December 16, 2017 - Lesson 248

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Sloka 93 from Dancing with Siva

What Are the Sacraments of Adulthood?

The most important sacrament of adulthood is the vivaha samskara, or marriage rite, preceded by a pledge of betrothal. A boy's or girl's coming of age is also consecrated through special ceremony in the home. Aum.


As puberty dawns, the ritu kala home-ceremony acknowledges a girl's first menses, and the keshanta kala celebrates a boy's first beard-shaving. New clothing and jewelry fit for royalty are presented to and worn by the youth, who is joyously welcomed into the young adult community. Girls receive their first sari, boys their first razor. Chastity is vowed until marriage. The next sacrament is the betrothal ceremony, called nishchitartha or vagdana, in which a man and woman are declared formally engaged by their parents with the exchange of jewelry and other gifts. Based on this commitment, they and their families begin planning a shared future. In the marriage sacrament, or vivaha, seven steps before God and Gods and tying the wedding pendant consecrate the union of husband and wife. This sacrament is performed before the homa fire in a wedding hall or temple and is occasioned by elaborate celebration. The Grihya Sutras pronounce, "One step for strength, two steps for vitality, three steps for prosperity, four steps for happiness, five steps for cattle, six steps for seasons, seven steps for friendship. To me be devoted." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 248 from Living with Siva

The World as Our Teacher

The Hindu also wants to improve conditions in the world, in the physical world. We do not look upon all that happens to us as unreal. That is a misconception. It is real. Life is real. It is through life that we progress. Life is the means provided by the Primordial God for finding Reality. True, it is maya. But it is maya in the form of mind, in the form of form. Maya, or form, or mind, is created for a purpose, to help man evolve, not to bind him in illusion. The Hindu understands this. We want to help humanity, and simultaneously we know that we may well return in another physical body. So we are working not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones, not only now, but in the future as well. We are improving the world for future generations in which we will play a part.

Through our knowledge of reincarnation, we have a great love and understanding for every human being, for they have been our mothers, our fathers, our sons and daughters, our grandparents and companions in many past lives, or perhaps will be in a future incarnation. This expanded knowledge of the interrelatedness of humanity brings with it a deepened appreciation, helping us to understand why it is that some people seem so close to us though we hardly know them and others are strangers or even enemies after years of close association. To the Hindu, everyone younger is his brother or sister. Everyone older is his mother or father, and he maintains a deep respect for others. We have this knowledge by having lived through many hundreds of lives on this planet and having been associated with many thousands of people. We know that in our current pattern in this life we often attract those to us whom we have been with in past lives. So we have a great joy and happiness in meeting them again and a deep knowledge of our relationships, our psychic relationships, with them in past lives.

The Hindu believes in the law of karma, the ability to earn one's rewards as well as punishments. All this we can do ourselves with the help of our Gods and our personal relationship with our Ishta Devata, the individual God that we have chosen, or rather that God who has chosen to love, guide and protect us through an incarnation.

In Hinduism there is no priest standing between the devotee and God. The priest is a servant of the God, just as is every other devotee. Even the satguru, the spiritual teacher, does not stand between the disciple and God, but seeks instead to strengthen the devotee's direct experiential relationship with the Divine. The Hindu thus finds a great joy in his relationship with God and the Gods. It is his relationship, and he alone is able to perpetuate it. No one can do this work for him or on his behalf. There is a great happiness there between the devotee and the God resident in the Hindu temple, which is the communication point with the God, as is the sacred home shrine.

Sutra 248 of the Nandinatha Sutras

...obey Your Guru

Siva's devotees trustingly heed their satguru's counsel without even subtly attempting to change his mind. If he declines to give blessings for an endeavor, they accept that as his blessing and proceed no further. Aum.

Lesson 248 from Merging with Siva

Working It Out On the Inside

A third way that past actions are re-enacted is through the actual intense reactionary experience and working with yourself, conquering inner desires and emotions. When something happens to you that you put into motion in a past life or earlier in this life, sit down and think it over. Do not strike out. Do not react. Work it out inside yourself. Take the experience within, into the pure energies of the spine and transmute that energy back into its primal source. In doing so, what happens? You change its consistency. It no longer has magnetic power, and awareness flows away from that memory pattern forever. You could remember the experience, but your perspective would be totally detached and objective. This is the most common way karma is resolved, in day-to-day experiences. By living an inner life, you stop creating uncomplimentary karma and can therefore consciously face the reactions of the past without the confusion of additional day-to-day reactions.

Everyone lives an inner life. When you are thinking over that film that you saw last week, that is inner life. When you are deeply involved in a reactionary area because of something that has happened or is happening to someone else, you are living inwardly the same experience that you think they are going through.

In your life, someone you love has gone through an experience, and you have shared it with him. You felt his suffering and began to live it through dramatically. Actually, that same experience under a different set of conditions would have been happening to you, but it was happening to you in an indirect way through observation. You were able to vicariously work through this karma.

Perhaps your friend is destined to lose his leg in this life because he caused someone else to lose a leg in a past life. If he is living as an instinctive being, with all the energies flowing through the first two chakras, memory and reason, and through the passive physical forces, that experience will come to him in full force. However, perhaps he has his energies flowing through aggressive intellectual forces. Even if he is not consciously on the path of enlightenment, but is kindly and subdues his instinctive reactions by his intellect, that karma would still come back to him, but he would experience it in a different way.

One morning he may pick up the newspaper and read about an automobile accident in which someone has lost a leg. This news jars him. His solar plexus tightens. His reaction is so severe that he cannot eat his breakfast that morning. He does not know why, but all day he lives and relives every experience the article describes. He wonders, "What if this had happened to me? What would I do? How would I face it? How would I adjust my consciousness to it?" At work he imagines himself going through life with one leg--the therapy, the family concern, the emotional adjustment. It may take him three or four days to work his awareness out of that reaction. He does not know why that particular article in the newspaper impressed him so much. It seems foolish to him to think so much about the event and he tries to forget it. Soon thereafter, while hiking in the mountains, he stumbles and falls, cutting his thigh on the jagged rocks, tearing a few ligaments. The full force of the karmic experience comes, but because of his present goodness and previous blessings earned through control of his intellect, he receives the experience as a minor wound and an emotional reaction to another's losing his leg. This seed karma is worked through within himself in this way. He does not have to lose a leg, as he would if he were living in the instinctive mind of fear, anger and jealousy.