What Are the Beliefs of Saivism?
Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 17
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2017-02-20
In our teachings we're both monistic and theistic. Its good to memorize the twelve beliefs of Saivism, which is our creed. In the beliefs of Saivism the idea of the harmonious working together of the three worlds is the basis and key to understanding temple worship, theism. The inner worlds are there to help you. The essence of the soul is already the same as the essence of God Siva, monism. You just have to find it.
Path to Siva, Lesson 17.
Good morning everyone.
Reading this morning from Path to Siva, Lesson 17.
"What Are the Beliefs of Saivism?
"Every religion has a set of core beliefs, called a creed, that summarizes its theology. Children learn the creed of their faith at a young age. By knowing and understanding our creed, we can express our tradition, in basic and consistent terms, to followers of other faiths. The twelve beliefs on the next page capture the main ideas of Saiva Siddhanta, which is one of the six schools of Saivism. They contain our view of God, soul and world, evil, love and more. Beliefs vary greatly among the religions of the world. Our beliefs create our attitudes, and out attitudes influence our actions. Therefore, what we believe shapes our lives, defines our culture and molds our future. Each person's actions can be traced back to what he believes about himself, other people and the world around him. If those beliefs are correct, his actions will be helpful to others. Consider the belief in God as a loving power flowing through everything. This creates an attitude of respect, kindness and compassion. In contrast, the belief in an evil power, in light forces and dark forces, creates the attitude that it is acceptable to cause pain and injury to those we judge to be evil. Gurudeva explained the power of belief: 'The human mind is exactly like a computer. Programs that go in are the beliefs. Their performance is the attitude, and the knowledge or the impetus that passes through both determines the output or the action. Children will learn the basic attitudes from their mothers and fathers by absorbing the beliefs that their mothers and fathers have placed into their subconscious mind, even prenatally. This is the first stage of writing the code, as a programmer would do in creating a new application.'
"Memorize these twelve beliefs. In so doing, you will help to perpetuate Saivism's culture of devotion, humility, nonviolence, compassion and service."
One of the benefits of the creed, (I won't read the actual creed itself, take a little too long,) is that everything is super short. In other words our lessons themselves are pretty short but the creed takes the lesson and puts it into about three sentences. So it's very short and it's good for memorizing. Anyone hasn't memorized the creed it's good to do so. Short enough to be easy to memorize and to capture the essence of each of the twelve beliefs.
Thought I'd just look at two of them this morning.
"Regarding the gross, subtle and causal planes of existence: Siva's followers all believe in three worlds: the gross plane, where souls take on physical bodies; the subtle plane, where souls take on astral bodies; and the causal plane, where souls exist in their self-effulgent form."
Then we get:
"Regarding the esoteric purpose of temple worship..." which is related.
"Siva's followers all believe that religion is the harmonious working together of the three worlds and that this harmony can be created through temple worship, wherein the beings of all three worlds can communicate."
Was thinking today, morning, that Hinduism is, number of individuals in the Hindu faith is grossly under counted because we're only counting the first world. Say there are a billion Hindus, well okay, well how many are in the second world, you know. How many are in the third world. Cause it's three worlds working together. That's the idea. Maybe there's more in the second world than there are in the first, who knows. Could change a lot depending on how conditions are on Earth. Right now conditions are still pretty good but you could end up with more in the second world than in the first at some point. So we're grossly under counted and the idea of the tree worlds is the basis of temple worship.
I made a mistake once of talking to a Vedantic group about the three worlds. Didn't make any sense to them at all, you know. They're in the perspective of Monism. You know, "I am Paramatman" and that's it. They're monists. And the three worlds is theism. We're looking at other beings. As soon as there's another being involved you're a Theist. There's two. So theism and dualism. There's two. There's at least two. Therefore the key to understanding temple worship is understanding the three worlds, that concept. And of course in our teachings we're both monistic and theistic so we, we have the belief, as it says here:
"...Siva's followers all believe that each soul is created by Lord Siva and is identical to Him, and that this identity will be fully realized by all souls when the bondage of anava, karma and maya is removed by His grace."
So that's our monism. The essence of the soul is already the same as the essence of God Siva. Nothing has to be done for that to happen. You just have to find that part of you. It's like having lost something in the garage. You know it's there somewhere, right? It's there, it's already there. You just have to figure out how to find it. So that's the case of that part of you that's identical with Siva. It's already identical with Siva but you have to find it. So that's our monism.
And then our Theism is: "...the harmonious working together of the three worlds...wherein the beings of all three worlds can communicate."
And an interesting visitor at a darshan session the other day explained that he was here a year ago, the curtain opened and Siva was right there, and told him to come back in one year on his 65th birthday. He was kind of overwhelmed by the whole experience. And he had encountered Siva. And not only that, Siva gave him a message-communication. So he came back on his 65th birthday and same thing happened when the curtain opened but no message this time. Anyway he shared that with me. Said: "I've been to so many temples but nothing is like that. When that curtain opened Siva is right there."
So somehow he was already attuned to our temple. And it can take individuals quite some time to attune to the temple and have that kind of profound experience even if they're used to worshiping in temples. You don't necessarily tune into ours the first time but somehow he was already attuned to Kadavul Temple and had that full blessing that happens when the curtain opens as well of course as in the final arati. That's the formal time when, as I say, when it, if it gets noisy that means you're supposed to pay attention. You're supposed to wake up. So it, that's the noisiest time in the puja; it's the most important time. Very simple system. Wakes you up, get's your attention.
And that's, the three worlds is the concept that a lot of seekers don't have. And it's a concept that isn't encompassed by spiritual but not religious approach. You're, you're not utilizing the inner worlds to benefit your search. The inner worlds are right there to help you. But that's religion. You know, working with the inner worlds is religion. And different inner, different parts of the inner world work with different religions. You see that in individuals who are strongly Catholic. Roman Catholic. They have a reaction to our temple. It's as if their, the devas that work with them are telling them: "You shouldn't be here. You know this is a Hindu temple." They have another inner world working with them, another part of the inner world working with them than we do. They're different. You can see in the strong reactions in some Roman Catholics. Not all but those who somehow are really attuned to the portion of the inner world which is Roman Catholic and have a strong reaction to the temple and not, not stay. Different portions of the inner worlds are working with the different religions.
So, have a great day.
Aum Namah Sivaya.