What Is the Ideal Home?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 51


"Harmony is a fragile vibration which the family protects." Gurudeva expressed how deeply integral the Tirukural was to his teachings. It is not enough to take care of immediate family members, you need to reach out to others. Increase and master self-control through facing greater challenges, being steadfast in domestic life . Path to Siva, Lesson 51

Tirukural

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Reading today from Path to Siva, Lesson 51: What Is the Ideal Home?

"The ideal home is a place so magnetic and harmonious that it's difficult to leave. In a true home, family members enjoy love, kindness, sharing and appreciation. They help and support one another. It's a place of selflessness and togetherness, where each person has time for everyone else. It is the duty of the parents to turn a house into a home. They do this through their loving care of each other and the children and their worship in the shrine room. This builds a spiritual vibration, giving the home a temple-like atmosphere. The Gods are worshiped in the home. Devas, guardian devas and ancestors are honored and invited into the home. All the rooms are kept sparkling clean. Puja is done every day in the home shrine. Whenever possible, meals are taken together, preceded by the food-blessing chant. The family observes the Hindu festivals together in the home. Devotional songs are sung and traditional music played. Saivite art and artifacts adorn the rooms.

All this creates a secure, wholesome living space, a refuge from the harshness of the world. Harmony is a fragile vibration which the family protects by seeking to see one another's point of view, finding points of agreement and avoiding argument and harsh words. All disagreements are settled before sleep. Guests are treated as God, and hospitality is given generously. Children can help their parents keep the home strong. They assist during the morning puja and annual festivals. Gurudeva recommends a weekly 'family home evening,' during which all members sit together for dinner, make plans, play games, share interests, express appreciation for one another and enjoy family togetherness without TV, digital entertainment or other distractions."

Then we have Gurudeva's quote:

"The devas can live within a home that is clean, well regulated, where the routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner is upheld, where early morning devotionals are performed and respected, a home which the family lives together within, eats together within, talks together within, worships together within."

As the lesson points out, "Harmony is fragile vibration which the family protects." So that's an important point Gurudeva makes a lot in his teachings about the home--is trying to minimize disharmony in the home. I was thinking about that this morning. And recalled what was in the October's "Publisher's Desk" And good advice drawn from Gurudeva's teachings. Points out that one of the people respecting that the home is, the home is place to give off steam. So, upset because the boss is treating him poorly, he can't say anything to the boss, so he can come home and give our spouse a bad time. And if the teachers are giving us a difficult time in school, we can't bring it in school but we come home we upset the other kids in the family. So it is done because look at that it's okay to letting off steam, that's where we let off steam. We can't do so at work. We can't do so at school. So where else can we let off steam but in the home?

While we there are other places as Gurudeva points out and the PubDesk mentioned three. Really, it depends on a persons' nature, depends on what kind of stress is going on. Of course, the obvious one is in the temple. Stopping at the temple and praying for a while before coming home. An effective ways of not bringing the stress home. Another one that works well is taking a walk in a beautiful place wherever you are. Generally there are parks, beaches in Hawaii, you know, hilltop overlook things, you can find a beautiful place and spend some time there, let go of your stress before you come home. And then for other individuals the stress goes away best from the exercise--stop at a gymnasium. Exercise away the stress so that when you come home totally relaxed.

And there's also need for someone staying at home, for example, a mother with a young child, staying at home full time and that can build up stress as well. So in that case could get out of the home, go to the same places. Go to the temple, the park, the gym. An let go of your stress so that when the spouse and the kids come home you're not expressing your stress toward them, cause you don't have it anymore. So that's a very simple perspective, that the home is not the place to let of steam.

Thinking of other things to say it comes to the home, of course then there's the Tirukural. There's a whole section. Has to do with 'illam'. Illam is house or home. And 'aram' is the ancient Tamil word for dharma, for this section, uses the words 'illaram' for the dharma of the home, or, the grihastha dharma.

So I chose a few verses, we've got way, way too much that is good. They point out some of the key teachings. Gurudeva really identified deeply with the teachings of the Tirukural, if you are remembering that you can read the introduction, very unusual. You know, Gurudeva, easier for Gurudeva to write a book than to read a book. Or more natural shall we say. He enjoyed expressing his own wisdom and didn't usually like to read somebody else's wisdom. One of the books he liked was, his favorite book was Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Which he talks about, but in the introduction here which he wrote, must have just written it when we published it, right? I would think, He expressed how deeply the Tirukural, the teaching how deeply they meant to him, how they were integral to his teachings. You find the same ideas throughout Gurudeva's teachings particularly in the book Living With Siva. You will see, oh, that is from the Tirukural and that us Living With Siva. Really put a lot into it.

Verse 45 on "Family Life."

"When family life possesses love and virtue, it has found both its essence and fruition.

So my Tamil reading is very out of date; But it try it Tamil cause it's, it's so beautiful. It gives you a sense of how writing works in Tamil [BD speaks in Tamil...??] The rhymes are all at beginning...beautiful.

Fifty-one, you have to talk about the wife and the kids.

The good wife: " She is the helpful wife who possesses the fullness of domestic virtues and spends within her husband's means." Practical statement there. "Spend within her husbands means" No excessive shopping on eBay!

Sixty-one.

Children: "Of all blessings we know of none greater than the begetting of children endowed with intelligence." That is the goal: "... children endowed with intelligence."

These a lot a beautiful verses on: "Possessing Love." This is one.

Verse 80: "With love enshrined in the heart, one truly lives. Without it, the body is but bones encased in skin."

So, there's no love in there and not being alive. It's just the structure: "...the body is but bones encased in skin."

And the next one I usually present as a question. What is the whole purpose of earning wealth maintaining a home? Remember that question? So the standard answer is, well the purpose of earning wealth and then maintaining a home, of course, is to provide for the family members. That's how we do all this. Husband and wife, the kids, the parents were living there, you're doing all of it for them, right? That's not the correct answer!

[Verse 81:] "The whole purpose of earning wealth and maintaining a home is to provide hospitality to guests." So, that's not enough just to take care of immediate family members you need to reach out to others. "Treat the guest as God," you need to reach out to others. Number of ways we can reach out to others and this is talking about hospitality. Hospitality is a very important part. Said in broadest form, it is just the idea that, particularly in western countries, the general consciousness is focused on materialism, material being, material possessions. And Hinduism says: That's great. Then we want to have adequate material possessions for our family members but to balance that out, having all these things we need to give on a regular basis. We need to be charitable and then we're balancing out the having so we're really greedy. We're having too much. We're balancing it out by giving on a regular basis. So one of the ways to give is hospitality.

And this is a key one. We'll read the chapter titled:

"Speaking Pleasant Words."we"

[Verse 100]: "To utter harsh words when sweet ones would serve is like eating unripe fruits when ripe ones are at hand." Isn't that great? So we're eating green mango when the ripe mango is next to it. Yet we choose unkind words instead of kind words. So, not consistent.

[Arukam...]

"Possession of Self-Control." "Arukam Idaimai" First I'll tell the story. It a story that I tell regularly, because everyone can relate to it. Meeting a family. I meet the families in Guru Peedam for those who don't know. This family, husband and wife and two boys, probably average age five or six, one was a year or two older together. And as is common, I meet with them after the puja. So that's when these two boys who sat through a very long puja. You know what happens when children sit fast through a very long puja, they have to run around. Can't sit anymore. Ability to sit still has been used up by the puja. So they're running around the Guru Peedam, he's kind of embarrassed. I said: that's alright, that's alright, the used up their ability to sit still so you have to work with that. Then he said, you know I used to be a much calmer person before I was married. So, you know, the handling of two young boys is a big challenge and this can cause less calmness in your life.

But, the point here is, and I'll read the verse:

[Verse 124;] "More imposing than a mountain is the greatness of a man who, steadfast in domestic life, has mastered self-control."

I'll draw a parallel. Gurudeva regularly would say: "It's very easy to be peaceful in a peaceful place." When you go down on a beach in Kauai and it's so wonderful, the sound of the ocean and all the totally peaceful. And then we go home into a bustling city and don't have any peace at all. So it's easy to be peaceful in a peaceful place; the challenge is to maintain that peace in a place that's not peaceful. So likewise. it's easy before domestic life and two small kids to be self-controlled and it's a lot harder, when, in the midst of domestic life. But that's the point. We want to increase our self-control. That's the whole point. Increase self-control. You're not supposed to be perfect, but we're supposed to be getting better.

So, you don't want to continually let the kids frustrate us, we want to find out ways that they can behave like this and it doesn't disturb us. That's the goal. We've increased our self-control, we're able to stay centered in situations that previously we weren't able to stay centered in. Gurudeva writes about that in the Master Course. He says: "And when you get really good at that, then I start giving you really big things to do that through you off center, then you have to learn to not get thrown off center by those."

So, it doesn't stop. We need to keep increasing our self-control through facing greater challenges. That's the point. We might provide some of them automatically but you can also take on challenging things to do to increase our self-control in whatever field we're in. For, for an artist, you know paint, you can try and draw a painting even better than we've done before. For a writer we can find, write something that's more insightful than we've done before. We can always challenge our self to come up one more level which requires greater self control.

Thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Even the poorest Hindu practices charity according to his means.
—Gurudeva