September 02, 2014 - Lesson 143

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Sloka 143 from Dancing with Siva

Are Monism and Dualism Reconcilable?

Monists, from their mountaintop perspective, perceive a one reality in all things. Dualists, from the foothills, see God, souls and world as eternally separate. Monistic theism is the perfect reconciliation of these two views. Aum.


Visualize a mountain and the path leading to its icy summit. As the climber traverses the lower ranges, he sees the meadows, the passes, the giant boulders. This we can liken to dualism, the natural, theistic state where God and man are different. Reaching the summit, the climber sees that the many parts are actually a one mountain. This realization is likened to pure monism. Unfortunately, many monists, reaching the summit, teach a denial of the foothills they themselves climbed on the way to their monistic platform. However, by going a little higher, lifting the kundalini into the space above the mountain's peak, the entire Truth is known. The bottom and the top are viewed as a one whole, just as theism and monism are accepted by the awakened soul. Monistic theism, Advaita Ishvaravada, reconciles the dichotomy of being and becoming, the apparent contradiction of God's eternality and temporal activity, the confusion of good and evil, the impasse of one and two. The Vedas affirm, "He who knows this becomes a knower of the One and of duality, he who has attained to the oneness of the One, to the self-same nature." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 143 from Living with Siva

Bringing Up Children

Many families look at their children as intruders, as strangers. Saivites don't. There is great power and wisdom in the knowledge of astrology in bringing the necessary information to the parents to know the nature of their new arrival. Non-Hindu families generally do not have this kind of insight into the nature and future of their offspring and are generally at a loss to understand or know how to deal with patterns and developments as they arise.

Hindu parents view each child as an adult in a very young body, growing up into the fulfillment of its potential. Using the knowledge gained through astrology, they work to strengthen the strong character traits and never aggravate the weaker or antagonistic ones. This is to say that should the child have a propensity toward anger, jealousy and argumentativeness, and another propensity toward generosity, creativity and acquisition of knowledge, the wise parents will, of course, never argue with the child, because they do not want to awaken and strengthen this quality; they would carefully refrain from angering the child and quickly quell the anger when it flares up. In order to avoid strengthening the tendency toward jealousy, they would seek to secure the child's relationship with friends and things so that he never felt unloved or disadvantaged. They would praise his creativity, generosity and acquisition of knowledge. For all this he would be rewarded with kind words and gifts, because once these tendencies are strengthened, the negative ones will fall aside.

This example is given to explain the way in which mother and father must work together to formulate patterns of positive discipline that they will understand and implement in the same way, so as to bring out the best qualities within the child. When these best qualities are brought up and become a part of the child's daily life, the worse qualities will naturally be subdued by the best qualities. It is an interactive mechanism within the child himself that brings him closer to perfection. Non-Saivite families often bring up the worst within their child, and the child has to, for his own salvation, leave home to be with people of a higher nature, a more expanded consciousness, who will strengthen his finer qualities, or be drawn to those of a lower nature, who will strengthen his lesser qualities. Everyone is on the path to perfection, and they are instinctively and superconsciously seeking out those who are capable and able to help them progress. Saivites want this to happen within the home itself, and hence welcome the involvement of the guru, the swamis and the entire community.

Because people are human, differences arise. If everyone were the same, humanity would be called a herd, with the instinctive nature the predominant functioning intelligence. But humans are not a herd; they are individuals, each and every one of them. Each has a destiny and on the path to fulfill that destiny must go through an intricate series of unique experiences. Saivites appreciate the differences. If any sameness exists, it is because of the shared understanding of the Saiva Dharma and each one's ability to live up to it in his own way, helped or restricted by his prarabdha karmas. In our own Saivite organization--a worldwide family it has been called--a pilgrim can visit a mission in Canada, California, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius or India, and experience his brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles. This worldwide extended family exists because of their shared, basic Saiva beliefs and attitudes, and their striving to live up to the culture and sadhanas in their own way, only being helped or inhibited by their prarabdha karmas.

Sutra 143 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Training Youth In Money Management

Siva's followers who are parents preserve family unity and teach responsibility by not granting youth financial independence. Money is given only for approved expenses, and change is returned with accounting. Aum.

Lesson 143 from Merging with Siva

Bhakti Is the Foundation

Bhakti is a state of mind, an arrival at an inner state of consciousness. People who become angry, people who become jealous, people who are fearful, people who get confused are living in the asura loka. They are the ones who upset others and experience revenge. They have yet to come up even to the anava marga and attain a little appreciation of themselves. They have yet to experience being secure in their own identity.

They have yet to "be their own person," "find their own space." They must first close the door on channeling asuric entities. Once firmly planted on the anava marga, they begin feeling that they are God's gift to the world and may seek out a spiritual teacher. If the teacher does teach them karma yoga and bhakti yoga, they begin to realize that there are forces in the universe, souls in the universe, who are much greater than they are now or will ever be for a long time. Once this happens, the die is cast. They are on the spiritual path to their own eventual enlightenment.

Our scriptures, the Saiva Siddhanta scriptures, are filled with stories of the greatest jnanis who performed karma yoga and bhakti yoga and also spoke out the highest truths of jnana. The tales explain that during auspicious days of the month they performed intense raja yoga tapas. This is the yoga--the arms and the head and the torso of yoga. You do not perform only one yoga without all the others. It is an integral whole.

On occasion we observe devotees pilgrimaging to a temple, prostrating so devotedly. But after leaving the temple, they slap one of their children. We know that upon entering the house they argue with their spouse and complain about their in-laws. Where is the true bhakti here? This is what bhakti is not. Unfortunately, the children who observe this hypocrisy remember it for a long, long time. A child might think, "You love Lord Ganesha, Mom, but you can't love me." When you love a baby, you will not hit it when it cries, even if the crying disturbs you.

Wise gurus will not initiate anyone into raja yoga techniques who does not have a sweet nature and a natural outpouring of bhakti. No one auditions for the symphony orchestra until he has mastered all that his first, second and third music teachers have taught him.

Suppose a devotee who is not virtuous is taught an intense raja yoga meditation and practices it ardently over a long period of time until a burst of light is seen. Then the devotee, now feeling quite above others, argues with his parents, or flashes out in anger when talking to a friend. At that moment, all the good merit and benefits of the raja yoga awakening are erased. This is because the prana of higher consciousness has been dissipated by the angry words, which now burn deeper into the mind of others than they would have before. No, a kindly, gentle nature must precede raja yoga sadhanas. That is for sure.

Bhakti is the base and the bedrock of spiritual unfoldment. A devotee who has an amiable nature, who is a good, considerate and giving person, is obviously a bhaktar. The disciplines of bhakti yoga make one a devotee, and a devotee is a very selfless type of person. These disciplines can take many forms, but the fruit of bhakti yoga, which is a loving disposition, must be attained before one can go further on the path with security. The proof is in the actions and attitudes of the individual. If he really sees Lord Siva in and through all things, how can he not be a bhaktar? If he truly understands the law of karma, he cannot possibly resent any happening. He knows that the experiences of today were created in the past. He truly knows that today's actions mold the experiences of a future time. Yes, bhakti yoga is the bedrock of all minor and major enlightenments. Devotees who are very kind people, devotional, obedient, intelligent, will fulfill whatever assignments their guru gives--be it a pure advaitic path, the raja yogas or the path of karma yoga.