January 25, 2021 - Lesson 288

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Sloka 133 from Dancing with Siva

Does Hinduism Have Epics and Myths?

The Mahabharata and Ramayana are Hinduism's most renowned epic histories, called Itihasa. The Puranas are popular folk narratives, teaching faith, belief and ethics in mythology, allegory, legend and symbolism. Aum.


Hinduism's poetic stories of rishis, Gods, heroes and demons are sung by gifted panditas and traveling bards, narrated to children and portrayed in dramas and festivals. The Mahabharata, the world's longest epic poem, is the legend of two ancient dynasties whose great battle of Kurukshetra is the scene of the Bhagavad Gita, the eloquent spiritual dialog between Arjuna and Krishna. The Ramayana relates the life of Rama, a heroic king revered as the ideal man. The Puranas, like the Mahabharata, are encyclopedic in scope, containing teachings on sadhana, philosophy, dharma, ritual, language and the arts, architecture, agriculture, magic charms and more. Of eighteen principal Puranas, six honor God as Siva, six as Vishnu and six as Brahma. The witty Panchatantra, eminent among the "story" literature, or katha, portrays wisdom through animal fables and parables. The Bhagavad Gita proclaims, "He who reads this sacred dialog of ours, by him I consider Myself worshiped through the sacrifice of knowledge. And the man who listens to it with faith and without scoffing, liberated, he shall attain to the happy realm of the righteous." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 288 from Living with Siva

Half Full or Half Empty?

Much of life today is based on depreciation and denigration of public leaders, groups, governments, religions, corporations and even family members. This is negative living, always pointing out faults in no uncertain terms and ignoring the virtues. A Hawaiian civic leader lamented to us recently that people are cruel in their complaints. "It's OK to criticize," she said, "but they should be kindly when doing so!"

A story I was told decades ago relates. A guru was sitting with two disciples under a sprawling banyan tree in India. The older student inquired, "Guruji, how long must I wait until I realize God?" The teacher responded, "Enlightenment is not something that can be predicted, but since you have asked," he leaned over and spoke in the right ear, "It will be twenty more lives." "Oh, no!" the youth cried in dismay, "I don't know if I can wait that long!" The other follower, naturally curious, asked of his own future. The guru whispered, "Liberation will come after you live as many lives as this banyan has leaves!" Hearing this, the seeker jumped to his feet and began to dance. Why? He was suddenly overcome by the assurance that he would ultimately be liberated. Ecstatic with appreciation, he transcended the mind and attained his liberation that very moment.

The first student was on the path of depreciation. For him the pot was half empty. The second followed the path of appreciation and was immersed in thankfulness. For him the pot was half full. "Some people complain because God put thorns on roses. Others praise Him for putting roses among the thorns."

Appreciation is a beautiful, soulful quality available to everyone in every circumstance--being thankful for life's little treasures, grateful for the opportunity to begin the day where you are, appreciating the perfect place your karma and God's grace have brought you to. Appreciation is life-giving. Depreciation without appreciation is heartlessly destructive. Yet, it is the all-too-common way of our times. When something is done that is good, helpful or loving, it is often overlooked, treated as something expected. No acknowledgement is shown, no gratitude expressed. But if a shortcoming is seen, everyone is swift to point it out!

The Vedas, the Tirukural and our many other holy texts indicate a better way. The wise ones knew that all people possess freedom of choice and the willpower to use it. Today that freedom is usually used, unwisely, to downgrade others, as well as oneself. Ignorance seems to be almost as all-pervasive as God. We find it everywhere and within every situation. It does not have to be this way.

Gratitude is a quality of the soul. It does not depend on how much we possess. Its opposite, ingratitude, is a quality of the external ego. When we abide in soul consciousness, we give thanks for whatever we have, no matter how little or how much. When in ego consciousness, we are never grateful or satisfied, no matter how much we have.

Sutra 288 of the Nandinatha Sutras

The Teachings Of Pristine Tamil Saints

My Hindu Church decrees as true Tamil Saiva saints the great ones who upheld dharma, ahimsa and monistic Saiva Siddhanta through the ages. We revere their words as scripture and bestow our heartfelt pranamas. Aum.

Lesson 288 from Merging with Siva

Ida, Pingala And Sushumna

In mystic cosmology, the seven lokas, or upper worlds, correspond to the seven higher chakras. The seven talas, or lower worlds, correspond to the chakras below the base of the spine. Man is thus a microcosm of the universe, or macrocosm. The spine is the axis of his being, as Mount Meru is the axis of the world, and the fourteen chakras are portals into the fourteen worlds, or regions of consciousness. The actinodic life force within the sushumna current runs up and down the spine and becomes very powerful when the ida and pingala, or the odic forces, are balanced. Then man becomes completely actinodic. He doesn't feel, in a sense, that he has a body at that particular time. He feels he is just a being suspended in space, and during those times his anahata and vishuddha chakras are spinning and vibrating. When, through the practice of very intense, sustained states of contemplation, he merges into pure states of superconsciousness, the ida and the pingala form a circle. They meet, and the pituitary and the pineal glands at the top of the head also merge their energies. This produces deep samadhi. The pituitary gland awakens first and through its action stimulates the pineal. The pineal shoots a spark into the pituitary, and the door of Brahman, the Bramarandhra, is opened, never to close. I once saw the sahasrara on a long stem above my head when I was in New York in 1953 or '54.

The sushumna force also merges, and the kundalini, which is at this time playing up and down the spine like a thermometer, as the fire-heat body of man, rises to the top of the head, and man then goes beyond consciousness and becomes the Self and has his total Self Realization, nirvikalpa samadhi.

The ida nadi is pink in color. It flows down, is predominantly on the left side of the body and is feminine-passive in nature. The pingala nadi is blue in color. It flows up, is predominantly on the right side of the body and is masculine-aggressive in nature. These nerve currents are psychic tubes, shall we say, through which prana flows from the central source, Siva. The prana is flowing down through the ida and up through the pingala, but in a figure eight. The sushumna nadi is in a straight line from the base of the spine to the top of the head. The ida and pingala spiral around the sushumna and cross at the third chakra, the manipura, and at the fifth chakra, the vishuddha, and meet at the sahasrara. This means that there is a greater balance of the ida and the pingala in man's will center, or manipura chakra, and in his universal love center, or vishuddha chakra, and of course at the great sanga center, the meeting place of the three rivers, the sahasrara chakra.

The sushumna nadi, flowing upward, is the channel for the kundalini shakti, which is white. It is the cool energy, as white contains all colors. When this happens, and it happens almost imperceptibly under the guru's watchful eye, consciousness slowly expands. The novice only knows of the subtle yet powerful spiritual unfoldment when looking back from the time the practices were begun. Now he sees how life was then and how now his soul's humility has overtaken the external ego.

Through breathing exercises, meditation and the practice of hatha yoga, the ida and the pingala, or the aggressive and passive odic forces, are balanced. When they are balanced, the chakras spin all at the same velocity. When the chakras spin at the same velocity, they no longer bind awareness to the odic world; man's awareness then is automatically released, and he becomes conscious of the actinodic and actinic worlds.

Those chakras at the crossing of the ida and pingala are the more physical of the chakras, whereas those it skips are energized by the sushumna itself. When the yogi is really centered within, the ida and pingala then blend together in a straight line and merge into the sushumna, energizing all seven chakras, and in the older soul, slowly, very slowly, slowly, begin to energize the seven chakras above the sahasrara. When this happens, he no longer thinks but sees and observes from the ajna chakra between the eyes. He is totally consciously alive, or superconscious. It is only when his ida and pingala begin functioning normally again that he then begins to think about what he saw.