Modern existential thought tells us that we can do anything we want to; we don’t have to follow tradition. Out of such a belief comes a great sense of loneliness, a schism between the individual and all his ancestors, all the generations that preceded him on this planet. Out of such a belief comes the breaking up of culture, society, religion and families. Tradition allows you to go through life’s experiences in a controlled way, rather than just throwing yourself into life and upon life without forethought and preparation. When you respect tradition, you call upon the collective wisdom of tens of thousands of years of experience.
Tradition is wisdom of the past inherited by the men and women in the present. In the early stages we tend toward untraditional ways. That is natural. Experience later shows us another way, and we begin to become traditionalists. This maturation comes to all souls over a series of births.
Some traditions set in motion by people to solve certain problems at certain times have no relationship to our circumstances and in our times. The Hindu tradition is initiated and administrated from the inner worlds, from the Devaloka. The Deities are the source of most tradition. They ordain the proper way to chant and the mantras to be used. They establish the language, the music, the dance, the systems of worship. Tradition guides experiences in life. It is a protective mind structure. Any experience that you have to go through is gently guided by this great mind structure. The old ways are world patterns that have come down through thousands upon thousands of years, which you have, in previous lives, lived through and known.
Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami