Facing challenges that are difficult cause us to mature spiritually. Doing what is next, our personal path of evolution progresses from one life to the next. There are four stages: service, devotion, meditation and realization; chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. True maturity is understanding the consequences before you act. Move forward as karma and dharma permits on the winding path toward moksha being content with the consciousness that it usually takes many lives. As Gurudeva says: Enjoy the journey.
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lesson 317
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Mahesvara, Guru Sakshat, Parabrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.
Good morning everyone.
Begin this morning it's Merging With Siva, Lesson 317.
"Four Stages Of Evolution
"Let me begin with something that may at first come as a surprise to you. All men and women on the Earth are doing exactly as they should and must do..."
Isn't that an interesting statement? We always think that we're not doing what we should be doing. Should be doing something else, right? I should be doing this, this and this. But, Gurudeva's saying: No you're doing exactly what you should be doing. In other words, we gravitate to what we should be doing. May take us a while. When we're 17 we may not exactly be there. Twenty-seven probably closer, 37 closer yet. You know we gravitate to what we should be doing. It's just human nature to end up doing what we should be doing. And therefore, if we think we should be doing something else, we're simply frustrating ourselves. Unnecessarily. We're becoming discontent. Instead of being content we're being discontent by thinking something is wrong. Something is out of place. Something we're doing we shouldn't be doing. Something that happened today shouldn't have happened today. My problem with this person shouldn't have happened.
We kind of want life to be problem free, right? Free ride, no problems. Like eating desert without having to eat the main meal. No, everything is the way it should be. The challenges we're facing are what we're supposed to be facing. But it's human nature not to want to face the challenges. We just want the desert. We want it to be easy. But that's like having an infant never walk, you know. It's not easy to walk. You've got to develop muscles.
So it's the challenges that are difficult but they're what cause us to mature spiritually.
"...People complain, 'I wish I were rich. I wish I lived somewhere else. I really should be a doctor. If only things were different.' But 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..."
So that's the key. We're doing what is next, not what is the most enjoyable, not what is the end result. But we're doing what is next. It's a logical pattern; it progresses from one life to the next. We end up doing what's next based on our previous lives and then we end up in the future life doing what's next based on a past life. So, that's, it's a very wonderful statement. Knowing that we're doing what we should be doing, just do it well. Very simple.
"...Nothing is wrong. Nothing should be that is not. Even the drunk, even the thief, is part of the cosmic dance of God Siva. Not that you should ever think of being a thief, for there is much difficult karma there. Just realize that he, too, is evolving. He, too, is Siva's creation, and what he does is, for him, somehow necessary."
So it takes us a while, you can look at the thief. It takes us a while to encompass that actions have consequences. That's the thief. He doesn't think of the consequence. "I can just go into the bank and take the money." We had a bank robbery in Kapaa, right? Didn't do very well. Got a thousand dollars I think, got caught.
But you don't see the consequences. You don't understand the consequences. You think you can avoid the consequences of an action. That's what immaturity is. You're not accepting that there are consequences to every action. That even though someone may not initially know, eventually those consequences will come to you. So that's what maturity is: Understanding the consequences before you act. That's true maturity. And therefore you discriminate between what you want to do and what you don't want to do because you don't want to face those consequences.
"Just look at the world. Warriors have to fight their battles. Priests have to take care of their temples. Businessmen must sell their goods. Farmers must grow their crops and tend their flocks. Teachers must pass on knowledge. Each one has to do what he has to do in the great cosmic dance of Siva. Each one follows the path of service leading to devotion, which leads to spiritual disciplines of yoga. Finally, that yoga culminates in the attainment of Truth, or God Realization. These are the four margas leading the soul to its very Self."
Aha, we're ending up in Saiva Siddhanta here. Four margas.
"For Hindus, the path is seen as divided into four stages of inner development. Some say karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana; others say charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Either way it is basically the same--progressive stages followed by the soul in its quest for God. We are speaking here of the way the ancients attained their realizations, how they lived their lives, suffered, went through mental pain in their tapas, walked the San Marga path through life--charya, kriya, yoga and jnana-- and in that process unwound the karmas of the past, learned to live fully in the present, abashed the person of themselves to be the soul of themselves. They practiced true yoga to obtain release from rebirth, moksha, which only the realization of the Absolute Truth can give. There is, of course, no action too great to render to persist on the path of enlightenment, once the path has been clearly defined."
