The Importance of the Agamas. Willpower and Cognition.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2011-01-21
The Agamas focus on externals containing compelling, solid, scriptural reference for why the temple is so important. The other part to be stressed is the Yoga Pada, the meditative side of the tradition. Worship of Siva through the murti leads to worship of Siva within ourselves. Certain inner qualities, such as willpower, carry over from one life to the next. Use of willpower allows the atman to shine forth. The anahata chakra of cognition can become activated in meditation or inspiration and give us insight.
Good morning. Looking at our Master Course lesson for today. Our Dancing With Siva, Shloka #129 is on the Agamas.
"The Agamas, Sanatana Dharma's second authority, are revelations on sacred living, worship, yoga and philosophy. Saivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism each exalts its own array of Agamas, many over 2,000 years old."
As you know, we have a strong interest in the Agamas, particularly, the Saiva Agamas. But, I keep ending up getting invited to Venkateswara temples in the U.S.A. The Telugu community is very large. So I've been to around 7 or 8 Venkateswara temples in the last few years. Going to one in San Antonio in end of March to give three, three talks. So, the Venkateswara worship is the Pancharatra Agamas which are very common in South India. So, I've had to learn a little bit about them. Found some nice quotes from them. And what the Agamas really stress, all Agamas, is the sanctity of the murti. You don't find that stressed elsewhere.
The most popular philosophy in Hinduism, of course, is Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta. And you can read it from beginning to end and you won't find that statement anywhere, I'm sure, because it's so focused on the essence of the soul, the identity of the essence of the soul with God. It's not focused on externals. But the Agamas are focused on externals, focused on the temple.
One of the reasons the Agamas is important in western countries is to provide a scriptural basis for the importance of temple worship. Otherwise, why is it important? You can read all through the Upanishads and there's no temples in the Upanishads. Can read Adi Shankara, he's not talking about temple worship. Where is there references for temple worship?
Temple worship is natural for those who grew up in India or Sri Lanka or other countries where they worship temples. You grew up; it's a habit. It's something you enjoy doing. And those are the individuals that have recreated temples in western countries where they can worship exactly like they did when they grew up. Makes everybody happy who grew up that way. But, what about their children? There's no compelling reason the temples are important to their children.
What does scripture say? Who can answer it?
So having the Agamas more available with compelling reasons why the temple is so important is part of that educational process of having good, solid scriptural reference for the centrality of temple worship.
The other part of the Agamas which needs to be stressed is the meditation or the yoga part. The Yoga Pada. You can look around in Saivism today, individuals following the Agamas and how many of them are meditating? How many of them even are familiar with the meditative side of the tradition. Very few. So, to show that temple worship or worshiping Siva, through the murti, should lead up to worshiping Siva within ourselves is also what the Agamas are very helpful for.
Moving on to Living With Siva.
"Everyone has willpower. It is inherent to the makeup of the physical-astral-mental-emotional body. The center of willpower is the manipura chakra, located at the solar plexus. Unlike other energies, the more willpower we use, the more willpower we have to use."
It's unusual that way. Usually, when you use something it diminishes. You use up the flower, it's gone, right? But willpower isn't that way. The more you use the more you have to use. It's similar to a muscle. If you use a muscle it gets stronger and therefore, the use of it enables you to use it more the next time which enables you to use it more the next time. So, willpower is like a muscle. The use of it strengthens it and allows you to use more of it the next time you use it.
How's that for an example? Have to remember that one. Never used it exactly that way before.
Gurudeva has a very simple message on willpower.
"Will power can be cultivated by finishing and doing well every task that we undertake, in fact, done a little better than our expectations. Finish each task; do it well. Nothing is done with half our mind thinking about something else. Nothing is dropped out in the middle. Developing these two important habits produces an indomitable willpower. "
In other words, we don't want to do the minimum to get by. That's not the point.
The lesson goes on to say:
"...we build up a great willpower that we will always have with us, even in our next life, the next and the next. Willpower is free for the using."
So, it's one of those things that carries forward. Certain qualities carry forward from life to life. We're not the same person each life but certain characteristics or inner qualities that we develop we don't lose them, we don't start over from scratch. And willpower is one of those qualities.
There's a nice quote from Yogaswami, I don't have it here but I can just paraphrase it. It's in my lesson on the topic. It says:
The more, you know be consistent and disciplined and finish your tasks. Do them well and this will cause the power of the Atman to manifest. Something like that is his quote. It's very nice.
In other words, using our willpower in our outer actions gives us a strong willpower to use when we worship and meditate. But it also quiets and disciplines the outer mind which allows the soul or the atman to shine forth.
Last section, Merging With Siva.
"Cognition and Divine Love"
So cognition, anahata chakra, this one, aspirants attain the mountaintop consciousness.
"Instead of viewing life in its partial segments, like seeing just the side of the mountain, he raises his consciousness to a pinnacle from which an objective and comprehensive cognition of the entirety is the natural conclusion. Uninvolved in the seemingly fractured parts, he is able to look through it all and understand -- as though he were looking into a box and seeing the inside, the outside, the top and the bottom all at the same time. It looks transparent to him and he is able to encompass the totality in one instantaneous flash of direct cognition. "
Well, cognition is a useful ability when we're trying to see something. It's important and we're having trouble understanding it. Our normal way of analyzing the situation isn't adequate to sort it out. Our faculty of reason and memory can't provide us with a structure that fits the situation. Something we haven't encountered before would be one reason. Something we've encountered but it has a complexity we're not used to. Therefore, we need a new insight to it and cognition can provide that. Cognition can come just in quiet moments of meditation or it can come when we get inspired in a particularly strong temple puja. This chakra could be activated and give us an insight into the problem.
A suggestion that I make in one of the power point presentations is to: Right before you, right before you, when you're going to bed, write down what you're trying to solve. The issue at hand, the situation, not going to call it a problem, the issue, the situation, write it down in detail very clearly so that someone else could understand it if they read it; it's that clear. And go to sleep with the expectation that the answer will come to you the next day. And sometimes it does if we do it in the right way. We're tapping into this ability but we're doing it through our subconscious mind. We're telling our subconscious: Go find the solution. Tell me tomorrow.
So, that can be, can work quite well particularly for some people when you get the math. It's just using the part of the mind that you don't necessarily deal with.
So, thank you very much.
Have a wonderful phase.
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