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The River of Life

Recap of trip to Michigan for the Council of Hindu Temples of North America and receiving the Sanatana Dharma Ratna award along with Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Balagangadharanatha Swami. The effect of acceptance of what is in the past and present and creation of the future. Through surrender to Siva; dancing with Siva; flowing with the river of life one may keep the subconscious mind transparent to look within and see Divinity.

Unedited Transcript:

Guru brahma, guru vishnu, guru devo maheshwaraha guru sakshat para brahma tasmai sri gurave namaha.


Good morning everyone. Welcome to our guests. We're just coming back from a short trip to Michigan. Our long time friend there, Mr. Hanumanthaiya Marur, was hosting the Council of Hindu Temples of North America which has an annual meeting, which moves around from one temple to another, so this year it was at the Flint temple and he called here about five or ten times, called Sadhaka Jothinatha, and said we have to come, we have to come. So, normally we wouldn't go, but he called so many times it seemed important.

So, we went and attended their meeting and one of the reasons they wanted us to go was the council was giving three awards. They called it: "Sanatana Dharma Ratna awards. They gave one to Swami Dayananda Saraswati for his work in convening an all sadhu conference, which is done twice in India which is a real feat. I'll tell you about that if we have time. Then they gave one to Balagangadharanatha Swami, Karnataka, for his social work, which he does on a vast scale there, and they gave one to me, for publications. So of course, the award really goes to Gurudeva, we're just carrying on what he set in motion, but that's why they wanted me to come. So, there's a big plaque which we're mailing, still in Flint, you know it's getting mailed here. So, we'll pass it around when it comes, very nice plaque that we didn't have enough room in our luggage.

So Swami Dayananda Saraswati's representative was the Acharya he has at his Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Pennsylvania fine Acharya from Gujarat and who happened to come there in January. Of course, Pennsylvania in January is covered with snow, so, it's quite a tapas to come from Gujarat to Pennsylvania in January. He was all bundled up, two sweaters on, and an extra, extra wool shawl and big socks. So, wanted to keep warm.

So he gave an interesting talk and one of the points he made, I never quite heard it explained. Well, we got along well; he does daily Siva Lingam Abhishekam, maybe that's why we get along so well. I told him Siva sambandam, which means Siva's followers are all linked together. Siva sambandam, certain inner connection. Anyway, we got along well and so he gave a talk in his acceptance speech on behalf of Swami Dayananda Saraswati--he was explaining Aum Namah Sivaya. He said: You should chant Aum Namah Sivaya for one minute at 8 AM, 12 noon, 4 PM and 8 PM," that was his sadhana he was giving everyone. And then he explained what it meant which is an interesting explanation.

He said: "Aum is to invoke, Sivaya is to God Siva, and Namah is to surrender. "

So of course, that's what it means but usually you don't choose the word surrender. You say to prostate, to praise, namah usually gets translated like that, but, he said: "To surrender." Then he went on to explain that all our frustrations in life, our stress, our unhappiness, comes from not surrendering. Meaning, not accepting what is. So, if we can accept what is, if we can surrender to God Siva, if we can accept what is, then, we don't have that stress, we don't have that unhappiness. So all you have to do is surrender. So, I thought that was an interesting explanation and the first thought I had was "Dancing With Siva." Gurudeva uses the dance analogy, you know the whole, all of life is the dance of Siva, it's Siva in motion, it's His dance and we can either flow with the dance or we can resist it, right? Remember that explanation? So, if we're able to dance with Siva and not resist, go against, then everything goes well for us. So same idea, just a different, just an analogy of dancing, but, it's certainly a very important point of view. Said another way; it's the ability, the philosophical ability, to accept what is as what should be. Not what, as we want it to be, but. as what should be. Well why, you can say, so many problems in the world? Well, because it's an expression of what was set in motion previously. It's all working itself out. You know we can't stop that which was set in motion previously from expressing itself and working itself out; we can only direct it. We can only channel it but we can't totally eliminate it unless the whole world is doing tapas, that's not very realistic. Otherwise, we can influence it for the better, but, it's still going to work itself out. The past expresses itself in the present, which is of course is the law of karma.

So, being able to accept the world as it is, accept our life as it is, is the idea of surrender or dancing with Siva. Of course, it doesn't mean we should be fatalistic. Fatalistic is: Well what ever I try and do doesn't change things, so why even try? That's fatalistic. Everything is as it should be; I don't even need to try. Cause there's no point in trying cause everything will be as it should be. It's kind of being fatalistic, but, that's not what's meant. What we do does impact the present to some degree and where it has the most impact is the future. We create our future by what we do in the present. So, though what we do in the present only changes the present to some degree it totally creates the future. So, therefore, what we do is very important. Cause it's creating our future not only in this life but in future lives. So therefore, we need to strive and do the right thing because in that sense we have a lot of say over what happens. But, it just takes some time to manifest it. For right now, we just do the best with what we all manage to create in the past.

So, all of that relates nicely to the lesson of the day from "Merging With Siva," starting a new chapter today in our daily Master Course Lesson; today starts the "River of Life" which is another analogy to the same thing.

"You have all heard about the sacred river Ganges, but have you ever wondered why this river is sacred? Why has this river become personified among all the rivers of the world? Let us meditate on this and let the river tell its own story. The river is the esoteric symbol of life's force, and as it flows it tells us how those cosmic currents flow through the physical body, quieting the emotions and awakening the willpower so that we can keep the mind under our control. This all happens, of course, providing we are in tune and flow with that life force, that illimitable power within us.

