From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26There are no shortcuts to enlightenment, but there are detours. Impatience with the natural process is one of them. I am saying that impatient striving, the kind of striving that puts aside all common sense and says “I am going to get realization no matter what” is itself an obstacle to that realization which is not a something to get. We must work to perfect an inner serenity that can accept spending a lifetime or several lifetimes in search of Truth, that can accept that some of us are by our nature and unfoldment better suited to service and devotion, and others to yoga and the various sâdhanas. This is a far more enlightened perspective than the Western notion which subtly maintains that there is but a single life in which all the final goals must be reached. The eternal spiritual path, the way of God, is broad. It accepts all and rejects none. No matter where a seeker is in his inner development, the eternal path embraces and encourages him.

According to the Ågamic tradition, four categories of charyâ, kriyâ, yoga and jñâna are the natural sequence of the soul’s evolutionary process, much like the development of a butterfly from egg to larva, from larva to caterpillar, from caterpillar to pupa, and then the final metamorphosis from pupa to butterfly. Every butterfly, without exception, will follow this pattern of development, and every soul will mature through charyâ to kriyâ, through kriyâ to yoga and into jñâna. Charyâ, or karma yoga, may be simply defined as service. Kriyâ, or bhakti yoga, is devotion. Yoga, or râja yoga, is meditation, and jñâna is the state of wisdom reached toward the end of the path as the result of God Realization and the subsequent enlivened kundalinî and unfoldment of the chakras through the practices of yoga. The soul does not move quickly from one stage to another. It is a deliberate process, and within each stage there exist vast libraries of knowledge containing the sum of thousands of years of teachings unraveling that particular experiential vista.

The evolution of the soul through the stage of charyâ, or service, may itself take many, many lives. We see people every day who are working to be of service, to be more efficient, to be more useful to others. Charyâ is the state of overcoming basic instinctive patterns and learning to work for the sake of work rather than the fruits of our labor. It is the simple fulfillment of right action and the first step on the spiritual path. The instinctive mind at this stage of evolution is so strong that it must be governed firmly by external laws, external forces. Tendencies toward selfishness lose their hold on the devotee as he strives to become the perfect servant to God and mankind.

Worship during the charyâ stage is entirely external. As the devotee unfolds into the next stage, of kriyâ or bhakti yoga, he will want to worship and serve in the temple in more internalized ways. Singing the sacred hymns, chanting the names of the Lord and performing japa will become an important part of his devotion, which is partly internal and partly external. Kriyâ blossoms into its fullness when there arises in his heart a desire, a strong desire, to know and experience God.

It is through the devotees in the kriyâ, or bhakti yoga, stage of the unfoldment of the soul that we have all over the world today magnificent Hindu temples, built by people who have performed well, who have controlled their thoughts and actions, who have understood the laws of karma and the penalties of wrong action. They have avoided wrong action not out of fear, but because they have evolved into performing right action. As he matures in kriyâ, the devotee unfolds a more and more intense love of God, to the point that he may well shed joyful tears during intense moments of worship. When that love is constant from day to day, when it is strong enough that he is capable of surrendering his individual will to God’s Cosmic Will, then kriyâ or bhakti yoga has reached its zenith.

At this stage of kriyâ the devotee learns patience. He learns to wait for the proper timing of things in his life. He is in no hurry. He is willing to wait for another life, or for many more lives. There is no urgency. He trusts God and trusts the path he is on. He settles down, and his life comes into a balance.

In the stages of charyâ and kriyâ, the deep-seated impurities of the mind are cleansed as past karmas are resolved and a foundation laid for the third stage on the divine path, that of yoga. Yoga is a very advanced science. It cannot be sustained except by the soul that has unfolded into the fullness of charyâ and kriyâ and maintains the qualities of service and devotion as meditation is pursued. The devotee who has served God well now embarks upon finding union with God in his sanctum within.

In yoga, the devotee worships the transcendent aspect of God. He strengthens his body and nerve system. He disciplines the energies of mind and body. He learns to regulate his breath and to control the prânas that flow as life’s force through his nerve system. In this process, the kundalinî Sakti is lifted and the multi-petaled chakras unfold in all their splendor. Lord Siva now brings the earnest  devotee to meet his sat guru, who will guide him through the traditional disciplines of yoga on his inward journey. It is his spiritual preceptor, his guru, who takes care that he avoids the abysses and psychic pitfalls along the path. In this stage of yoga, the devotee looks upon God as a friend, a companion. Finally, one day, in his first samâdhi, he penetrates to the essence of being. In this ultimate experience, which remains forever beyond description, he has reached the union which is yoga.

