"Kriya is joyous and regular worship, both internal and external, in the home and temple." When the shrine room at home is a separate room, with regular worship, it builds up a strong force field. Turn the whole home into a temple like vibration. After atmartha puja bhakti has been strengthened, energies are flowing through the higher chakras, meditation becomes easier. Four subpadas of kriya.
Master Course Trilogy, Dancing with Siva, Sloka 38;
Living with Siva, Lesson 49;
Merging with Siva, Lesson 146.
Good morning everyone.
This morning's talk is on the kriya pada. Starts with Gurudeva's basic explanation of it from Sloka 38 in Dancing with Siva.
"What Is the Nature of the Kriya Pada?
"Kriya is joyous and regular worship, both internal and external, in the home and temple. It includes puja, japa, penance, fasting and scriptural learning, by which our understanding and love of God and Gods deepen.
"Hinduism demands deep devotion through bhakti yoga in the kriya pada, softening the intellect and unfolding love. In kriya, the second stage of religiousness, our sadhana, which was mostly external in charya, is now also internal. Kriya, literally 'action or rite,' is a stirring of the soul in awareness of the Divine, overcoming the obstinacy of the instinctive-intellectual mind. We now look upon the Deity image not just as carved stone, but as the living presence of the God. We perform ritual and puja not because we have to but because we want to. We are drawn to the temple to satisfy our longing. We sing joyfully. We absorb and intuit the wisdom of the Vedas and Agamas. We perform pilgrimage and fulfill the sacraments. We practice diligently the ten classical observances called niyamas..."
Then we have a quote from Tirumantirum:
"...The Tirumantiram instructs: 'Performing the puja, systematic study of the scriptures, praising the Lord, repeating the mantras, observing pure and good austerities, to be truthful, to be free from impurities, preparing the rice offering - these and the purification of oneself are the disciplines of faultless Satputra Marga.'"
And I chose a few supporting quotes from the Master Course Trilogy, talking about Isvarapujana, worship of Ishvara, Lord Siva in our tradition, it's one of the ten niyamas.
"The ideal of Isvarapujana, worship, is to always be living with God, living with Siva, in God's house, which is also your house, and regularly going to God's temple. This lays the foundation for finding God within. How can someone find God within if he doesn't live in God's house as a companion to God in his daily life? The answer is obvious. It would only be a theoretical pretense, based mainly on egoism. If one really believes that God is in his house, what kinds of attitudes does this create? First of all, since family life is based around food, the family would feed God in His own room at least three times a day, place the food lovingly before His picture, leave, close the door and let God and His devas eat in peace. God and the devas do enjoy the food but they do so by absorbing the pranas, the energies, of the food. When the meal is over, and after the family has eaten, God's plates are picked up, too. What is left on God's plate is eaten as prasada, as a blessing. God should be served as much as the hungriest member of the family, not just a token amount. Of course, God, Gods and the devas do not always remain in the shrine room. They wander freely throughout the house, listening to and observing the entire family, guests and friends. Since the family is living in God's house, and God is not living in their house, the voice of God is easily heard as their conscience.
"When we are living in God's house, it is easy to see God as pure energy and life within every living form, the trees, the flowers, the plants, the fire, the Earth, humans, animals and all creatures. When we see this life, which is manifest most in living beings, we are seeing God Siva.
"It is often said that worship is not only a performance at a certain time of day in a certain place, but a state of being in which every act, morning to night, is done in Siva consciousness, in which life becomes an offering to God. Then we can begin to see Siva in everyone we meet. When we try, just try--and we don't have to be successful all the time--to separate the life of the individual from his personality, immediately we are in higher consciousness and can reflect contentment and faith, compassion, steadfastness and all the higher qualities, which is something not possible to do if we are only looking at the external person. This practice, of Isvarapujana sadhana, can be performed all through the day and even in one's dreams at night.
