We have the power to choose the character qualities we express. Devotion for the inner self, our superconsciousness, helps us choose the more refined qualities through the yoga called bhakti. Monistic devotion, being in love with your inner self, will permeate your physical body as a blessing to the world. Through bhakti yoga awaken the love nature through the practice of devotion and through giving and tithing one's time. Gurudeva: "If you give and give spontaneously, you will awaken your inner nature, and spiritual power will flow through you, and you will merge with God within you."
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lessons 124,125,126. Living with Siva, Resourse 2: Religion's Dues, Ways and Means of Giving. Tirukural Chapters 22,23,24.
Good morning everyone.
We are in Merging with Siva, Chapter: "Love is the Sum of the Law." Talk given in 1960
"Where do you get devotion? Not from the teacher. The teacher is only an awakener. He imparts knowledge to you, a vibration to you. He awakens you to the possibilities of the grandeur within yourself. Can a professor of geometry give you the total knowledge of that subject? No, he cannot. He can only show you the ways you can unfold the totality of the subject matter from within yourself. He gives you certain formulas and laws. You have to take them in and in and in where the solutions are.
"How do we unburden awareness from the external areas of the mind through devotion? Our attitude has to be correct. Only in that way can we manifest the qualities that we want to manifest. Everyone has many different qualities and tendencies in his or her nature. Some are flowing freely. Others are suppressed. Others are repressed. Some are active and others temporarily inactive. Friends bring out the qualities and mirror the inner tendencies of each of us. When a person changes his life, he also changes his group of friends. It happens automatically. One group of qualities becomes inactive, and another group of tendencies begins to manifest itself in him. Our tendencies formulate our attitudes. Our attitudes, once consistently held, stabilize our perspective in looking at life."
So my commentary is:
This paragraph shows the importance of having spiritual companions. So my story about that is: Regularly I get emails from someone who says something like: "I stopped doing my practices a few years ago but I want to start up again. What do you suggest?" So I suggest companions because it's very hard to start up after you've stopped all by yourself. Specifically I suggest someone tries to find a satsang group that they attend once a week and that helps. Having spiritual companions is very important to stabilizing yourself in spiritual practices.
"The first step in unburdening awareness from the externalized odic-magnetic areas of the mind is to cause a bhakti, a love, a devotion, right within the nerve currents of your body. This is the first step. Get in love with the inner self. (That's the sentence I quoted last time is: Its a form of monistic devotion-getting in love with your inner Self.) Begin to study the qualities of your nature, your tendencies. Write them all down on a piece of paper. Choose the ones that you wish to use and cross out the ones that you do not care for. Choose your qualities and tendencies as carefully as you choose your clothing.
"Many people spend much time thinking about what they are going to wear. Hour after hour they are shopping in the stores. If you were to add up over a period of one year's time the number of hours they stood in front of the mirror dressing the physical form, it would be quite surprising. How about the inside? Do we dress up the inside, too? We can, you know. Choose the qualities and tendencies to wear this spring and in the summer and fall, too. Pick carefully the smile on your face. Let it come from deep within. We can dress up the face in all sorts of ways, but the qualities of our nature are those which really shine through. We can paint over greed and resentment, but the quality of bhakti devotion and love will shine through all paint. It is its own decoration. Dress up the inside. Make the qualities and tendencies of your nature match the outside. You will be surprised. You will be keeping awareness hovering, in inner space, like the hummingbird over the flower, looking out at the material world and seeing it as a flower. This is one of the great duties on the path. Bring forth the qualities of devotion through the yoga called bhakti."
So my comment is:
Some people think they are the way they are. They feel they don't have the ability to change. "I am an angry person; I am a jealous person. What can I do about it? That's just the way I am." Gurudeva is pointing out that we actually have the power to choose the character qualities we express and that devotion for the inner self, our superconsciousness, helps us choose the more refined ones.
And the text again:
"Devotion is the keynote to the fulfillment of duty. 'What is duty?' 'What are my duties?' Take a piece of paper. List all of your duties, all of the promises that you have made. A duty is very important. Devotion and duty lay the foundation for the spiritual unfoldment that everyone is talking about in this age. We do not find the path in books. We find the path in how we handle our individual lives.
"Paint a mental picture of yourself as you want to be. Everyone has an ideal. You want to be kind; you want to be helpful at all times; you never want to miss an opportunity to serve or to help your fellow man. You want to be spontaneous, to be gracious, to be pure and direct in word, thought and deed. These are the qualities. The tendencies are there, for you are on the path. This is your new inner wardrobe. Wear it and wear it well.
"How do you put on this wardrobe? Sit quietly and breathe deeply, eyes closed, and review the wardrobe, the qualities, the tendencies of the greatness within you. You will begin to feel that love, that softening, that bliss of inner peace which is there.
"In the yoga called bhakti, you release an energy through the physical body, through the nerve system, from the central source of all energy. This energy is a constant flow, filling and thrilling every nerve current, muscle and sinew of your physical body. It will be a constant flow as you express the qualities that you have chosen. This constant flow of energy will permeate your physical body as a blessing to the world. This is the life of one who is in the fulfillment of the yoga called bhakti."
Here Gurudeva has taken the idea of a monistic devotion, being in love with your inner self, one step further in saying that holding that state of consciousness will release an energy through the physical body which will permeate your physical body as a blessing to the world. That's a very wonderful state there.
