In Part Two of this talk Bodhinatha describes the divine nature of the sou, and its evolution as a process of closing the doorway to the lower chakras and gradually being firmly established in the consciousness of high chakras. The souls is one with God Siva's all-pervasive love. Over many life times we evolve from ignorance of God to experience of Oneness with God. Lord Ganesh assists us in the process once the Brahmadvara--lower chakra realm -- is sealed off. Our kundalini will rise through higher chakras over time. Consistent spiritual practice and Worship of Lord Ganesha are the keys to closing the lower chakras and experiencing the Divine within us.
Well, I will start with something that I am working on. Those who were here at our last homa this week heard the first part, part 1 of this. I am working on a talk that is called "The Soul and its Maturation". So it is based upon Gurudeva's teaching that the soul is life and the essence or Life of that life is God Siva. It's Gurudeva's explanation of the Soul and it is a very wonderful explanation and Gurudeva touched on it in his talks somewhat. One of the phrases that Gurudeva liked to use is "God Siva is closer to you than your breathing." That is pretty close, right? When I am breathing, it is right there. How can something be closer than my breathing? It makes you think. Because we tend to put God Siva at a distance from us. Feeling some imperfection on us. We focus on that and therefore we put God Siva at a distance but actually there is no need to do that. God Siva is inside of us, even if we are not quite ready to see God Siva there; he is there anyway.
Gurudeva also liked to say that there is one thing that God Siva can't do -- with all his powers, even though he is omnipotent, there is one thing that he can't do. And of course many of us remember that answer. He can't take himself out of us. He is in there, so he is permanent and we can try and experience that at auspicious times like Mahasivaratri.
And when Gurudeva says God Siva is Love, it is a very interesting concept of love, because love is normally dualistic. In Western religions, they like to say, god loves YOU. Right? No matter what you have done, god loves YOU. That one always catches my interest. [Bodhinatha laughs.] Because it is so non-Hindu. And then because god loves you, you love god. That's good. But in Gurudeva's teachings, God Shiva IS love, in fact he is all-pervasive love. So when you experience God Siva as all pervasive love, there is no dualism. Siva isn't over here and you are over here; you love Siva and Siva loves you. You are the same thing. At that level, you are the same thing. God Siva IS all-pervasive love, and you are God Siva, so it is a one experience. It is a love that has no dualism in it, no separation.
So we will move on. This part of the talk is talking about the maturing of the soul, trying to give some concrete images. You know when we talk about the soul maturing, the soul evolving, it doesn't necessarily bring a clear image to our mind. Well, what does that mean? What is involved in that process?
Let's turn now to the Hindu concept of life. As we know, the Hindu perspective is that the purpose of life is to make spiritual progress, to have deeper and deeper realizations of God which eventually result in moksha, liberation from rebirth on Planet Earth.
Let's ask the question, "What is it that makes this spiritual progress?" It is, of course, the soul. In thinking of spiritual progress, it is helpful to understand the concept of the soul, not just as life and light, but as a human-like, self-effulgent form comprised of this life and light. The soul body is referred to in Sanskrit as anandamaya kosha as well as karana sharira. Just as our physical body matures from being an infant to being an adult, so too does our soul body mature from ignorance of God to intimate communion with God. In Sanskrit, this is called adhyatma prasara, spiritual evolution. And of course is a process that takes place over a number of lifetimes, not just one.
Gurudeva gives us an insightful description of this process:
"The soul form evolves as its consciousness evolves, becoming more and more refined. The experiences of life, in all the various planes of consciousness, are 'food for the soul', reaping lessons that actually raise the level of intelligence and divine love. Thus, very refined souls, whether embodied or in the disembodied, ajiva state, are like walking intelligences with inventive creativeness and powers of preservation, beaming with love and luminosity in their self-effulgent bodies of quantum light particles."
Gurudeva goes on to state that spiritual unfoldment is not a process of awakening the higher chakras, but of closing off the chakras below the Muladhara. Once this happens the aspirants consciousness slowly expands into the higher chakras which are always there. The only thing that keeps the lower chakras closed is regular sadhana, japa, worship and working within oneself. This is demonstrated by the fact that even great yogis and rishis who have awakened into the higher chakras continue to do more and more sadhana. They are constantly working to keep the forces flowing through the higher centers so that the lower ones do not claim their awareness.
Brahmadhvara, the doorway to the Narakaloka just below the muladhara, has to be sealed off so that it becomes impossible for fears, hatreds, angers and jealousies to arise. Once this begins to happen, the muladhara chakra is stabilized and the renegade becomes a devotee of Lord Ganesha. You cannot come to Ganesha in love and respect if you are an angry or jealous person. That is our religion.
The seven chakras, or talas, below the spine, down to the feet, are all seats of instinctive consciousness, the origin of fear, anger, jealousy, confusion, selfishness, absence of conscience and malice.
The first chakra below the Muladhara, called Atala and located in the hips, governs the state of mind called fear. When someone is in this consciousness, he fears God as well as other people -- even himself at times.
In the chakra below that, called Vitala and located in the thighs, anger predominates. Anger comes from despair or the threatening of one's self-will. When people are in the consciousness of this chakra, they are even angry at God. With their wrath, they often strike out at those around them, leaving a trail of hurt feelings behind them. From sustained anger arises a persistent, even burning, sense of resentment.
The third chakra below the muladhara, called Sutala and located in the knees, governs jealousy. Jealousy is actually a feeling of inadequacy, inferiority and helplessness. When mixed with anger it causes terrible reactions within the nerve system of the astral body. When people are in the consciousness of this chakra, they often deny the existence of God and are contentiously combative with one another.
Let me just briefly mention the remaining four. The fourth chakra below the Muladhara, called Talatala, is the consciousness of materialistic advancement over everything else. The fifth, called Rasatala, is the consciousness of extreme selfishness. The sixth chakra, called Mahatala, is "theft without conscience" and the seventh, called Patala, is the consciousness of malice and murder.
The Muladhara chakra, the divine seat of Lord Ganesha, is the dividing point between the lower nature and the higher nature. It is the beginning of religion for everyone, entered when consciousness arrives out of the realms below Lord Ganesha's holy feet.
There are six chakras above the Muladhara chakra, which is located at the base of the spine. When awareness is flowing through these chakras, consciousness is in the higher nature. As we previously mentioned, there are seven chakras below the Muladhara, and when awareness is flowing through them, consciousness is in the lower nature. In this Kali Yuga, most people live in the consciousness of the seven force centres below the Muladhara chakra. Their beliefs and attitudes strongly reflect the animal nature, the instinctive mind. We want to lift our own consciousness and that of others into the chakras above the Muladhara. This brings the mind out of the lower nature into the higher nature. We do this through personal sadhana, prayer, meditation, right thought, speech and action, and love for Lord Siva who is all in all.
The physical body has a connection to each of the seven higher chakras through plexuses of nerves along the spinal cord and in the cranium. As the kundalini force of awareness travels along the spine, it enters each of these chakras, energizing them and awakening in turn each function. In any one lifetime, man may predominantly be aware in two or three of the chakras, thus setting the pattern for the way he thinks and lives. He develops a comprehension of these seven regions in a natural sequence, the perfection of one leading logically to the next. Thus, though he may not be psychically seeing spinning forces within himself, man nevertheless matures through these seven chakras of memory, reason, willpower, cognition, universal love, divine sight and spiritual illumination.
It may help as we examine each of these centers individually to visualize man as a seven story building, with each story being one of the chakras. Awareness travels up and down in the elevator, and as it goes higher and higher it gains a progressively broader, more comprehensive and beautiful vista. Reaching the top floor it views the panorama below with total understanding, not only of the landscape below but also of the relation of the building to other buildings and of each floor to the next.
In conclusion, the key to making spiritual progress is to control the lower nature, to keep awareness above the lower chakras of fear, anger, jealousy and the other base emotions. Once this has been accomplished we are naturally drawn to be of service to others, to worship regularly and thereby deepen our devotion to God, and to look within through meditation to experience our soul nature and eventually God's indwelling presence as its very essence. This is indeed the way to make tangible spiritual progress in this lifetime.