That's pointing out the four stages.
There's a wonderful entry in the Tamil lexicon. Forget exactly what it is but it's Saivism with different emphasis. So it gives all these different terms for Saivism. Each one is either philosophically different in the end results such as ending up at Siva's feet verses the water going back in the ocean of Siva. Or, focusing on a different practice. All these different definitions of Saivism. One of them, which is the one I think is the most important as it focuses on practice is Nalupada Saivam, which is what this is talking about. The Saivism of four stages. Nalu--four, pada--stages, Saivam. Nalupada Saivam: Charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Another way of saying charya, kriya, and yoga and jnana. That, if we just focus on that which is the same as Ashtanga Yoga, the different stages, yama, niyama, asana etcetera. It's the same thing. Gurudeva compares yama to charya, niyama to kriya, then the rest is yoga. Ending up in jnana.
But same thing. The idea of stages. We need to approach Hinduism in stages. The English words that Gurudeva just used were service, devotion, meditation or yoga. That we need look at it in that way that we need to perfect our service. And that naturally leads to increased devotion and devotion naturally leads to meditation. So it's so simple when you just look at it the way Gurudeva's explaining it. You know, we don't want to rush too far ahead.
These days there's two ways of thinking about moksha in the Hindu community. One is you totally ignore it. Moksha, okay. So I have to earn a living, have a family, do this do this, you know. We don't have any thought of moksha at all. When we're young we have to study. And when we're middle age we have to work and when we're old, we're old, you know. There's no encompassing of moksha in the basic pattern of life, that's very common.
The other is we think we're going to get it next year. We have teachers in Malaysia that are, current, used to be in the U.S. but now I think it's more in Malaysia. They have this weekend seminar and you know, you get your training on Saturday and pay your money. You get your initiation on Sunday and you're guaranteed moksha within the year, you know. All you have to do is do this simple practice.
So either we think moksha too, easier than it is or we ignore it altogether. That's the, what's common in the Hindu world. And therefore that's why I wrote the "Pub. Desk" on "The Path to Moksha." To try and help us have a more realistic approach to it. And it's not understood. It's just not, you have, talk to people about moksha and you get a blank look. It's not explained well. Therefore, we want to say: "The Path to Moksha" cause then it makes it clear.
So the path to moksha idea is that moksha's on the top of the mountain, and there's a winding path. Cause you can't walk up a mountain straight unless you're a really strong person. Got to take a winding path up and we're born somewhere on this path. Say we're half way. This is a simple example; we're half way up this path. It takes many lives to get all the way to the top. So, what do we want to do? We're not trying to race to the top. We're trying to move forward as much as our karma and dharma permits. We want to move forward and we want to be content in simply moving forward. Even when we move three steps forward. But, we want to be content that we move forward. We don't want to be frustrated that we didn't get to the top. You know, that's, that's not understood. Some people frustrate themselves in trying to make too much progress, then they become discontent in the present instead of just accepting everything that is is where you should be.
So, you want to move forward and you move forward by not doing anything seriously wrong. If we do something seriously wrong like rob a bank in Kapaa, you know we go backwards. Cause we create karma that we have to work through for maybe a couple of lives. We've created some unnecessary karma by the seriously wrong action. That's going backward. We stand still if we don't do anything religious and don't do anything for anybody else, we can totally stand still. In a whole lifetime we don't move forward at all. What a waste, right?
How do we move forward? By of course, following virtue, being of service. If we're good at service we'll naturally become devotional. If we good at devotion we'll naturally be able to meditate. So, it's a very logical path that unfortunately is not that often understood. So, we're trying to move forward on the path toward moksha with the consciousness that it usually takes many lives. And we want to be content in that moving forward.
Story I remember about the leaves on the tree. You've probably heard that story. Two disciples, one asked, they both asked: How long will it take to achieve moksha. And so he told the first one, something like, it was a very precise number, four lifetimes. And the man was totally depressed. Four more lifetimes; that's terrible. He told the other one, as many, take as many life times as there are leaves on the tree. The man was so happy. "Oh, I'm going to make it."
We need to adjust our perspective to the second viewpoint, that, you know, we need to be content with however long it'll take us to make it. And, as Gurudeva says: Enjoy the journey.
Aum Namah Sivaya.