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What Is Our Affirmation of Faith?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 18

"God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality." Devotion is present in each of Saiva Siddhanta's four paths in our relationship to God. When we begin the soul feels God is really far away. As we get closer and closer as in the lover and Beloved, it means a oneness. You alone exist and you are love. Love alone exists, which is Siva, but which is also you. I am Transcendent Reality and Immanent Love.

Path to Siva, Lesson 18.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we're on Path to Siva, Lesson 18.

"What Is Our Affirmation of Faith?

"'God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality.' That is our affirmation in English. It summarizes the beliefs and doctrines of the Saivite Hindu religion. Immanent means 'present throughout.' Transcendent means 'beyond.' By repeating this affirmation, we assert that God is both manifest and unmanifest. He is present throughout the world and He also transcends it. He is personal Divine Love and impersonal Reality. We repeat 'God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality' when going to sleep and again while awakening. This statement brings us close to Siva and prepares us for the day. In Tamil it is Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam. In the Sanskrit language it is Premaiva Sivamaya, Satyam eva Parasivah. We can use it like a mantra and recite it 108 times. We can write it down 108 or 1008 times as a sadhana. Repeating this affirmation, we impress our mind with the ultimate truths of our religion so that these memories give us strength in times of distress, worldliness or anxiety. It reminds us that God's immanent love protects and guides us. Through the day, it lifts our mind into useful thoughts and keeps us from harm's way. Reciting this affirmation draws us into Siva consciousness. Other religions also have affirmations of faith. For example, Christians have the Apostle's Creed and Muslims have the Shahada. Followers treasure their affirmations, repeating them often individually or as a group."

Very nice.

We can approach the Affirmation of Faith just as we approach Saiva Siddhanta as theism, as monism or as monistic theism. The normal idea of love in religion is theistic. God loves you or you love God. Theistic statement. And this was a couple of years ago, the Vedantic Kaseri, they were doing a special issue on bhakti. And so they wrote to us, Vedantic Kaseri is Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai. Their English publication. They also have a Tamil publication. So we know the editors and they asked us to submit an article on devotion in Tamil Saivism. So we did that. And an interesting point that was made in the article is, when you think of Vedanta you think of karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, and jnani yoga. Devotion is bhakti yoga or one of the four.

Whereas in Saiva Siddhanta you have charya, kriya, yoga and jnana and devotion is present in each of the four. So it's a difference that the article points out that there is no path in Saiva Siddhanta that is without devotion. Just comes in a different form and one of the ways we express that is as the relationship of the soul to God. So that's called the marga. So we have dasa marga, we start as a servant. The soul feels God is really far away, just like a servant in a big house. But God is present in the house. And then we have child to parent, getting closer. And we have friends. And then we lover and Beloved which is also, in a monistic sense, it also means a oneness or a sameness. So we're getting closer and closer to God in our relationship.

Tirumantiram has a verse that we quote in the Dancing With Siva sutra on Affirmation of Faith.

"The ignorant prate that love and Siva are two. They do not know that love alone is Siva. When men know that love and Siva are the same, love as Siva they ever remain."

So that's getting a bit more monistic. They're remaining as love as Siva.

Have an even clearer statement on that from Yogaswami on that which is how the article ends. This is, he's writing a letter to a young man who is Yogendra Duraiswamy.

"I am with you and you are with me. There is no distance between us. I am you. You are I. What is there to fear? Look! I exist as you. Then what must you do? You must love. Whom? Everyone! To speak more clearly, your very nature is love. Not only you, but all are pervaded by love. But there is no 'all', for you alone exist. All are you!"

That's as monistic as you can get, right? You alone exist and you are love. So love alone exists, which is Siva, but which is also you.

In other words we can, we can look at the Affirmation of Faith as we were talking about the two syllable Panchakshara. Si Va. And then we did Si Va Ya, three syllables. When we think of Siva and apply it, Si is the transcendent Absolute. Va is Satchidananda or here it's described as immanent love. And Ya is the primal soul. Or we can apply it to ourselves in which case the first two are the same. Si is the transcendent reality of us; Va is our immanence. And Ya is our soul which is not as mature as Siva's soul. So the Ya is different but the Si and the Va are the same.

So likewise, though the lesson is just talking about Siva, Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam as qualities of Siva, we can also think of those as qualities of our own soul. We can turn it both ways.

So: "I am Transcendent Reality and Immanent Love." That would be the other way of thinking about it.

Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.