothing left but the quiet memory. As a result, finally the soul begins to shine forth within the person as the memory patterns of the deep past no longer bind awareness. The inner and outer become one and the same.

It is very easy to read the external personality of an individual by listening to what he says, looking at what he does and observing his various forms of communication. The internal personality of the person can be read by observing body language, facial expressions, movements of the eyes, movements of the feet and hands, the way a person walks, the hesitancy before he answers a question. All of this shows the workings of the internal ego, which generally blocks the natural joyousness of the soul. So, the first step in spiritual unfoldment is for the individual to harmonize the internal and the external ego so that he is a complete, integrated person twenty-four hours a day, and nothing is hidden, even to himself.

Sutra 123 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Remarriage Is Discouraged

Any of Siva's followers who is divorced is by tradition encouraged to not remarry but rather adopt the path of celibacy. They know that marriage is a Godly covenant ideally made with only one spouse in a lifetime. Aum.

Lesson 123 from Merging with Siva

The Power Of Devotion

For eleven years I led a bhakti pilgrimage, a devotional pilgrimage, to the top of Mount Tamalpais in California, the first of every month. I never missed one. The devotees, in looking over three cities with me, could intuit that within each city there were problems. Each home in each city contained an area of the mind that was problem-ridden.

Those who had the devotion went to the top of the mountain. Hence, the opportunity to expand their awareness for an hour or so and look over the external states of the mind. There they set their pattern for meditation for the ensuing month. It takes great dedication, devotion and bhakti to disentangle awareness from that which it is aware of, to flow into and become aware of expanded areas of mind. The rewards are great. We are able to look over and through our expanded vision the totality of the exterior area of our mind and intuitively know the answer to the experiences that we are going through.

This may seem difficult to comprehend, but it is really very simple. When awareness is burdened in the exterior area of the mind, we simply release awareness from that area of the mind that it is aware of. Release the burden--but not by taking on more burdens or trying to find out the whys and wherefores of it all. In other words, we alleviate the pressures that awareness and our nerve system feel because of being involved in the exterior area of the mind and thus become devoted to our own superconsciousness. The power of devotion, love, bhakti, melts the odic-magnetic force fields, releasing awareness to soar into superconsciousness, the mind of light. And then we can focus, superconsciously, from our intuitive state of mind and look at the exterior world from a new perspective, from right within the very core of life itself. It does not take long. It does take one quality though--devotion--found in the yoga called bhakti.

What is devotion? Devotion involves going deep enough to understand the great principle of the fulfillment of one's duty. Who must be devoted to whom? Members of a family to their temple, a wife to her husband, a husband to his religion, children to their parents, the student to the teacher, the disciple to the guru. No matter what you are studying--mathematics, chemistry, philosophy, cybernetics, sociology, religion, a lifestyle--the professor should represent what you are going to be. That is why you are studying with him. Only through devotion will you be totally aware, open, free, inspired. Only through devotion will you become what you aspire to unfold within yourself.