Nine Ways to Merge with Siva; the Nature of Liberation
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2015-02-16
The celebration of Mahasivaratri is to have a deeper experience of God. Realization, liberation and merger. Nine progressive ways to merge with Siva. Parasiva, the eighth: becoming and being timeless, formless, spaceless. Vishvagrasa, the ninth: merger. The mystic looks at the world, doesn't see matter, sees God. Nothingness: If we can trace energy in to its source then that's how we could dissolve ourself into that nothing.
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Author's Introduction.
Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lessons 26,41.
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.
Good evening everyone. Can you hear me alright?
Gurudeva gives this description of celebration of Mahasivaratri in Dancing with Siva. And indicates we observe it by chanting Siva's names, singing his praises, chanting Sri Rudram and bathing the Sivalingham. Some of this we've done already and some is coming up.
And then Gurudeva adds two more activities. And these are less common in temples and these are reserved for ceremonies in monasteries and ashrams which are meditating. We do that one. And being near the monks as they strive to realize Parasiva, the transcendent aspect of God. Well that takes, takes all night.
Simply stated the essence of the celebration of Mahasivaratri is to have a deeper experience of God than is normally available to us. In other word it's a festival of nivritti. I wish they would make Sanskrit words easier to pronounce.
There's pravritti and nivritti Guess you're all up to date on that, and pravritti means an energy which is going out. Nivritti means an energy that's going in.
Well many festivals like Ganesha Chaturthi are pretty much just a celebration. We have time for children and sweets and everything. It's more of a pravritti an external celebration. Whereas Mahasivaratri is a nivritti. We're going within. We're trying to go within ourselves; we're trying to get closer to Siva. So we kept turning within.
And it's the opposite, we don't get to eat, right? Hold the sweets and not only the sweets but everything else goes away. So, we can tell from that that it's little bit different.
So the concept of realizing Parasiva, the transcendent aspect of God sounds a bit distant, right? Well fortunately, Gurudeva gave us a way of bringing it closer which we looked at last year. This year we'll just go through it quickly, last year we went through it in more detail. It's called "Nine Progressive Ways of Merging with Siva," remember that? It's in the introduction to his book Merging with Siva. So I've just taken a few ideas from it; it would take too long to read the whole thing.
So nine progressive ways to merge with Siva. And the first one, of course is, well let me read the, the introduction.
"Of the nine ways listed, realizing Parasiva is the eighth."
So there are seven steps before that one. And these steps lead up to it naturally.
To quote from Gurudeva's writing: "Merger on the great inner path described in this book is already happening in your life and in the life of every soul on the planet, in the natural course of evolution. In Sanskrit we express 'Merging with Siva' as Sivasayujya, 'Intimate union with the Divine.' Nine progressive ways of merging with Siva are possible today, in fact impossible to avoid. Shall we now explore these nine ways, the wonderful ways of merging with Siva as we walk the San Marga, the straight path of dharma?"
So the first one, that's the easiest one. By being born we've merged with our mother. That was very easy, it's not really a concern. Okay, check off number one.
Number two: When our parents train us "to quell the instinctive mind, become a productive member of the family and the social and global community," that's the second merger. So, we're merging with people. This is the first way we merge with Siva. And we'll look at that a little bit later because people are Siva. We're merging with people whose not different from Merging with Siva.
"Obedience and devotion to the guru is the third merger into Sivaness." And as Gurudeva mentioned in his talk, that's not always easy. There's a, some people like to have a guru who's passed on, they put a picture up on the wall and they say: "This person's my guru." I call that a safe guru; do you know why? He won't ask you to do anything you don't want to do.
But a real guru is like a real parent. You know, a parent verses a teenager. A parent is definitely going to ask you to do and a guru is definitely ask you to do things you don't want to do. And therefore, you have to gain additional control over the instinctive mind, the intellectual mind and the ego. So that's why it's not just having a guru or giving some devotion to the guru.
"The fourth is cultural accomplishment such as art, calligraphy, drawing divine forms, writing out scripture..."
So, "...learning and playing music." So that's getting more into culture, more into refinement.
The fifth merger with the selfless life, of seeing oneself in others and others in one self, of losing the barriers that divide one from another, and the internal world from the external world. It is living a harmonious life with a heart filled with love, trust and understanding for all, desiring to give rather than wanting only to receive."
The keyword here is selfless. So we need to expand our selflessness. All of us here, I'm sure, are doing some form of selfless service, seva, and the idea here is to expand it. And to stretch it to the limit, you can stretch it to the limit as it says here: "...losing the barriers that divide one from another..." We start to not see everybody as separate. We're losing the barriers that divide one from another. Meaning, we're not really divided. It's just a barrier there that makes us think we're divided. So we're losing that barrier. So Gurudeva puts great emphasis on that.
Then he turns to meditation. This is the sixth one: "The light that lights each thought picture when traced to its source is the sixth merger...being the light that lights the thoughts, rather than claiming identity as being the thoughts, then tracing this light of the mind out of the mind into the beyond of the beyond."
