Responsiveness is important on the spiritual path, both in the monastery and in the family home. Bodhinatha talks about feelings of rebellion when approached with a suggestion and the importance of overcoming them. He also speaks on why everyone in Saiva Siddhanta Church follows an Indian ayurvedic vegetarian diet.
Responsiveness is also related to this. In the monastery, the monks try to be responsive to the suggestions they receive from the Talaivar about how they are living. In the home the parents are giving suggestions to the children, until they become adults, on how they are living.
Sometimes when we get a suggestion, we don't want to do it. "Why do I have to do that? That is a rule in 'Living with Siva'. I don't like that. Why do I have to do that?" We respond in a rebellious way to some things we don't like for some reason. Of course, that is not the ideal.
The guideline is there for some reason. It is trying to make us a more cultured person. It is part of Hindu culture. Otherwise, it would not be there. So there is a reason for it. If we can overcome any sense of rebelliousness or reluctance when these ideas are expressed to us in the monastery or the home, that is a good step toward the purpose of the Jivana ritau, to make small adjustments in our life, become more cultured in how we express ourselves.
Sometimes, new students in encountering 'Living with Siva' wonder why it is so specific on items like diet. "We shall follow an Indian diet, traditional, ayurvedic, vegetarian Indian diet", I think is what it says. Why isn't just being vegetarian enough? Has anybody ever asked you that? Or have you ever wondered that? Why is it so specific here? We are not in India. We are in the US. What is wrong with an American veggie diet or Chinese veggie diet? They have lots of interesting dishes. Why did Gurudeva make something so specific? Well the answer is, he wanted to create a global congregation that was homogenous, that was the same. So that members that were living in Malaysia would come and stay with members in the US, lunch would be served, they would not notice a difference. Members here would go over to Malaysia, sit down for lunch, it would be the same. Go to the shrine rooms, it would be the same. He was trying to create a global oneness, a global shared culture so that no matter what country you were in, if you were a sishya you lived the same way. Just like we were all living in the same community.
So when it comes to dress and it comes to food, that is the reason for all these small details . He wants to have everyone feel like they are the same. You visit there, they visit here, everyone comes to the temple, it all feels like a one family, one big group because we are doing these small things the same way. We are cooking the same foods, wearing the same clothes, doing the same pujas, the house looks the same, that is the idea behind it - to create a oneness.
If anyone ever asks and you were not aware of the reason before or you had other reasons, you can add this to reasons, as to what is the thinking behind this kind of specific guidelines, being so specific. Indian, ayurvedic, vegetarian diet. To create this one global family. It feels like a family.
Have a wonderful Jivana ritau. We are going to go out to raise the flag and impress our mind that it is a new ritau.