"Yes, truly, worship unreservedly. Perfect this. Then, after initiation, internalize that worship though yoga practices given by a satguru. Through that same internal worship. unreservedly, you will eventually attain the highest goal. These are the Saiva Siddhanta conclusions of the seven rishis who live within the sahasrara chakra of all souls."
That's a nice closing there. In choosing that selection I had to leave out about an equal amount which I thought would be too much to read in that Gurudeva is a little more forceful saying: You can't make your shrine a closet, you can't have it a nook in the kitchen, that doesn't count. You can't expect God to dwell in those locations. It really needs to be a separate room. Then he goes on to explain that when it is a separate room then it builds up a force field which can really, doesn't get disturbed. A closet or a nook in a kitchen can't build up a strong force field.
So not, of course not all swamis emphasize the shrine room for daily puja but I think it was one of, it is one of strong points in Gurudeva's teachings to those on the family path is don't just go to the temple. Create a temple in your home in fact, turn the whole home into a temple like vibration by having a strong shrine room and worshiping there through puja on a daily basis.
Then there's a second quote, how bhakti is cultivated from Merging with Siva, Lesson 146 which focuses on a different point.
"...When you have the energy of bhakti, of love, flowing through your body, meditation is easy. You don't have to go through the preliminaries. You are already functioning in the higher chakras. The bhakti experience takes the pranas into the higher chakras from the lower chakras. But if you are living in the consciousness of personal, communal, national or international antagonism, entering meditation will be difficult. All the preliminaries will have to be carefully gone through--pranayama, deep concentration, the lifting of the pranas into the heart and throat chakras, etc. Then slowly the internal bhakti is complete, and the vibration of love begins to be felt. This is time-consuming.
"The Saiva Siddhantin finds it much easier to do this preliminary work in the temple through the externalized yoga of bhakti, rather than trying to internalize the bhakti and lift the pranas while seated in lotus position, which is time-consuming and not as enjoyable. Whereas, to lift the energies from the lower chakras to the higher chakras through performing bhakti yoga in the temple during worship is easy, natural, and considered by the Siddhantist as being a pure joy."
My comment on that is though Gurudeva's only mentioning the temple, the same idea relates to the home shrine that once you start doing a strong puja in the home shrine, it's easier to meditate afterwards then it would be before because the bhakti has been strengthened in your consciousness and the energies are naturally flowing through the higher chakras already so when you sit down to meditate after the puja, again the same principle applies. You don't need to do as much preliminary work.
The four subpadas of kriya. As is the case with charya everyone agrees, all of the books we have, the lexicon, different textbooks, all say the same thing for both charya and kriya.
So charya in kriya:
The collection of all the necessary substances and implements needed for the daily worship of Sivalinga is charya in kriya.
The worship offered to Siva in the form of Sivalinga as prescribed in the Agamas with the preliminary five purifications, after receiving initiation into that worship, is kriya in kriya.
Meditation after performing atmartha puja is yoga in kriya.
The experiential knowledge gained by these practices is jnana in kriya. Which in Tamil is anupava unarcci. Experiential knowledge.
Then we have the Saiva Neri Course. The one that's taught in the Sri Lankan schools. Just a course that's very simple but it gives us an idea what the Saivites growing up in Sri Lanka are being taught at an early age in school re: charya, kriya, yoga and jnana.
"Thirugnanasambandar Nayanar is a fine example of a devotee following the Kriya path by worshipping God internally and externally. As an example the following song illustrates this point.
"With the much fragrant sandal paste, the devotees who daily worship him intentionally, with plenty of water, very bright lamps; incense, and blossomed flowers which have left the stage of buds. The beautiful city where the god dwells, who has the nature of granting higher states of existence which are without any wants."
And the last thought is the Tirumantiram. It mentions a couple of times a very important point in the practice of kriya.
It says: "Those who follow the kriya path in accordance with their maturity and choice of deity will perform the relevant ritualistic worship daily without fail."
So that's made in a couple of verses that point is made in the Tirumantiram.
So, thank you very much.
Aum Namah Sivaya.