Gurudeva's Mahavakya Part 2
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2002-11-13
Bodhiantha continues in Part 2 of his talk on the mahavakya, or great sayings, of our guru parampara. This part is on Gurudeva's mahavakya, split into five groups, with a wonderful look at the uniqueness of each.
Moving on to Gurudeva, we have grouped them. We have five groups, if we have time to get through them all. We had six but I felt for sure we would not get through six groups, so we have five groups.
The first group starts appropriately with Self Realization. The mahavakyam is - The purpose of life is to realize the Self.
Sound Good? The purpose of life is to realize the Self. Gurudeva goes on to say, "The ultimate reason we are here on earth is to realize the timeless, formless, spaceless Self God within."
In commenting on each of these, I wanted to comment on it in a way which brings out its uniqueness. In other words in our Parampara, you know everyone is saying the purpose of life is to realize the Self. It is not supposed to be a new statement, it is just a key statement. But Gurudeva's uniqueness is the description of the Self. The precision of his description of the Self is a unique statement. Timeless, formless, spaceless. Sometimes, he would add causeless. Timeless, formless, spaceless, causeless. An emptiness which is a fullness. It helps you get a sense of what It is. Otherwise, if you say, "Realize the Self," What is the Self? Well, the Self will mean something different to each person. Because it is not just a specific term. But, when you say, "Well, we are talking about the Absolute, the Transcendent, That which is timeless, formless, spaceless, which as no cause, which always is," isn't that wonderful? We have a sense of it. It helps us move towards It. It helps us eventually realize it because we have a better sense of what we are trying to experience here.
Moving on to the second one in the group. The group again is Self Realization - We are in truth the Truth we seek.
That is the mahavakya. We are in truth the Truth we seek.
The uniqueness is you are already that which you seek. It is not a question of something happening in the future which makes you that. We are in truth the Truth we seek. So it is distinguishing between becoming and being. Part of us is becoming Siva, the soul body is maturing. There is a process here which takes time. We are spiritually evolving. We are becoming in our soul body more and more like Siva. But there is a part of us which is identical with Parasiva, with the Self and always has been and always will be. It is not a case of becoming, we don't have to wait. We have to go through this and this and this ... for something to happen. No, it could happen right now, because we are always the Self, we are always Parasiva. It is a question of claiming that identity. Isn't that a unique emphasis? This idea of, "No, you are already That." Just realize that which you already are.
Group two, The Nature of God - God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality.
That is worthy of being called a mahavakya. The uniqueness is Gurudeva not only speaks of the Transcendent Reality but brings us into an understanding of that aspect of God Siva which is all pervasive and he describes it as Love, which is very helpful. We can see Siva as an all pervasive Love that permeates the entirety of creation. It is inside of us, it is outside of us, it is everywhere yet we cannot see it. What a mystery! But someday, we will. Understanding it is a second and distinct a aspect of God Siva and having the nature of love brings forth a new concept, an important concept to complement that of the Transcendent Reality, which you cannot describe as love. You cannot describe it as anything.
The next mahavakyam again on the Nature of God, Group two - God Siva is the Life of our life.
Oh, what a great mahavakyam, God Siva is the Life of our life. This has the uniqueness of stepping down the experience of God to something so simple. It is so unique in that sense. All we have to do as Gurudeva taught us, is look into someone's eyes deeply, look beyond their external personality, look beyond their intellect. Look deeply in their eyes and see the life and you have seen God. Gurudeva says it so beautifully I want to quote it here.
"Look beyond the individual's personality. Go deeper than his or her intellect and see the pure life energy as Supreme God Siva Himself." Such a powerful phrase, I wanted to read it. "The pure life energy as Supreme God Siva Himself."
So, everyone can experience God, isn't it so simple. Who has made it so simple? God is the Life of your life. I mean, it is a Tamil word, uyirukkuyir. It is there, it is not a new concept. But to step it down into this idea of just looking in the eye, seeing the pure life force, the Supreme God Siva Himself is truly unique.
Moving on to Group three, the Nature of Man - Man is not man, man is God.
That is the mahavakya. Again Gurudeva has a unique approach which takes us step by step from wherever we are and moves us forward toward this identity.
Lots of times people have a negative self concept and that is where we are starting from, "I am a terrible person, I am unworthy. Everyone else is better than I am. I am hopeless. I should not even go to the temple, I might defile it, you know" etc ... We have this negative self concept. That may be where we are starting from. Well, that is all right. Gurudeva says, "Well, okay! Let us create a positive self concept," and gives us tools for doing so in 'Merging with Siva'. Lots of specific tools to move from a negative self concept to a positive. Maha Vasana Daha tantra, flower offerings to parents, positive affirmation, understanding the philosophy and so forth. Lots of great tools there to move forward one step.
But, he does not stop there. Once we have a positive self concept and we feel, "I a worthwhile person, I am contributing. If I go to the temple, that is all right, " then we can move even deeper and identify with our soul. We are a divine being, truly a spiritual being. That is our soul nature. "This is who I am, my soul inhabits a physical body and I have a personality and an intellect. But who I am is the soul, I am a spiritual being." Okay, but we don't stop there. We keep going one more step because the mahavakyam is, "Man is not man, man is God." So, we have not got there yet. We are the soul. Then Gurudeva teaches us, "Well, look at the essence of the soul. It is Parashakti and Parasiva, which is All-pervading Consciousness and Transcendent Reality. identify with that." Then, man is not man, man is God.