So that's a good point, to say something about Gurudeva's form of meditation. I was surprised when I did some research on different forms of meditation. The first one I ran into was the Blue Mountain, Easwaran. Eknath Easwaran, another form of meditation, teacher. His method is repeating in your mind inspiring verses from any of the world's scriptures. He calls that meditation.
I said: "Whoa. I didn't know about that kind of meditation."
The other common one is japa. But that's japa. Repeating a mantram is japa; it's not meditation.
And then another is visualization. Visualization--Nataraja. Visualizing Nataraja in your mind.
But Gurudeva's isn't any of those. His is experiencing. He starts in a very simple way. You know, we experience the heat of the body. We're not visualizing it; we're not imagining it. Okay, let me feel the warmth of the body.
And then it goes into more subtle things. And one of the subtle aspects is seeing inner light. Well it's not visualizing it. Actually seeing the inner light that's there. Starting to look into our intuitive, the superconscious mind. We're actually experiencing it and it's subtle.
So that's why all these other ways of merging with Siva come first. Meditation has a very subtle practice. Unless you sensitize yourself you'll sit there and you won't see anything. Was talking to a doctor about it and I compared it to learning how to use a microscope. Powerful microscope. You don't know how, you can't focus it. You're trying to see something in a slide but you're not able to focus the microscope to the right depth to see what's in the slide. You don't know how. But it's in the slide. It's always in the slide.
So likewise, our inner sight, you don't know to focus it to see what's always there. So we have to learn the ability to focus it.
The seventh one is inner sound, which Gurudeva calls the nada-nadi shakti. (I think I'm talking too loudly, got excited.) Nada-nadi shakti. It's the high "eee," the inner sound. So that's more subtle than the light that lights your thoughts. So we're getting more and more subtle here.
Then the eighth one is Parasiva or the transcendent self which the, all the monks are supposed to be realizing tonight. "Becoming and being timeless, formless, spaceless is the total transformation of the soul body, the mental body, the astral body, the pranic body and the physical body. It is the breaking of seals which subsequently makes changes never to be repaired. A new, an entirely new, process begins. It is the ultimate healing of all karmas, the ultimate knowing of dharma."
So that's only number eight, right? What could be number nine.
So, number nine is what's called vishvagrasa or merger. So the simplest way of thinking of merger is when the soul is created we take the bucket, since we're in Hawaii, we take the bucket, scoop it in the ocean. And we've created an individuated consciousness. The water in the bucket now thinks it's separate from the water in the ocean. But, at the end, vishvagrasa, the water in the bucket gets poured back in the ocean and then you can't separate it anymore. So that's vishvagrasa.
And some people say: Why do I want to do that? I enjoy who I am. But, you know, if you think about it you're going to find that consciousness and wouldn't you prefer to be infinite? You know, you only know a little bit. Wouldn't you prefer be all-knowing. You think you're just yourself. Wouldn't you prefer to be everybody? Once you get used to the idea, start, you start to warm up to it.
So we want to distinguish three things, just to be clear. Realization, liberation and merger. In our philosophy they're very distinct. In some philosophies it's all the same thing. But to us realization means realizing Parasiva. So if you do that once, that's great. But that's not enough to achieve the other two. You have to do that a lot.
Liberation is when you've done it enough and a few other things enough that you don't need to be reborn. Gurudeva gave that example in, in Switzerland. He said: We went to Switzerland three times as tourists and saw everything there is to see. Why would we want to go back?
So Earth is the same way. You know, when you've seen everything there is to see why would you want to go back? Said another way. You know, if you've graduated from university and you try and go back to high school they wouldn't let you in. You've been here; you've done that. So likewise, there reaches a point when we've done everything we can do on the Earth and we can move on and do things in the inner planes. So, it's a natural point. And then, from the inner planes you don't immediately merge. In our philosophy it takes a while. You have to work, you have to become more refined. Become more and more like Siva. And get more and more used to the idea, warm up to the idea that it's okay to merge. I don't mind not living in this bucket anymore.
So that's realization, liberation and merger. And Gurudeva has a two-fold and a three-fold definition of, of liberation. And so this is the three fold one:
"Liberation occurs when all karma has been resolved, dharma has been fulfilled and God fully realized."
Remember? So, all karma resolved, that's self-evident. And all the reactions to the actions, we've worked through them. There's nothing more we'd have to experience that's queued up in our karma. There's nothing queued up there. And we're at such an intensity we're not generating anything new. Spiritual intensity. Y ou read that in the Master Course you don't generate new karma when you're holding a certain high vibration. It immediately resolves. What you've done it immediately resolves itself. So, so you, you're totally free. You don't live in karma.
Resolve all karma, fulfill all dharma... So we need to do all the things that the Earth has to offer. We have to have experience. We have to have bhoga experience of the Earth. When we've had enough experience of the Earth and we've matured and learned everything, which is like you know going through grammar school, middle school, high school, university. And when we've gone through everything it offers, then we've fulfilled all dharma. And we have to do it well.
