July 14, 2013 Comments Off on The Devotee’s Responsibilities
The aspirant may go to his guru and be one with him by preparing himself to receive his grace. As a result he may be able to meditate, to keep his personal karma subdued sufficiently to quiet the inner forces. Once a guru has been chosen, the aspirant must be loyal to him and stay with that one guru only. He should not go from one to another, because of these subtle, powerful inner, connecting vibrations of darshan and the training received through the power of a satguru’s use of darshan. These inner, mystical laws protect the guru himself against people who wander from one guru to another, as well as warn the seeker against the fluctuating forces of his own mind as he creates and breaks the subtle yet powerful relationship with a holy person.
Satguru darshan opens psychic seals in the devotee by moving his awareness out of an area that he does not want to be in. Similarly, a blowtorch changes the consistency of metal. The satguru is like the sun. He is just there, radiating this very pure energy like the sun evaporates water. The satguru hardly does anything at all. It is the seeker who opens himself to the great accumulated power of darshan which the guru inherited from his guru and his guru’s guru, as well as the natural darshan he unfolded from within himself through his evolution and practices of sadhana and tapas. It’s all up to the aspirant at first.
A satguru doesn’t do a thing. The guru can amuse himself externally with anything. It does not make any difference in his darshan when he is at a certain point in his unfoldment. If you are around him long enough, and if you are honest with yourself and persistent in the tasks he asks you to perform and directions he gives you, psychic seals lift after awhile. But you have to do your part. He does his in an inner way, and as he does, you will feel the psychic seals melt away under his fiery darshan, just like a blowtorch penetrates and transforms the metal it touches. – Lesson 308 from Merging with Siva, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
July 14, 2013 Comments Off on Kshama: Patience
The fifth yama, patience, or kshama, is as essential to the spiritual path as the spiritual path is to itself. Impatience is a sign of desirousness to fulfill unfulfilled desires, having no time for any interruptions or delays from anything that seems irrelevant to what one really wants to accomplish.
We must restrain our desires by regulating our life with daily worship and meditation. Daily worship and meditation are difficult to accomplish without a break in continuity. However, impatience and frustration come automatically in continuity, day after day, often at the same time–being impatient before breakfast because it is not served on time, feeling intolerant and abusive with children because they are not behaving as adults, and on and on. Everything has its timing and its regularity in life. Focusing on living in the eternity of the moment overcomes impatience. It produces the feeling that one has nothing to do, no future to work toward and no past to rely on. This excellent spiritual practice can be performed now and again during the day by anyone.
Patience is having the power of acceptance, accepting people, accepting events as they are happening. One of the great spiritual powers that people can have is to accept things as they are. That forestalls impatience and intolerance. Acceptance is developed in a person by understanding the law of karma and in seeing God Siva and His work everywhere, accepting the perfection of the timing of the creation, preservation and absorption of the entire universe. Acceptance does not mean being resigned to one’s situation and avoiding challenges. We know that we ourselves created our own situation, our own challenges, in a former time by sending forth our energies, thoughts, words and deeds. As these energies, on their cycle-back, manifest through people, happenings and circumstances, we must patiently deal with the situation, not fight it or try to avoid it or be discouraged because of it. This is kshama in the raw. This is pure kshama. Patience cannot be acquired in depth in any other way. This is why meditation upon the truths of the Sanatana Dharma is so important.
It is also extremely important to maintain patience with oneself–especially with oneself. Many people are masters of the faÙade of being patient with others but take their frustrations out on themselves. This can be corrected and must be corrected for spiritual unfoldment to continue through an unbroken routine of daily worship and meditation and a yearly routine of attending festivals and of pilgrimage, tirthayatra.
Most people today are intolerant with one another and impatient with their circumstances. This breeds an irreverent attitude. Nothing is sacred to them, nothing holy. But through daily exercising anger, malice and the other lower emotions, they do, without knowing, invoke the demonic forces of the Narakaloka. Then they must suffer the backlash: have nightmares, confusions, separations and even perform heinous acts. Let all people of the world restrain themselves and be patient through the practice of daily worship and meditation, which retroactively invokes the divine forces from the Devaloka. May a great peace pervade the planet as the well-earned result of these practices.