"Bhakti yoga is the awakening of the love nature through the practice of devotion and giving. Giving begins new life. Giving is an essential for spiritual unfoldment, for until we give and give abundantly, we don't really realize that we are not the giver; we are just a channel for giving. Abundance, materially and spiritually, comes to you when you cease to be attached to it, when you can take as much joy over a little pebble as you could over a precious ruby. The power of giving is a very great power, a great power that comes to you through yoga. You hear about yoga powers--the power of levitation, the power of suspended animation--but the truly great powers are the power of giving, the power of concentration, the power of universal love--practical powers that can be used today.
"Why can't you spiritually unfold until you learn to give and give and give and give until it hurts? Because that hurt is your block. Many people give and they give generously, up to the point where they feel, 'I have given a lot,' 'I have given too much,' or 'I gave as much as I can,' or 'I will give more when I can,' or 'I enjoy giving and I used to give a lot, but I can't give so much right now.' These are the blocks that come up within man's nature and undermine man's nature and bind him down to the depths of the negative areas of the subconscious mind. And then he can't progress. Why can't he progress? Because he can't have devotion unless giving unfolds as his light. Now, the man who has unfolded into giving doesn't qualify his giving, he doesn't even think about it. If he doesn't have a lot of material things to give, if he is going through circumstances which do not permit him, then what can he do? He gives what he can, in devotion, little things, to make people happy, little things to progress activity, little things to progress himself. He gives what he can, and he gives more than he can. And when something is given him, that gives him the power to give again. That is the great law. That is the great unfoldment."
Then we have some verses from "The Tirukural" about giving. You can tell giving is very important in "The Tirukural" in the family section, it's the last three chapters. All talk about giving.
So Chapter 22, "Understanding One's Duty to Give":
"It is to meet the needs of the deserving that the worthy work so hard to acquire wealth.,"
So that's a similar idea to the one about being hospitable, I use regularly. So working hard, not for ourselves but so we can give to others.
And the next Chapter, 23, "Charity":
"Men of good birth graciously give, never uttering the phrase 'I have nothing.'"
So that's Gurudeva's idea there, someone who's really good at giving, always can come up with something to give.
And the last Chapter, 24, "Fame or Glory" it's called. And in our modern world there's many ways to become famous. But in "The Tirukural" there's only one and that's to being charitable, so:
"Give to the poor and become praise worthy. Life offers no greater reward than this."
Back to Gurudeva's text:
"When a seeker has unfolded to the power of giving, he doesn't think about himself so much, because he is spontaneous. He is always looking for an opportunity to do something good for someone else. When someone has not unfolded into giving, he thinks about himself a great deal, and he calculates his giving, because he has to give in proportion to something else. And by giving in proportion to something else, he is creating his future limitation. He is saying 'I am just this big, and I will always be just this big because that is as far as my consciousness can go, just that much. So, I will hold my consciousness within this grave.' But it doesn't work that way. The consciousness is not like that, because by limiting your giving, by limiting your consciousness, as time goes by it will shrink. And it will shrink until you don't know it. Your friends will notice, but you won't. It will shrink and shrink and shrink. And that is one of the things your friends won't tell you, that your consciousness has shrunk, and that you are not the same as you used to be.
"This works in reverse, too. The person who has a heart full of joy, even if he doesn't have material possessions to speak of, always finds something to give; he gives what he has. He knows that he is not the gift, that he is not the giver at all, and when something comes his way, he gives of it freely. He is a vehicle for giving, and finally he is so full of abundance in consciousness that he knows he is not the giver, and he fulfills bhakti yoga in his life. If you give and give freely and spontaneously, you feel good about it, and if you do it again, you feel even better about it. But if you give and give selfishly, you feel bad about it, and if you continue to do so, you'll feel worse. If you give and give spontaneously, you will awaken your inner nature, and spiritual power will flow through you, and you will merge with God within you. But if you give, and give selfishly, by hanging onto your gift after you have given it, you close the door to spirituality. Giving is in many, many forms. The best way is to rely on the incomparable law of karma. Give freely, and your gift will come back to you often doubled soon after the gift is given. Then this opens the door for another gift to be given out. Your intuitive nature will tell you how you can give, when and where, and soon you will find yourself giving every minute of every day in the most spontaneous ways."
If you are giving every moment of the day, it is clearly not money you are giving. It must be time.
My commentary says:
If you are giving every moment of the day, it is clearly not money you are giving, no one has that much money, it must be time, time spent helping others.
And there's a section about tithing one's time in "Living with Siva":
"What about tithing of one's time? Tithing can and should also be applied to time, skills and talents. For example, if a devotee is a carpenter or seamstress, those skills may help a local Hindu institution. Everyone, no matter what their skills, can and should give ten percent of their time each week in service to their religious institution. We calculate it as four hours a week, which is ten percent of a forty-hour work week, which amounts to 208 hours a year. It is also acceptable to tithe one's time in intense projects all at once, rather than each week. It has been our experience that those who tithe openly, honestly, spontaneously also give 10 percent of their time in service. Those who live beyond their means, juggle their income and manipulate don't have time to give 10 percent of their time for religious service. That has been our experience."
Have a wonderful day.