April 25, 2019 - Lesson 13

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Sloka 13 from Dancing with Siva

How Does Saivism Stay Contemporary?

Inner truths never change, but outer forms of practice and observance do evolve. Saivism seeks to preserve its mystical teachings while adapting to the cultural, social and technological changes of each recurrent age. Aum.


Saivism is an orthodox religion, conservative in its ways and yet pliant and understanding. It is simultaneously the most demanding spiritual path and the most forgiving. Saivites have persisted through many ages through successfully adapting work, service and skills according to the times while internalizing worship and holding firmly to the eternal values. The outer form of service or occupation does not change the spiritual search. Be he a skilled farmer, factory worker, village merchant, computer programmer or corporate executive, the Saivite is served well by his religion. Saivism has all of the facilities for the education of humankind back to the Source. Each futuristic age does not reflect a difference in the Saivite's relationship with his family, kula guru, teacher, satguru, Gods or God in his daily religious life. The Saiva Dharma: it is now as it always was. The Vedas implore: "O self-luminous Divine, remove the veil of ignorance from before me, that I may behold your light. Reveal to me the spirit of the scriptures. May the truth of the scriptures be ever present to me. May I seek day and night to realize what I learn from the sages." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 13 from Living with Siva

Satya: Truthfulness

The second yama is satya, truthfulness. It seems that little children are naturally truthful, open and honest. Their lives are uncomplicated, and they have no secrets. National studies show that children, even at an early age, learn to lie from their parents. They are taught to keep family secrets, whom to like, whom to dislike, whom to hate and whom to love, right within the home itself. Their minds become complicated and their judgments of what to say and what not to say are often influenced by the possibility of a punishment, perhaps a beating. Therefore, to fully encompass satya and incorporate it in one's life as a teenager or an adult, it is quite necessary to dredge the subconscious mind and in some cases reject much of what mother or father, relatives and elders had placed into it at an early age. Only by rejecting the apparent opposites, likes and dislikes, hates and loves, can true truthfulness, which is a quality of the soul, burst forth again and be there in full force as it is within an innocent child. A child practices truthfulness without wisdom. Wisdom, which is the timely application of knowledge, guides truthfulness for the adult. To attain wisdom, the adult must be conversant with the soul nature.

What is it that keeps us from practicing truthfulness? Fear, mainly. Fear of discovery, fear of punishment or loss of status. This is the most honest untruthfulness. The next layer of untruthfulness would be the mischievous person willing to take a chance of not being caught and deliberately inventing stories about another, deliberately lying when the truth would do just as well. The third and worst layer is calculated deception and breaking of promises.

Satya is a restraint, and as one of the ten restraints it ranks in importance as number two. When we restrain our tendencies to deceive, to lie and break promises, our external life is uncomplicated, as is our subconscious mind. Honesty is the foundation of truth. It is ecologically, psychologically purifying. However, many people are not truthful with themselves, to themselves, let alone to others. And the calculated, subconscious built-in program of these clever, cunning, two-faced individuals keeps them in the inner worlds of darkness. To emerge from those worlds, the practice of truthfulness, satya, is in itself a healing and purifying sadhana.

What is breaking a promise? Breaking a promise is, for example, when someone confides in you, asks you to keep it to yourself and not to tell anyone, and then you tell. You have betrayed your promise. Confidences must be kept at all costs in the practice of satya.

There are certainly times when withholding the truth is permitted. The Tirukural, Weaver's Wisdom, explains that "Even falsehood is of the nature of truth if it renders good results, free from fault" (292). An astrologer, for instance, while reviewing a chart would refrain from telling of a heartbreak that might come to a person at a certain time in his life. This is wisdom. In fact, astrologers are admonished by their gurus to hold back information that might be harmful or deeply discouraging. A doctor might not tell his patient that he will die in three days when he sees the vital signs weakening. Instead, he may encourage positive thinking, give hope, knowing that life is eternal and that to invoke fear might create depression and hopelessness in the mind of the ill person.

When pure truthfulness would injure or cause harm, then the first yama, ahimsa, would come into effect. You would not want to harm that person, even with the truth. But we must not look at this verse from the Tirukural as giving permission for deception. The spirit of the verse is wisdom, good judgment, not the subterfuge of telling someone you are going to Mumbai when your actual destination is Kalikot. That is not truthful. It would be much better to avoid answering the question at all in some way if one wanted to conceal the destination of his journey. This would be wisdom. You would not complicate your own subconscious mind by telling an untruth, nor be labeled deceptive in the mind of the informed person when he eventually discovers the actual truth.

Sutra 13 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Teaching The Five Precepts And Practices

Those who live with Siva teach children the five precepts: God as All in all, temples, karma, reincarnation/liberation, scripture/preceptor; and five practices: virtue, worship, holy days, sacraments and pilgrimage. Aum.

Lesson 13 from Merging with Siva

Experience Without Reacting

The next time the same experiential pattern appears, we approach it from a mountaintop consciousness, because we have conquered those instinctive elements. Our intellect has been trained by family and friends, schoolteachers and business acquaintances. We have to build a new intellect, an intellect from the soul, out into the intellectual mind rather than from the instinctive area of the mind into the intellect to be successful on the path of enlightenment.

If we look at the past and we look at the future as both a series of dreams, and the only thing that we are concerned with is our immediate reactions and what we carry with us now--we see that the past is there to test us and the future is there to challenge us. We cannot change the past, but we can change how we react to what has happened to us in the past, and we can change the future anytime we want to.

The soul builds a body around us in this life. That's what's happened to all of us. This body goes through the same experiences year after year, the emotions go through the same experiences year after year, until we build up strong enough within ourself to face the experience without reaction to the experience. Then we go into a new series of experiences.

Give yourself a test to prove this out. Go to a movie, one that will make you laugh and make you cry and make you suffer right along with the players. And that's how we live our life. We laugh, we cry, we suffer, we have joy, we have peace, like actors on a great stage. Then go to the same movie the next day and go through the same emotions again--another cycle in the same life pattern. Then go to the movie the day following that, and go through the same emotions. Then go the next day, and you will find you will go through the same emotions, but not quite as well. Then go the next day. You will find your mind begins to wander into how the film was produced, just where the cameraman was standing when he filmed this emotional shot. You're becoming mystical. That is how the mystic faces his experiences. "How was this produced? Where was the cameraman?" Go the next day and you will again be distracted, and may wonder about the voltage that runs the carbon arc light that penetrates the film! Then go the next day. You won't be involved in the picture at all, or the emotion. You could care less. You had that experience, you lived it through, and you lived it out. It was neither good nor bad. It was neither high nor low. But you're completely involved in the cameraman, the actors, the personalities of the actors. You begin to get perceptive, and you see that a particular actor was saying something and going through something but thinking about something entirely different. You didn't catch that the first time. You were blinded by emotion.