The practice of yoga, well performed, produces the jnani. Believe in future lives but just be sure to achieve in this life. We carry forward, like a prolonged nalif, our spiritual attainments. In Saiva Siddhanta temple worship is helpful, develops humility, balance. Always feel that achievement results from worship of the guru in Siva, Dakshinamurti. Commentary on The Master Course, Lesson 320.
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.
This is from yesterday's "Merging with Siva" Lesson.
"In other words, the practice of yoga well performed produces the jnani."
Just one sentence but, a lot in that. Gurudeva's pointing out what jnana means in Saiva Siddhanta. In the Vedantic approach jnana yoga, of course, means philosophical discrimination between the unreal and the real, right? That's what jnana yoga is but it involves scriptural study. So, you start with scriptural study, reflection on scriptural study which leads to discrimination between the unreal and the real.
Modern jnana yoga sometimes gets stuck at the first stage, scriptural study. And therefore, Gurudeva mentions a number of times the difference between intellectual knowledge or jnana yoga when it's only taken to the level of scriptural study and being a jnani or jnana in Saiva Siddhanta. So he's pointing out, in other words, the practice of yoga, well performed, produces the jnani. So a jnani is someone who's been successful at raja yoga and experienced God within himself. Different definition of jnani.
"The yogi has the same experiences, if he is successful, and comes out with the same independent knowledge which when reviewed, corresponds perfectly with what other jnanis discovered and taught as the outcome of their yogic practices. This kind of knowledge surpasses all other knowing and is the basis of all Hindu scriptures. The jnani is a rare soul, a highly evolved soul. He speaks of Truth from his experience of it and gives it a personal touch. As Shri Ramakrishna said, you go into yourself a fool, but through the practices of yoga you come out a wise man. That is the jnani--the knower of the Unknowable.
"The yogi who is in the process of yoga, who has not graduated to God Realization, is not yet a jnani, though he has all kinds of realizations along the way, some sustained, others yet to be sustained. The yogi is seeking, striving, changing, unfolding, trying with all his heart to become, to know his ultimate goal. When the merger has become complete, when two have become one, he is no longer a yogi, he is a jnani. When the student graduates from college, he is no longer a student, he is a graduate. The merger of which I speak is Parasiva, to be experienced by the sannyasin who has turned from the world and into himself.
"There is yet another realization which can be described as experiencing God Siva as Satchidananda, as light and love and consciousness. This also may be achieved through yoga. When one experiences this expanded state of consciousness, this cosmic consciousness, he comes back knowing he has had a fantastic experience, but no jnana persists, for he has yet to attain the Ultimate. Family people can attain this second state through diligent effort, and even attain to Parasiva at the point of death, or before it if the path of renunciation is entered upon fully after life's obligations have been fulfilled. But there are few, very few, who have attained the highest of the high, Parasiva, after having been householders, having fulfilled their family dharma, freed from any and all worldly endeavors, plunged into total, total, abandonment of spouse, family, friends, associates of all kind, taking no disciples, shunning devotees and forever living alone on alms, to seek the highest of the high. As said, even following such a strict path, there are very few, who attain to Absolute Reality. But all who strive have done powerful preparation for their next life."
So the last sentence is the one I wanted to stress. Part of western influence is focusing on the current life to the exclusion of future lives. As I say in some of my keynotes: We believe in future lives but just to be sure let's achieve it in this life. Just in case. So there's that kind of a rush. There's a rush that we have to experience everything. Oh, I didn't do this so I better do it now cause I haven't done it yet. But that is not the best way to look at spiritual practice cause we can get frustrated that we didn't make more progress. I worked my whole life I did this every day, I did my vigil, I did this, I did that, and this is all I have.
But, the point is we get to start over again next life from where we left of in this one. We carry forward our spiritual attainments; they don't go away. We carry, carry them forward. They don't manifest when we're two years old. We have to mature the physical body, mature the emotional body, mature the intellectual body. Maybe they manifest in our late teens or our twenties at least. We manifest the spiritual achievements from our previous life. It's like -- anybody remember the Shum word for carrying forward a meditation from today to tomorrow? Nalif: There we go. It's like a prolonged nalif. Okay, have a good meditation today and now when I'm reborn a hundred years from now and I've grown up, I'll continue on. Nalif: We continue on from where we leave of. So we need that kind of long term perspective to really have the right way of looking at our spiritual efforts and progress in this life.
We need long term view and realize that it's a slow process. Cause again the sense of rush from that western idea that there's only one life can give us a sense of dissatisfaction that we haven't achieved more but what we want is the satisfaction that we've achieved so much. So that's the point. See what we have achieved, the glass being half full rather than half empty. See what we have achieved and focus on that and feel good about that.
"But all who strive have done powerful preparation for the their next life.
"My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, often said, 'Lord Siva is within you. You are within Lord Siva. Lord Siva, with all of His powers, cannot separate Himself from you.' Siva Yogaswami told us to go to the temple, to worship at the temple. He also told us to go within ourselves, into Siva jnana. He did not tell us not to go to the temple. He did not try to break our faith. He tried to build our faith and make us strong. He guided us on the straight path, the path of the Saivite saints, leading us to the feet of Siva.
"Siva Yogaswami himself, though completely Self realized, went regularly to the temple, worshiped Siva there, then plunged within himself in the aftermath of holy puja, drawing near to Siva through meditation. He never advocated, nor has any Saivite satguru advocated, that advanced devotees give up bhakti, give up the temple. No! Never! They taught that Siva is within and cannot be separated from you, but they also wisely directed us to seek Him and worship Him in the temple."
Again that's kind of a reference back to the beginning. The concept of jnana in Vedanta verses jnana in Saiva Siddhanta. Sometimes the jnana approach in Vedanta includes looking down at temple worship. I'm a jnani. I'm studying scripture. Temple worship, that's for beginners. That's for people that don't live in big cities but still live out in the villages. Kind of looking down attitude. Who aren't ready to study the scriptures yet; it's for them.
So that, that's out there in certain circles of Vedanta. So Gurudeva's speaking from the Saiva Siddhanta point of view which is: When we're young, naturally, we can't meditate so we start our worship in the temple. But even when we're older and we can meditate well, we don't give it up. It's a good balance. Keeps the devotional nature strong. And as we've talked about before it helps humility develop initially and then not go away. Don't want to become a great yogi and feel your realizations are superior to someone else's. You've lost your sense of humility there.
Always want to feel that whatever you've achieved is because of the Guru. If you trace the guru back far enough you end up with Siva, Dakshinamurti. So, it's because of the guru in Siva whatever you've achieved. And holding that perspective temple worship is very helpful in keeping that balance so that don't develop what's called spiritual pride.
We can start out with ordinary pride coming from education or family status or something and manage to give that up. And then develop a whole new set of pride in your yoga and your spiritual knowledge. So, that's not good, right? Exchanging one form of pride for another. Thus, we're cautioned to always maintain our devotional worship which, when we do it sincerely, it keeps us in a, from developing a strong sense of pride.
Aum Namah Sivaya