Next mahavakyam on the Nature of Man - There is no intrinsic evil.
Very important. This is again focusing on helping us see each person as a divine being, no matter what they do. A very practical approach to relating to people. No matter how wrong they act, no matter how harmful a person they are, they are still a divine being. A person who does everything right and is helpful and the person who does everything wrong and is harmful, are both divine beings. This is a helpful perspective in terms of relating to other people, because it gives us a positive way of interacting with everyone. Everyone is on the spiritual path whether they realize it or not. Some people are on it consciously and others, most people, are not consciously on the spiritual path. But that does not mean they are not. Everyone is progressing spiritually. Looking at everyone as a divine being is a helpful way of relating to them and helping them move along in their spiritual progress, by improving their behavior. That is in our next Publisher's Desk. All of those on the island have helped me, for a couple of weeks now, prefect that talk. It is called, "Making spiritual progress through improving your behavior."
Moving on to Group four. A joyful, peaceful life is the topic. We will start with a classic mahavakyam. I am alright, right now.
Isn't that a great one? I mean, it is just so simple, so charming. I am alright, right now. The story goes that Gurudeva created it when he was twelve years old, coming home in the snow, afraid he was going to be late for his favorite radio program. Some Green Hornet or something back there ... Oh, Captain Midnight! Okay. I even predated the Green Hornet! This is before television. He was afraid, he was going to miss his program and he was worried about the future. But being a mystic, he said, "I am worried about the future, this is ridiculous. Here I am in the present, worried about the future which is lessening my experience of the present. Isn't that ridiculous? I am alright, right now."
Learning how to be content in the present and not worrying about the future. So many people these days are worried about the future. Even Hindu pilgrims who come here are worried, you know terrorism and this and that, what is going to happen?
It is very important to not worry about the future. But to live happily in the present by feeling that, "I am alright, right now." Gurudeva calls that, "the eternity of the moment", which expands beyond that. Not think too much about the past because that can also be burdensome. Not to worry about the future, not to regret the past but to live happily in the present moment is the goal.
Again, Gurudeva gives us tools to learn how to do that. He just does not give us the theory. But in 'Merging with Siva', helps us think less about the past, helps us worry less about the future. So that is an alright, right now.
Of course, when it comes to a joyful, peaceful life, the mahavakyam is - Life is meant to be lived joyously.
We have to put that in there, right? Life is meant to be lived joyously. This is important to remember because in being strict, in doing our sadhana, in being serious about making spiritual progress we can get too serious. We can get somber. We can get unpleasant to be around, we are so serious. You know we never laugh, we never smile, children run from us, whatever. This reminds us that we can be strict without being somber, without being unsmiling, not showing happiness. Life is meant to be lived joyously, so it is okay to smile and laugh. In fact, it is important to smile and laugh and to have fun. Particularly in the family, for the family to have fun and be a joyful place, a playful place and not to get too strict with a lot of rules. You don't want to do that. It has to be a joyful, happy, playful environment first and foremost and any rules be secondary to that.
The last one in this section, a joyful, peaceful life. The mahavakyam is - For world peace, stop the war in the home.
Lots of people talk about world peace, lots of approaches to world peace. The United Nations hopes for world peace. Religious leaders hope for world peace. Some people chant at yagnas for world peace. Gurudeva's approach was about as practical as you can get. Okay, let us start in the home. Let us make the home peaceful, one home at a time, starting in a very down-to-earth, practical way. It is nothing abstract, there is no generalization. If there is children-and-spouse abusal in the home then, there is no chance for world peace. We have to eliminate it in the home, so that those who live together don't hurt each other. There is no beating in the home, no punishment of that kind. There is no just abuse which is even worse taking place.
There is a nice story. It was after September 11th and Gurudeva was attending a meeting with some island leaders. Everyone was concerned, of course, about terrorism and discussing terrorism and chemical warfare. So Gurudeva said this idea, "Well, when it comes to world peace and terrorism, we start at home. The chemical warfare we are dealing with on this island is, of course, drug abuse, a big problem among children. So we need to focus on our drug abuse on the island. That is how we combat the chemical warfare that is going on. The terrorism we fight is children being terrorized by their parents, wives being terrorized by the husband. We need to eliminate that on the island to make progress." Again, he brought it right down to the local level, nothing general about it.
The last group, Group five, Hinduism - Hindu solidarity, a unity in diversity.
Very important mahavakyam. Gurudeva put it in a practice for many, many years through Hinduism Today and through attending lots of conferences with Hindu groups or visiting Hindu Swamis. It is the idea that Hindus need to stand together as a force to be strong. But in standing together as a force, we don't have to give up our differences. All the sectarian differences that we have we can maintain them and still be united. Just by respecting the fact that we are different. We have differences, We are four major denominations, each one is distinct from the others. Some in very, very specific ways, diverge a lot. But despite those differences we are all Hindu. So we can stand together as a united group and be strong and fight problems that come up in the various countries of the world that Hindus are facing, all the Hindus.
In Malaysia, for example, we work with the Malaysia Hindu Sangam and they go on that basis that all the Hindus in the country are uniting and standing up against problems. For example, there is a Christian fundamentalist conversion problem that they are dealing with now and "Hindu solidarity, unity in diversity" is a good concept which allows Hindus to band together, set aside their differences and work for the common good of all Hindus.
That was all the time we had, otherwise we would create more mahavakya. We have two or three or four to go. But we knew we could not finish them in time.
That is our opening talk on 'Mahasamadhi and Mahavakya'.