Just as a small leaf can obscure the sun when held before our eyes, so can the past cloud the present and hide our divinity. With Vedic methods, or tantras, we remove impediments to reveal the ever-present inner light. Aum.
An ancient Upanishad defines twenty obstacles, upasarga, to spiritual progress: hunger, thirst, laziness, passion, lust, fear, shame, anxiety, excitement, adversity, sorrow, despair, anger, arrogance, delusion, greed, stinginess, ambitiousness, death and birth. Another obstacle is the intellect which, unguided by intuition, merely juggles memory and reason as a way of life. The experience of these impediments creates reactions that combine with the sum of all past impressions, samskaras, both positive and negative. Residing in the subconscious mind, these are the source of subliminal traits or tendencies, called vasanas, which shape our attitudes and motivations. The troublesome vasanas clouding the mind must be reconciled and released. There are beneficial tantras by which absolution can be attained for unhindered living, including ayurveda, jyotisha, daily sadhana, temple worship, selfless giving, the creative arts and the several yogas. The Vedas explain, "Even as a mirror covered with dust shines brightly when cleaned, so the embodied soul, seeing the truth of atman, realizes oneness, attains the goal of life and becomes free from sorrow." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Ancestor worship is a form of communicating with departed ancestors, seeking to be guided by their advice because they have a broader vision, a superconscious vision. They are not bothered by the mundane affairs of eating and sleeping and family intrigues. They know how to bring the collective family along to its next phase of development. They will eventually, of course, seek to reincarnate in the same family to work out their prarabdha karmas. One reason for the Hindu shraddha ceremonies is to help the departed soul be reborn in the same family. Similarly, we would want our monks to come back to the same monastery and keep coming back until they fulfilled their highest aspirations. The Hindu wants to be born back into the same family, even in the same house, and families want to bring relatives back as well, so the karmas can be worked out consistently, lifetime after lifetime. This is one reason that on the nakshatra of the death, certain rites are performed to court the departed person back.
In many Hindu traditions, after the death of a loved one, shraddha ceremonies are performed on the death anniversary for twelve years. Therefore, each family that shares in ancestral worship or ancestral communication is, in a sense, a tribal group within a sectarian portion of the religion. Who better would know the solutions within a family than someone who has lived in it? If the ancestor has already reincarnated, the whole family would intuitively know it. Then they would seek advice from another ancestor, perhaps through a psychic channeler. If an ancestor reincarnated outside the family, they would also be told. Those who practice ancestor worship generally seek for channelers outside their community, from those who don't know their family.
In the fifty years of our Saiva Church, we have documented birth to death to birth again within the lives of our devotees and close initiates. A continuum of birth to death to birth to death, a continuum of karmas in unbroken continuity--that makes up a spiritual, alive religious organization.
The greater the maturity of your soul, the longer you can stay in the inner planes. Some world-of-darkness people come back immediately. They die in one end of the hospital and are born in the other end. The average person would usually reincarnate somewhere within the twelve-year cycle. If the family realizes the person is coming back and prays for that to happen, he or she would have to come back within twelve years. Once they realized the person is back, they would stop doing the ceremony and be off doing other things.
At this time in the Kali Yuga, the races of the world are relocating to improve genetics and to recreate families with better genes by intermarrying between races and in different localities. It is a time of breaking up, a time of destruction. But the new race coming out of this into a good genetic body will be the industrious spiritual leaders for a better world which will recreate itself around them.
Siva's devotees daily offer fruit or flowers in love and prostrate before their satguru, or to his sandals or the direction in which he abides. They chant the Guru Mantra when approaching any satguru for darshana. Aum.
In the early 1980s, just before Sri Lanka's civil war, I was invited by the government to travel through the country and visit all who were attached to our Siva Yogaswami parampara during the past century. There were massive parades for miles and miles in villages we passed through, grand receptions, rides on great chariots and hundreds of garlands from those that came alive for the event. All during these times, knowing that war was eminent, I preached that Siva's devotees do not fear death, it is only a passing into another life. Later, at the height of the civil war, when my devotees were experiencing the transition and the killing and torture, it was perplexing to me to understand how people that were so high in consciousness and culture could go so low. In many, many astral, conscious states, I visited the lowest chakras, protected by devonic helpers and unseen by those within them, and discovered for myself these regions before ever reading about them. Having never read a book from cover to cover in my life and having been trained from very early years, sixteen or seventeen, to have the experience first and then somehow or other it would be verified by scripture later on, this was my path. I was told that to know what was coming up in the experiential pattern of spiritual unfoldment could be to put into the subconscious mind the experience and memories of it, which would not be the experience at all. This, I was taught, would build a spiritual pride that would detour one from the path to Self Realization. Very carefully I observed this, fully understanding the wisdom of the advice. It was amazing to me to have verified in obscure scriptures that the chakras, or talas, below the muladhara were exactly as when I visited each of them, guided by mighty devas who had the power to go anywhere within the mind. Life has taught me that knowledge is best when it is experiential, not intellectually learned and then remembered. This I have endeavored to impress upon my devotees over the past five decades.
Hindus say there are kinds of dreams conjured from the needs of the individual, and then there is another kind that is sent by the Gods. I myself have appeared in dreams to people that have never seen me, seen my picture or even knew of my physical existence. Gods communicate by pictures. Therefore, certain kinds of dreams have meaning if they are sent by the Gods. Signs, symbols and body language to the Asian people have great meaning. For instance, folding your arms across the chest in the West is resting them; in the East it is a sign of disdain. Dreams from the Gods come to very religious people who live a disciplined life of sadhana, rising at four in the morning, and living Hindu Dharma to the best of their ability to understand it. They have attracted the attention of the Gods because they have penetrated the realms of the Gods. If they let down, then they would not have those kinds of visitations any longer.
The average lifetime is about eighty years in the United States. The average time someone sleeps is about one third of their life. Therefore, we are dreaming about twenty-seven years of our life. We assume that dreams only occur when the physical body is asleep. But what about the unproductive thoughts, the daydreams, thinking about unfounded fears, the uncontrolled states of waking mind, mental arguments, mental fears, the uncontrolled combative thoughts, fantasies--sexual, violent, tender, loving, worrisome, fretful, indecisiveness or gruesome?
If someone confesses his dreams he has at night, he should also confess his dreams during the day. The ancient scriptures say that dreams are like our waking thoughts in this way: if we dream and forget the dream, it is as though the dream had never happened. If you think a thought during the day and forget the thought, it's as though the thought had never happened. It's when we remember and speak out a dream or remember and speak out a thought that it has reality on this plane.
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These daily Master Course lessons are drawn from Gurudeva's 3,000 page trilogy on Hindu philosophy, culture and metaphysics, available in the full-color volumes of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva at our Minimela online store.