December 19, 2018 - Lesson 251

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Sloka 96 from Dancing with Siva

What Are the Festival Days of Saivism?

Festivals are special times of communion with God and Gods, of family and community sharing and sadhana. Saivites observe numerous festivals in the temple and the home, and special holy days each week and month. Aum.


Monday is the Hindu holy day in the North of India, and Friday in the South, set aside each week for attending the temple, cleaning and decorating the home shrine, devout prayer, japa and scriptural study. These are not days of rest, for we carry on our usual work. Among the major Deity festivals are Mahasivaratri, Vaikasi Vishakham, Ganesha Chaturthi, Skanda Shashthi, Krittika Dipa, Vinayaka Vratam, Ardra Darshana and Tai Pusam. Temples also hold a ten-day annual festival called Brahmotsava, often on the Uttaraphalguni nakshatra in March-April, as well as honor the anniversary day of their founding. Festivals are auspicious and sacred days of family and community togetherness, and of sadhana, fasting, meditation, worship and retreat from worldly concerns. Saivites offer special prayers to Siva, Ganesha and Karttikeya on propitious days each month according to the Hindu sacred calendar. The Vedas proclaim, "Behold now a man who unwinds and sets the thread, a man who unwinds it right up to the vault of heaven. Here are the pegs; they are fastened to the place of worship. The Sama Veda hymns are used for weaving shuttles." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 251 from Living with Siva

Hinduism Can't Be Destroyed

It is false to think that one has to be born a Hindu in order to be a Hindu. That is a concept postulated by certain caste-based Hindu lineages and reinforced by the Christians in their effort to hinder the growth of our religion, to deprive it of new life, to hold it down while they in turn try to convert Hindus en masse to their religion. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), a Hindu monk and missionary who wrote extensively on the Hindu Dharma, when confronted by this same issue in the West would explain how Hindus who have been converted by force should not be denied an opportunity of returning to their ancestral religion. As for the case of those not born into Hinduism who might be interested to join it, he simply said, "Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on." Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), the distinguished Hindu philosopher who became the second president of India, confirms this view in writing, "In a sense, Hinduism may be regarded as the first example in the world of a missionary religion. Only its missionary spirit is different from that associated with the proselytizing creeds. It did not regard as its mission to convert humanity to one opinion. For what counts is conduct and not belief. The ancient practice of vratyastoma, described fully in the Tandya Brahmana, shows that not only individuals but whole tribes were absorbed into Hinduism."

During the era of India's domination by alien religions, when Hinduism was scheduled to be destroyed, the attack was to be carried out in three ways. The first strategy was to convince the women to abandon their age-old stri dharma--of maintaining the home, its purity and ways of worship--thus drawing them away from the household in order to receive a so-called "higher education" or to teach in alien religious schools, thus denying future generations the mother's religious counsel and grounding in the dharma. The second strategy was to overtly break down the various castes of temple priests by enticing them to accept other, often higher-paying, occupations, thus leaving the temples unattended.

The third strategy was to convince Hindus that they had inherited a crude and outdated religion. This last attack was accomplished mainly through ridicule, by ridiculing every aspect of the religion that could possibly be ridiculed. For example, those who slandered Hinduism claimed it has no sacraments. Why, Hinduism has more sacraments, more sacred rites and ceremonies for its members, than perhaps any other religion in the world. These sacraments include the namakarana samskara, name-giving sacrament; annaprashana, first feeding; karnavedha, ear-piercing; vidyarambha, commencement of learning; vivaha, marriage; and many others.

Though India was politically dominated for generations by adherents of alien faiths, and though every attempt was made to discourage, weaken and crush the native religion, the carefully calculated, systematic assault failed to destroy Hinduism. Hinduism cannot be destroyed. It is the venerable eternal religion, the Sanatana Dharma. But it was an effective campaign that has left in its wake deep samskaric patterns, deep subconscious impressions, which still persist in the minds of the Indian people. It is going to be difficult to completely eradicate these impressions, but with the help of all the millions of Hindus throughout the world, in adhering to and extolling the benefits and joys of Hinduism and the gifts which it holds for mankind, this is possible and feasible, within the range of accomplishment, perhaps within this very generation.

Sutra 251 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Never Criticizing Or Contending

Siva's devotees are forbidden by tradition to criticize their satguru, even behind his back, or to argue with him, contradict or correct him. They may, however, request clarification and offer additional information. Aum.

Lesson 251 from Merging with Siva

The Role of The Satguru

Responsibly resolving karma is among the most important reasons that a satguru is necessary in a sincere seeker's life. The guru helps the devotee to hold his mind in focus, to become pointedly conscious of thought, word and deed, and to cognize the lessons of each experience. Without the guidance and grace of the guru, the devotee's mind will be divided between instinctive and intellectual forces, making it very difficult to resolve karma. And only when karma is wisely harnessed can the mind become still enough to experience its own superconscious depths.

The guru guides and also shares a bit of the heavier burdens, if one is fortunate enough to be dedicated enough to have a guru who will lend his powers in this way. But each aspect of the karma, the outgrowth of the dharma, must be passed through by the disciple, creating as little as possible of a similar karma on this tenuous path of the repetition of the cycles of life.

The guru is able, because of his enlightenment or tapas, or as his tapas, to take upon himself the karma of another. Just what exactly does this mean? You have already found such persons at the moment of your birth--your mother and your father, who perhaps unknowingly, took the full impact of your dharma, and continue to take the impact of the karma you create, deeply within their nerve systems. If your karma is of a heavy nature, it could disrupt the entire home, and they could suffer because of it. On the other hand, if your dharma is devonic, full of merit accrued by generosity, good deeds and graciousness in your former life, your presence in their home is a blessing, and the force of your arrival may mitigate influences in their minds of an uncomely nature, bringing peace, harmony and forbearance into the home. The guru may take unto himself, into his nerve system, some of the heavier areas of your karma in the same way your parents performed this function for you perhaps unknowingly.

Planetary changes activate new karmas and close off some of the karmas previously activated. These karmas then wait in abeyance, accumulating new energy from current actions, to be reactivated at some later time. These karmic packets become more refined, life after life, through sadhana. All of this is summed up by one word, evolution.

The planets do not cause the events or the vibrations that individuals react to either positively or negatively. The magnetic pulls of light or the absence of light release that which is already there within the individual. If not much is there, not much can be released. The magnetic pulls and the lack of magnetism are what jyotisha (Vedic astrology) is telling us is happening at every point in time. Two things--magnetism and its opposite. On and off. Light and dark. With and without. Action and no action. Therefore, these keys release within the individual what was created when other keys were releasing other karmas. It is our reaction to karmas through lack of understanding that creates most karmas we shall experience at a future time. The sum total of all karmas, including the journey through consciousness required to resolve them, is called samsara.