Moksha Ritau

Bodhinatha gives a talk on the Moksha Ritau, the cool season and the third of three seasons or ritaus in the calendar given by Gurudeva. Moksha means release from the rounds of birth and death and to achieve this, all karma must be resolved. Therefore, the focus of this ritau is on control of the mind and its part in achieving moksha.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Subtopic: Kauai ritaus, marking the change of seasons: 0:0:16

As most of you know, our season has changed. Gurudeva gave us a calendar which has three seasons or ritaus, and so it has actually changed about 2 days ago. So after our ceremony this morning those of you who can stay are welcome to join us as we go out and change our flag on top of our flagpole. It is a symbolic gesture which reminds us that the season has changed. We take it seriously -- we have done something. So one of the reasons Gurudeva set up a calendar with three seasons is, Gurudeva liked variety. You know, why do everything the same all year long? So we have three different approaches, one for each season. A season is four months long, so this season ends in mid April when the next one starts.

So let me read a little bit -- a description on the season.

The third period of the year, Moksha Ritau, the cool season, is from mid-December to mid-April. It is the season of dissolution. The key word is resolution. Merging with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Metaphysics is the focus of study and intense investigation. The colors of the season are coral-pink, silver and all shades of blue and purple. Coral for the Self within, silver and blue for illumination, and purple for enlightened wisdom. High above flies the coral flag, signaling Parashiva, Absolute Reality, beyond time, form and space.

Moksha Ritau is a time of appreciation, of gratitude for all that life has given, and a time of honoring elders, those in the sannyasa stage of life. That means anyone over age 72. Moksha Ritau is excellent for philosophical discussions, voicing one's understanding of the path through an enlightened intellect. In finance, it is a time for yearly accounting and reconciliation. On a mundane level it is a time of clearing attics, basements, garages, sheds, warehouses, workshops and desks, getting rid of unneeded things, of pruning trees, of streamlining life on the physical plane, of reengineering.

The focus is meditation, inner worlds, subconscious cleansing, striving for Self Realization and pondering spiritual liberation. It is the finest time of the year for meditation. And of the four months, the first month, this month, is the finest time of this time for meditation. So it is often said that the month of Dhanus or Markali is the best month of the year for meditation. Mid-December through mid-January.

Each satsanga is one of deep devotion, prapatti, and meditation, Sivadhyana. The emphasis is on resolving the past, clearing the subconscious and making atonements. The major sadhana is the vasana daha tantra, "subconscious purification by fire", the practice of burning confessions, even letters to loved ones or acquaintances, describing pains, expressing confusions and registering complaints and long-held hurts to release these burdens from the subconscious and dispel the suppressed emotion as the fire consumes the paper. Everyone works to harmonize relationships and make amends for past misdeeds or misunderstandings that may yet linger in the akasha as subtle vasanas.

The major festival of Moksha Ritau is Mahashivaratri.

So that gives a sense of how Gurudeva envisions this time of year. I wrote a few words about it which I have been drawing on every year. I can share those.

Subtopic: Moksha is achieved only after all karma has been resolved.: 0:5:7

In thinking about Moksha Ritau, it is natural to think first about the meaning of moksha. Gurudeva gives us a beautiful definition of moksha in our lexicon, which is:

"Release from transmigration, samsara, the round of births and deaths, which occurs after karma has been resolved and nirvikalpa samadhi -- realization of the Self, Parasiva -- has been attained."

So one of the beauties of this definition is that it focuses on resolving karma. Quite often that is overlooked. When you ask someone "Well, what causes moksha?" and they will describe it as "Oh, some kind of experience of God, Self realisation, that is what causes moksha." And Gurudeva is saying that yes, that is part of it, but also you must have resolved all karma. In other words, we are here to have certain experiences. When we run out of experiences, there is no need to be here. So running out of experiences that we need to have, is resolving all our karma. There is nothing coming at us that needs to be faced in this world. So consequently we have a whole series of lessons on karma and effectively resolving the karma that comes to us and also being careful not to create new karmas, to lengthen the process.

Subtopic: Moksha Ritau's focus for householders focuses on karma management through understanding and controlling the mind.: 0:6:45

As moksha relates to realization of the self, some conclude that the Moksha Ritau relates just to the monks and not to householders. As this is definitely not the case we need to also think about Moksha Ritau in other ways as well. Each Ritau relates to one of Gurudeva's Master Course Trilogy, and of course the Moksha Ritau relates to Merging with Siva, as we mentioned. Merging with Siva focuses on understanding and controlling the mind. Therefore this is an important aspect of the Moksha Ritau.

Let's compare the ritau we are just leaving, which is called Jivana, to the one that we are just entering, or Moksha. In the Jivana Ritau we are concerned with the worldly experience with our eyes open, and bringing more harmony and refinement into it. In the Moksha Ritau we are concerned with the world we experience with our eyes closed. We are concerned with what is occurring in our mind and in making it more peaceful and content and joyous.

Subtopic: Two questions to gauge our current understanding and control of the mind.: 0:7:57

The focus is on taking our current understanding and control of the mind, whatever it is, however good it is, and deepening it. A simple way to state the challenge we face is this:

* Do our emotions control us, or do we control our emotions? * Do the experiences that we encounter in life determine our state of mind or do we choose our state of mind independent of our experiences?

For example, if some challenges we face during the day upset us, do we stay upset for a few days? Or do we quickly gain control of our emotions and rid ourselves of being upset?

>From this perspective we can clearly see that the essence of our Moksha Ritau practice is to deepen our understanding and control of the mind. When stated in this manner, it is quite clear how Moksha Ritau relates to everyone, householder or monastic.

Subtopic: Control of the mind brings peace.: 0:9:9

Here's a couple of quotes from Gurudeva on controlling the mind, to end with.

"You are not your mind, because you can control your mind with your will."

"Peace is control, and control is freedom."

Aum Namah Sivaya.

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