July 21, 2019 - Lesson 100
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Sloka 100 from Dancing with Siva
What Are Other Important Festivals?
Besides the temple festivals, there is a multitude of home, community and national celebrations, notably Dipavali, Hindu New Year, Tai Pongal, guru puja days, kumbha melas, Jayanti and Guru Purnima. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Dipavali, the "festival of lights" in October-November, is a most popular festival, esteemed as a day of Hindu solidarity, when all sects gather in love and trust. It begins the financial year and is celebrated by opening new accounts, giving greeting cards, clothing and other gifts and by lighting rows of oil lamps. Family bonds are strengthened and forgivenesses sought. The several Hindu New Years are important observations. Tai Pongal, in January-February, is a harvest thanksgiving and invocation for prosperity. God Surya, the Sun, is honored, and daughters are presented with gifts. We venerate saints and sages by conducting guru puja on the anniversary of their passing, or mahasamadhi. We celebrate our satguru's birthday, or Jayanti, with special puja to his shri paduka, "sandals," or holy feet. We honor him again on Guru Purnima, the full moon of July. Kumbha melas, humanity's largest gatherings, are held at four pilgrimage centers in India every three years. The Vedas proclaim, "Thus have we now approached the All-Knower, the one who is the best procurer of good things. Endow us, O Majesty, with strength and glory." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 100 from Living with Siva
Sleep and Dreaming
Get into the habit of meditating before sleep each night. If you catch yourself dropping off to sleep while sitting for meditation, know that your meditation is over. The best thing to do is to deliberately go to sleep, because the spiritual power is gone and has to be invoked or opened up again. After getting ready for bed, sit in the lotus position and have a dynamic meditation for as long as you can. When you feel drowsy, you may deliberately put your body to sleep in this way. Mentally say to yourself, "Prana in the left leg, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the right leg, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the left arm, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the right arm, flow, go to sleep. Torso prana, flow, go to sleep. Head filled with inner light, go to sleep." The first thing you know, it's morning.
The whole dream and sleep world is very interesting. Often we go into inner planes of consciousness at night. How do you know if you have been in meditation all through the night, studying at the inner-plane school in higher states of mind? You will wake up all of a sudden with no interim period of sleepiness. You wake up invigorated. There you are, as if you came out of nowhere back into external consciousness. Otherwise, you wake up through the subconscious dream world. You feel a little off-key, and you know that you have been in the dream or astral world or the realms of intellectual aggressiveness much of the night. Striving yoga students do go into inner-plane meditation schools for short periods of time during their sleeping hours. This occurs when the mind is a well-trained mind, a keen mind, a crystal-clear mind.
Perhaps by this time you have seen the clear white light, or less intense inner light, and you have seen how crystal clear and sharp it is. Each thought, each feeling, each action has to be crystal clear and sharp to maintain and bring through a balance of your consciousness to the external world. When this happens, you have control over these states of consciousness, so much so that you are your own catalyst, and you can slide into higher states and out to external states of consciousness without being disturbed by one or the other.
When we act and react in daily affairs, we dream at night. We are living in the external or the aggressive magnetic force, called pingala. Thus, we dream in pictures. Should a yogi live in the passive force, the magnetic indrawn force, called ida, he feels and emotes on the astral plane. He would have a fretful, eventful night, an emotional night. He would not dream in pictures as much as he would in feeling. When one is living in the pure spiritual force, sushumna, the primary life force, he flows from sleep into meditation. The meditator should strive to put his body to sleep consciously and deliberately, after balancing the external and internal magnetic forces. So, whether he is lying down in his body or sitting in the lotus posture, he is in deep meditation, going to schools of learning and schools of spiritual unfoldment within his own mind. In the morning, many of my students remember inner-plane class activities which occurred during the night, not as a dream but as their own experience. So, you can meditate while you sleep, but don't sleep while you are meditating!
Sutra 100 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Taking Action If Abused
Each of Siva's married women loves and serves her husband, despite any shortcomings. But if he ever strikes her or the children, she is duty-bound to seek help from family, friends and community. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 100 from Merging with Siva
Learning to Face Yourself
Have you ever known a friend who reacted terribly to an experience in life and as a result became so changed mentally and physically that you hardly recognized him? Our external conscious mind has a habit of not being able to take the meaning out of life's most evident lessons.
The basic laws of life are so simple that many people don't heed them. Why? Generally because the opportunities afforded us to fail these tests are so plentiful that we generate very good reasons for not paying attention to our lessons. Shall we say it is normal to fail some of these tests? Yes, isn't this like getting a failing grade on a report card in school, not passing some of the tests and having to take a course over again? We must learn from our experiences or find ourselves repeating them again and again.
It is our teaching not to react to life's experiences, but to understand them and in the understanding to free ourselves from the impact of these experiences, realizing the Self within. The true Self is only realized when you gain a subconscious control over your mind by ceasing to react to your experiences so that you can concentrate your mind fully, experience first meditation and contemplation, then samadhi, or Self Realization. First we must face our subconscious.
There are many amusing ways in which people go about facing themselves. Some sit down to think things over, turning out the light of understanding. They let their minds wander, accomplishing nothing. Let me suggest to you a better way.
In facing ourselves let us relate our actions, our thoughts and our feelings to the yamas and the niyamas, the wise restraints and observances of Hindu dharma. In aligning ourselves with these universal laws, we can soon see how clear or muddy is our own subconscious. Fulfilling the restraints first allows us to take the next step on the spiritual path, which is the fulfillment of the observances. As long as we are evading our taxes, it is difficult to live up to the ideal of honesty. As long as we are beating our children, it is difficult to adhere to nonviolence. As long as we are swearing, using asura-invoking, profane words in the home, it will be difficult to cultivate patience. As long as we indulge in pornography, a mental form of adultery, it will be difficult to practice purity. Yes, it will be difficult to cultivate a contemplative nature. All these and more will require serious penance, prayashchitta as it is known in Sanskrit, to change the nature and bring it into harmony with the profound ideals of the ancient Indian sages and yogis.