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 ...

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The lesson of the day from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's trilogy: Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva

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    Lesson 344

    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 344 from Living with Siva

    Saivism Has Everything

    Good evening, everyone! Vanakkam. Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam. God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality. The American devotees of our great God Siva are very happy to be here today at this beautiful temple in Sri Lanka. It is so inspiring to see this temple being well maintained, improved, managed in a responsible way and filled with Saivite souls. Your open and lovely faces remind me of beings in the Devaloka. We feel blessed here.

    Saivism is the greatest religion in the world, and we are all very fortunate and proud to be Saivites. Why is it great among all the world's great religions? It has the most ancient culture on the planet. It has scriptures that are utterly profound. It has sacred hymns that stir the soul. It has unparalleled disciplines of yoga and meditation. It has magnificent temples that are truly holy. It has devoted sages and holy men and women to guide our life and lead us to Lord Ganesha, who leads us to Lord Murugan and finally to the Supreme God, Siva. Saivism has God and the Gods. It has charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. It has so many enlightened beliefs, including karma and reincarnation. That is why I call our religion the greatest in all the world.

    I believe that this oldest religion of the farthest past is also the religion of the future, the religion best suited to the technological age. I think we should present Hinduism as it is today, as a vibrant religion of the present. Then it will survive into glorious futures. We need inspired people to serve Saivism with a strong will and a positive mind. In this effort, all differences must be set aside so we can work together on powerful programs that will bring progress; and that progress will inspire others, make them enthusiastic, show them that Saivism can be brought into the technological age for the good of the next generation, the next and the next.

    What happens when a religion is lost in yesterday and not brought forward to guide its followers today and on into the future? All kinds of problems arise. The youth begin to think religion is obsolete, abandon it and become immersed in worldliness, often in activities that are adharmic. They leave the Saivite path, the Saiva Neri. Families break up, friends argue, and people fight within themselves and with one another. Poor citizens are raised in the absence of ethics. Unrest and discontentment reign, and the entire nation suffers. So many problems arise when religion is lost, when people don't know the right things to do. They become unhappy, restless, unstable. They have nothing to lean on, no place to turn in difficult times. This leads to abuse, to divorce, to suicide, to disease, to murder and dozens of sad experiences and hellish states of mind.

    People who do have a religion live a very different life. Recently a large sum of money was spent to conduct a vast survey on the effects of religion in people's lives in America. Thousands of people from every walk of life were interviewed throughout the United States as to their religion, their jobs and their family life. It was found that those with a religion and who really followed that religion were happier, wealthier and healthier than those who had no spiritual life. The researchers concluded that nonreligious people were less happy in their home life, less successful in their businesses and personal relationships, and more prone to anxiety, stresses and strains. We have to take that information seriously and determine to live our spiritual life fully, in all its dimensions. We have to realize that there are serious problems awaiting us if we are half-hearted and live a double standard. Therefore, it is important, both for the individual and the country, that we preserve the Saiva Dharma and bring it forward into the technological age.

    Sutra 344 of the Nandinatha Sutras

    Keeping Little, Owning Nothing

    Siva's monastics have no more personal belongings than they can easily carry in two bags, one in each hand. By tradition, they have little, and even these few things they do not own. Yea, they are true mendicants. Aum.

    Lesson 344 from Merging with Siva

    The Transition Called Death

    Death--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 muladhara chakra, into the memory patterns. All of our actions, reactions and the things we have set in motion in the pranic 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 ida, pingala and sushumna currents.

    These tendencies of man's nature also are recorded under the astrological signs in 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. We are now a sum total, and we are always a continuing sum total.

    A past life is not really so many years ago. That is not the way to look at it. It is now. Each life is within or inside the other. They exist as karmic seeds that appear in the pranic force fields in our life now and, like seeds, when watered they grow into plants. These seeds are nourished by prana. When we die, or when we discard the physical body, that is the end of a chapter of experience. Then we pick up a new physical body. This begins a new chapter that is always referring back to the last chapter for direction. These are tendencies.

    This is the entire story of what happens after we die. We simply step out of the physical body and are in our astral body, going on in the mind as usual. The awareness does not stop simply because the physical body falls away. The ida force becomes more refined, the pingala force becomes more refined, the sushumna force is there like it always was, but all are in another body that was inside the physical body during life on Earth.

    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. We encounter it sometimes daily, once a month, or at least once a year when we come face to face with the possibility of obliteration of our personality and of leaving the conscious mind. 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.


    Click for details on Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's next mission, so you can meet him.


    These daily Master Course lessons are drawn from Gurudeva's 3,000 page trilogy on Hindu philosophy, culture and metaphysics, available in the full-color volumes of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva at our Minimela online store.

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