We are all growing toward God, and experience is the path. Through experience we mature out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and union in God. Aum.
We have taken birth in a physical body to grow and evolve into our divine potential. We are inwardly already one with God. Our religion contains the knowledge of how to realize this oneness and not create unwanted experiences along the way. The peerless path is following the way of our spiritual forefathers, discovering the mystical meaning of the scriptures. The peerless path is commitment, study, discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. In the beginning stages, we suffer until we learn. Learning leads us to service; and selfless service is the beginning of spiritual striving. Service leads us to understanding. Understanding leads us to meditate deeply and without distractions. Finally, meditation leads us to surrender in God. This is the straight and certain path, the San Marga, leading to Self Realization--the inmost purpose of life--and subsequently to moksha, freedom from rebirth. The Vedas wisely affirm, "By austerity, goodness is obtained. From goodness, understanding is reached. From understanding, the Self is obtained, and he who obtains the Self is freed from the cycle of birth and death." Aum Namah Sivaya.
I have observed that children born in such early marriages are spiritually inclined. They are religious and intuitive by nature. Intellectual education does not concern them too much. Nor are they concerned with the worldly pursuits of Western people who are suffering, basically, from frustrated sex emotion, or of those unhappy, incomplete people of the West who live in the frustrations of intellectual ramification and who arrive at the end of their lives and suddenly ask themselves, "Who am I, where did I come from and where am I going?" for unless they have a particularly strong memory, most of their study will have left them. Just as the memory of each detail of your yesterday has flowed through you, so does intellectual knowing eventually flow through the life of the person who contains it, as a thing of only temporary value.
The custom of early marriage in Asia does not stop with the marriage ceremony. The mothers and fathers enter into an unwritten contract together to support the son and the daughter and set aside a certain amount of money for them, so that they can eventually have their own house. The boy usually follows along the line of business of his father, and in this way, spiritually, socially, culturally and economically, the youthful husband and wife are taken care of until the young man is old enough to assume his full family responsibilities. If the young man exhibits special aptitude that might warrant it, and if the parents are sufficiently well off, perhaps they will send him to the university. If not, he follows happily and usually successfully in his father's trade. The result of such stable early marriage is to give the nation a solidarity and to bring forth, as well, spiritually strong children.
You may enter a home in which such marriages have taken place and find ten people living in the same small area so harmoniously and so well adjusted that you would hardly know that more than one or two are living there. Very large families may live in close contact with each other, and because they are so well adjusted and have such inner respect for each other, there is no contention, no feeling of being crowded. This inner respect for the moods and feelings of another is only possible because the soul qualities are awakened at an early age in the children. Without all of this, we would not, in all wisdom, recommend such early marriage.
Siva's householder devotees strive to own their home and save for retirement. They live within their means in dwellings suitable to their wealth and are regular and completely honest in paying their tithe and taxes. Aum.
Oftentimes japa and chanting are the ardha-Hindu or non-Hindu's first introduction to Sanatana Dharma. An ardha-Hindu is often one who has been given a Hindu first name. It is our experience over the last fifty years that their japa has little effect unless they make the full commitment to becoming stalwart members of the Hindu religion and join a mature community. Those who are inside a department store handling and purchasing the merchandise and those outside looking through the window at the same merchandise are two different groups. Ardha means half, and ardha-Hindus are those who have come half way to making a full commitment and are still making up their mind. They are still on the outside looking in. Their japa doesn't have much power until they bring other aspects of their life into line with the Hindu Dharma.
For the non-Hindu who has not made a commitment, the universal mantra Aum is the most significant and precious of all mantras. This can be chanted by those of all religions, without restriction. The sounds of a city make "Aum." A child at birth says "Aum." A mother giving birth says "Aum." The last breath of a dying person is "Aum." Even the cows say "Aum." Aum is the mantra of Lord Ganesha. All are striving for His holy feet. Those who are struggling with the lower nature, those who have not made a commitment to the Sanatana Dharma, a commitment which for the newcomers to the fold could be verified by their Hindu name on their passport, should all chant Aum.
To demonstrate the authority vested in the mantra, let me tell you a story. A minister in a court was summoned before the maharaja. The minister also happened to be a brahmin priest, a kulaguru with the power to give initiation in the most sacred mantra, Aum Namah Sivaya. The king asked him, "We would like you to initiate me into the sacred Panchakshara Mantra." The guru said, "Yes, Majesty, I shall begin preparing you for your initiation." Then the king decreed: "No, we will take the initiation right now and never mind the preparations." The kulaguru objected, "This is quite impossible. My guru restricts me from giving initiation without due preparation." The king retorted, "So, we will do the mantra without you. Or else, explain to me how the mantra would work differently with the initiation than without." The kulaguru said, "Yes, Majesty, I shall give you an explanation."
In a loud voice the guru called to the five guards standing amidst the gathered audience, "Guards, come forward instantly and arrest this man, the maharaja, he is into wrongdoings. He is demanding an initiation into the great Panchakshara Mantra without the willingness to undergo the necessary preparations required by our noble sampradaya." The guards stood silent, eyes wide, looking at the maharaja, wondering what to do. The maharaja, losing his composure upon hearing his minister's preposterous command, was struck with awe and thought, "What madness has overcome this holy man?" He then shouted to the guards, "Here, promptly: arrest this minister of mine, this kulaguru who is behaving in such an insolent manner against the throne. Tie him securely and take him away." The guards rushed forward without delay, grabbed the guru and held him tight.
The guru laughed and said, "Hold on a minute! I was just answering your question, Majesty. I spoke the mantra 'Arrest this man.' However, since I am not initiated into the court, not ordained to have that power, the guards stood idle and did not respond. You then gave the same mantra, 'Arrest this man.' Because you were carefully prepared and initiated as king, the guards responded." Upon hearing this, the maharaja threw himself at the kulaguru's feet. The guards who had been hearing the entire conversation then released their captive, and themselves touched the holy man's feet and returned to their posts. In the months ahead the maharaja meticulously prepared himself for and received his initiation. Now all three worlds cooperate with him. His kingdom flourishes, crops grow, the rains come when needed, the rivers run clear and the wells are always full, the cows are fat, the mangos fall sweetly from the trees, the Gods in the temples provide discipline for the king's subjects and Himalayan rishis regularly visit the kingdom, giving of their wisdom to one and all. Even though His Majesty chants, with the proper visualization, Aum Namah Sivaya 108 times daily, one thing is missing: the king himself has not yet attained to full and complete God Realization. There is a story yet to be told.
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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.