So it is a very interesting concept from Gurudeva. Whenever someone asks me about the chakras; what they don't ask is "how do I close off the lower ones?" [Bodhinatha laughs.] Everyone wants to spin the higher ones! [He laughs again.] "Want to energize my higher chakras and get them more active!"
But Gurudeva is so pragmatic and has seen so many people try to unfold and some be successful and some not, that he gives a very solid system for making progress, which is, well, first let's just close off the lower chakras. Let's conquer anger, conquer fear, conquer jealousy, conquer lust. That's the challenge, and when we have accomplished that, being in the higher chakras happens automatically. It is not a big deal. It is just a natural process. We don't have to work at it. But if we work on spinning the higher chakras, increasing their velocity and all, and we haven't closed the lower ones, it doesn't produce great results.
So, another thought that I had in looking at this material is that in looking at these fourteen chakras, they are areas within each of us. So each of us has the potential to express the qualities in any of the fourteen chakras. The are not unique to some of us, they are something that we all share. So consequently when some people say, and I have heard this phrase, "I am an angry person", you know it is not really an accurate statement. Everybody is potentially an angry person. Everybody has that chakra of anger sitting there, just ready to be stimulated. It is just that some people express their energy through it and others don't. But it is there in everyone. Some people aren't angry and others not, it is just that some people are putting their energy through the chakra of anger and some people choose not to.
It is a wonderful concept -- the chakras. I have never seen an explanation of the lower ones that is so complete. Gurudeva is also giving us the key to closing them off. He gives a couple of keys:
** One is just consistency in spiritual practices every day.** If we are consistent in our spiritual practices every single day, then we are less prone to become angry, fearful, jealous and so forth. But if we are erratic, and we only do spiritual practices one day per week and the other six we don't think about our spiritual practices, then there is a good chance that if we have been angry in the past then we'll get angry that particular week too. So it takes daily diligence to manage to change our habit patterns. But it can be done.
** The other practice that Gurudeva stresses is the worship of Lord Ganesha.** That's good for any emotional problem, any kind of upset condition, to worship Lord Ganesha. Why is that? Well, Lord Ganesha relates to the Muladhara chakra, the bottom chakra of the top seven, so if we really experience his blessings then our awareness naturally moves into that chakra, and therefore it is above the experience of fear, which is being down one, anger, being down two, or jealousy, being down three chakras.
So those are two simple concepts that are very useful in overcoming the tendency to express ourselves through these lower chakras.
[There is a long pause.]
So in closing I will just share the thought that is in the first part of the talk. The first part is encouraging us to think about our soul and to experience our soul. It gives a very simple way of experiencing the soul, which is to look into a mirror and to look into your eyes and see the life and sparkle that is in your eyes. Definitely much more life and sparkle there than anywhere else, and that is your soul. You know, very simple to do. Everyone can experience their soul just by looking in a mirror and looking in their eyes. That is life. Life is the soul.
If we go deeply into that life, we experience a certain sense of unity. Or we experience God as the Life as life. And the analogy that we give is to the japa beads, the rosary beads. So we have beads which have 109 beads on a cord, right? So if we are thinking of the beads, we see 109 separate beads. But if we think of the cord, there is a oneness that pervades all the beads. So that is the simple analogy. If we can look deeply enough into our life, we no longer see 70 some separate individuals here, but we see the one-ness. Just like seeing the cord instead of the beads. We no longer see everyone as separate. Yogaswami liked to stress that because he was constantly living in that consciousness and was kind of catalyzing individuals that he met to move toward it. So he would always ask a question like, you know, "How many people are here?" So if someone goes around and says "72 Swami", then he says "No, there is only one." Right? Only one. So when we see only one, we are seeing God. That is God. The simplest way to experience God is to go deeply enough into the light within us that we just see the oneness that permeates everyone which we call the Life of life, or the Source of life, or the Essence of life, which is God Siva.
Aum Namah Sivaya. Thank you very much.
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