The next time you find yourself becoming impatient, just stop for a moment and remember that you are on the upward path, now facing a rare opportunity to take one more step upward by overcoming these feelings, putting all that you have previously learned into practice. One does not progress on the spiritual path by words, ideas or unused knowledge. Memorized precepts, shlokas, all the shoulds and should-nots, are good, but unless used they will not propel you one inch further than you already are. It is putting what you have learned into practice in these moments of experiencing impatience and controlling it through command of your spiritual will, that moves you forward. These steps forward can never be retracted. When a test comes, prevail.
Sadhakas and sannyasins must be perfect in kshama, forbearing with people and patient under all circumstances, as they have harnessed their karmas of this life and the lives before, compressed them to be experienced in this one lifetime. There is no cause for them, if they are to succeed, to harbor intolerance or experience any kind of impatience with people or circumstances. Their instinctive, intellectual nature should be caught up in daily devotion, unreserved worship, meditation and deep self-inquiry. Therefore, the practice, niyama, that mitigates intolerance is devotion, Ishvarapujana, cultivating devotion through daily worship and meditation. – Lesson 20 from Living with Siva, by: Satguru Sivaya subramuniya Swami
July 9, 2013 Comments Off on Relationship With a Guru
A child living with his family who does right by his family in honoring his mother and his father reaps a reward–for that mother and father are going to gladly see to all his needs in the emotional, intellectual and material world. But if the child negligently begins to play with the emotions and intellect of his mother and father by not living up to their expectations, they will be relieved when he is old enough to leave home and be on his own. During the time he is still at home, they will, of course, talk with him and work the best they can with the negative vibrations he generates, as their natural love for him is a protective force.
As it is with the parents, it is much the same with the guru. A devotee coming to his guru who is evolved, honest and able is first asked to do simple, mundane tasks. If they are done with willingness, the guru will take him consciously under his wing for a deeper, inner, direct training, as he fires him to attain greater heights through sadhana and tapas. This darshan power of the guru will then be constantly felt by the disciple. But if the disciple were to turn away from the small tasks given by his guru, he would not connect into the deeper darshan power of the satguru that allows him to ride into his meditations deeply with ease. If the devotee breaks his flow with the guru by putting newly awakened power into intellectual “ifs” or “buts” or–“Well, now I know how to meditate; I don’t need you anymore. Thank you for all you’ve done. I’ve learned all you have to offer me and must be on my way”–or if he merely starts being delinquent in his efforts, then the guru-disciple relationship is shattered.
Still a certain darshan power goes out to him, but the guru no longer consciously inwardly works with him as an individual. He knows it is too dangerous to work with this fluctuating aspirant, for there is no telling how he might take and use the accumulating power that would later be awakened within him. The satguru makes such a one prove himself to himself time and time again and to the guru, too, through sadhana and tapas. Sadhana tests his loyalty, consistency and resolution. Tapas tests his loyalty as well as his personal will, for he does tapas alone, gaining help only from inside himself, and he has to be aware on the inside to receive it. A wise guru never hesitates to put him “through it,” so to speak.
A guru of India may give tapas to a self-willed disciple who insisted on living his personal life in the ashram, not heeding the rules of his sadhana. He may say, “Walk through all of India. Stay out of my ashram for one year. Walk through the Himalayas. Take nothing but your good looks, your orange robe and a bowl for begging at the temples.” From then on, the guru works it all out with him on the inside for as long as the disciple remains “on tapas.” Maybe the guru will be with him again, yet maybe not; it depends entirely on the personal performance of the tapas.
This, then, is one of the reasons that it is very, very important for anyone striving on the path to first have a good relationship with his family–for the guru can expect nothing more than the same type of relationship eventually to arise with himself or between the aspirant and some other disciple. As he gets more into the vibration of the guru, he is going to relax into the same behavioral patterns he generated with his parents, for in the ashram, many of the same vibrations, forces and attitudes are involved. – Lesson 307 from Merging with Siva, by : Satguru sivaya Subramuniya Swami.