Returning from this state of ineffable fulfillment, the devotee brings back into his life a new understanding, a new perspective. He is never the same after that experience. He can never again look at life in the same way. Each time he enters into that God Realization, that samâdhi, he returns to consciousness more and more the knower. His knowing matures through the years as his yoga sâdhana is regulated, and as it matures he enters ever so imperceptibly into the fourth and final stage of unfoldment, into jñâna.

One does not become a jñânî simply by reading philosophy. Understanding another person’s wisdom does not make us wise. Each has to experience the fullness of the path to enlightenment himself. The jñânî becomes one who postulates that what he has himself realized are the final conclusions for all mankind. His postulations are filled with assuredness, for he has experienced what the Vedas, the Ågamas and the Upanishads speak of. He has awakened the power and force of his own realization. He knows. He becomes the embodiment of that knowing, of the Truth he once sought as something other than himself. He finds within the scriptures confirmation of his realization echoed in the verses of rishis written at the dawn of human history. This matured soul sees reflected in their writings that same state of complete merging with the Divine that he himself has come to know as the timeless, formless, spaceless Absolute which he once worshiped symbolically as a stone image in previous life wanderings within the instinctive mind. He has removed the veils of ignorance, removed the obstacles to understanding. He has come into his true being, union with God, union with Siva, and in this serene state he sees God as his beloved, as that which is dearer to him than life itself, as he is consumed by that all-encompassing love. He has become the source of light and darshan which radiate out through the nâdîs and prânas of his being.

The final conclusions are that mankind is on a spiritual path as old as time itself, that this journey progresses from birth to birth as the soul evolves through the perfection of charyâ into the perfection of kriyâ, and from there into the perfection of yoga, emerging as a jñânî. This is the path followed by all souls. Whatever religion they espouse, whatsoever they may believe or deny, all of mankind is on the one path to Truth. It begins with the dvaita of charyâ and ends in the advaita of jñâna.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Death & Dying

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26Death—what is it? The dropping off of the physical body is the time when all of the karma-making actions go back to seed in the mûlâdhâra chakra, into the memory patterns. All of our actions, reactions and the things we have set in motion in the prânic patterns in this life form the tendencies of our nature in our next incarnation. The tendencies of our nature in the present incarnation are the ways in which awareness flows through the i∂â, pingalâ and sushumnâ currents.

These tendencies of man’s nature also are recorded in the astrological signs under which he is born. Man comes through an astrological conglomeration of signs, or an astrological chart, according to his actions and reactions and what he set in motion in the seed-karma patterns of his past life. So, we are always the sum total, a collection, of all the karmic experiences, a totality of all the seed patterns, that have happened to us, or that we have caused to happen, through the many, many lives.

One great peculiarity about man is that he individually feels that he is never going to die and goes on through life planning and building as though he were going to live forever and ever. The fear of death is a natural instinctive reflex. The fear of change or fear of the unknown is an ominous element in the destiny of a human being. The study and comprehension of the laws of reincarnation can alleviate this fear and bring an enlightened vision of the cosmic rhythms of life and death. It is a simple process, no more fantastic, shall we say, than other growth problems we experience daily. A flower grows, blossoms and withers. The seed falls to the ground, is buried in the earth, sprouts and grows into a plant and a flower.

Death, like birth, has been repeated so many times that it is no mystery to the soul. From the Hindu point of view, the knowledge of one’s imminent departure begins the sannyâsa âsrama for the individual. In this âsrama, the devotee traditionally divests himself of all material belongings, effecting a conscious death before the actual death. He is the executor of his own will, taking care of everybody and not leaving these things to others to deal with after his passing.

After everything is settled, all personal possessions disposed of, then he begins meditation and awaits the fruitful hour, trying to exit through the highest chakra of the attainment of this life. Each chakra is a door through which we can depart. The dying should always remember that the place where one will reincarnate is the place that he is thinking about prior to death. So, choose your desires wisely. The last thoughts just before death are the most powerful thoughts in creating the next life. This is why a sudden death—with its intense emotion, the intellect not having been prepared for it—would produce difficulties in getting born and in the first few years of getting raised, leading to miscarriage and abortion and later child abuse. All these experiences are a continuation of the emotional upheaval that happened at the sudden departure. The emotional upheaval of the person is compounded by the emotional upheaval of the friends, family and business associates when they finally hear of the sudden departure.

However, if the person was prepared for death, no matter when it might arrive, sudden or otherwise, his mental and emotional astral body would have already been well schooled in readiness. Sudden death to such a soul is a boon and a blessing. The next birth would be welcoming and easy, one wherein he would be well cared for and educated by loving parents.
Nevertheless, the thought force of the departing person is very strong, as his energy transmutes into the mental body. That’s why nobody wants the departing person to hate them or curse them.

