July 3, 2013 Comments Off on The fire of devotion purifies
The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom.
Bowl of Saki, June 17, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Overlooking the faults of others with politeness, tolerance, forgiveness, and resignation is regarded as a moral virtue in the East. Man’s heart is visualized as the shrine of God, and even a small injury in thought, word, and deed against it is considered as a great sin against God, the Indwelling One. Gratitude is shown by the loyalty of the Orient and by being true to the salt; the hospitality of a day is remembered throughout all the years of life, while the benefactor never forgets humility even in the midst of his good deeds. There is an Eastern saying, ‘Forget thy virtues and remember thy sins.’
‘Chained with gold chains about the feet of God.’ – Tennyson
Thus the heart, developed by religion and morality, becomes first capable of choosing and then of retaining the object of devotion without wavering for a moment. Yet in the absence of these qualities it remains incapable of either choice or retention.
There have been innumerable devotees in the East, Bhakta or Ashiq, whose devotional powers are absolutely indescribable and ineffable. To the ignorant the story of their lives may appear exaggerated, but the joy of self-negation is greater than that of either spiritual or material joy.
Devotion sweetens the personality, and is the light on the path of the disciple. Those who study mysticism and philosophy while omitting self-sacrifice and resignation grow egoistic and self-centered. Such persons are apt to call themselves either God or a part of God, and thus make an excuse for committing any sins they like. Regardless of sin or virtue they misuse and malign others, being utterly fearless of the hereafter. Yet they forget that ‘strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life’, as the Bible says.
The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom. Mysticism without devotion is like uncooked food and can never be assimilated. ‘I am the heart of my devotees,’ says Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. And Hafiz says, ‘O joyous day when I depart from this abode of desolation, seeking the repose of my soul and setting out in search of my Beloved.’
June 10, 2013 Comments Off on Strive
Strive. Strive to realise God. This is the purpose of human birth. The perfection of the realisation of absolute knowledge, supreme bliss and immortality is the one and only goal in human life. Release from the round of births and life in eternity is the goal of man. Till Self-realisation is attained, man is subject to the law of karma and rebirth. Finish your task – God-realisation in this life itself; do not postpone it. Just as food is necessary for the body so also daily meditation and prayer are necessary for the soul.
O man! Wake up from this slumber of ignorance. Why do you waste your life building castles in the air? Turn your gaze within. Stop all this hurry and worry. Sit down and relax. Dive deep within. Discover the pearl of Atman. You will be freed from birth and death here and now.
Remember the goal every moment of this life. Strive incessantly to realise it by living a life of detachment, dispassion, devotion, deep meditation and samadhi (self-knowledge).
O man! Nothing is permanent. All things change. All things pass away. Seek the permanent, changeless, immortal Atman and be free. He is truly wise who lives in the eternal and who is endowed with discrimination and dispassion.
Life is a transforming process by which attachment, fear, anger, hatred and lust are transformed by steady and rigorous discipline and meditation into joy, bliss, peace and love.
In simplicity is the secret of real beauty. Simplify your life. Be humble, pure, straightforward and true to yourself and others. Be good and do good so that each tomorrow will find you farther than today. Be humble, be meek, be pure, be holy, be godly and peaceful. Be charitable. Be moral. Be humble. Be courageous. Be pure. Meditate. Become wise. Whoever does anything with enthusiasm, patience and perseverance, never fails to achieve his object. Annihilate desires.
Seek the company of saints and devotees. Control the mind. Control anger. Be charitable. Help the needy. Kill the ego. Be grateful. Respect the great. Be truthful. Indulge not in gossip. You will attain the supreme blessedness.
– Swami Sivananda
April 16, 2013 Comments Off on Alcohol in Saiva Tradition
The time periods allotted for drinking wine and beer should be during a meal (lunch or dinner), or to relax after the day’s dharmic duties are fulfilled. Obviously, one should not drink during the work day, in the office, during puja or in the early morning hours.
Of course, this hardly need be said, but drinking and driving don’t mix. This extends also to other potentially dangerous activities. One would never drink while on the job, especially using industrial equipment, such as saws and drills, as alcohol slows down the reactions of the physical body and the conscious mind. While enjoying a glass or two of wine, one should be in good company. Drinking should bring up the higher nature, of creativity, good ideas, conversation, philosophy, intuitive solutions to the problems of the world, healthy encounters of all kinds. One should not drink when depressed, troubled or with a group that enters into confrontation, argument, contention and criticism, personal, mental and emotional abuse. Therefore, we emphasize good company, good conversation, creativity, relaxation, toward the advancement of humanity and of spirituality. That is what these two substances, wine and beer, have been created on Earth by Lord Siva Himself to produce. Of course, imbibing even wine and beer falls under the restraint of mitahara. To overindulge would be unacceptable.
One should not drink alone, not even a glass of wine or beer at a solitary dinner. All the social harnesses are absent when you drink in isolation. Then it becomes a subconscious instead of a subsuperconscious experience. Additionally, there are those who by their constitution or genetics cannot drink even moderately without catastrophic effects: physiological, psychological, sociological difficulties. Even a single beer can provoke extreme responses. When these reactions come, they suffer physically, their families suffer, their professions suffer, their spiritual unfoldment suffers. Therefore, these individuals must, under all circumstances, completely avoid alcohol for a healthy, happy life. Statistically it is estimated that some seven percent of people are in this category. A clear indication that an individual falls into this category is that his friends don’t want to drink with him because it inevitably becomes an unpleasant event for all. Friends and associates are duty-bound to monitor and sanction him. In such cases insisting on moderation is not sufficient. Total abstinence must be required.
In a similar vein, I am often asked about tobacco. My answer is, do you want to live a happy, healthy, productive and long life, or do you want to die early and suffer all the diseases that have been documented that smoking, the world’s worst health hazard, can bring up in your body to destroy it? If the answer is “I don’t mind dying early and I’m looking forward to all the diseases that are promised,” then go ahead and smoke. I should say here that not one of my sincere devotees smokes. – Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya swami, from: Living with siva
March 26, 2013 Comments Off on Who Were the Early Kailasa Preceptors?
Among its ancient gurus, the Kailasa Parampara honors the
illustrious Rishi Tirumular and his generations of successors. In recent
history we especially revere the silent siddha called “Rishi from the
Himalayas.” Aum Having achieved perfect enlightenment and the eight
siddhis at the feet of Maharishi Nandinatha in the Himalayas, Rishi Tirumular
was sent by his satguru to revive Saiva Siddhanta in the South of India.
Finally, he reached Tiruvavaduthurai, where, in the Tamil language, he recorded
the truths of the Saiva Agamas and the precious Vedas in the Tirumantiram, a
book of over 3,000 esoteric verses. Through the centuries, the Kailasa mantle
was passed from one siddha yogi to the next. Among these luminaries was the
nameless Rishi from the Himalayas, who in the 1700s entered a teashop in a
village near Bangalore, sat down and entered into deep samadhi. He did not move
for seven years, nor did he speak. Streams of devotees came for his darshana.
Their unspoken prayers and questions were mysteriously answered in dreams or in
written, paper messages that manifested in the air and floated down. Then one
day Rishi left the village, later to pass his power to Kadaitswami. The
Tirumantiram expounds, “With Nandi’s grace I sought the primal cause. With
Nandi’s grace I Sadasiva became. With Nandi’s grace truth divine I
attained.” Aum Namah Sivaya. – from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s trilogy: Dancing with
Siva, Living with Siva
and Merging with Siva; 3,000 page trilogy on Hindu
culture and metaphysics, available in the full-color volumes
of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva
at our Minimela online store.Kauai’s Hindu Monastery;
January 6, 2013 Comments Off on How Is the Affirmation of Faith Used?
Intoning the affirmation of faith, we positively assert that God is both manifest and unmanifest, both permeating the world and transcending it, both personal Divine Love and impersonal Reality. Aum Namah Sivaya.On the lips of Saivites throughout the world resounds the proclamation “God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality.” It is a statement of fact, a summation of truth, even more potent when intoned in one’s native language. “God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality,” we repeat prior to sleep. “God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality,” we say upon awakening as we recall the transcendent knowledge gained from the rishis during sleep. These sacred words we say as we bathe to prepare to face the day, God Siva’s day, reminding ourselves that His immanent love protects us, guides us, lifting our mind into the arena of useful thoughts and keeping us from harm’s way. Devotees write this affirmation 1,008 times as a sahasra lekhana sadhana. It may be spoken 108 times daily in any language before initiation into Namah Sivaya. Yea, the recitation of this affirmation draws devotees into Siva-consciousness. The Tirumantiram says, “The ignorant prate that love and Siva are two. They do not know that love alone is Siva. When men know that love and Siva are the same, love as Siva they ever remain.” Aum Namah Sivaya.- by Sathguru Sivaya Subramuniya Swami, from:Dancing with siva
September 29, 2012 Comments Off on When love’s fire produces its flame
When love’s fire produces its flame, it illuminates like a torch the devotee’s path in life, and all darkness vanishes.
Bowl of Saki, June 18, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
As love is the source of creation and the real sustenance of all beings, so, if man knows how to give it to the world around him as sympathy, as kindness, as service, he supplies to all the food for which every soul hungers. If man knew this secret of life he would win the whole world, without any doubt.
Love can always be discerned in the thought, speech, and action of the lover, for in his every expression there is a charm which shows as a beauty, tenderness, and delicacy. A heart burning in love’s fire has a tendency to melt every heart with which it comes in contact. … Love is like the fire; its glow is devotion, its flame is wisdom, its smoke is attachment, and its ashes detachment. Flame rises from glow, so it is with wisdom, which rises from devotion. When love’s fire produces its flame it illuminates the devotee’s path in life like a torch, and all darkness vanishes.
All deeds of kindness and beneficence take root in the soil of the loving heart. Generosity, charity, adaptability, an accommodating nature, even renunciation, are the offspring of love alone. The great, rare and chosen beings, who for ages have been looked up to as ideal in the world, are the possessors of hearts kindled with love. All evil and sin come from the lack of love.
People call love blind, but love in reality is the light of the sight. The eye can only see the surface; love can see much deeper. All ignorance is the lack of love. As fire when not kindled gives only smoke, but when kindled, the illumination flame springs forth, so it is with love. It is blind when undeveloped, but, when its fire is kindled, the flame that lights the path of the traveler from mortality to everlasting life springs forth.
June 19, 2012 Comments Off on GOD AS MASTER AND FRIEND
Dasya bhakti is love of God as the servant of God. To serve God and to carry out his wishes – realising his virtues, his nature, his mystery and his glory and considering oneself as a slave of the supreme master – this is dasya bhakti. Serving and worshipping the murtis (images) in the temples, sweeping the temples, meditating on God and serving Him like a slave (mentally), serving the saints and the sages, serving the devotees of God, serving the poor and the sick, is also included in dasya bhakti.
To follow the words of the scriptures, to act according to the injunctions of the vedas considering them to be direct words of God, is dasya bhakti. Association with and service of love intoxicated devotees and service of those who have knowledge of God, is dasya bhakti. The purpose of this is to be ever with God, in order to offer your services to him and win his divine grace and thereby attain immortality.
Arjuna prays with the sentiment of a servant and a disciple in order to get the grace of Lord Krishna: “O Lord, I am your disciple. I have taken refuge in you. Teach me.” The aspirant should completely give himself up to God and should not retain any personal reservations. Ananya bhakti is total relinquishment of the self to God.
Sakhya bhava is the cultivation of the friend-sentiment with God. The Bhagavatam says: “Oh how wonderful is the fortune of the people of Vraja, of cowherd Nanda, whose dear friend is the perfect, eternal Brahman or absolute bliss.”
To be always with the Lord, to treat him as one’s own dear relative or friend, belonging to one’s own family, to be in his company at all times, to love him as one’s own self, is sakhya bhava of bhakti marga (the path of devotion). The devotee takes up with eagerness any work of the Lord, leaving aside even the most important and urgent and pressing personal work, and totally concerning himself with the love of the Lord. How do real friends love in this world? What an amount of love passes between them. Such love is developed for God physical love is turned into spiritual love. There is a transformation of the mundane into the eternal.
It is a great pity that sakhi bhava (the attitude of God’s beloved) is misunderstood. The jiva caitanya (individual soul) is the real sakhi. Sakhi bhava is purely an internal state, not a mere external show. The individual soul is united with the supreme soul by self surrender. The lover and the beloved become one. This is the acme of bhakti. This is the culminating point. Bhakti begins with two and ends with one.
– Swami Sivananda