"The birth of this river high in the Himalayas we can liken to our own conception and entrance into physical consciousness. As the river flows to meet the sea, it drops off many disturbances, just as our life absorbs many of its hindrances. The rapids smooth out, the waterfalls become smaller, the mouth of the river broadens, and as the river flows into the ocean we can see this esoteric symbol of life ending its manifest physical form.

"Let us relate that symbol to our own consciousness, holding it within our mind, the river as a symbol of life. Now look at yourself and see what stops that river from flowing. What stops you from flowing with cosmic forces and becoming one with life's ocean of eternal bliss? Is it not attachment that keeps us clinging to the banks of the river? Is it not fear that we are attached to? All of the personalities we know and the various material objects we are clinging to keep us holding tightly to the banks of life's cosmic river. The river still flows on, but we do not flow with it. We are fighting against life's currents when we allow ourselves to become attached."

So that's the same idea. Fighting against the currents instead of flowing with life, instead of letting the river carry us to the ocean, we resist. We panic, cling to the river bank. We get fearful. We don't let our dharma flow and therefore take us into our fullest potential for this life. We resist, we cling. So it's that same idea of not surrendering, not flowing with something but resisting.

"We are fighting against life's currents when we allow ourselves to become attached.

"Think today about the personal experiences in your lifetime and clearly view just how often you cling to the banks of life's river by attaching yourself to personalities and possessions. Have you ever stopped to think that we even become attached to things that we do not like and to things that we have done against our better judgment? We are attached to objects, values, schedules, habits, memories, even likes and dislikes. We become attached because we do not stop to understand that each of those experiences that conceived the attachment was just a boulder, a waterfall or an old tree trunk blocking one of the little rivulets as it tried to merge with the great stream ever merging itself into the ocean.

"Meditate on a river. Follow it as a visual image from its source to the end where it merges into the sea. You can now clearly see where you have been clinging to the bank of life's river. You will plainly see just how long you have been clinging to various attachments by holding on to fears, worries, doubts of the future and regrets about the past."

So that's probably good. So, that gives us a good sense of the message coming at us three ways here. Aum Namah Sivaya, surrendering to God Siva; and then we have dancing with Siva, not resisting, fitting in to the flow of life; and then we have here the river, flowing with the river and not resisting it, not clinging to the banks, not attaching ourselves.

So, one of the beauties of Gurudeva's teachings is it's both conceptual and then we have the pragmatic tools, the things to do, the combination of both. So, particularly "Merging With Siva" gives us lots of practices that we can utilize to get rid of negative attachment. One of them is our vasana daha tantra--writing down memories of the past which are emotional and negative and burning them up. And writing them down gets them out of the subconscious mind and burning them up helps to have us get a sense that it's gone. So quite often, memories of the past are what bog us down in our spiritual life and Gurudeva, in a couple of lessons forward there, talks about the basement analogy of a house. You know if you have a basement in a house, or these days it's usually the garage because lots of people don't have basements in modern houses, life is so busy you just keep putting things in the basement or you keep putting things in the garage with the promise that one day you'll clean the garage. You know, one day you'll clean the basement. And that day never comes. You know it's cause you just keep putting more things in; life is busy. So, our mind is like that. Life is so fast paced that we, we put unresolved experiences, experiences that are still bothering us, we put them in our subconscious mind.

How do we put them in our subconscious mind? By not resolving them and just letting them be there. In other words, when something is initially unresolved the mind has an wonderful mechanism to tell us it's unresolved. Know what it is? Memory! We remember it on a regular basis. That's what it is. Something's unresolved we'll remember it a few times a day. That means it's unresolved, subconscious is popping it up in front of our vision on a regular basis. But, if we ignore it for a period of time, say for a week or two, subconscious gives up. Says: "OK, well doesn't want to resolve it, we'll store it." So it stores it, puts it in the subconscious basement or the subconscious garage. So, therefore, to avoid building up a subconscious of unresolved memories, it's obvious what to do. We need to act on them while they're still popping up, right? Take advantage of it when it pops up for a week, three times a day or so. Take advantage of it, resolve it, do what's needed to resolve the matter. Sometimes just thinking about it is enough because we haven't taken the time to reflect on it. And when we reflect on it we see the other person's point of view and feel better about it and it goes away. Sometimes we need to talk to someone about it cause there's a real disagreement there, and it requires a dialogue. Sometimes to smooth things out we should give a gift. Kind of a gift to apology; we can verbalize an apology or if that's not appropriate because of the relationship, we can just give a gift of something. Various ways of resolving the matter. Can write it down and burn it up. So, if we do that on a regular basis we avoid filling up the subconscious. Filling up the garage or the basement with these negative experiences.

So, what difference does it make? Well, Divinity is on the other side of that. Our soul nature is on the other side of our subconscious. So, when we look in we're trying to see our soul nature, trying to see our Divinity, our superconscious. But what's between us and that is our subconscious mind. So, if the subconscious mind has a lot of unresolved matters in it when we look within all we'll see is the subconscious mind. That's not much fun, so, we won't look within very often. Let's go out to a movie. What's on TV tonight? We keep distracting ourselves because what's inside of us isn't that enjoyable. But, if we've kept the subconscious uncongested then it's transparent; so we look within, we look right through the subconscious mind and we see the Divinity. Like that. So that's the reason for the process for those who want to contact their inner selves, their spiritual nature, we need to keep the subconscious mind uncongested, keep it from piling up negative experiences, unresolved experiences. And then we won't cling to the banks of the river, we'll flow along into our future in a natural way.

Aum Namah Sivaya everyone.

Have a great week.

[End of transcript.]

Photo of  Gurudeva
We make very little progress when we strive to conquer these baser instincts in a good mood. However, vast strides are possible when we are miserable and work with ourselves to replace our misery with joy and understanding.