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The Path to Enlightenment: Monistic Theism-Advaita Ishvaravada

Trilogy Commentary, MWS Lesson 5


Taking care of the past, creating a plan for the future, perform at a higher level in the present. Learning to live in the now quiets the mind, allows going within more easily in meditation. Bringing together Monism and Theism is a central idea to our philosophy. You have to be a good theist before you can be a good monist. Devotion to God opens an individual to recieving God's blessings, God's grace and it is grace that transforms you and can help you move toward samadhi, oneness with God Siva.

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 5 Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Vrs. 1:21, 1:23, 2:45

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Here's a recent lesson from Merging with Siva, Lesson 5:

"Preparations For True Yoga

"We must live in the now to follow the path to enlightenment. In the lower realms of the mind, where time and space seem very real, we are worried about the past or concerned about the future. These two intermingle and limit conscious awareness. Living in the past or the future obstructs us in this way: the past by reliving old experiences--mainly the negative ones, for they are vividly remembered--clouds our vision of the future. Living in the future over activates the intellect, the emotion and the desires. The future is little more than another form of mental fantasy. Past and future are equally unreal and a hindrance to spiritual unfoldment. A person functioning in the now is in control of his own mind. He is naturally happier, more successful. He is performing every task with his fullest attention, and the rewards are to be seen equally in the quality of his work and the radiance of his face. He cannot be bored with anything he does, however simple or mundane. Everything is interesting, challenging, fulfilling. A person living fully in the now is a content person."

So first, first of two ideas in this lesson. Said another way, we don't want to necessarily dwell in the past or the future. Not that we shouldn't think about the past or the future but we don't want to be there in a non-productive way. Non-productive way about the past is we're rehashing events that we haven't fully understood or accepted. That of course, is just an energy drain. It's not a positive activity and Gurudeva gives us the Vasana Daha Tantra, in modern terminology 'journaling' to clear those up. If we find ourselves rehashing events of the past that we don't accept or understand then we need to accept and understand them. And, eventually, stop rehashing them.

The future, a common way to approach the future is one of worry. We've worried about this happening, that happening, different events in the future take us out of the present. And as Gurudeva says, in one of the lessons, he says: If you worry about something enough you'll actually make it happen. It wasn't going to happen but you put so much mental energy into it; you created it. So we have to be careful what we worry about. And idelly we don't worry about anything. We create a plan, we have a logical plan for the future based upon analyzing it carefully and approaching it in a systemic way. If we take care of the past and the future then we're in the present and that allows us to perform at a higher level in the present. The quality of our work is better, the efficiency of our work is better because we're not distracted by past or future. And that, of course, is the goal here. And it is an example of what we called in a recent "Publisher'e DeskK" 'Integration'. Wonderful quality in Gurudeva's writings is 'integration' meaning many individuals, when they think of the spiritual path, it's totally separate from their daily life. Daily life, that's the mundane things I have to do to make a living. Spiritual path, that's what I do when I'm in my shrine room, my meditation room, when I'm at the temple. And there's no connect between the two. What, Gurudeva connects them; they're not really separate. Learning to live in the now in the midst of activities allows us, when we sit down to meditate, to not have to put as much effort into quieting the mind because it's much quieter because we've been quieting it in our activities. Therefore, we sit down to meditate and we go within much more easily. That's the goal.

Next idea. Totally different idea.

"To attain even the permission to perform yoga one must have the grace of Lord Ganesha and the grace of Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga is the God of the kundalini, of the advanced yogic practices. Unfoldment all happens within the kundalini and the chakras within our subtle bodies. Once a profound relationship is developed with Lord Muruga, then with the guru's permission and guidance, true yoga may commence. Otherwise, no matter how long one sits in meditation, no matter how hard one tries, it is just sitting, it is just trying. There is no fire there, no shakti, no power, no change. It is the Gods who control the fire and at this stage help the devotee immensely, bringing him closer and closer to the supreme God, Siva. Quite often the yogi in his deep internalized state may see in vision the feet or form of God Siva before he begins to blend into the mind of God Siva, called Satchidananda. It is God and the Gods in form that help us to find the formless God."�

This is an interesting idea in that it's central to our philosophy of course, Monistic Theism. And it's also missing in many other philosophies. In other words, monism and theism quite often are pursued as as totally separate paths. One isn't practicing both monism and theism at the same time. Though we have the devotional path, the theistic path and the path of advaita or monism, approached in some form of meditation. But this is bringing them both together and bringing them together in a specific way. It's saying: You need the blessings, the grace of the Deity to be successful in meditation. Or said another way: You have to be a good theist before you can be a good monist. That's this particular form of philosophy.

A popular scripture that is used in practicing meditation of course is "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras." And when we think of Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras we usually just think of meditation and monism. Trying to attain samadhi, oneness with God Siva. But there's a strong theistic element in it which is what I wanted to focus on to show that the same idea that is presented in this lesson by Gurudeva is also found in "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras." Patanjali doesn't talk about Lord Murugan but he talks about Ishvara which of course is his term for God Siva, Ishvara.

"Patanjali addresses the idea of what makes the attainment of samadhi come soon or 'be near.' (So this is verse 21.) 'Samadhi is near to those who are intensely committed� to their practice of yoga.'"

That would be what we would normally think. And my comment on that is:

In other words, our yoga practice has to be important. It doesn't work for it, for example, it is the sixth out of seven priorities in our life. It needs to be a top priority in order to make progress.

Then he brings in Ishvara. "Or samadhi is near through devotion to Ishvara." [I.23]�

One of the best translations and commentaries we have on "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" is by Edwin Bryant and he comments on this verse:

"Patanjali here states that the goal of yoga can be attained by the grace of God, Ishvara. In this sutra, the theistic element of the sutras is encountered for the first time. The theistic, or Ishvaravada, element in Indic thought stretches back at least to the late Vedic period."

So he's using the term 'Ishvaravada.' The Encyclopedia of Hinduism defines Ishvar Pranidhana as intense devotion to God and elaborates by saying:

" His grace is obtained by intense devotion, and this grace helps the seeker to attain samadhi."

Nicely said.

And Patanjali mentions the idea again in Verse 45:

"Through devotion to Ishvara samadhi is attained."

And I have my explanation of that: These two verses mean that effort and dedication can be supplemented by the blessings or grace we receive due to our intense devotion to God. In other words, it's not just the devotion to God, its that the devotion to God opens an individual to receiving God's blessings, God's grace. And it's the grace that transforms you or the blessings that transform you. It's a two step process. The more devotion you have the more open you are to grace. So the more blessings you are able to receive which in this case can help you to move toward samadhi."

The most famous commentator on the Yoga Sutras is Vyasa. And he has an explanation:

"Through a special kind of devotion called Ishvara-pranidhana, on the part of the devotee, Ishvara inclines towards him and favors him with grace for fulfillment of his wish. From such grace also a yogin obtains samadhi and its result, the attainment of the state of liberation, becomes imminent."

Nice commentary.

Thank you very much.

Photo of  Gurudeva
My advice to parents has always been to stay close to their children, but at the same time give them some space to grow and mature in today's world. Today's world is not all that bad.
—Gurudeva