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The lesson of the day from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's trilogy: Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva

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Lesson 306

Sloka 151 from Dancing with Siva

What Is Hinduism's Natha Sampradaya?

The Natha Sampradaya, "the masters' way," is the mystical fountainhead of Saivism. The divine message of the eternal truths and how to succeed on the path to enlightenment are locked within the Natha tradition. Aum.


Natha means "lord or adept," and sampradaya refers to a living theological tradition. The roots of this venerable heritage stretch back beyond recorded history, when awakened Natha mystics worshiped the Lord of lords, Siva, and in yogic contemplation experienced their identity in Him. The Natha Sampradaya has revealed the search for the innermost divine Self, balanced by temple worship, fueled by kundalini yoga, charted by monistic theism, illumined by a potent guru-shishya system, guided by soul-stirring scriptures and awakened by sadhana and tapas. Thus has it given mankind the mechanics for moving forward in evolution. Today two main Natha streams are well known: the Nandinatha Sampradaya, made famous by Maharishi Nandinatha (ca 250bce), and the Adinatha Sampradaya, carried forth by Siddha Yogi Gorakshanatha (ca 900). Yea, there is infinitely more to know of the mysterious Nathas. The Tirumantiram states, "My peerless satguru, Nandinatha, of Saivam honored high, showed us a holy path for soul's redemption. It is Siva's divine path, San Marga, for all the world to tread and forever be free." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 306 from Living with Siva

Monistic Theism

In India's spiritual traditions there have been for ten thousand years or more two major streams of thought, one called advaita in Sanskrit, or monism in English, and the other called dvaita or theism. Our own tradition, known by many names--monistic theism, Advaita Siddhanta, monistic Saiva Siddhanta or Advaita Ishvaravada--embraces them both fully. I discovered that the path of monism and theism is the whole of life. As my satguru explained, it is the entire path. He compared it to an orchestra and an audience. Playing in an orchestra and being in the audience are two different experiences. The audience without the orchestra is not complete. They would be just sitting hearing nothing. The orchestra without the audience is not complete. They would be entertaining no one. So it is in the plane of duality. We have to practice duality in an intelligent way. Satguru Yogaswami had the full advaitic realization of the Self, Parasiva, but at the same time he had the fullness of dvaitic devotion toward God, the Gods and his guru.

There was a Vedantin in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, who was very pompous and looked down his nose at duality and temple worship. He did not have a great relationship with Siva Yogaswami, who was always having fun with him in one way or another. One day Yogaswami saw the Vedantin in the marketplace and, coming up from behind, tapped him on the shoulder. The man spun around and asked, "Who's there?" Yogaswami exclaimed, "What do you mean, 'Who's there?' Didn't you say there was only one!" Yogaswami had shown the Vedantin that he could not keep the top of the mountain--the highest realizations of truth--separated from the bottom of it, the day-to-day world. He was making the point that the man had reached the summit only intellectually, through reasoning out the Vedic truths. Therefore, according to the same reasoning process, he had to reject the bottom of the mountain to maintain his arguments. This is the simplistic Vedanta philosophy, sometimes called the path of words, the vak marga, expounded by people who can eloquently explain Vedanta but have had no personal spiritual experience. They have attained the power to live a completely ordinary life as philosophically perfect anava marga adepts.

By the example of his own life, Satguru Yogaswami showed that, having reached the top through realization, the seer cannot reject any part of the mountain, because he remembers his experiences at the bottom, his experiences in the middle and his experiences at the top. Yogaswami taught that we cannot reject direct experience. No one can take that away from us. It is recorded in the akasha forever. Therefore, realization is not synonymous with the word understanding.

When a musician is playing an instrument in an orchestra, he is having the experience of moving his fingers, arms and hands. The musician is hearing what he is playing and what everyone else is playing as well. Each player is realizing the unity of the entire orchestra. This is the experience of monism--that wonderful oneness. A member of the audience listening to the orchestra is not hearing just one instrument, but all playing together in unison. But he is only experiencing through his ears. That is the experience of theism--that wonderful twoness.

The orchestra can exist without the audience, but the audience cannot exist without the orchestra. That is why the monist can go on with his practices even if there is no temple close by to worship in. He can go on with his practices even without an image of God. The theist cannot do this. Without the image of God or a temple to worship within, he is lost.

Monistic theists are practical philosophers. They put the orchestra and the audience together. They have the grand experience of the fullness of life. They enjoy the top of the mountain and its bottom. They put monism into theism and bring theism into monism. They are the full persons on this planet. All the great yogis and sages wandered from temple to temple worshiping externally, and in their internal worship realized God and the Gods within themselves.

Sutra 306 of the Nandinatha Sutras

The Master Course As Daily Guide

My devotees avidly study The Master Course as their lifetime sadhana, allowing its mystical and practical teachings to light their inner path. In these profound lessons they discover the meaning of life's many lessons. Aum.

Lesson 306 from Merging with Siva

Protection and Stabilization

Hindu devotees are very careful not to upset their guru, for they do not want his forces strongly directed at them. It is the same darshan, however. At a time such as this, it is like a distilled perfume from the rose. It becomes too potent. Therefore, the devotee tries to maintain a good atmosphere around the guru so that his darshan is pleasant and natural. The darshan of a guru is the power that stabilizes the devotee on the path. The philosophies, teachings and practices that he is given to do are important, but it is the power of darshan that is his stabilizing influence, enabling him to unfold easily on the path of enlightenment.

Darshan is a mystical power emanating from the adept who has gone deep enough within to awaken this power. By stabilizing that power, he gives psychic protection to his disciples and devotees, even during their sleep at night. The same power grants them the ability to meditate without the prior necessity of extensive tapas. Satguru darshan releases the awareness of the devotee out of the area of the mind which is constantly thinking into sublimity.

A beginning meditator is usually aware most of the time in the area of consciousness where thoughts run constantly before his vision. He finds it difficult to go deeper. All efforts fall short of the divine life he inwardly knows he can live, as he is bound by the cycles of his own karma. The satguru's power of darshan releases the meditator's individual awareness from the thinking area of mind and stabilizes him in the heart chakra, and he begins to awaken and unfold his Divinity.

Devout Hindus sit before a satguru and in seeing him, draw the darshan vibration from him, absorbing it into themselves. They are sensitive enough to distinguish the vibration of darshan from the other vibrations around the guru. They also believe that any physical thing the satguru touches begins to carry some of his darshan or personal vibration, and that when away from him they can just hold the article to receive the full impact of his darshan, for the physical object is a direct link to the satguru himself. It is darshan vibration that makes a human being a holy person. When we say someone is holy or saintly we are feeling the radiations of that divine energy flooding through him and out into the world.

The inner life of a devotee has to be stabilized, cherished and well protected by the guru. The guru is able to do this through his well-developed facilities of darshan, even if his devotee lives at great distances from him. Unless the inner vibratory rate of the devotee is held stable, he will not come into his fullness in this life. If a plant is transplanted too often, it won't come into its full growth. If the bud is picked before it blooms, it will not flower or give forth its redolent fragrance. Yes, the grace of the satguru fires the ability to meditate in the seeker, the erudite Hindu believes.


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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.

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