People wonder whether death is a painful process, such as in the case of cancer victims. Cancer, which produces a lot of pain, is a process of life which results in death, but death itself is not painful. Death itself is blissful. You don’t need any counseling. You intuitively know what’s going to happen. Death is like a meditation, a samâdhi. That’s why it’s called mahâ (great) samâdhi. A Hindu is prepared from childhood for that mahâsamâdhi. Remember, pain is not part of the process of death. That is the process of life, which results in death.When somebody is about to have a tremendous accident and, for example, sees his car is going to run into a truck or his plane is going to crash, he experiences no pain whatsoever, as he dies before he dies.

The problem comes when doctors bring the dying back. Then a lot of pain is experienced. The doctors should let them die. Prolonging the life of the individual body must be done by the individual himself. He needs no helping hands. But to prolong life in the debilitated physical body past the point that the natural will of the person has sustained is to incarcerate, to jail, to place that person in prison.

Åyurvedic medicine seeks to keep a person healthy and strong, but not to interfere with the process of death. The experience of dying and death is as natural as birth and life.

To perpetuate life, you perpetuate will, desire and the fruition of desire. The constant performing of this function brings the actinic energies of the soul body into physical bodies. To give up one’s own personal desires is the first desire to perpetuate. Then to help others to fulfill their highest aspirations is the next challenge. Then to seek for ultimate attainment and fulfill that lingering desire takes a tremendous will. Then to lay a foundation for the betterment of peoples everywhere is the ultimate challenge. This perpetuates life within the physical body, which of itself renews itself every seven years.

The Exit

At death, you leave through a nerve ganglia of consciousness, a chakra.The thoughts at death are the next saμskâras of the astral body. At death, you leave through a nerve ganglia of consciousness, a chakra. Most people live in about three chakras, and they see-saw back and forth among those states of mind. Each one is a window, and at death it becomes a portal, a doorway. So, it is the state of mind at death that gets you into one loka or another. The ideal is to leave through the top of the head, through the door of Brahman, to get into the Brahmaloka and not have to come back.

The cha kras are in the astral body. The astral body lives in the physical body, and when death comes, it is going to live without the physical body. The same chakras are within it. At the moment of death, you have the opportunity to stabilize yourself in the highest chakra you have experienced in this life.

The tunnel of light that is experienced by so many people at the point of death is the portal they are going through, the window, the chakra. Passing through the tunnel is leaving this world and going into another. You do that in meditation, too. You leave the light of the physical plane and go into the light in the inner world. But dying is not such a dramatic experience really. Every night you “die” and leave your physical body. It is very similar. Every night mystics leave their physical body, go and meet and converse with other mystics on the inner planes. That’s why they know each other when they meet on the physical plane. Samâdhi, the exalted meditative state, which literally means “holding together completely,” is also a word used to describe dying. Why is that? Because deep contemplation is similar to a death experience; only the silver cord is not separated. This cord is an astral-prânic thread that connects the astral body through the navel to the physical body. It is a little like an umbilical cord. The only full separation comes when the cord is cut at mahâsamâdhi, the true death of the physical body. People die all the time, but if the cord is not broken, they come back. You die all the time. The cord being broken makes for a twenty four-hour consciousness in the inner world, as compared to a sixteen hour consciousness in the physical world.

If a person knows he is terminally ill, that knowledge is a blessing, for he can prepare. He should not hesitate to tell his relatives he is going to die, and that is a wonderful blessing for them, as they can prepare for his great departure. Now all know he has finally arrived at the end of his prârabdha karmas and is going to fly. In turn, family and friends should release him, be happy—he is going to be happy with no physical body—for they know they will be as close to him in his astral and soul body as they were in his physical body.

For Hindus, death is a most exalted state, an incredible moment that you spend your whole life preparing for. Birth is the unhappy occasion. Death should be a big party. He has just gone through his day of Brahma. The sadness at death comes from Western attitudes. When someone dies, that means that section of the jyotisha is finished and he can go and have a great rest and be with intelligent people. It is great inside there and difficult out here.

Everyone dies, but it is a blessing to know when you are going to die, because then you can prepare for it, make a decision whether you are going to be reborn, do intense sâdhanas, make preparations. Heed the wisdom of the Vedas, “When a person comes to weakness, be it through old age or disease, he frees himself from these limbs just as a mango, a fig or a berry releases itself from its stalk.”

