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What Are the Three Worlds?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 21

"The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas." We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple, the three worlds. In the temple we're being good dvaitists in the dimfi perspective, focused in bhakti upon God Siva. In meditation we're monists, in the shumif perspective. We claim our oneness with Siva, Sivoham, I am Siva. In surrender, shrinking the ego through devotion, we have a realization that we're not the doer, that Siva is doing it all. Siva's energy comes through our soul.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Reading this morning from Path to Siva, Lesson 21.

"What Are the Three Worlds?

"There are three worlds of existence. The First World is the physical universe, the gross plane, called Bhuloka. This is the world we see with our eyes and touch with our hands. It is the material world, where we have our experiences, create karma and fulfill the desires and duties of life in a physical body. The Second World is the subtle or astral plane, the in-between realm called Antarloka. This world exists within the physical plane. As our thoughts and feelings are part of that inner world, we are functioning in the astral world even while we are awake. During sleep, we leave our physical body and are aware in that inner world fully. Besides dreaming, we may also attend inner-plane classes held by our satguru. The Antarloka has many levels, spanning the spectrum of consciousness from the hellish Naraka regions, where the asuras, demonic beings dwell, to the highest region of the Devaloka where the devas, or angels live. When our physical body dies, we live fully in the Antarloka in our subtle body. The Third World is the causal plane, the world of light and blessedness, called Sivaloka. This highest plane is the home of God Siva and of the Gods who assist Him, such as Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan. It is also the home of highly advanced souls who exist in their brilliant soul form. We experience the Sivaloka when we see the inner light or have a flash of intuition. We can worship God and the Gods anywhere. But the temple is the best place, because it is built as a special, sacred space where the three worlds meet as one. When we are awake, we normally don't see or sense the inner worlds. The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas, just as night-vision goggles allow us to see in the dark. In our form of worship, called puja, we chant, burn incense, ring bells and offer lights and flowers. This ritual brings us close to God and the great beings of our faith."

Three worlds is a very important concept when it comes to understanding the inner workings of temple worship. Cause we can say: There's a lot more going on then we can see with our eyes. We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple.

I once attended a kumbhabhishekam, Florida, Venkateshwara Temple.And it was adjacent to a Chinmaya Mission. And so, our host had us giving talks in the temple, in the temple hall and at the Chinmaya Mission. And I made the mistake of not distinguishing as much between my topics so they were all pretty much about the temple. And I was talking about the three worlds at the Chinmaya Mission. And it did not connect at all and a good experience for me. But it made me realize that the philosophy of the tree worlds is not strong in all Hindu denominations. That's what it made me realize, that the Chinmaya Mission is looking at it, what we call in Shum, Shumif. That perspective of monism, or the perspective of going into yourself. When you go into yourself there's no second being. When we meditate we're not meditating on the form of Siva or the form of a Mahadeva. We're simply going into our self. If we're thinking about a second being we're not meditating in the manner in which we're supposed to be.

Whereas, in the temple we're focused upon as another being. We're focused upon God Siva in our homa this morning, acknowledging a being separate from our self. Acknowledging a being, separate from our self is called dvaita or dualism. Not acknowledging anything separate from your self is called monism or advaita. There is nothing that you are not. If we're in the temple we're trying to be good dualists. That's the idea of the temple. In meditation we're trying to be good monists. There's two different perspectives and all Hindu approaches don't have both. That's the point is that everybody doesn't follow two approaches.

Our guru made it very simple for the monks. We have two rooms. Two temples. This temple which is the Siva Temple. And then we have what's called the Guru Temple. In the Siva Temple we're good dualists. We sit there and we express our devotion, our praise for God Siva. Then we go around to the Guru Temple and we're good monists, we meditate, we go into ourselves. We don't get confused. We have a separate room for each. This is called the dualism room and that's called the monism room. In Shum we call this dimfi, that's the perspective. And then that's called Shumif. The two different approaches totally, are encompassed in our philosophy. We have two approaches. We want to use the right one at the right time. When we go into this room, we attend puja, we don't want to be great monists; we're missing the point. We go into that room we don't want to be great dualists. We want to keep our perspectives straight.

Said another way, to really be a great monist in our tradition we have to be a great dualist first. We have to be a great bhaktar, a great devotee of Lord Siva before we can claim our oneness with Siva. If we try to claim our oneness with Siva what are we claiming oneness with? Our ego! That's all that's in there. Say Aham and Aham means our ego. We can't say Sivoham yet. That we are Siva. So we have to become great dualists. Siva is great; I am small. Siva is everything; I am nothing. We have to be great dualists before we can say: I am Siva. Otherwise we're just affirming that we are our ego. Because ego is significant size, shall we say, it's blocking the path.

Imagine a boulder bigger than the temple door. We couldn't get around it, right? So there's a boulder there inside of us and it's too big to move. What do we do? How do we get around the boulder which is symbolizing the ego. We can't move it; we shrink it. So we shrink it through devotion. We make the ego smaller so there's a little opening on the left side there. we can crawl through. I get to Siva and then we keep our devotion going. Oh Siva you're great and I'm small. It shrinks a little more. So every time we express our devotion we're shrinking the boulder. It's a good image, huh? So we want to shrink the boulder, we can't go away because then we couldn't function. But we want it really small. And when it's really small, what happens? Well that's the Pub. Desk for this coming issue which is on surrender. Three types of surrender in bhakti yoga, in karma yoga and in raja yoga. How we surrender in each of the three approaches.

When we surrender by which ever means, we have a realization that Siva is doing it all. That's surrender. If we're not surrendered, I'm doing it. Boy I really performed well today. I did better than everyone in the office. I did better than everyone in the hospital. I just did so well today. That's not surrender because we think that we did it. Surrender is: Siva did so well today through me. That's surrender.

We don't have the sense that we're the doer. In other words, you have a computer and if the computer had intelligence it could think it was smart. I'm faster then that computer over there, right? I have a better processor, newer one. But if you unplug it, what happens? Can't do anything. So the computer is dependent upon electricity to do anything. Likewise, we're similar to the computer; we're dependent upon God Siva's energy which comes through our soul. God Siva's energy comes through our soul. If God Siva's energy wasn't coming through our soul as electricity comes through a computer, we couldn't do anything. So, when we think we're the doer we're not looking at the source of the energy.

If the computer were self-reflective it could see the electricity coming and say: Oh thank you very much electricity for coming through me, otherwise, I couldn't function, right? So the soul can reflect in the same way: Thank you very much God Siva for coming through my soul as energy which allows me to function. If that energy wasn't coming through me couldn't do anything. So to think you are that energy is the next step. To acknowledge it is the first step. You know, the boulder is pretty small. Then when you think you are that energy then the boulder is just as small as it can get without you becoming dysfunctional. Because you have to be able to function in the world and say: I have to do something today. You can't feel that nothing has to be done today. It's gotten too small. You have to inflate it a bit. You have to feel: Okay, I have to do something today. But really it's God Siva who's doing it.

So, thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Observation, when perceptively performed, is cultivated by abstinence from excessive talk. Talk dissipates the energies of the aura and of the vital body of man.