July 9, 2013 Comments Off on Awakening Comes Slowly
My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, was a great siddha, a master and a knower of God. He would say, “Liberation is within you.” He would order his seekers to “See God in everything. You are in God. God is within you. To realize the Supreme Being within you, you must have a strong body and a pure mind.” He was a powerful mystic from Sri Lanka, near India–perhaps the greatest to live in the twentieth century. His words drove deeply into the hearts of all who heard them. “God is in everyone. See Him there. God is overwhelmingly present everywhere. Regard everything as a manifestation of God, and you will realize the Truth” were his words. Simple words for a simple truth, but very, very difficult to practice. As we go on through life, we see only parts of life. We don’t see the whole. We can’t see the whole. Yogaswami said, “How can a part see the whole?” So, we live with a small part, our small part. We seek to avoid the painful areas and attract to us the joyous ones. Most people live in this duality life after life, bound in the forces of desire and the fulfillment of it. Occasionally a more mature soul breaks away from this cycle of desire-fulfillment-pleasure-loss-pain-suffering-and-joy and asks questions such as: “Who is God? Where is God? How can I come to know God?” God has no names, but all names are the names of God. Whether you call Him this or that, He remains Who He is. But in our tradition we call God by the loving name Siva, which is only one of His 1,008 traditional names. Supreme God Siva is both within us and outside of us. Even desire, the fulfillment of desire, the joy, the pain, the sorrow, birth and death–this is all Siva, nothing but Siva. This is hard to believe for the unenlightened individual who cannot see how a good, kind and loving God could create pain and sorrow. Actually, we find that Siva did not–not in the sense that is commonly thought. God gave the law of karma, decreeing that each energy sent into motion returns with equal force. In looking closely at this natural law, we can see that we create our own joy, our own pain, our own sorrow and our own release from sorrow. Yet we could not even do this except for the power and existence of our loving Lord. It takes much meditation to find God Siva in all things, through all things. In this striving–as in perfecting any art or science–regular daily disciplines must be faithfully adhered to. Siva is the immanent personal Lord, and He is transcendent Reality. Siva is a God of love, boundless love. He loves each and every one. Each soul is created by Him and guided by Him through life. God Siva is everywhere. There is no place where Siva is not. He is in you. He is in this temple. He is in the trees. He is in the sky, in the clouds, in the planets. He is the galaxies swirling in space and the space between galaxies, too. He is the universe. His cosmic dance of creation, preservation and dissolution is happening this very moment in every atom of the universe. God Siva is, and is in all things. He permeates all things. He is immanent, with a beautiful form, a human-like form which can actually be seen and has been seen by many people in visions. He is also transcendent, beyond time, cause and space. That is almost too much for the mind to comprehend, isn’t it? Therefore, we have to meditate on these things. God Siva is so close to us. Where does He live? In the Third World. And in this form He can talk and think and love and receive our prayers and guide our karma. He commands vast numbers of devas who go forth to do His will all over the world, all over the galaxy, throughout the universe. These are matters told to us by the rishis; and we have discovered them in our own meditations. So always worship this great God. Never fear Him. He is the Self of your self. He is closer than your own breath. His nature is love, and if you worship Him with devotion you will know love and be loving toward others. Devotees of God Siva love everyone. This is how God Siva can be seen everywhere and in everyone. He is there as the Soul of each soul. You can open your inner eye and see Him in others, see Him in the world as the world. Little by little, discipline yourself to meditate at the same time each day. Meditate, discover the silent center of yourself, then go deep within, to the core of your real Being. Slowly the purity comes. Slowly the awakening comes. Lesson 1 from Living with Siva: drawn from Gurudeva’s 3,000 page trilogy on Hindu philosophy, culture and metaphysics, available in the full-color volumes of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva at our Minimela online store: from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s trilogy: Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva
July 6, 2013 Comments Off on Protection and Stabilization
Hindu devotees are very careful not to upset their guru, for they do not want his forces strongly directed at them. It is the same darshan, however. At a time such as this, it is like a distilled perfume from the rose. It becomes too potent. Therefore, the devotee tries to maintain a good atmosphere around the guru so that his darshan is pleasant and natural. The darshan of a guru is the power that stabilizes the devotee on the path. The philosophies, teachings and practices that he is given to do are important, but it is the power of darshan that is his stabilizing influence, enabling him to unfold easily on the path of enlightenment.
Darshan is a mystical power emanating from the adept who has gone deep enough within to awaken this power. By stabilizing that power, he gives psychic protection to his disciples and devotees, even during their sleep at night. The same power grants them the ability to meditate without the prior necessity of extensive tapas. Satguru darshan releases the awareness of the devotee out of the area of the mind which is constantly thinking into sublimity.
A beginning meditator is usually aware most of the time in the area of consciousness where thoughts run constantly before his vision. He finds it difficult to go deeper. All efforts fall short of the divine life he inwardly knows he can live, as he is bound by the cycles of his own karma. The satguru’s power of darshan releases the meditator’s individual awareness from the thinking area of mind and stabilizes him in the heart chakra, and he begins to awaken and unfold his Divinity.
Devout Hindus sit before a satguru and in seeing him, draw the darshan vibration from him, absorbing it into themselves. They are sensitive enough to distinguish the vibration of darshan from the other vibrations around the guru. They also believe that any physical thing the satguru touches begins to carry some of his darshan or personal vibration, and that when away from him they can just hold the article to receive the full impact of his darshan, for the physical object is a direct link to the satguru himself. It is darshan vibration that makes a human being a holy person. When we say someone is holy or saintly we are feeling the radiations of that divine energy flooding through him and out into the world.
The inner life of a devotee has to be stabilized, cherished and well protected by the guru. The guru is able to do this through his well-developed facilities of darshan, even if his devotee lives at great distances from him. Unless the inner vibratory rate of the devotee is held stable, he will not come into his fullness in this life. If a plant is transplanted too often, it won’t come into its full growth. If the bud is picked before it blooms, it will not flower or give forth its redolent fragrance. Yes, the grace of the satguru fires the ability to meditate in the seeker, the erudite Hindu believes. – Lesson 306 from Merging with Siva, by : Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya Swami
July 6, 2013 Comments Off on Temple Metaphysics
Our Supreme God Siva has created the Mahadevas, the Gods, to help us, to protect us, to inspire us–such as Lord Murugan, Lord Ganesha and many others. Ganesha, above all others, is the God, the great Mahadeva, to be invoked before every act and especially worshiped and prayed to when changes occur in our lives as we move from the old established patterns into new ones. Lord Ganesha is always there to steady our minds and open the proper doors as we evolve and progress. He never, ever fails. He is always there for us when we need Him. Lord Murugan was created by God Siva’s shakti and given a vel of spiritual discernment, a lance of divine intelligence. Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe. Pray to Lord Murugan to make you a spiritual person. Pray to Lord Murugan to release you into the arms of Lord Siva by teaching you more about your Saivite religion.
The understanding of the reality of God and the Gods may help you to appreciate the importance of prayer and worship. Take, for instance, our hymns and chants–our Devarams and bhajanas, our japa and the many other ways we express the praises and love of God Siva that we feel in our hearts. These hymns are actually heard by the subtle beings. Devas in the Second World come, hover around and near us and rejoice in our singing. If we are deeply devoted and inspired, then even the Mahadevas of the Third World will hover above the devas in their magnificent bodies of light, showering blessings to those who are singing or chanting prayerfully.
You may not be able to see these subtle beings, but you can feel their presence, feel a holy atmosphere around you. I’m sure that many of you here have felt this, perhaps while chanting Aum Namah Sivaya. As long as somebody is saying “Aum Namah Sivaya,” the Saivite religion exists on the planet in full force. Wake up in the morning saying “Aum Namah Sivaya, Aum Namah Sivaya.” Go to sleep at night saying “Aum Namah Sivaya, Aum Namah Sivaya,” and through the night you will leave your physical body and travel in the celestial spheres, where we are all together, learning, meditating and advancing ourselves spiritually.
