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Travel, Personal planning-Nartana ritau

Bodhinatha gives a short talk about travel, dreams and realization. He then elucidates on developing of a personal plan, which encompasses the five-fold division of life; Spiritual, Social, Cultural, Economic, and Educational. He give examples to help catalyze our thinking in all five areas.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning Everyone.

Today we're flying off to Orlando Florida, not to visit Disneyworld but the Temple there it's in Casselberry, the Hindu Temple of Central Florida. Their having their kumbhabhishekam this coming weekend and invited us as one of the guest Swami's, I think they're having five guest Swami's all together. Some of them are there a few days before we get there and then some are there also at the same time.

So being in the travel mode I was looking through some old talks this morning and came across one it's about travel, dreams and realization , Its a very short talk but I think a very good talk. I'm sure you've all experienced this first part.

When you are traveling a lot, you come home and when you sleep quite often you dream about traveling. Specifically, in the subconscious mind you dream you are traveling and you are not yet home. You are dreaming and dreaming and working hard at getting home. Then you wake up in the conscious mind and say, andquot;Oh, I was home the whole time. I was just dreaming that I was not home.andquot; Did you have that experience?

This is like the realization of the Self. You are going along in the conscious mind, in this case, and are thinking, andquot;I am not realized, I am not realized, and then all of a sudden you wake up and say, andquot;Oh, you know, I've been the Self all the time!andquot;

What does this mean? It means that there is more than one sense of reality. When we are dreaming, our dream is real. Totally real. We are certain that we are traveling and then as we get near waking up we start to doubt the reality of our dream, andquot;Wait a minute, I think I have to go to work soon. Maybe I am dreaming.andquot;

We are quite accustomed to dealing with the two different realities of our dream state and our waking state. If we take the waking state as the dream and the realization of Parasiva as waking up, that is the analogy. We are going along in our normal waking state in the conscious mind and we are moving closer and closer to the Self thinking that one day in the future we are going to get there. When you wake up by realizing Parasiva, you say, andquot;Oh, you know, I was the Self all of the time I was just dreaming that I was not.andquot; We just have to claim it. We have to step beyond time and space, step out of the concept that we have to do something, then something else and then something else in order to realize it. It is like when we are traveling in a dream, we just have to wake up and we find we were home all the time.

A nice dream, traveling and realization.

As we know our current season is the Nartana Ritau from mid April to mid August. We are just half way through, I thought I'd give a short reminder talk on one of the activities for this phase which is planning, Gurudeva emphasis very much that this is the natural time of year to update our plans. If we're married this means a plan for the whole family, if we are single it means a plan just for us.

A very useful guideline is given to us in the Saiva Dharma Shastras it's called the five-fold division of life created a number of years ago by Gurudeva. The divisions are: Spiritual, Social, Cultural, Economic and Educational. The beauty of this five-fold division is that it encompasses all aspects of life and we do plans in all five areas we develop a balanced approach to living.

Therefore, the first step in developing a family plan is to list goals in each of the five areas. Ask these five questions and write down the answers to each.

What are the family's spiritual goals?

What are the family's social goals?

What are the family's cultural goals?

What are the family's economic goals?

What are the family's educational goals?

Of course when you go through this process, the question will sooner or later arise of how many years ahead shall we plan for and Gurudeva indicated the ideal plan was for six years, thinking six years ahead. Of course that's more ahead than most of us think, we don't have a six year plan. Where am I going on pilgrimage in 2010? We're not out there in our planning, but we should be, that's what Gurudeva is saying. Our life flows better, at least with the major events, you don't have to plan every detail, you've thought that far ahead, six years.

Here are some samples goals for each of the five areas to catalyze your thinking in case any area seems unnatural to you, you don't have an idea what to do.

Spiritual, of course that's the easy one. Yearly Pilgrimage, it doesn't have to be far, though of course in Hawaii here it does. But in many places it's easy like in Malaysia they go to Singapore and in Singapore they go to Malaysia. There's lots of temples in Malaysia so Singaporeans go every year on pilgrimage to the temples in Malaysia, it's just a few hundred miles away.

Social, social goals. Extended family gatherings. Quite often everyone in the family doesn't really get together that often and it would be nice if the whole family, the whole extended family did manage to get together on a more regular basis. And special family outings, sometimes when there's a number of children family outings aren't as frequent as they should be and trying to do something different like horse back riding. When is the last time the family went horse back riding?

Cultural, of course children taking dance and music lessons that's an easy one. Attending cultural performances as a family is very good. And even adults taking time to play music and sing is a very nice part of life, you don't feel rushed by our ordinary duties and we can take time on a regular basis for music and song.

Economic, of course that's what everyone focuses on first, saving for the children's education and saving for retirement is two big goals that families face and that requires lots of planning. The cost of education is going up and retirement has it's own challenges, keeping an income high enough.


Educational, children's secular education. But Gurudeva also emphasis that adults should continue acquiring new skills. Sometimes there's this attitude, well I'm x number of years old, I've learned enough, I'm tired of learning, I'm thirty-five, forty-five, fifty-five, sixty-five, whatever the age is come up with this concept, well I'm to old to learn something new. But Gurudeva felt learning something new was healthy, mentally healthy to always be learning something new, never just to settle down no matter how old you are. Of course if we're working it can be job related; to qualify for a promotion by acquiring these skills. But even hobbies, we can expand our knowledge in our hobbies such as gardening, home improvements, different areas, herbs, learn more keep learning and develop our skills in the areas

In conclusion, having an up to date family plan is quite helpful for our spiritual life, as I mentioned because it gives us a balanced approach to living as well as provides specific goals in the various departments of our life that help us stay motivated and focused.

That's our update on a six-year plan, you can all hand it in tomorrow when you finish the assignment. [Laughter] Anyway you're welcome to send them to me, if you want to share your plan with me even if it's a short one. You can send it to and I'd be happy to look it over and give some suggestions.

That's our assignment for this ritau, a few months left. Have a wonderful day.

Aum Namah Sivaya

Photo of  Gurudeva
Go on a pilgrimage once a year, read scriptures daily, perform puja daily, go to the temple at least once a week, if not more often--fulfill these disciplines, known as the pancha nitya karmas. This is the basic Saiva Siddhanta sadhana.