Life, the Great Experience - Instinctive - Part 1
Merging with Siva
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2021-10-22
The philosophy of all gurus: To do nothing is the greatest thing on Earth. We have an instinctive nature to which power is given when we go against what we know to be the best for us. The consequences of our actions comes from our soul nature. The souls who are oldest and strongest have the strongest temptations and desires. Unfold the inner sight of your clear white light and begin to live in your true being. Gurudeva's 385 dharmic principles, incorporating the yamas and niyamas, stabilize external forces so that a contemplative life may be fully lived.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 92.
Good morning everyone.
Continuing our new series, going through each of the lessons of Merging with Siva, choosing the oldest talks first, commenting on them and interspersing some stories from "Guru Chronicles" that relate to that time period. We are back in 1957 here.
Settling in San Francisco.
For a short time after leaving Phoenix, Gurudeva taught yoga classes to students in Los Angeles, but soon he moved to San Francisco. He held the first 'Applied Yoga' class in a small Bush Street apartment in downtown San Francisco. A few stories above the clatter of a noisy street, the first few eager students began the study of themselves and awakened a new world of inner awareness.
He gave a talk at a small spiritualist church in the city to a group of elderly people, many of them women. In those days, yoga teachers were rare, (Can you imagine that? The time, the time in the Earth when yoga teachers were rare). In those days yoga teachers were rare and the subject was practically unknown. Theosophy was the fad of the day, and the healing work of Christian Science was in the ascendency. On January 5, 1957, the occasion of his jayanti, they asked him sincerely when he would begin to teach them. "Right now!'' he replied. (That's Gurudeva, everything is done right now. So that's when he was thirty years old which was his plan.) He explained he would work with them for a few months and see how they did. If all went well, if they practiced and benefitted, he would continue. The average age of that first group of students was fifty. For the most part, they were interested in psychism or spiritualism. Some had spirit guides and were interested in communication with the dead and other such phenomena. They were eager to know about healing with the mind, psychometry, alchemy and seeing auras. These areas, which he had been studying and experiencing his whole life, became the topics of many of his talks. He also spoke on the 'Cognizantability Aphorisms,' taught the basics of concentration and meditation, color psychology, breathing and the five states of mind, and gave instruction in hatha yoga and dance. His emphasis was always on Self Realization and the possibility of man's awakening his own superconscious state of mind. Of course, the term superconscious was practically unheard of in those days.
In April, Gurudeva gave his blessings for a permanent center. The Sutter Street Temple was opened that month, with Sri Arumugam, then Ceylon's Minister of Agriculture, attending as the guest of honor.
Then we have Gurudeva's statement:
"As a guru, I started with the basic philosophy of all gurus, 'To do nothing is the greatest thing on Earth,' simply responding to the needs of the students. I founded a temple, as it was needed at that time to harness the religious forces of those who were unfolding. The students were enthused and supported the temple. Later on, they asked for written materials, such as a course of weekly lessons of my inspired talks and teachings, neatly arranged for those who couldn't attend the temple. I also responded to the needs of those who wished to be monastics and founded a monastic order. The monastics printed the lessons which today are The Master Course."
End of Gududeva's statement.
This morning we are starting a new chapter which is "Life the Great Experience", Chapter fourteen of Merging with Siva and it's, as I mentioned it is an inspired talk given in 1957 at the Sutter Street temple.
Then we have a comment from Gurudeva on those early years:
"During these early years, I gave forth much of the teaching that's in Merging with Siva: 'Life the Great Experience,' 'Love Is the Sum of the Law,' 'The Power of Affirmation' and 'The River of Life.' All those talks that some of you have heard for many, many, many, years started at that time.
And we get Monday, Lesson 92, from "Life the Great Experience."
"Establish Basic Principles."
What I found when going through this is Gurudeva's making so many wonderful points to comment on if I read the whole lesson and then tried to comment I'd have to read the lesson again almost. So just taking a few sentences at a time and commenting on them to avoid that.
"At one time or another in life, each of us has had similar experiences of temptation. Those were times when we went against what we knew to be the better action, did things we knew we would be sorry for later."
Of course the reason that we went against what we knew was the better action is that we have an instinctive mind that we don't always control. A simple way to understand what are the major instinctive impulses is to look at the list of ten yamas, the ethical restraints, and reword each into its impulse. For example, the first is non-injury which means the impulse to control is injuring others. Continuing, we have the instinctive impulses of lying, stealing, sexual impurity, impatience, lack of steadfastness, lack of compassion, dishonesty, gluttony, impurity.
"We knew because the actual knowing of the consequences of our actions or inactions is resident within us. Even the demons of ancient scripture are actually within us, for that is the lower, instinctive nature to which power is given when we go against what we know to be the best for us."