Hindus go to special sacred places to die, because that’s where holy people live, in that part of the astral plane. All of the temples in the West are connected to other temples in Sri Lanka and India.

Lord Yama is Lord Restraint, restraining life and getting it started again on the other side. In preparing the body for cremation, embalming should not be done. It is painful to the astral body to have the physical body cut or disturbed seriously within seventy-two hours after death. The soul can see and feel this, and it detains him from going on. As soon as you tamper with his physical body, he gets attached, becomes aware that he has two bodies, and this becomes a problem. Ideally, when you die, your physical body goes up in flames, and immediately you know it’s gone. You now know that the astral body is your body, and you can effortlessly release the physical body. But if you keep the old body around, then you keep the person around, and he is aware that he has two bodies. He becomes earthbound, tied into the Pretaloka, and confused.

For a jîvanmukta, he might want to leave, but some people might want to keep him around for a while for their own benefit. The best way for him is to go off into the hills, to die in the forests where no one knows and none of these questions arise. More than many great sâdhus have done this and do this to this day.

The ideal is to live out one’s Earthly life to its full extent, not to shorten it in any way, for during the elderly years, after ninety and the twenty or thirty years thereafter, the sañchita karmas in the great vault which are waiting to come up in another life begin to unfold to be lived through and resolved in this one. By no means should suicide ever be considered, for it cuts short all karmic developments of the current life and may require additional births to work through the lowest possible experiences still held in the great sañchita vault. Many incarnations may elapse after an untimely self-inflicted death before the soul returns back to the same evolutionary point at which the suicide was committed. Suicide is no escape. It only prolongs the journey.

The goal is realization of Parasiva as the ultimate personal attainment. This is nirvikalpa samâdhi. Savikalpa is the by-product of this. Even having had this experience, if the sâdhana and tapas and discipline are not maintained, mukti, liberation, will not be the product of effort. The knowledge of Parasiva, in its total impact, must impact every area of mind, every nook and cranny of the mind. Therefore, the goal is realization; and liberation from rebirth is the by-product of that essential goal. If a soul becomes realized but still has the desire to come back to finish something, he will come back partially enlightened. Hinduism will be an open book to him, and he will understand all of the basic truths and be able to explain it all naturally. He will find his enlightenment later in life and go on, having experienced what he had to.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Two Forces of Life

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26There are two basic forces in the universe, which you can look up in the dictionary. One is called odic force. The other is actinic force. Odic force is magnetic force. Odic force is the force of collective energies that make things—trees, chairs, tables, houses, the physical body. Odic force is of the material world—dense and heavy. The aura around the physical body and the forces of nature which govern much of man’s life on Earth are odic force. Actinic force is your pure life force coming from the central source deep within, out through the nerve system. But as soon as this pure life force begins to mingle with the astral atoms and the physical body atoms, it turns to odic force. The study of these two forces can give you a great awakening—two primal forces.

The sahasrâra chakra, the âjñâ chakra, the visuddha chakra—the top three, the head and throat centers—are primarily actinic force centers of rarefied inner consciousness within the superconscious itself. The anâhata chakra, the heart center, which allows us to look out into the external world and within to the internal areas, is primarily a mixture of actinic force and odic force. It’s called actinodic . It’s a mixture of these two forces. However, the lower three chakras—manipûra, svâdhishthâna and mûlâdhâra—are primarily odic force chakras . They are the forces that make up what we call the world.

The ida and pingalâ forces are basically odic forces. So, therefore, when the odic force is withdrawn back into the sushumnâ, back into its actinic substance, we completely lose awareness of the external world. That is how we enter meditation , by withdrawing the odic forces. The prâna is the in-between. It is the actinodic force that flows in and through odic and actinic forces. It is the binder of these two forces.

To stabilize awareness, so it does not flow through the first chakra, the fifth chakra, the third chakra, the second chakra, to stabilize awareness, what do we do? Attention, concentration, meditation. We work daily within ourselves so we stabilize, and so that willpower and awareness become one and the same great motivating force, so we travel through the areas of the mind that we want to, not propelled by the forces of karma as they boomerang back, not propelled by those forces. We have to work within daily to stabilize the breath and the body so that will and awareness become one and the same great motivating force.

In the evolutionary cycle, man eventually becomes conscious of the actinic force as it flows through the odic areas of the mind. On these rays, education comes from the inside of himself out to the conscious mind. A person going through such an experience feels he has tapped a higher, intuitive resource.

It is known that sages have learned languages, mathematics and all flows of knowledge in meditation. Uneducated men have become scholars by opening what Jnanaguru Yoga swami called “your own book.”

