October 18, 2017 - Lesson 189
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Sloka 34 from Dancing with Siva
How Should We View Death and Dying?
Our soul never dies; only the physical body dies. We neither fear death nor look forward to it, but revere it as a most exalted experience. Life, death and the afterlife are all part of our path to perfect oneness with God. Aum.
For Hindus, death is nobly referred to as mahaprasthana, "the great journey." When the lessons of this life have been learned and karmas reach a point of intensity, the soul leaves the physical body, which then returns its elements to the earth. The awareness, will, memory and intelligence which we think of as ourselves continue to exist in the soul body. Death is a most natural experience, not to be feared. It is a quick transition from the physical world to the astral plane, like walking through a door, leaving one room and entering another. Knowing this, we approach death as a sadhana, as a spiritual opportunity, bringing a level of detachment which is difficult to achieve in the tumult of life and an urgency to strive more than ever in our search for the Divine Self. To be near a realized soul at the time he or she gives up the body yields blessings surpassing those of a thousand and eight visits to holy persons at other times. The Vedas explain, "As a caterpillar coming to the end of a blade of grass draws itself together in taking the next step, so does the soul in the process of transition strike down this body and dispel its ignorance." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 189 from Living with Siva
Time Out And Time In
Is there a covert consciousness that accounts for the fact that for forty-eight years, until early 1996, I didn't even know that children of my international congregation were being beaten? Perhaps. Hindus know it's wrong in their heart of hearts, but are blindly obeying the cultural attitude expressed in this himsa, violent, senseless proverb, and thoughtlessly reacting to their own stress and anger. They don't even look for a better way. Well, there is a better way.
It has been over fifty years since my ministry started, way back in 1949. Now, in its maturity, there are uncounted encounters to rely upon, much experience to guide the fellowship and much energy to march into the future of futures. Among the concerns, one has become crucial to parents, who ask, "Are there better ways to raise our children? We are entirely dedicated to ahimsa, noninjury, physically, emotionally and mentally. But how is this lofty ideal possible to follow when troubled by emotions that are too easily released by taking them out, in the fire of the moment, on those we love? How can misdeeds that happen in the home be absolved, and examples set that prevent their repetition generation after generation?"
For parents seeking effective nonviolent alternatives, they are readily available today in excellent books. One strategy educators recommend is called time out, one minute for each year of the child's age; hence ten minutes for a ten-year-old. This tells the child that if he doesn't behave in a reasonable way, he will be separated from other people. Time out, sitting quietly in a room, works best in conjunction with its opposite, time in. Time in is quality time spent with the child in an activity he enjoys, and just being together. Time in includes letting children share their feelings, positive or negative, with parents lending a receptive, understanding ear.
There are new methods and new principles, such as in Nandinatha Sutra 138: "Siva's followers never govern youth through fear. They are forbidden to spank or hit them, use harsh or angry words, neglect or abuse them. They know you can't make children do better by making them feel worse." This goes along with the innovative approach being taken by psychologists, sociologists and educators, in consideration of the turmoil that engulfs today's world. The truth is being accepted that methods that rely on what experts call "punishment power"--scolding, taking away privileges, spanking--do not elicit more desirable behavior in children or adults. Rather, they produce hostility, resentment and the desire for retaliation. In communities around the world, our family missionaries are conducting study groups on Dr. Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline as a public service to help parents raise their children without violence.
Sutra 189 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Siva's devotees are forbidden to eat meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs, but they may regard as regrettable exceptions unseen traces of nonfleshy ingredients, such as eggs and gelatin, in packaged or restaurant foods. Aum.
Lesson 189 from Merging with Siva
Uncovering the Light of the Soul
As we study the mystical teachings of our religion, we begin to reprogram the subconscious mind and mold it like we mold clay. We become more conscious of our fears. We tell ourselves, "There is nothing to be afraid of. There is not one thing to be afraid of." We are able to talk to the subconscious mind in this way. It is called affirmation. "I am a fearless being. I am a fearless being," we keep saying to ourselves time and time and time again. In affirming this truth we begin reeducating or reprogramming the subconscious mind. Finally, we begin to remove the layers upon layers covering the soul.
In India there is a traditional analogy of a lamp whose light is concealed by a screen of colored pieces of cloth. It is said we can uncover the lamp, representing the light of the soul, by reprogramming the subconscious. First we take off the black piece of cloth. The dark green one is still there, so little light comes through as yet, and we are faced with the instinctive emotion--our great protective power of being jealous. Both fear and jealousy are protective mechanisms of the mind. We work with our jealous nature as we make other affirmations. "I have all that everyone else has. The same power that is within everyone is within me." In this way we begin reprogramming the subconscious and gain more and more confidence in ourselves. Jealousy is inferiority. We feel we lack that which someone else has, so we try to cut them down a little bit to our size. Jealousy makes people mean. Finally, we work our awareness through this dark green sheath of jealousy, and we remove that sheath from the lamp of the soul. A little more light now shines through, and we begin to feel good about ourself--"I'm not so bad after all. In fact, I'm pretty good." We become more confident and penetrate even deeper while working on the next instinctive quality, and the next and the next and the next. Finally, as we take off the last sheath, we find that we are That which we were all the time. We are inwardly free. We have removed awareness from the conscious mind and brought it through the subconscious state into pure superconsciousness. Now the physical body seems to us but a shell, a place in which we live in order to express ourselves on the surface of the Earth. The spiritual body seems to us to be our real body, and we wonder why we didn't realize that before.