Mahasivaratri Talk 2005

During Mahasivaratri 2005, Bodhinatha illustrates Realization of the Self, Parasiva, by relating a Yogaswami meditation story and Mahavakyam from both Gurudeva and Yogaswami. Bodhinatha then defines attainment, unfoldment and maturation of the soul body to Self Realization and explains: "We want to claim that which we already are at the earliest moment."

Unedited Transcript:

Good evening everyone. Very, very happy to have so many pilgrims from off island and so many island guests here this evening you're all very welcome. Have a very nice description of Mahasivaratri in 'Dancing with Siva' from Gurudeva. Describes it as: andquot;Siva's Great Night which we observe by chanting Siva's names, singing His praise, chanting Sri Rudram, bathing the Sivalingam, meditating and being near the monks as they strive to realize the transcendent Parasiva.andquot;

So we're going to fulfill all of that tonight. I was thinking about it and our Sivaratri is a little more austere than most festivals. On Ganesha Chaturthi you sing and eat and have fun. On Sivaratri you don't eat, stay up late, hopefully still have fun. [laughs] It's kind of like being a monk for an evening. Everyone gets to taste the monastic disciplines for one evening in life.

Well there's a wonderful story about our Paramaguru Sivayogaswami that conveys the spirit of Maha Sivaratri.

andquot;When Yoga Swami began living in the Columbuthurai Ashram, He would spend the first three days of a week in meditation. He would rest on the fourth day. And again he would spend the last three days in meditation.andquot; Can you imagine that? Seventy-two hours straight, twenty-four hour break, another seventy-two hours. That's a Sivaratri, my. andquot;Even after the devotees began to arrive in great numbers he would be rapt in meditation at will. On Sivarathiri day it was his custom to meditate through the night. A few devotees who had the good fortune to be with Swami at these times saw a light shine where Swami's body should have been. Those devotees who saw this shining light for a few seconds believed that this was the divine light that shone from his blemishless form, and was his true form. Even those who could not see this shining light were amazed at the erect still form of Swami seated like a statue without any movement. That golden form sat as still as his umbrella in the corner. And on one occasion when Swami sat like a pillar, a crow came flying, rested on His head for a while and flew away.andquot; Meaning he was so motionless, crow didn't know it was a person.

There is a quote from Yogaswami in andquot;Words of our Masterandquot; that relates the crow story to the realization of the transcendent aspect of Siva. Yogaswami says:

andquot;If you think of the state of Siva, which is beyond all attributes, it won't come. It will come by itself. One day, when I was in that state, a bird came and sat on my head. Even yogis and jnanis can't understand that state.andquot;

One of Gurudeva's great sayings about Parasiva, the transcendent aspect of God about Yogaswa..., about which Yogaswami is speaking is this one.

andquot;The purpose of life is to realize the Self. The ultimate reason we are here on earth is to realize the timeless, formless, spaceless Self God within.andquot;

The unique aspect of this Mahavakyam or great saying, is that it gives us a description of the Self, a very precise description. When you read in the Upanishads about realizing the Self, Parasiva, they do not say exactly what it looks like. What is the Self? Is it red, is it white? Is it light, is it dark? The Upanishads tell you that you should realize it but they do not precisely say what it looks like.

So in this Mahavakyam, Gurudeva is giving us a description of Parasiva that is quite useful. Very precise description. It's timeless, formless and spaceless.

Gurudeva says in the Self God, andquot;It is the nothingness that is the fullness of everything.andquot; Which is a wonderful paradox to ponder -- that nothingness can be a fullness.

So what exactly does it mean timeless, causeless and spaceless. So let me try and explain that. When it comes to realizing the Self, there is no consciousness during the moment of realization. It is only afterwards that we have the ability to know that we realized the Self. It is just like being in a deep dream, you don't know you are dreaming until you wake up. You wake up and say, andquot;Oh, that was a dream.andquot; In a shallow dream you kind-of know you are dreaming. andquot;I am dreaming. Shall I get up or not? Do I like this dream or not?andquot; You know that in a shallow dream. But in a deep dream you are really involved in the dream. It is totally real to you, and it is only when you wake up you are able to say, andquot;Oh, that was just a dream.andquot;

In the immediate aftermath of the deep dream experience, you are able to recognize that it is a dream. If you wait awhile, you will forget that you even had the dream. But right when you wake up from a deep dream you have the ability to say, andquot;Oh, that was a dream.andquot;

Similarly, the experience of the Self can be recognized in the immediate aftermath. What exactly are you recognizing? You are recognizing that you stepped outside of time, form and space. In other words, it is something that exists outside of time, form and space. Time, form and space is like a movie that is going on. It is like a 24-hour a day theater. There is a movie going on constantly. Stepping outside of it is like going out the door for a few minutes and coming back in. It is like stepping outside of the normal progression of events in time, form and space for a brief moment.

The sense that you have stepped outside of time, that there is a reality that exists outside of time, is a consciousness you have in the immediate aftermath of realizing the Self.

However, the main point of this Mahavakyam is that it describes the Self. It gives us a sense of what we are looking for. In other words we realize, andquot;I am not just trying to go into the inner light and get this light brighter and brighter and brighter. No, that is not the Self. I am not trying to go into pure consciousness and permeate everything and see everything as one, see everything as a cosmic oneness. That is not the Self. Does not have to do with anything I can perceive. Rather it has to do with not going more deeply into what we can perceive by stepping beyond it.

A second great saying of Gurudeva's is: andquot;We are in truth, the truth we seek. You are already that which you seek, there is none other.andquot;

This is a very interesting concept. You are already that which you seek. You are already the Self, you don't have to become it. You don't have to do anything.

Our normal way of looking at attainment is that we have to do something. We go to school for x number of years and then we graduate. To graduate we have to do something -- we are not already graduated. To learn to read we have to do a lot, then we are able to. Our normal consciousness of achieving something is that, is that it takes time -- that we start out with a lesser ability and eventually through effort expended over time we acquire a greater ability.

That applies to our soul body. Our soul body is maturing and becoming more and more like the Primal Soul. That is the normal consciousness of becoming. Like a baby growing up, there is a becoming involved. The baby starts life without the ability to even move. The child gains greater abilities as he or she gets older, just like the soul body becomes more and more like the Primal Soul. But that does not apply to the Self. You are already that which you seek. You are just not aware of it.

It is like having money in a bank account that nobody told you that you ever had. You are not aware of it but it is already there. For example your parents set up a bank account for you and forgot to tell you or they were not going to tell you until you were twenty-one. It is already there, you don't have to do anything. You just don't know about it. You just have to find out and then it has always been there. It was always the case.

What this means is we could realize the Self right now. We don't have to do anything necessarily before it happens. Any time we sit down to meditate we could realize the Self. Just because we had a poor meditation yesterday doesn't mean we could not realize the Self today. This is because it is already the case, we are already the Self. We just have to go deeply enough within at some point in time. Our karma has to be such, our consciousness has to be such that we go deeply enough in, deeply enough within to claim That which we already are.

This is a very important point in proach, in approaching Self Realization, not to put it off. Not to think it is not the day. Not to think today is not the day. This moment is not the moment. You don't even have to be sitting in meditation. You could be walking down the street and realize the Self. You could be sitting under a tree enjoying nature and realize the Self.

We want to claim That which we already are at the earliest moment, not put it off based on some concept that we are not ready, we are not worthy, that it requires more of this, or more of that. None of those principles apply when it comes to realizing the Self. And realizing the Self is important as Gurudeva explains so beautifully in 'Merging with Siva' because each time you realize the Self it causes certain inner unfoldments to take place which bring forth more of your superconscious wisdom. And everyone want to be wise.

Aum Namah Sivaya