So, that's why Gurudeva says: Where ever you are in life, do what you're doing and do it well. That's fulfilling dharma.
So there's a... it's a very interesting... I'll tell a story. Stories are the best part. It's in something I wrote. It was talking about looking at the world.
The scientist looks at the world and sees matter and says: "This is all that exists." You know. "There's no God."
Whereas, the mystic looks at the world, doesn't see matter, sees God. Says: "Well, this is God." You know. Well two is looking at the same thing. One sees it as matter and the other sees it as God.
So, why do we consider the world as God? Because creation is emanational. Meaning it comes out of God. So therefore it is God. It's like the hair on the arm is emanational. It's me. You know it came out of me and it's still me. You know came out and it's still me. So what comes out of something it's still something even though it's different than the original. So, everything comes out of God and then it goes back into God. So it's emanational and therefore it is, God is this creation though it's a different form. He is that. There isn't anything that is not God from that point of view.
So Gurudeva explains it this way. He says: "It is because Siva is the life of our lives, as the venerable saints teach. Siva is the life of the life of all sentient and insentient beings, the sea of prana, ever emanating, mysteriously, from the All of the Allness of His mystery Being, by which all life exists and all happenings happen. Therefore to merge energies with all other humans without making differences is to find Sivaness in all and within all."
Well there's two quotes. I don't have time for both. See which one's better. This is good.
"Dancing with Siva.
"Where Did This Universe Come From?
"Supreme God Siva created the world and all things in it. He creates and sustains from moment to moment every atom of the seen physical and unseen spiritual universe. Everything is within... Everything is within Him. He is within everything."
So from Siva's perspective, He's everything. And if you, when you manage to hold Siva's perspective then you become everything too. So, that's why everything's, that's why everything is within Him and He is within everything meaning He permeates it as consciousness.
"God Siva created us. He created the Earth and all things upon it, (animals) animate and inanimate. He created time and gravity, the vast spaces and the uncounted stars. He created night and day, joy and sorrow, love and hate, birth and death. He created the gross and the subtle, this world and the other worlds. There are three worlds of existence: physical, subtle and causal ... The Creator of all, Siva Him self is uncreated. As supreme Mahadeva, Siva wills into manifestation all souls and all form, issuing them from Himself like light from a fire... (That's an easy one, right? Light from a fire, that's... So, Siva's the fire which gives forth light and the light is the creation.) ...or waves from an ocean. Rishis describe this perpetual process as the unfoldment of process as the unfoldment of thirty-six tattvas, stages of manifestation, from the Siva tattva--Parashakti and nada--to the five elements... (Well we won't get into that one. Needs a big chart.) ... Creation is not the making of a separate thing, but an emanation of Himself. Lord Siva creates, constantly sustains the form of His creations and absorbs them back into Himself. The Vedas elucidate, 'As a spider spins and withdraws its web, and herbs grow on the earth, as hair grows on the head and body of a person, so also from the imperishable arises this universe.'"
And there's one more, we do have time for.
"What is Our Individual Soul Nature?
"Our individual soul is the immortal and spiritual body of light that animates life and reincarnates again and again until all necessary karmas are created and resolved and its essential unity with God is fully realized."
So that's the two point definition which leaves out dharma.
"Our soul is God Siva's emanational creation, the source of all our higher faculties including knowledge, will and love. Our soul is neither male nor female. It is that which never dies, even when its four outer sheaths--physical, pranic, instinctive and mental--change form and perish as they naturally do... (And it goes into the Sanskrit names; I'll skip that.) ...Parashakti is the soul's superconscious mind--God Siva's mind. Parasiva is the soul's inmost core. We are not the physical body, mind or emotions. We are the immortal soul, atman. The sum of our true existence is anandamaya kosha, the soul body and its essence. Parashakti and Parasiva. The Vedas expostulate, 'The soul is born and unfolds in a body, with dreams and desires and the food of life. And then it is reborn in new bodies, in accordance with its former works. The quality of the soul determines its future body earthly or airy, heavy or light."
So the last part is on nothingness. One of the ways Gurudeva explains Parasiva, the transcendent self is: If you visualize above you nothing to the right of you, nothing to the left of you, nothing in front of you, nothing, and in back of you nothing. And dissolve yourself into that nothingness. That would be the best way to explain the realization of the self. Which is true.
Thought I had another way which may not be the best. Based on that, nothingness. So, you've heard it before. Each time you need something a little more because it's abstract. You, that's a shower. Can you see the shower there? That's a shower head. There's water coming out of the shower head. Okay, we're all used to that. We shower. Now, imagine this shower head is invisible. It's a nothingness. But the water was still coming out, right? So we have something coming out of nothing. So that's the first tattva, energy, actinic energy, coming out of Lord Siva. It doesn't really come out cause it, but generated somehow by the presence of Parasiva causes this energy to flow which is also called life.
So, that's the idea. And therefore, all we have to do is trace it in. If we can trace the energy in to its source then that's how we could dissolve our self into that nothing.
Thank you very much.
Aum Namah Sivaya.