As soon as we stop making the effort to penetrate the actinic realms, the ordinary forces of attachment, fear and desire force in upon us. It then requires extra effort to balance the forces and penetrate the life-giving, light-giving regions in meditation.

A guru-disciple relationship may be established on the actinic plane for years before a physical meeting and training takes place. The study and unfoldment begins when one turns within himself, creating the irrevocable “golden yoke” and attuning himself to the same actinic ray of consciousness in which the guru functions. Teachings can then be conveyed on these rays, as long as guru and disciple are in harmony. By working with this golden yoke, one’s karmic experiences are hastened, but at the same time they are encountered in a more orderly fashion.

The state of contemplation

The force field of actinic consciousness is one which a guru has worked perhaps for many years to enter. His awareness of it is his control of it. This mechanism works in the same way a corporate executive guides the forces of his business, through knowledge of the field and experience. A guru learns control of actinic force fields just as a businessman learns to control his odic force fields. The odic force and the actinic force make up this planet. The action and interaction of these two forces working together cause the life that we see on Earth.

The woman holds the power of the odic force field. The man holds the power of the actinic force field. Between them they cause a chemicalization that brings through the soul and the physical and emotional body of a newborn child. Depending upon this chemical balance, they give birth to an old soul or a young soul. That is why it is so important for families to have a deeply religious life. What is a religious life? It is the balance of these two forces, the odic force and the actinic force. It is so important that there is an absolute harmony between the man and the woman. This guides and governs the inner currents of the children until the age of twenty-one. At that time, the inner forces dissolve from the family and are governed by their own superconscious mind.

Striving in meditation for a continuing contemplative awareness, a strong actinic vehicle is built. The aura of a person who has created access to this inner world gives evidence of a higher energy source. This is what is behind the ancient myths wherein the Gods rode through the skies in golden chariots. The golden chariot is the actinic vehicle of the superconscious. A satguru must be able to control his travel on more than one actinic ray. In doing so, he is able to establish a continuity of contact in the deeper consciousness within his various disciples. It is on an actinic ray that intuitive knowledge is gained and passed along.

The actinic world is only attained and sustained by initiating definite controls over the odic world. One state of consciousness is controlled in the process of awareness moving and expanding into another state. As we progress along the path, we become more and more and more sensitive. This sensitivity that you will begin to recognize is so refined and yet so strong. You communicate with yourself through the nerve currents which extend out, around and through the physical body—physical nerve currents as well as psychic nerve currents. Before we get deeply within on the path, we’re not too sensitive. But as this sensitivity develops, we begin to see through our hands. We begin to hear feeling. We begin to see sound, and all sorts of new faculties manifest.

We want to be sensitive, and yet we want protection, psychic protection. Our dreams become more well defined, but we don’t want to be vulnerable to negative areas of the mind, disruptive areas, experiential areas of the astral plane, while we are sleeping. Neither do we wish to be attacked on the astral plane by the mischievous beings, entities, that are on that particular side of life. We need this astral protection. We need this psychic protection. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. The force field of a group of people on the path goes along at a certain rate of intensity which is not broken, and this gives us tremendous psychic protection. In the very same way, a positive group of people only admit into their midst other positive people. A group of businessmen have a well-managed force field, and generally only a businessman of their same caliber can come and mix with them. A group of artists has a force field, and only artists of the same caliber can get into it. Why? If they let everybody in, they wouldn’t have a force field. The business would fail. The art would go into chaos. Friendships would be destroyed because of other influences coming in and amongst the people.

Force fields protect and sustain not only our outer forms of expression, but deep spiritual layers as well. When we go “out” into superconsciousness, if we are sensitive and unable to protect our subconscious mind, all sorts of other types of influences can enter. We don’t want this to happen, and it’s not necessary. It is a deterrent on the path, for we then are exposed to unseemly astral influences that detract us from our quest.

Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with fine, positive people. Don’t be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside, or who are criticizing you for what you are doing. There’s the old statement, “One bad apple can turn the whole bushel rotten.”

Psychic protection

Psychic protection, to sensitive people, is extremely important. It involves every detail of life—your home, friends, clothes, diet, even your dreams.

By keeping your house, your meditation room, as clean as possible. By entertaining few guests and then only people of the same caliber and nature. Guests, other than close relatives, should not stay more than three nights. Why? Because otherwise they bring too much distraction, too many other influences into the home. Finally, the whole atmosphere may be disrupted. Many families have broken up and lost their home, and children have gone homeless, simply because guests have stayed too long and worked into the inner atmosphere and brought in too many influences of a distracting and disturbing nature.

Keep your environment positive, so that the inner feeling is always content. Keep your home shrine or meditation space radiant, so that the inner feeling there is always uplifting.

