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Putting Gurudeva's Teachings to the Best Use, Part 5

Bodhinatha continues his Gurudeva mahasamadhi observances class with this part on how to explain the purpose of Hinduism to non-HindusHinduism teaches us how to become a better person, improve our behavior and live as spiritual beings on this Earth. The working title for Bodhinatha's eleven classes during the upcoming India Odyssey Innersearch program is "Becoming a More Spiritual Person" through applying Hindu philosophy, principles and metaphysical tools to our life. It's all about the practical things you can do to refine how you are applying the teachings in your life.

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Questions? Bodhinatha is the successor of "Gurudeva," Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. If you have questions on subjects about spiritual life you will find answers in Gurudeva's books and teachings. Learn about ways to study these teachings by visiting The Master Course site or writing to

Unedited Transcript:

One last topic. This is a point I often use and it is going to relate to the Innersearch Study Program. I will just explain the point.

Have you ever tried to explain to another what the purpose of our Hindu practices was? Tried to explain Hinduism to somebody who does not understand it? Have you ever been successful in explaining Hinduism to someone who does not understand it?

Usually, we explain things in too complicated a way. Quite often, I have to give a talk to a non-Hindu group and explain Hinduism. We have a nice group that comes regularly. Billy's group, a metaphysical group that comes. So they are very open and all. But, you start throwing terms - dharma, karma, samsara, moksha - and they are lost.

You cannot do that , so what I say here is, of course, we can offer a philosophical answer such as, the purpose of Hinduism is to resolve our karma, realize God and be liberated from reincarnation. That is the right answer, right? But if you are talking to a child or someone that does not understand the terminology, it does not make any sense at all. Therefore, I found a simple answer, that anyone can understand. It says the same thing in three different ways.

Hinduism teaches us, how to become a better person.

Everyone can understand that. Hinduism teaches us how to become a better person. We are trying to improve and become a better person, improve our behavior.

Live as spiritual beings on this Earth.

That is what Hinduism is about. It is surprising if you say it like that, people say, "Oh, I want to do that too! That sounds great. I want to be a spiritual being. I want to improve my behavior."

It is a nice definition, it relates to this last one. I have a working title for my upcoming India classes. This is an Ad to go on the Odyssey, anyone that has not signed up! But it also shows you what I am working on. I am trying to get a series based on this principle. The working title, and we tried this out at Guru Purnima and it worked out very well, this principle. The working title is, 'Becoming a More Spiritual Person', through applying Hindu philosophy, principles and metaphysical tools to our life. That is what we are working on for the India program. I have eleven classes on the India program. But I found that if I did a series I could give it anywhere. It could be a very interesting approach because quite often you go to lectures and they are not practical. You go out singing 'Jiva is Siva', it is not going to help you be a better person. As soon as you quiet down, you will be yourself again. You have not taken out something specific that you have applied to your life. You have not said, "Okay, I realize I have to do this a little differently in order to really conform with the Yama of Ahimsa. I am kind of breaching it, in terms of how I talk to people. I am being nasty sometimes, that is harmful. I am harming people with my words."

That kind of understanding, a new application of a principle that you know very well to your life, refine them in your life. This is what we are striving for and that way we become a more spiritual person.

There is a nice example of that. I gave the talk in Concord to the members there, it was on Ahimsa. Gurudeva defines it so beautifully, "not harming others through thought, word or deed." Beautiful definition. I always say, it is easier to not harm others through deed, otherwise you would be in jail. May harm others with words occasionally and that is good to focus on and even your thoughts. I gave you some examples.

I was driving with someone and afterwards he said, "You know, when someone cuts in front of me on the freeway, I sure harm them with my thoughts."

He took it to a new level. He realized that he was having nasty thoughts towards this person and that was not in accord with Ahimsa, because the cardinal principle of Ahimsa is everything we think about someone should be designed to help them. We don't want to hinder people by thinking negative about them. But actually they feel the thoughts. They could get in an accident if they were a sensitive person.

So, even how we think about other people, needs to be in line with the principle of Ahimsa. It a subtlety, something you may not have thought about before.

In this kind of seminar, I say, you take that kind of principle and you apply it to your life. You refine your behavior, you figure out how to refine your behavior even more in that area, as a result. Therefore, you go out the door not singing 'Jiva is Siva', but with a concrete tool in your hand. It is written down on a piece of paper and you take it home. You have got something to make yourself a more spiritual person. You have found a weakness, an area in which you can improve. It is like a dancer, "Oh, I found new weakness in my technique. Now I can work on that and become a better dancer!"

Thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya.