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Nallupada Saivam

Bodhinatha recalls a segment of his talk on Nalupada Saivam where he compared the Vedanta and Siddhanta paths. He also gives us a preview of his talk about God Siva, the fourth theme for his trip to Mauritius. Siva's love is perfect, He does not punish us, and there is no reason to fear Him.

Unedited Transcript:

The second theme was Lord Ganesha. The third theme is the spiritual practices of Saiva Siddhanta. This is for a book release event in Kuala Lumpur. If you remember many months ago, maybe about four months ago, this talk was given on Sun One. It is called 'Naalupada Saivam', the spiritual disciplines of Saiva Siddhanta.

It was written in a way as a little bit formal but it is also easy to translate into Tamil. So, Appaswami Kuppuswami is translating it into Tamil for this occasion. Lots of it is drawn from 'Dancing with Siva' which he has already translated into Tamil. It was not that much work for him to do the talk because three quarters of the talk was word for word out of 'Dancing with Siva', on purpose to make it easy to translate.

That is coming together and I thought I would just read one section of that. The section that compares the Siddhanta and Vedanta paths.

"Siddhanta's difference from Vedanta. These four padas are quite similar to the four yogas of Vedanta - karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga. However, there is one key difference. Whereas in Vedanta you can choose to follow just one of the yogas, in Siddhanta we need to pass through all four padas.

A simple analogy will illustrate the difference. The goal is to walk across a shallow stream on a path of river rocks. Vedanta gives us four separate rock paths to choose from, one for each of the four yogas, all of which lead across the river. Siddhanta only gives us one path for crossing the river which consists of four stones - chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana."

So that is a simple analogy to try and get that point across. That is not that well understood. Vedanta concepts are definitely much more broadly impressed in the mind and the idea of the four yogas, choose your path. You can be just a bhaktar, just a karma yogi and so forth. It is very strongly in the mind, at least in Malaysia. It is like a default understanding that everyone has, it went in there first. So we want to supplement that with the Siddhanta.

Then, of course, the talk goes on to describe each of the four padas - chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana - in detail. It encourages people to practice. These are the disciplines we want to practice, the point is to do these things. That is our third theme.

Fourth theme was just last week, for Grand Bay, remember? God Siva as the perfect parent. So that is our fourth theme. It is for a Siva temple in Grand Bay, for a short talk to be translated into Creole.

One part of that was, "The easiest way to understand God Siva's nature is to think of Him as the parent and yourself as the child. As a parent, He is both father and mother to you. God Siva is your parent because He created your soul. He is the Primal or Original soul who has created all other souls. In fact, God Siva is the perfect parent because no matter what we do, Siva always sends blessings and love to us. When we make mistakes, He never becomes angry with us or punishes us. He continues to love and bless us no matter what. God Siva's love is perfect love, meaning it exists at all times for all souls."

That is trying to eliminate any sense that God Siva punishes us or there is some reason to be afraid of God Siva. "Watch out for His anger or wrath or something." Sometimes, people hear that kind of folk concept about Siva somehow. He punishes or we have to watch out or something. But this is speaking out against that and is talking about Siva in the sense of perfect love at all times to all souls.

Those are our four different themes. You can see we have been working on them for four or five months, this last phase. Different themes for different situations and I think it will all come together quite nicely.