As you advance along the path, the radio mechanism will become highly tuned, very positive. Being positive, it will register all types of influences. Influences that are distasteful to you will come through as strongly as influences that are really magnificent. You have to learn to shield out the static by finely tuning this mechanism. That is why you strive for mastery of sâdhana, mastery of concentration, your ability to hold awareness where you want it by taking awareness out of the entire context into just being aware. You pull awareness out of the thought processes. You pull awareness out of the emotion processes. You pull awareness out of the bodily processes, and you’re just completely on that pinnacle of being aware of being aware. That’s so necessary to practice every day, even if you do it for a split second. To hold that experience and to stabilize the physical and emotional elements long enough to hold that intensity for even a minute takes more practice—not too much, but consistent practice, more effort, more will, more dedication to the life of sâdhana.

When you meditate, you become inwardly strong. You become extremely sensitive, and sensitivity is strength. Now, it is true that if you are centered in yourself completely enough to be all spine and just a being of energy, you can go anyplace in any type of environment, inside or outside, and the environment would be better for your having been there. You would not absorb any of the distracting or negative vibrations. But until that day comes, it is better to be wise and live in a positive vibration and among people who can help stabilize the force field around you, so that your inner life goes on without interruptions—of spinning out, having to crawl back, and spinning out and then having to crawl back.

Part of the psychic pitfall is the belief that in order to be spiritually awakened, one must also be psychically awakened, seeing auras, visions, hearing celestial music and such. We do not have to awaken the third eye. To me, that is a translation error made in the old scriptures. This third eye has never been asleep. It’s always awake. We are not aware, however, of the visual mechanism of the third eye. As we become more and more sensitive, the third eye becomes more and more apparent to us, because we keenly observe through that faculty more than we did before.

You have often noticed that you moved your foot or some other part of your body out of the way of danger just in time. Well, your third eye wasn’t asleep then, and you didn’t see that foot coming down on you with your physical eyes. You saw it with your third eye. We use this third eye all the time. When someone greets you who is apparently looking fine and you sense otherwise, thinking, “I feel he’s disturbed. I wonder what’s wrong,” you’re seeing his inner condition with your third eye. When you walk up to someone’s house and you have the feeling that nobody is home because you don’t feel vibrations coming from the house, you’re seeing this with your third eye. We see and respond to things seen with the third eye every day, whether we are fully conscious of it or not.

Protect yourself as you protect a precious jewel. Guard your awareness from coarse influences and you will enjoy the bliss of the natural state of the mind—pure, clear and undisturbed.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The Higher Man

The Intellect – Outer Ego

The intellectual mind works through the mechanism of creating, preserving and destroying thought forms. The intellect is the manifestation of a series of well-constructed thought forms. Therefore, the better a person is educated, the more distinctly and clearly does the intellect function. There are people all over the world today who are guided simply by the habit patterns of the instinctive-intellectual mind.

The intellect is not the totality of man. The intellect is not the full mind, it is only one part, about one-tenth of the mind. The subconscious and the super conscious make up the other nine-tenths.

The intellect which when developed into a strong intellectual sheath is able to control the baser emotions through controlled memory, controlled reason and controlled willpower, the three faculties of our ability to govern forces of nature. Neither overrate nor underrate the intellect, for it fills several important functions in life, the great experience.

Opinionated knowledge is a faculty of memory. We study, we listen, we hear and we quote the opinions of others. Opinionated knowledge is stored up in the memory gridwork of the subconscious mind. This provides security, or a platform, for the intellect, making it strong, developing an ego. Therefore, intellect is our ego. The ego separates people from people, nations from nations and the soul from realization of the Self.

“Your real education is the innerversity.” Let’s examine the real meaning, function and purpose of education. Education is not worn. It does not stick to you. It is not your collection of someone else’s opinions. Through education, you stimulate your intellect. Education is that which you bring out from within yourself as a result of your personal interest in the fulfillment of your birth karmas, or prârabdha karmas. Education means exposure to new ideas and old opinions, giving you the tools to explore your own opinions freely, make decisions, research and review them and advance your understanding of God, soul and world. This is education. It is not static. It is as fluid as a river. Or it should be. You have the choice, the ability, to remold your intellect any way you want. The great truths of life are a part of your being. They are within you. They unfold to you slowly as you evolve your comprehension of them. Yet, they are always there within you, waiting to be realized. The only real, permanent education is your unfoldment into the building of the intuitive mind through the control of the intellect.

Since the intellect is made fundamentally of thoughts which are ever creating, preserving and destroying themselves, the control of thoughts builds the intuitive mind. Intuition, knowing, awareness and understanding—these are products not of the intellect, but of the intuitive mind. The dedicated student who has applied himself seriously leaves college not with a “know it all” feeling but with an awareness of the limits of the intellect, and profound respect for the vast amount of knowledge that he has yet to discover or unfold. Conceit is a sure sign of insecurity; humility denotes awareness.

Observe the intellect as it is manifested in the world around you. You can see its limits. You can also see when it becomes a tool for the intuitive mind. Observations give birth to understanding, and understanding comes from your superconscious mind. Thus, the intellect must be developed to a certain extent and then controlled through the control of thought.

The intellect is the external ego, but it is only the external ego when it is in control and has cut itself off sufficiently from superconsciousness by becoming opinionated. When the intellect represents the ego, we say a person is unable to change his mind, no matter how much you try to convince or talk with him. He is stubborn, unyielding, even unfriendly if he becomes agitated or disturbed in his effort to hold the intellect together. Should the intellectual nature become disturbed, the astral body then takes over and the instinctive mind or the instinctive qualities are prevalent at that time. This is quite apparent in undisciplined people, because the intellectual nature is undisciplined.

The Intuitive Nature

Within man, and functioning at a different rate of vibration than the intellect, is found the power or the motivating force of the mind, the chakras, or force centers. There are seven of these basic force centers, which are stimulated into action and unfoldment by the ida, pingala and sushumna currents. The ida and pingala are odic psychic currents (the Chinese yin and yang) interwoven around the spinal cord. Directly through the spinal cord runs the sushumna current, which is actinodic. The ida current is passive odic force; the pingala current is aggressive odic force. The sushumna is an actinodic current. These currents govern the chakras. These currents are like the reins which will guide a horse as we ride in one direction or another.

The intuitive nature is composed of a greater amount of actinic energy than odic. It is formed by the sushumna current that runs between the ida and pingala currents up through the spinal cord. However, it is the state of mind that a yoga student must learn to identify as his own, so to speak. Until this time he usually identifies with the intuitive mind of his guru. One does not entertain thoughts when in this state of full awareness. In this consciousness, one views and perceives through the anahata chakra of direct cognition.

Soul Body, The Real You

Within all seven aspects of man lies the body of the soul, the actinic causal body, anandamaya kosha, the real you. The soul body has a form, just as the astral body has a form, but it is more refined and is of a more permanent nature. It is this body which reincarnates, creating around itself new physical and astral bodies, life after life after life. This process matures and develops the body of the soul. Hence we have old souls and young souls, depending on the maturity and unfoldment of the soul body, or depending upon the number of lives or the intensity of maturing experience which the individual has passed through.

The body of the soul is pure light, made of quantums. It is indestructible. It cannot be hurt or damaged in any way. Its mind is superconsciousness, containing all intelligence, and is constantly aware, does not sleep and is expanding awareness as the soul body matures. The body of the soul lives in the eternity of the moment, simultaneously conscious of past and future as a one cycle. The true nature, everlasting secure personal identity, is realizing oneself as the soul body. This is truly finding our roots, our source, our indestructible, ever-maturing soul.

However, it should be mentioned that the first great attainment to be striven for by the aspirant is the experiencing of inner light, which is taught to family people and renunciates alike, implying that he has enough inner dominion and control over the intellect that the radiance within the head or body is actually seen. This implies also a working control of the manipura chakra and a conscious awareness of the working of the anahata chakra of cognition, allowing a burst of actinic energy to the vishuddha chakra of love.

It must be said that many frustrate themselves by seeking realizations beyond their abilities, while not accomplishing the realizations that are within their abilities. We must remember that savikalpa samadhi relates to the anahata and vishuddha chakras, sustained by a purified intellect and a dynamic will. Whereas, nirvikalpa samadhi is of the ajna and sahasrara chakras and those above and is sustained by complete renunciation of the world to the point where the world renounces the renunciate.

Control of the mind builds the intuitive nature. By directing the flow of thought,  perceptively discriminating between actions, aware of attending reactions, the yoga student soon learns the use of his actinic power. In order to hold an expanded consciousness, this power must be brought into use, and when it flows through the intellect, it automatically changes the chemistry of the intellect while it begins to build the intuitive nature.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Glory of Lord Siva

Swami SivanandaOm. I bow with folded hands to Lord Siva, Who is the lord of the universe (Jagat-Pati), world’s teacher (Jagad-Guru), Who is the destroyer of Tripuras (3 cities – egoism, lust and anger), Who is the Lord of Uma (Uma Sankar), Gauri (Gauri Sankar), Ganga (Ganga Sankar), who is full of light (Jyotirmaya), knowledge and bliss (Chidananda Maya), Who is the Lord of Yogins (Yogeesvara), Who is the storehouse of knowledge and Who is known by the various names as Mahadeva, Sankara, Hara, Sambhu, Sadasiva, Rudra, Soolapani, Bhairava, Uma- Mahesvara, Neelakantha, Trilochana or Tryambaka (the three-eyed), Visvanatha, Chandrasekhara, Ardhanareesvara, Mahesvara, Neelalohita, Parama Siva, Digambara, Dakshinamurti, etc.
How merciful He is! How loving and kind He is! He even wears the skulls of His devotees as a garland around His neck. He is an embodiment of renunciation, mercy, love and wisdom. It is a mistake to say that He is the destroyer. Lord Siva in reality is the regenerator. Whenever one’s physical body becomes unfit for further evolution in this birth either by disease, old age or other causes, He at once removes this rotten physical sheath and gives a new, healthy, vigorous body for further quick evolution. He wants to take all His children to His Lotus Feet quickly. He desires to give them His glorious “Siva-Pada”. It is easier to please Siva than Hari. A little Prem and devotion, a little chanting of His Panchakshra is quite sufficient to infuse delight in Siva.

Hatha Yogins awaken the Kundalini Sakti that is lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Asana, Pranayama, Kumbhaka, Mudra and Bandha, take it above through different Chakras (centres of spiritual energy) Svadhishthna, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna and join it with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of the head. They drink the nectar of Immortality (Siva-Jnana-Amritam). This is termed Amrita-srava. When the Sakti is united with Siva, full illumination comes for the Yogi. Lord Siva represents the destructive aspect of Brahman. That portion of Brahman that is enveloped by Tamo-Guna-Pradhana-Maya is Lord Siva who is the all-pervading Isvara and who also dwells in Mount Kailas. He is the Bhandar or store-house for wisdom.
Siva minus Parvati or Kaali or Durga is pure Nirguna Brahman. With Maya (Parvati) He becomes the Saguna Brahman for the purpose of pious devotion of His devotees. Devotees of Rama must worship Lord Siva also. Rama Himself worshiped Lord Siva at the famous Ramesvaram. Lord Siva is the Lord of ascetics and Lord  of Yogins robed in space (Digambara).

Lord SivaHis Trisul (trident) that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. He wields the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound. The wearing of the crescent moon on His head indicates that He has controlled the mind perfectly. The flow of the Ganga represents the nectar of immortality. Elephant represents symbolically the Vritti, pride. Wearing the skin of the elephant denotes that He has controlled pride. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that he has conquered lust. His holding a deer in one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata (tossing) of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity. Serpents live for a large number of years. He is Trilochana, the three-eyed One, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the eye of wisdom. Nandi, the bull that sits in front of Sivalingam represents Pranava (Omkara). The Lingam represents Advaita. It points out “I am one without a second. Ekam eva Advaiteeyam” just as a man raises his right hand above his head pointing out his right index finger only.


The following are the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva:
1. Somanath in Gujarat.
2. Mallikarjuna in Srisaila Parvat in Andhra Pradesh.
3. Mahakala in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
4. Oinkaresvar on the banks of Narmada in Amalesvarm.
5. Baijnath near Gaya (Paralya).
6. Naganath in Southern India.
7. Kedarnath in Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh.
8. Tryambak, near the source of the Godavari in the Nasik District, Maharashtra.
9. Ramesvaram, in Ramnad district, Tamil Nadu.
10. Bhima Sankar, near Poona’
11. Visvanath in Benares.
12. Grishnesvar (Gokarna) in Karwar district,

Even if people remember these 12 places both morning and evening, the sins of seven births will be destroyed.

In Southern India, there are five famous Siva Lingas which represent the five elements.
1. In Shiyali, Tanjore district, there is Prithvi Lingam.
2. ln Tiruvana Koil, Trichinopoly district, there is Appu Lingam. The Lingam is always in water. Tiruvana Koil is otherwise known as  Jambukesvaram.
3. In Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh, there is a Vayu Lingam.
4. In Tiruvannamalai, via Villupuram Junction, North Arcot District, there is the Tejolingam (Arunachalesvar).
5. In Chidambaram, there is the Akasa Lingam.

Panchakshara Namavali

1. Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah; Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.

2. Siva Sambho Sadasiva, Sambho Sadasiva, Sambho Sadasiva Bhum Bhum Bhum.

3. Hara Hara Siva Siva Sambho, Hara Hara Siva Siva, Hara Hara Sambho, Siva Siva Sambho.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda