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Nine Ways to Merge With Siva

On Mahasivaratri, February 27, 2014, Satguru Bodhinathaswami comments on Gurudeva's introduction to Merging with Siva, where he elucidates nine different ways that we can merge with God Siva. Everyone on the planet is unfolding spiritually whether they know it or not. The instinctive mind is the part of us that only cares about ourself. One of the barriers in trying to go within, deeper and deeper in merging with Siva, is not getting along with others. Detaching awareness, being the light that lights the thoughts, you can have a sense of accomplishment and peace. Requirements for moksha: Fulfill all dharmas, resolve all karmas, realize God fully. Realization of Parasiva, the transcendent form of Siva, liberation and merger, visvagrasa. Master Course, Merging with Siva, Introduction.

Unedited Transcript:

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

Good evening. I thought I would read and comment on "Nine Ways of Merging with Siva" from the introduction to Merging with Siva.

"Merger on the great inner path described in this book is already happening in your life and in the life of every soul on the planet, in the natural course of evolution. In Sanskrit, we express 'Merging with Siva' as Sivasayujya, 'Intimate union with the Divine.' Nine progressive ways of merging with Siva are possible today, in fact impossible to avoid. Shall we now explore these nine ways, the wonderful ways of merging with Siva as we walk the San Marga, the straight path of dharma? "

So that's an important point there, in fact impossible to avoid. In Gurudeva's teachings, from the Hindu point of view, everyone on the planet is unfolding spiritually whether they know it or not. It's just that we all didn't start at the same point in time. But we're going through the same process. It's like every year on Kauai the high schools have a graduation. Every year there's a new crop, right? So graduating from high school, continuous flow of individuals. So this is the same that we're moving forward toward the ninth merger with Siva but we're all in a different class, so to speak. Graduating class.

"A jiva, or soul, merges with his potential mother who gives a physical body to which his astral body is attached. This is the first merger." (I bet you forgot that one. Gurudeva starts at the very beginning here.) Then, when his first guru, the parents, train him to quell the instinctive mind and become a producing member of the family and the social and global communities, the second merger occurs. Why should these two developments be related to merging with the Supreme? It is because Siva is the life of our lives, (Sound familiar, right? Just heard that one.) as the venerable saints teach. Siva is the life of the life of all sentient and insentient beings, the sea of prana, ever emanating, mysteriously, from the All of the Allness of His mystery Being, by which all life exists and all happenings happen. Therefore to merge energies with all other humans without making differences is to find Sivaness in all and within all."

So that's a very good point there in "quell the instinctive mind and becoming a producing member." So that's what parents need to do: "quell the instinctive mind." The instinctive mind is the part of us that only cares about ourself. And we have to be taught to one degree or another to care about other people and to fit into the accepted patterns. And Gurudeva's pointing out that's necessary for deeper mergers with Siva. In other words, if you don't do that, if you never learn to fit in with society, fit in with the family, you can't go on into deeper mergers.

"Having merged with the biological and social worlds, it then is for the young jiva, embodied soul, to be introduced by the parents to the family guru for spiritual training. Obedience and devotion to the guru is again another merger into Sivaness, for the satguru is Sadasiva, or Siva in form, having realized Siva in Formlessness. It is from the satguru's constant, silent emanation that the sishiya thrives, as do flowering trees, bushes and vines thrive and grow from the sun's silent rays and the occasional showers of rain. No words need be spoken, for both sishiya and guru know the same -- the sishiya having had his training in scripture, divine inspiration of song, meaning and dance from his first guru, the parents."

So it's always great when the parents do a good job. As Gurudeva would say it makes his job easier. Otherwise he has to undo, waste many, you know it's not really wasting but cause it is supposed to happen. But, many many years are spent undoing what the parents did in some cases. One of the common problems is being too critical in developing a negative self-concept in the child. You're so critical and demanding, not saying enough positive things. You're not being supportive enough the child ends up with a negative self-concept. So, there's no way you can find the divine within yourself if you have a negative self-concept. The divine can't be there, right? It can only be there when you have a positive self-concept. If you're feeling positive about yourself then it's possible that the divine might be in there somewhere. It's worth looking for. But, if you're feeling negative about yourself there's no way.

So, those are the kinds of undoings that sometimes need to be done.

"Having walked the San Marga through the charya and kriya margas, and having disciplined mind and emotions, the sishiya is ready for the fourth merger into Sivaness. This is accomplished through art, calligraphy, drawing divine forms, writing out scripture in one's own hand and depicting through drama, by learning and playing music, by having all bodily currents move in the rhythm of the sounds of nature, for nature is nada in the external. It has its own choreography, and this merger is with Nataraja, Lord of the Dance. It is also the merger with knowledge of all kinds, of language and mathematics, of the many sciences and arts."

This is an important area that sometimes is hard to fit into modern life. We feel we're too busy to sit there and copy something by hand and develop calligraphy, write Shum, Gurudeva's language of meditation, beautifully by hand. Those kinds of activities as is being pointed out, help you blend with something. And that ability to blend is, is what's needed. Even blending with nature as he's pointing out here: " having all bodily currents move in through the rhythm of the sounds of nature." So blending with the sounds of nature is the same idea.

So, we need to learn to blend with refined cultural areas or with nature to prepare ourselves for going within, going inside and blending.

"The fifth merger is deeper: endeavoring to penetrate the intuitive world, communing with nature, encountering the many dreams, visions and other mystical experiences that await the seeker of Truth. It is merger with the selfless life, of seeing oneself in others, and others in oneself, of losing the barriers that divide one from another, and the internal world from the external world. It is a harmonious life with a heart filled with love, trust and understanding for all, desiring to give rather than wanting only to receive."

So Gurudeva was talking on that area in his talk that we listened to. "...losing the barriers that divide one from another." Certainly, the key to doing that is to see Siva in others. And Gurudeva pointed out how to do that. The light within the eyes is a simple way to see Siva within others. And then going into the energy that created that life takes it even deeper. But as you know I always jokingly say: You have to start with those you're getting along with. Very hard to see God in someone you're currently shunning or disliking or having arguments with. So you have to find someone you're getting along with this week. Start with them and expand outward.

There's a wonderful teaching that Gurudeva gives in this regard. "Seeing oneself in others and others in oneself. " You can be assured, says Gurudeva; if you have a, consistently have a strong reaction to qualities in another person and you just really can't accept how that person is, that those qualities are in you. Otherwise you wouldn't care that much. This is a strong reaction not a mild reaction. Has to be a strong reaction. You consistently have a strong reaction to a certain person; you feel they need to change. Then that means the qualities are also in you. I mean they're there in that person, we're not saying they're not there. They're there in that person but the fact you have a strong reaction means it's also in you. So, it's a good way to adjust your attitude towards the person because you're really reacting to yourself. You're not reacting to the person. The emotion you're feeling is reacting because of what's in you.

Gurudeva doesn't mention the, kind of the basic, basicness of this area. He's looking at it in a higher minded way. But it's good to mention it, which is: In trying to go within, deeper and deeper, into deeper areas of merging with Siva, one of the greatest barriers is caused by not getting along with others. Cause that stirs the emotions. If we're not getting along with certain people on a regular basis. Then our emotions get stirred when we interact with them or think about them. And that stirring of emotion externalizes us. We can't turn within, can't sit there and meditate if your emotions are all disturbed. And just go within and find disturbed emotions then you're on a very short meditation because it won't be enjoyable. You'll come out quickly.

So, the whole area of getting along with others, by seeing Siva in them, by realizing that what you really react to in somebody else must be in you. These kinds of approaches can make it easier. And also just realizing that we need to. You know, if we want to go deeper we just have to get along with other people.

"The light that lights each thought picture when traced to its source is the sixth merger -- the yoga of detaching awareness from that which it is aware of and being the light that lights the thoughts, rather than claiming identity as being the thoughts, then tracing this light of the mind out of the mind into the beyond of the beyond. Yea, this is the sixth way we merge into the Divine. The Lord of the Dance emanates His own lighting effects, does His own choreography, creates His own music and enjoys, as the audience, His own performance."

So that's a monistic point of view. You're both the dancer and the audience so you're watching yourself dance.

One of the beauties of Gurudeva's teachings is that it makes this easy to do at least to some degree. It may not be a super-brilliant blinding inner light you find but you can find an inner light and have some sense of accomplishment and peace just by what Gurudeva says here, you know. Detaching awareness from that which it is aware of and being the light that lights the thoughts. So rather than being the thoughts, you're that which lights the thoughts.

I used to be able to talk about television but these days it's getting so sophisticated, we have a home media studio or something. I don't know what to call it. We get all these programs that come in on our system and not one of them comes in on a television channel. These all come in from the web and iTunes and sometimes dvd's. Anyway, but in the old sense when you had a television you would know when the picture tube went out, right? You couldn't see anything, you could just hear. You know, you could still hear the show but you can't see it. Then you begin to realize: Oh yes, that's right, the picture tube is what's there and making you see the images. You just kind of take it for granted after a while; you don't distinguish between the picture tube and the images. But the picture tube is the screen, the light which the images are on and which it can be seen.

So, to see the inner light we just have to see the pictures. Or, quiet our thinking mind enough so that only the light which lights the pictures is there. That's the goal.

So, there's some practices in the Shum language which make that, which allow you to do that step by step.

"The seventh merger is into the nada-nadi sakti, that unrelenting sound heard as an inexplainable "eee," of a thousand vinas being played simultaneously by Vinadhara, another form of Lord Siva, the maker of sound, the composer of the symphony. The nada is traced to its source, deep within the within, the city of a thousand lights and sounds, for the sound is light and light is sound in this sphere of Satchidananda, all-pervasive oneness with all form, the Self flowing through the mind, untouched by it, yet sustaining it in a mightily mysterious way. "

Again, Gurudeva gives some simple step by step approaches to hearing the nada-nadi shakti, the high "eee." Which, his basic approach is: If you can hear the sound above the right ear and the sound above the left ear and blend them in the center of your head that's the high "eee." So, doesn't actually require silence. So, that can be helpful when you're first figuring out how to do it. Quiet environment. But it's very internalizing, very profound state.

"The eighth merger with Siva is Parasiva. Becoming and being timeless, formless, spaceless is the total transformation of the soul body, the mental body, the astral body, the pranic body and the physical body. It is the breaking of seals which subsequently makes changes never to be repaired. A new, an entirely new, process begins. It is the ultimate healing of all karmas, the ultimate knowing of dharma."

That would be an hour talk to comment on that paragraph fully. What does healing karma mean? What is the ultimate knowing of dharma mean? You know, all these things, pretty profound. But we don't have time for all that.

So the transcendent aspect of Siva is called Parasiva as we know in Sanskrit. And It's timeless, formless, spaceless. So how can you conceive of something that's timeless, formless, spaceless? Well, through analogy; that's how you can perceive of it.

The one I like is the shower head and the shower. So you just imagine, visualize shower head and the shower; that's on. So the water is coming out of the shower head, right? Pretty simple. And the water represents the energy that Gurudeva was talking about. The all pervasive energy or prana. It's coming out of the shower head. Now, make the shower head invisible. So, you have this water coming out of nothing. Or, in the analogy, the basic prana, the energy of the universe is coming out of nothing. How does it do that? It's a good question. It does. So, it's nothing which something seems to come out of.

As Gurudeva says: It's the power of the sustaining power of everything that appears to be real, right? So, it's the sustaining power. It's self caused. It's the sustaining power but yet it's invisible. It's not there. And if that wasn't enough there's one more, right? That's only the eighth one.

"And now, lastly, once the soul evolves out of the physical, pranic, emotional, mental and causal sheaths -- (Then he gives the names in Sanskrit.) annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosas -- and they are needed no more, it evolves into visvagrasa..."

Let's stop there. They are needed no more. So that's a, it's a very interesting point. Can say it another way: What causes us not to be reborn on earth finally? Well, earth is needed no more. In other words it would be like getting a doctorate in something in the university and then going back to grammar school. They'd kick you out the first day. Say: You don't belong here; you already did this. So eventually, we do everything there is to do. We don't need it any more. Gurudeva calls that: "All dharmas are fulfilled." Beautiful statement. We've done everything. All dharmas are fulfilled. We've been a man, been a woman, been a husband, been a wife. Been this, have to be a doctor it seems. Been a doctor, I.T. engineer. Those are required now-a-days. We've been everything. So it's needed no more.

So that's part of the requirement for moksha is to fulfill all dharmas. The other two are: Resolve all karmas and realize God fully. So, the point here is: Need to know more, refers to that. We've already done it. And the karma has been resolved. There's nothing, no more karma to be resolved on earth. You have to resolve certain karmas in the inner worlds. Gurudeva makes a few references to that.

Trying to end on time. Three more minutes.

So that's and they are needed no more, gives you a sense. " evolves into visvagrasa..." So visvagrasa is it coming up. It explains it. So I won't repeat it. Just wait a minute and it'll come around.

"... the ninth and final merger with Siva, as an infant effortlessly becomes a child, a child a youth and a youth an adult. Yes, the soul, jiva, encased in five bodies, is indeed merged into the emanator, preserver and absorber of the inner and outer universes as simply as a drop of water merges into the ocean, never to be found again. This is the timeless path the holy Vedas of the Sanatana Dharma proclaim. As a seed becomes a bud, and a bud becomes a flower, these nine steps of spiritual unfoldment are inevitable for all humankind."

So sometimes I use the analogy of the bucket and the ocean. Where you take the bucket, you dip it in the ocean and you've separated water from the ocean. That's like the creation of the soul. And the English word for that is individuated. It's been made an individual. And then visvagrasa is just pouring it back in. Once it's poured back in it's gone. You know it's just part of the whole. So and, the whole are one thing again as they were in the beginning.

So that takes place in the inner worlds. It doesn't take place when you have a physical body. You're not in the Saiva Siddhanta teachings.

So, it's probably a good point to end with is: The three experiences: Realization, liberation and merger. So different Hindu philosophies, different ways of looking at it.

But, in Saiva Siddhanta, first we have realization. The specific realization or experience required is of Parasiva or the transcendent form of Siva. We have to have realization. Realization is one of the three requirements for liberation. The other two being resolving karma and fulfilling all dharma.

So, liberation is: We're not reborn on earth anymore. That's liberation. But we're still there on the inner planes. We're still a being. Initially we're very much the same being we were before we dropped off the physical body.

Forget the age of the girl, I think she is around seven. Each of the family members asked me a really tough question and I said: I hope I had enough coffee this morning to answer them.

She said: "What happens after death." Seven years old. So that was my point is we go on pretty much the same person we are. It's just we don't have a physical body and quite often people are in physical pain, you know. So we don't have any pain and so that's great. But we're, besides dropping of the pain we're pretty much the same person we were and then we still keep evolving in the inner worlds. And that eventually leads to visvagrasa or merger. Where the water gets poured back into the ocean.

So that's realization, liberation and merger.

And thank you very much.