Our True Soul Identity
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2003-04-02
The first mandala from Dancing with Siva speaks on Self-realization, "Know Thy Self," a core teaching of our Guru Parampara and many Hindu traditions that are monistic in some form. Bodhinatha reads sloka 1, expounding on the first line which so beautifully states, "Rishi's proclaim that we are not our mind, body, or emotions, we are divine souls on a wondrous journey."
I have been reading my Daily lesson of 'The Master Course' as it comes in on email. A few days ago, I was happy to see that the 'Dancing with Siva' started over again. We are back in the first mandala, which is certainly a very powerful one on Self-realization, Paramatma Darsana Mandala. I was thinking about that and how appropriate it is to start a book on Hindu philosophy with Self-realization and how much it is a part of our Parampara.
We are thinking of our Toronto trip, starting to plan for it. We are going to Toronto in April to be there for Yogaswami's Mahasamadhi. Gurudeva had hoped to go to Toronto on Innersearch. So, we wanted to follow through on his impetus to visit Toronto. All of you here this morning have seen the beautiful commemorative issue 'Anbuneri', the big yellow one. It has Gurudeva's picture on the cover, was produced in Toronto, certainly showing a lot of respect and love for Gurudeva. It was produced there by the Saiva Siddhanta Mandram. So we are going there to visit the Mandram and the other society, the Siva Thondan Society of Canada.
I am starting to get my talk ready, imagining myself sitting up there freezing to death! I will have to take lots of socks and hats and shawls!!
I was thinking this morning, "Well, what am I going to say. Probably have to talk about 'knowing thyself' because that is certainly a strong theme in Yogaswami's teachings and Gurudeva's teachings and in 'Dancing with Siva'. It is one of the four mahavakyam of Yogaswami. It is stated as "Thannai ari", Know Thy Self. It is also the first line of the first Natchintanai, "Yennai yenak arivittan engal gurunathan ... My gurunathan made me know myself." It is the equivalent of Yogaswami's, 'Dancing with Siva' there. The first line of the first Natchintanai is about knowing the self. It stresses how much this is a core teaching of our Guru Parampara.
Beyond our own Guru Parampara, it is common to many Hindu traditions. For example, we were in Sengai Patani probably four or five years ago for a few extra days. The Thanabalan family had the challenge of keeping us busy, taking us here and there, seeing extra things. We went to an ashram where a Swami was there who had been trained by Dayananda Saraswati in the traditional Sanskritic, Upanishad way. He made the point, quoting his Guru, "Hinduism is the only religion that starts out by talking about you. Know thyself." Other religions start out talking about God. They point up in the sky, point here or there, talking about God, not talking about you. But Hinduism starts by talking about you and then by going into you, by going into you, finally end up talking about God. Because God, of course, is inside of you. It is common to many Hindu philosophies that are monistic in one form or another, starting out talking about our self, know thyself.
"First sloka: Who am I? Where did I come from?
Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are in truth, the Truth we seek."
We can spend the rest of our lives studying that one sloka. We would not need another sloka. There is really a lot in there.
So starting out just taking the first sentence, "Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey."
Of course, that is not what the modern world teaches. I don't turn on the television and hear that we are divine beings. No, we turn on the television, we watch movies and they teach us we are our body and our emotions, that is us. How we look, how we feel, that is the sum total of us. That is natural. We go to school, we learn we are our intellect. We are valued by how well we think, by how well we can debate, how well we can outsmart others. We are the intellect.
There are lots of teachings about being the body, the emotions and the intellect. No shortage of them in the modern world. There is not enough really, definitely a shortage, of hearing about how we are not these things. These are external things. We are something internal to that, our divine soul.