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Monism and Theism Both Are Needed

Our tradition combines the two perspectives of monism and theism, dimfi and shumif, into one tradition. It is important to get acquainted with the reality of the personal form of the deity. Beings exist in all three worlds. Experiencing satchidananda, inner light, is from the shumif perspective.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

From yesterday's lesson, Merging with Siva.

"Of course, our most cherished theology is monistic Saiva Siddhanta, the advaitic teachings inherited from our guru parampara who outlined the course we are on. This teaches us that God and man are ultimately one. This teaches us that our Supreme God, Siva, is the creator of the universe, and He is also the creation. He is not different from it. We must go to the temple and worship, with all our heart, God in form before our karmas are cleared, our responsibilities paid, and we realize the formless perfection of God Siva. The guha, the cave of consciousness, opens its doors for us to sit comfortably, mentally undistracted, within the cavity within the head, there to begin the yoga of union for personal, spiritual, everlasting attainment. Saiva Siddhanta outlines the path that we are on. It tells us how to attain these goals."

Interesting, I've been reading our Guru Parampara book which is getting close to getting finished. And, when you see it all written down you realize more than even before, the strong similarities in Gurudeva's teachings and Yogaswami's teachings. And, this is certainly one of them, the combination of these two practices, these two perspectives into a one tradition.

In other words, usually a tradition just has one or the other. It's either monistic, you know: I am God and we're sitting in meditation trying to realize that. Or it's theistic: I love God. And we're sitting in the temple trying to express that.

(And I have an echo. There's two of me. Hello.)

The story that struck me in the Parampara book was, it was talking about Yogaswami's emphasis on the temple. And, as was his custom he would visit his devotees in the morning. So, he went to this devotee's home and it happened to be the time of the Nallur Murugan Festival when the deity comes out of the temple and goes around in very grand style, goes around the whole neighborhood.

So, his devotee happened to be sleeping in that morning. And the father of the family, but the son and the daughter in law were there wanting to go to the temple. But the protocol of the family was such that they couldn't go to the temple without getting their father's blessings to go. So he was sleeping away. And Yogaswami came and scolded him. He said, you know: "You have to get up, you have to get up. Murugan's going around the temple." Very important day.

So, I thought that that was a charming story that illustrates the importance, particularly of festival days. You know festival days are when we can get the most blessings from the temple.

Then from the thought of the day, coming up this week on one of the days is this one.

"In the subtle worlds Siva has the most beautiful form, not unlike a human form, but an absolutely perfect human form. He thinks, He talks, He walks, He makes decisions."

Again one of the distinctions between our tradition and purely monistic tradition is the way we look at the personal form of the Deity. We give it more importance, more reality than many monistic traditions do. And, talking to some devotees who, familiar with the Chinmaya Mission approach to the deity. Very strong monists but they still talk about the deity and do Sivalingam puja for example and chant Rudram every Monday, do abhishekam. But when they talk about the deity such as say Lord Ganesha, they're approaching it more that He's a symbol rather than a being. So they're talk about his noose and his goad and this and that and all the symbolism involved in Lord Ganesha. But, they don't emphasize that He's a being, a being that we should have devotion for, a being that can bless you. That side of it is not stressed.

So that's the theistic side. And it gives importance. That's why I read the quote on the personal form of Siva. It gives more importance to that in getting acquainted with the personal form of the deity as well as our oneness with the deity which is our ultimate goal for which we have to go deeper.

When we had our Hawaii Innersearch there was some material on that. It was stressing this, the fact that it's two different perspectives. And if we don't understand that clearly then it won't make sense to us. The two perspectives are not the same at all. The perspective of the deity and theism is what in Shum we call dimfi.

Whereas, we're looking in to the inner worlds. We're using the perspective of the three worlds. So we're, of course, in the three worlds just like in this world, there's lots of different beings. So, we're seeing beings that are separate from us just like we would in this world see people that are separate from us. So, we're looking out through the, looking in through the three world perspective.

But, deeper than that is the monistic perspective. So, when you use the monistic perspective or shumif, you don't see any other beings. Gurudeva stresses that in some of his writings on shumif. There's no other person. You just experiencing what is. Experiencing Satchitananda, experiencing inner light. But you don't, you're not looking for another person; you're just looking to go deep within yourself.

So, that's another way the idea of two different perspectives are explained in Gurudeva's teachings.

Thank you very much.

Have a wonderful phase, week.

[End of transcript.]

Photo of  Gurudeva
When your spiritual will is awake, you have consideration for other people's feelings. When your spiritual will is awake, you give in on little things, and you have the power to hold firm on big issues.