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The Master Course

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 48

Sloka 48 from Dancing with Siva

What Is the Source of Good and Evil?

Instead of seeing good and evil in the world, we understand the nature of the embodied soul in three interrelated parts: instinctive or physical-emotional; intellectual or mental; and superconscious or spiritual. Aum.

Bhashya

Evil has no source, unless the source of evil's seeming be ignorance itself. Still, it is good to fear unrighteousness. The ignorant complain, justify, fear and criticize "sinful deeds," setting themselves apart as lofty puritans. When the outer, or lower, instinctive nature dominates, one is prone to anger, fear, greed, jealousy, hatred and backbiting. When the intellect is prominent, arrogance and analytical thinking preside. When the superconscious soul comes forth the refined qualities are born--compassion, insight, modesty and the others. The animal instincts of the young soul are strong. The intellect, yet to be developed, is nonexistent to control these strong instinctive impulses. When the intellect is developed, the instinctive nature subsides. When the soul unfolds and overshadows the well-developed intellect, this mental harness is loosened and removed. When we encounter wickedness in others, let us be compassionate, for truly there is no intrinsic evil. The Vedas say, "Mind is indeed the source of bondage and also the source of liberation. To be bound to things of this world: this is bondage. To be free from them: this is liberation." Aum Namah Sivaya.


Lesson 48 from Living with Siva

Rites of Worship

Many people are afraid to do puja, specific, traditional rites of worship, because they feel they don't have enough training or don't understand the mystical principles behind it well enough. To this concern I would say that the priesthood in Hinduism is sincere, devout and dedicated. Most Hindus depend on the priests to perform the pujas and sacraments for them, or to train them to perform home puja and give them permission to do so through initiation, called diksha. However, simple pujas may be performed by anyone wishing to invoke grace from God, Mahadevas and devas.

Love and dedication and the outpouring from the highest chakras of spiritual energies of the lay devotee are often greater than any professional priest could summon within himself. Devotees of this caliber have come up in Hindu society throughout the ages with natural powers to invoke the Gods and manifest in the lives of temple devotees many wondrous miracles.

There is also an informal order of priests called pandara, which is essentially the self-appointed priest who is accepted by the community to perform pujas at a sacred tree, a simple shrine or an abandoned temple. He may start with the mantra Aum and learn a few more mantras as he goes along. His efficaciousness can equal that of the most advanced Sanskrit shastri, performing in the grandest temple. Mothers, daughters, aunts, fathers, sons, uncles, all may perform puja within their own home, and do, as the Hindu home is considered to be nothing less than an extension of the nearby temple. In the Hindu religion, unlike the Western religions, there is no one who stands between man and God.

Years ago, in the late 1950s, I taught beginning seekers how to offer the minimal, simplest form of puja at a simple altar with fresh water, flowers, a small candle, incense, a bell and a stone. This brings together the four elements, earth, air, fire and water--and your own mind is akasha, the fifth element. The liturgy is simply chanting "Aum." This is the generic puja which anyone can do before proper initiation comes from the right sources. People of any religion can perform Hindu puja in this way.

All Hindus have guardian devas who live on the astral plane and guide, guard and protect their lives. The great Mahadevas in the temple that the devotees frequent send their deva ambassadors into the homes to live with the devotees. A room is set aside for these permanent unseen guests, a room that the whole family can enter and sit in and commune inwardly with these refined beings who are dedicated to protecting the family generation after generation. Some of them are their own ancestors. A token shrine in a bedroom or a closet or a niche in a kitchen is not enough to attract these Divinities. One would not host an honored guest in one's closet or have him or her sleep in the kitchen and expect the guest to feel welcome, appreciated, loved. All Hindus are taught from childhood that the guest is God, and they treat any guest royally who comes to visit. Hindus also treat God as God and devas as Gods when they come to live permanently in the home.

But liberal sects of Hinduism teach that God and devas are only figments of one's imagination. These sects are responsible for producing a more materialistic and superficial group of followers. Not so the deep, mystical Hindu, who dedicates his home to God and sets a room aside for God. To him and the family, they are moving into God's house and living with God. Materialistic, superficial Hindus feel that God might be living, sometimes, maybe, in their house. Their homes are fraught with confusion, deceptive dealings, back-biting, anger, even rage, and their marriages nowadays often end in divorce.

They and all those who live in the lower nature are restricted from performing puja, because when and if they do puja, the invocation calls up the demons rather than calling down the devas. The asuric beings invoked into the home by angry people, and into the temple by angry priests, or by contentious, argumentative, sometimes rageful boards of directors, take great satisfaction in creating more confusion and escalating simple misunderstandings into arguments leading to angry words, hurt feelings and more. With this in mind, once anger is experienced, thirty-one days should pass to close the door on the chakras below the muladhara before puja may again be performed by that individual. Simple waving of incense before the icons is permissible, but not the passing of flames, ringing of bells or the chanting of any mantra, other than the simple recitation of Aum.


Sutra 48 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Patience And Steadfastness

All devotees of Siva exercise kshama, restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. They foster dhriti, steadfastness, overcoming nonperseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness. Aum.


Lesson 48 from Merging with Siva

Don't Get Side-tracked


The mystic seeks to gain the conscious control of his own willpower, to awaken knowledge of the primal force through the direct experience of it and to claim conscious control of his own individual awareness. In the beginning stages on the path, you will surely experience your mind wandering--when awareness is totally identified with everything that it is aware of. This gives us the sense, the feeling, that we are the mind or that we are the emotion or the body. And, when sitting in meditation, myriad thoughts bounce through the brain and it becomes difficult to even concentrate upon what is supposed to be meditated upon, in some cases even to remember what it was. That is why the sadhana of the practices of yoga given in these lessons must be mastered to some extent in order to gain enough control over the willpower and sense organs to cause the meditation to become introverted rather than extroverted. The grace of the guru can cause this to happen, because he stabilizes the willpower, the awareness, within his devotees as a harmonious father and mother stabilize the home for their offspring. If one has no guru or has one and is only a part-time devotee, then he must struggle in his efforts as an orphan in the institution of external life. For the world is your guru. His name is Shri Shri Vishvaguru Maha Maharaj, the most august universal teacher, grand master and sovereign.

Even before we sit down to meditate, one of the first steps is to acquire a conscious mastery of awareness in the conscious mind itself. Learn attention and concentration. Apply them in everything that you do. As soon as we bring awareness to attention and train awareness in the art of concentration, the great power of observation comes to us naturally. We find that we are in a state of observation all the time. All awakened souls have keen observation. They do not miss very much that happens around them on the physical plane or on the inner planes. They are constantly in a state of observation.

For instance, we take a flower and begin to think only about the flower. We put it in front of us and look at it. This flower can now represent the conscious mind. Our physical eyes are also of the conscious mind. Examine the flower, become aware of the flower and cease being aware of all other things and thoughts. It is just the flower now and our awareness. The practice now is: each time we forget about the flower and become aware of something else, we use the power of our will to bring awareness right back to that little flower and think about it. Each time we become aware of any other thoughts, we excuse awareness from those thoughts. Gently, on the in-breath, we pull awareness back to the world of the flower. This is an initial step in unraveling awareness from the bondages of the conscious mind.

     
 



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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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