On this Earth plane the Gods have a special home, and that is the holy temple. It is in the sanctified temple, where regular and proper puja is being performed in a pure way, that the Gods most easily manifest. You can go to a Hindu temple with your mind filled up with worries, you can be in a state of jealousy and anger, and leave the temple wondering what you were disturbed about, completely free from the mental burdens and feeling secure. So great are the divine psychiatrists, the Gods of our religion, who live in the Third World, who come from the Third World to this world where our priests perform the pujas and invoke their presence over the stone image.
Hindus do not worship stone images. Don’t let anyone ever convince you of that. It is absolutely false. Those who say such things simply do not understand the mystical workings of the temple, or they seek to ridicule our religion because they feel insecure about their own. Hindu priests invoke the Gods to come and manifest for a few minutes within the sanctum of the temple. The Deities do come in their subtle bodies of light. They hover in and above the stone image and bless the people. If you are psychic and your third eye is open, you can see the God there and have His personal darshana. Many of our ancient Saivite saints, as well as contemporary devotees, have seen such visions of the Gods. They know from personal experience that God and the Gods do exist.
When we go to the temple, we leave with our mind filled with the shakti of the Deity. We are filled and thrilled with the shakti of the temple in every nerve current of our body. When we return to our home, we light an oil lamp, and that brings the power of the temple into the home. This simple act brings the devas in the Second World right into your home, where they can bless the rest of the family who perhaps did not go to the temple. With a little bit of study of the mysticism of Saivism, we can easily understand how the unseen worlds operate in and through us.
(Lesson 312 from Living with Siva , from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami)
July 3, 2013 Comments Off on Sensitivity To Darshan
Darshan from a great soul, like the pollen of the flowers, can stimulate healthy sneezing and cleansing if one’s subconscious happens to be congested. Call it, if you like, an allergy to flowers. Some people have allergies to gurus, too. The guru’s darshan lifts repressed subconscious patterns that have been out of the flow of the cosmic pattern of regenerative life, bringing them up before one’s conscious attention. Instead of feeling wonderful, the visitor to the garden feels miserable, as the fire is brought up from within, releasing his awareness to view the polluted state of the subconscious mind.
Some people are more sensitive to fragrance than others. Others are so selfless and sensitive, they can become the fragrance itself for a time. In such a person, the rose smells sweet through every pore of his body. He is not in the least aware of any subconscious congested area of the mind. He sits in the garden and goes deep into meditation on the subtle fragrance of the flowers. The same principle relates to the unfolded soul. Darshan pours forth from within the unfolded soul just as fragrance flows from the rose–stronger at some times than at others because some devotees are more in tune than others. For them, the room begins to ring and vibrate. Some people are so sensitive that when a great soul comes to the same town, they feel his presence. This shows their inner attunement to the constant flowing power of the darshan.
Everyone has some feelings radiating from within, but they are emanations that fluctuate. Because you feel these vibrations coming from them, you can intuit how they are feeling. They do not emanate a constant or a building flow. It is a fluctuating flow of emotional, or astral, energy. The darshan I am explaining is really the energies flowing from the deeper chakras, sahasrara and ajna, the seventh and sixth chakras, or psychic force centers, in the head, through the kundalini force within the spine. These energy flows do not fluctuate as the emotional odic-force energies do. They go on day and night and night and day through the illumined soul. Those devotees who are in tune with the guru can feel his physical presence when he enters their town because the darshan gets stronger. And it feels to them more ethereal when he is farther away.
These energy flows are very important to study, because it is possible to draw and enjoy a great darshan from an illumined soul if you approach him in just the right way. If you can become as a sponge when you approach him, you will draw out inspiring talks and gracious blessings from him. The Hindu is conscious that he is drawing darshan from his rishi or his satguru, just as you are conscious of drawing the perfume of the rose into your body. When approaching a soul who is known to give darshan, be in the same area of the superconscious mind that you feel he must be in. The guru does not have to be necessarily functioning in that same area. He could be externalized in consciousness at the time. This is not important. It does not stop his darshan at all. The guru, feeling you draw the darshan, would immediately go within and enjoy it himself. Once darshan is there in him, it is always there. – Lesson 305 from Merging with Siva, from Satguru Sivaya Subrahmunya Swami