Knowing the consequences of our actions comes from our soul nature. And as was mentioned going against what we know to be best comes from not controlling our instinctive nature.
"The souls who are the oldest and the strongest have the strongest temptations and desires. Do you often ask, 'Why should this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?' The experience was created and born of your own strength. Any lesser experience would have meant little more than nothing to you because no lesson would have been derived from it."
This is a point that is a subtle one. We attract to us experiences that are strong enough to cause us to further strengthen our self control. Comparing this to strengthening a muscle, you need to increase the amount of exercise to further strengthen it.
"When we go to kindergarten, we are taught gently. When we go to the university, we are taught in the language of the university. The teachings only come to us from life in a way that we can best understand them, in a way that we can best call forth our inner strength. I have been in many situations and expected people to meet certain standards, but I have discovered that there are many basic things people just don't know."
So this is a comment, this is a further development of the idea of the need to face strong challenges.
"If you check back through the pages recording various periods of your life, you will observe that knowing grew from certain experiences which you held memory of in your subconscious mind. You can also look within yourself and observe all that you do not know that you knew. For example, start with all those things you are not sure about. You must resolve all of these things through understanding before you can clear your subconscious mind."
Gurudeva is pointing out that we have two types of remembered experiences. The first are the ones we have understood. The second are the ones we have not fully understood. The second is the group we need to focus on to resolve.
"When you have cleared your subconscious mind through understanding the lessons from the experiences you are still reacting to, you will unfold the inner sight of your clear white light and begin to live in your true being."
We can see that the inner seeing of the clear white light is in Gurudeva's talks right from the beginning. It is not that common a goal among teachers of Hinduism. So Gurudeva's stressing seeing the inner light back in 1957 and if you look in the teachings of many teachers in Hinduism you don't find that. So it's interesting aspect of Gurudeva's teachings.
"The yoga student must establish basic principles in his life. He must try very hard to do this. The knowledge of interrelated action and reaction is within the consciousness of man. To understand the deeper experiences of life, we must analyze them. We must ask ourselves, "What does this experience mean? What lesson have I derived from it? Why did it happen?"
What does this experience mean? Why did it happen? Of course, in the broader sense everything happens because it's our karma, but that's the simple answer. I think the more precise answer here is we have attracted it because of desires, what we're thinking about, what we're interested in that's caused us to attract a certain experience. What lesson have I derived from it? If it's an experience that didn't work out the way you wanted it to, it's very important you derive the lesson from it. Why is that? Because if you don't it's going to repeat itself. Life is trying to teach you something. And it's going to try and, it will continue to teach you that lesson until you actually grasp it. So it's very important to understand, have an answer, what lesson have I derived from the experience, when it doesn't work out the way you want it to.
"We can only find answers to these questions when we have established the foundation of dharmic principles, which are the mental laws governing action and reaction. Below are listed thirty-six contemporary dharmic principles that stabilize external forces so that a contemplative life may be fully lived. When practiced unrelentingly, they bring the understanding of the external and deeper experiences of life."
So then my comment is:
This is an early formulation of dharmic principles, this list of 36 which I'm going to read, I think you'll find it charming. Later on Gurudeva adopted the ten yamas and ten niyamas and eventually added the 365 Nandinatha Sutras. So ten plus ten plus 365 is 385, that's a lot of principles.
Before I read them though, the comment:
Dharmic principles that stabilize external forces so that a contemplative life may be fully lived. In other words if we're not following dharmic principles we're not stable enough to understand out experiences. Life is not happening in an organized enough way unless we're following dharmic principles.
Simplify life and serve others. Live in spiritual company. Seek fresh air and sunshine. Drink pure water. Eat simple, real foods, not animal flesh. Live in harmony with nature. Consume what you genuinely need rather than desire. Revere the many forms of life. Exercise thirty minutes every day. Make peace, not noise. Make a temple of your home. Develop an art form or craft. Make you own clothing and furniture. Express joy through song and dance. Grow your own food organically. Plant twelve trees a year. Purify your environment. Leave beauty where you pass. Realize God in this life. Be one with your guru. Be nonviolent in thought and action. Love your fellow man. Rely on the independent energy in the spine. Observe the mind thinking. Cultivate a contemplative nature by seeking the light. Draw the lesson from each experience of life. Detach awareness from its objects. Identify with infinite intelligence, not body, mind or intellect. Be aware in the eternal now, not in the past or the future. Do not take advantage of trust or abuse credit. Keep promises and confidences. Restrain and direct desire. Seek understanding through meditation. Work with a spiritual discipline. Think and speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Create a temple for the next generation by tithing.
Have a wonderful day.
Aum Namah Sivaya.