Sloka 99 from Dancing with Siva
What Are the Main Karttikeya Festivals?
Vaikasi Vishakham celebrates the anniversary of Lord Karttikeya's creation. Skanda Shashthi is a six-day festival honoring His conquest of light over darkness. Tai Pusam is a time of sadhana and public penance. Aum.
On Vaikasi Vishakham day, Lord Karttikeya's birthstar, Vishakha nakshatra, in May-June, elaborate abhisheka is conducted in all His temples. It is a time of gift-giving to panditas and great souls, weddings, feedings for the poor, caring for trees, spiritual initiation, diksha, and conclaves of holy men. Skanda Shashthi is celebrated on the six days after the new moon in October-November with festive processions and pujas invoking His protection and grace. It honors Karttikeya's receiving the vel, His lance of spiritual illumination, jnana shakti, and culminates in a dramatic victory celebration of spiritual light over asuric darkness. Tai Pusam occurs on Pushya nakshatra in January-February. During this festival we fast and perform public penance, called kavadi, seeking Karttikeya's blessings to dispel our selfishness, pride and vanity. His special monthly days are Krittika nakshatra and Shashthi, the sixth tithi after the new moon. The Vedas say, "Like the cry of watchful birds swimming in water, like the loud claps of thundering rain clouds, like the joyful streams gushing from the mountain, so have our hymns sounded forth to the Lord." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 254 from Living with Siva
Unfolding a Clear Pattern
The dharma of a person's life is set prior to birth according to the accumulated impressions of all previous lives. It is set as the most perfect path toward spiritual perfection in this life. A life spent in creating a new karma through not fulfilling the ordained pattern of dharma temporarily retards the soul's evolution. This retardation may not appear until future births, seemingly bypassed but not actually bypassed.
To avoid the potential catastrophes of karma, each Hindu must perform his dharma, live according to the natural Godward path. By following this important pattern of spiritual unfoldment, the devotee benefits and, in turn, benefits all others and, most importantly, serves the Gods and earns good merit, earns their grace and then deserves their boons. When spiritually awakened, the Hindu offers his every thought, word and deed in a consciousness of the Divine. All work is done for that high purpose.
To know one's dharma is a clear path. To be uncertain is a path of confusion. There is one God who knows the patterns of all humankind, whose superconscious mind is so intricate, encompassing and spanning the yugas of time, that each path for each individual is known, memorized and recorded indelibly in the inner ether of the akashic matter of His mind. Through the worship of this God, Lord Ganesha, the venerable pope of the Hindu religion, the individual's dharmic pattern in this life is unfolded from within. It becomes clear. It becomes known. It is difficult for the modern, twenty-first-century Hindu to consciously know the correct dharma, but this can be made known to him through the worship of Lord Ganesha.
If someone is not fortunate enough to have been born into a family that perpetuates the Sanatana Dharma, then he must perform sadhana and offer repeated prayers to this first God, Lord Ganesha, whom all Hindus invoke before the other Gods and before any task is undertaken, this God whose knowledge remains supreme, penetrating most deeply through every avenue of the devotee's mind. Once the dharma is clear, is known, it must be faithfully performed throughout the life most willingly, thus destroying the seeds of karma through living out the pattern without creating a new karma, through performing good service, accruing good merit in fulfillment of the totalities of all of our multiple life patterns. This then makes the next life and the one after that joyous, brings good births well earned and well lived, through the graces of Maha Ganapati, Lord Ganesha, who sits upon the four-petaled lotus muladhara chakra within the spine of every person.
As the divine being rises within and consciousness expands, a kundalini coil is released and a certain power awakens from deep within. At the same time, conscience awakens, and the mind emerges into the muladhara chakra, there to meet Maha Ganapati, Lord Ganesha, through whose eyes and mind the devotee enters into the joys and happinesses within the Hindu religion, the birthright of all humans. This is how the Sanatana Dharma perpetuates itself and progresses from generation to generation, from age to age. Of course, once well settled into dharma, through Lord Ganesha, we will meet the other Gods. They will help maintain and fulfill our life in all avenues of culture and appreciation of that culture. It is only when each individual finds his own particular pattern in life, and clings to this pattern, that good future births are assured.
Sutra 254 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Honoring The Satguru's Presence
When with the satguru, devotees do not initiate conversation or ask questions unless he gives permission. If he prefers silence, silence is the message, the pure nectar from the deep well of his ineffable attainment. Aum.
Lesson 254 from Merging with Siva
Meditation Is a Fine Art
Meditation is a fine art and should be approached in the same way the fine arts are approached. That's the way we teach meditation at Himalayan Academy, as a fine art. The artist-teachers are not running after the students. You don't learn a fine art that way. You go to your teacher because you want to learn. You might go a long distance. You want to learn, and so you study. He gives you something to work on. You go away and you work on it, and you come back having perfected it. That's how we expect Academy students to progress along the path. Something has to happen on the inside, and it usually does.
Controlling the breath is the same as controlling awareness. They go hand in hand. During meditation, the breath, the heartbeat, metabolism--it all slows down, just like in sleep. You know, deep meditation and deep sleep are extremely similar. Therefore, the practice of pranayama and regulation of the breath, the pranas, the currents of the body, should really be mastered first. In the very same way, the dancer doesn't just start out dancing. He starts out exercising first. He may exercise strenuously for a year before he begins to really dance. The pianist doesn't sit down at the piano and start with a concert. He starts with the scales and with the chords. He starts by limbering his fingers, by perfecting his rhythm and posture. Meditation has to be taught like one of the fine arts. It's only the finely refined person who can really learn to meditate. Not everyone who wants to meditate can learn to meditate. Not everyone who wants to learn to dance or to play the piano can learn how to really, really do it. We need this preparation of the physical body so that the physical and emotional bodies behave themselves while you are in a deep state of meditation.
Your breath will slow down until you almost seem to stop breathing. Sometimes you do, and you're breathing with an inner breath. You have to educate yourself to that so it doesn't make you fearful and bring you out of meditation with a jerk and a gasp, which can then inhibit you. You can get fearful in meditation. So, good basics must be learned for one to become a deep meditator. You can spend hours or years working with the breath. Find a good teacher first, one who keeps it simple and gentle. You don't need to strain. Start simply by slowing the breath down. Breathe by moving the diaphragm instead of the chest. This is how children breathe, you know. So, be a child. If you learn to control the breath, you can be master of your awareness.
The sense of bhakti yoga, a sense of devotion, is extremely important on the path. Unless we have a great bhakti, a great devotion, we can easily be shaken from the spiritual path. It's the fuel that keeps us motivated. If we prepare our room before meditation by lighting an oil lamp or candle, a stick of incense, or only setting out a few fresh flowers, it puts us in a state of readiness; and for any serious thing that we do, we must prepare. If you're going to cook a fine meal for a special guest, you take a bath first. You prepare yourself; you get ready. You get mentally, emotionally and physically ready. Meditation is the same thing. Physical preparations have their effect on the mind and emotions, too, turning awareness within and creating a mood and environment where there are fewer distractions. If you would prepare for meditation as exactly and precisely as you prepare yourself in the external world to go to work every day, your meditations would be much improved.