Accepting and Facing Challenges
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2012-03-13
Having a sense of who we are, fulfilling the dharma of that person, we're motivated to do certain things in the world. Those change lifetime to lifetime. Find inspiration in experiencing God Siva's all-knowingness for brief periods; sayujya takes a long time. Do what is next on the personal path of evolution, enjoying enjoyable moments and facing the challenges with determination. Dance in step with Siva.
Good morning everyone. Large group this morning.
This point in our ceremony we read from Gurudeva's Master Course Trilogy. This is from the lesson for today. Sloka 29 from Dancing With Siva.
"Why Are We Not Omniscient Like Siva?
"The tree bonds of anava, karma and maya veil our sight. This is Siva's purposeful limiting of awareness which allows us to evolve. In the superconscious depths of our soul, we share God Siva's all-knowingness.
"Just as children are kept from knowing all about adult life until they have matured into understanding, so too is the soul's knowledge limited. We learn what we need to know, and we understand what we have experienced. Only this narrowing of our awareness, coupled with a sense of individualized ego, allows us to look upon the world and our part in it from a practical, human point of view. "
This is a very interesting explanation, important concept in Saiva Siddhanta, this limiting of awareness. As Gurudeva says: "...coupled with a sense of individualized ego," gives us a sense of who we are. And having a sense of who we are we're motivated to do certain things in the world. And those change lifetime to lifetime but they're all very important.
Gurudeva's saying: We're always God Siva but -- and it comes up later on here -- we usually don't realize it. Only now and then. Normally, we identify with ourselves as a person. And that's a positive thing because then we fulfill the dharma of that person. That's the point. Because we have that identity we fulfill that dharma. And the next life we have a different identity and we fulfill that dharma. And, it's the fulfilling of dharma that advances us spiritually.
"Pasha is the soul's triple bondage: maya, karma and anava. Without the world of maya, the soul could not evolve through experience. Karma is the law of cause and effect, action and reaction governing maya. Anava is the individuating veil of duality, source of ignorance and finitude."
This next one is easy to remember.
"Maya is the classroom, karma the teacher, and anava the student's ignorance."
Goes along with what we are saying and it's an important point in certain Hindu philosophies when the word maya comes up, we think of illusion. The world is illusion. We're supposed to discover that illusion, discard it and realize our oneness with God. Sounds good on paper but it's hard to do. Kind of and advanced practice. It's there, but when you find it in Gurudeva's writings sometimes he'll talk about the, things appear to be an illusion, beyond reality. The part of you in your thinking mind that you're there to think is real.
But, on the more practical day to day level, we have the other view that maya is the classroom. And, the advantage of the classroom is obviously, if we're the student in the classroom, why are we there? Supposed to learn something, supposed to get smarter. Get more intelligent; figure things out better.
Therefore, it gives us that sense that maya, meaning the world, is a place where we should be learning and progressing because of what we're learning. We should be changing, becoming a more spiritual person because we're learning about ourselves. We're learning about life. We're learning the laws of action and reaction that, when we do certain things, it creates a negative karma. So, we don't want to do that. It's very upsetting when it comes back to us. We learn those lessons. a
"The three bonds, or malas, are given by Lord Siva to help and protect us as we unfold. Yet, God Siva's all-knowingness may be experienced for brief periods by the meditator who turns within to his own essence. Tirumantirum explains, 'When the soul attains Self-knowledge, then it becomes one with Siva. The malas perish, birth's cycle ends and the lustrous light of wisdom dawns.'"
The point there is that: "...brief periods. God Siva's all-knowingness may be experienced for brief periods by the meditator..." If we're lucky enough to experience God's omnipresence or all-knowingness as it's explained here, initially it's for brief periods. You don't sustain it even for an hour. You don't sustain it certainly for a whole day. You just have a sense of it maybe for even just a few seconds or a few minutes that you and God Siva are somehow One and all pervasive and all-knowing. But it's brief. And then we come back to our normal identity and the need to fulfill dharma. Cause we're no longer God Siva. When we're God Siva there's nothing to do except enjoy being God Siva.
But then we come back to our normal dharma and we have something to do which is our dharma, our duties. So we go back and forth like that and obviously, we want the brief periods to get a little bit longer and a little bit longer and a little bit longer. So that's, that's the idea and eventually you have sayujya which in Gurudeva's explanation means: doesn't go away. But that takes a long long time. So we have to be content with the brief periods; find inspiration in those.
There's a related one. In case some of you who don't know our "Today at Kauai Aadheenam" page, TAKA for short, always starts with a photo of Gurudeva and a quote. And the quote rotates in a random way. So sometimes you open up TAKA and it seems to be speaking to you. Just addresses what's on your mind. So this was on TAKA this morning for me and related to the lesson of the day:
"In the final analysis, we are all doing exactly as we want, as we must, doing what is next on our personal path of evolution. Nothing is wrong. Nothing should be that is not."
Sometimes, the responsibilities of family life get a bit heavy and things aren't going too well. And it's easy to think: Oh if things were different, if I wasn't doing this, if this didn't, wasn't this way or that wasn't that way. You know, it's just, things aren't the way it should be; it's too difficult. But Gurudeva's saying: No no, don't look at it that way. We're doing what we need to do as we must. Doing what is next on our personal path of evolution. We ended up in the situation we are, not by accident. It's a natural progression and therefore we need to face...
Well, let's, let's put it the other way. Therefore, we need to enjoy the enjoyable moments and face the challenges with determination to work through them. It's a mixture. Some, some events are just really joyful and easy. Others are definitely challenging. But it's all part of what we need to do. If we let the challenges overwhelm us and we don't do well with them then that's not ideal. Then we'll just have to face that challenge again in the future.
The point I make on challenges, many of you have heard it before but it really impressed me, so when I think of challenges it naturally pops up. Gurudeva was saying that he was in an astrological period that was a really good period and therefore, there were no challenges coming to him and therefore, he wasn't making any spiritual progress. So you get the point. We want a certain amount of challenge in order to improve, develop our abilities to control our emotions and the situations in the world but we don't want to be overwhelmed with it. So challenges are good.
The last idea here is: "Nothing is wrong, nothing should be that is not." And again, that's easier to accept when things are going well. And when they're going poorly certainly something is happening that shouldn't be, right? It's so difficult. But, it's all the way it should be. Why is it the way it is? Because of what happened before and what happened before that. It's just a logical continuation of what you as an individual, we as a country, we as a world have done before. It's all moving in the law of karma. What we're facing now is the result of what we did before, what others did before. And we need to accept that.
If we do life is a lot easier cause we're not, what would you say? Like the dancer who's out of step. That's the comparison in Dancing With Siva. With Siva's dancing and if you're in rhythm with Him, if you're in tune with Him then you're dancing along fine. But, if you're thinking Siva's dance has a flaw then you can't dance with him, you're out of step and it's awkward and doesn't move you forward.
So sometimes you have to look at TAKA to see what's going on: There's a flower blooming I'm supposed to go look at today. There's a note on TAKA says: A Bodhinatha favorite, in blossom today in Siva's garden. So, I have to go out and find it.
Okay, have a wonderful day. Thank you all for coming.
Aum Namah Sivaya