Sloka 5 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Ultimate Goal of Earthly Life?
The ultimate goal of life on earth is to realize the Self, the rare attainment of nirvikalpa samadhi. Each soul discovers its Sivaness, Absolute Reality, Parasiva--the timeless, formless, spaceless Self God. Aum Namah Sivaya.
The realization of the Self, Parasiva, is the destiny of each soul, attainable through renunciation, sustained meditation and frying the seeds of karmas yet to germinate. It is the gateway to moksha, liberation from rebirth. The Self lies beyond the thinking mind, beyond the feeling nature, beyond action or any movement of even the highest state of consciousness. The Self God is more solid than a neutron star, more elusive than empty space, more intimate than thought and feeling. It is ultimate reality itself, the innermost Truth all seekers seek. It is well worth striving for. It is well worth struggling to bring the mind under the dominion of the will. After the Self is realized, the mind is seen for the unreality that it truly is. Because Self Realization must be experienced in a physical body, the soul cycles back again and again into flesh to dance with Siva, live with Siva and ultimately merge with Siva in undifferentiated oneness. Yea, jiva is actually Siva. The Vedas explain, "As water poured into water, milk poured into milk, ghee into ghee become one without differentiation, even so the individual soul and the Supreme Self become one." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 160 from Living with Siva
Growing Up Together
Now let us suppose that a young boy and girl are pushed, even forced, into marriage together who are not astrologically, intellectually and spiritually compatible. That would be like trying to graft a pine tree upon an apple tree, which just would not work. The chemistry of the inner forces of this boy and the girl simply would not mix, and naturally the marriage would not be a happy one. This is often the case when two different types of people, who are basically not suited to one another, marry at a later age and thus do not have the chance to grow and mature together. In this case, they are only "glued" together, and when the circumstances of their companionship become too intense, the glue melts and they fall apart.
This indicates why we see so little of early match-making for youths today. There is simply not sufficient knowledge widespread in our society to make proper matches between children. This sophisticated knowledge must be present in both families. Furthermore, both must necessarily be mature and traditional religious families. Similarly, where there is no proper experience in grafting, trees never get grafted.
Among my initiates, we arrange marriages at a slightly later age, such as twenty-one for the boy and seventeen for the girl, and we always require the blending of the two families as a one family and the unequivocal consent of the young man and woman, as well as a written agreement between the couple. There is a lot to be said for marriages that are arranged at these formative ages, because after age twenty-five, personal patterns are already set, and it is more difficult for anyone to adjust to a marriage partner and be guided by community elders.
Years ago in the West, before the two World Wars, it was looked down upon, even unheard of, if there was not at least a three- to five-year difference between the groom and the bride. And to keep genetics strong, cousins never, ever married. The boy was always older, of course. It has been my observation that there is more strain and misunderstanding in marriages when the woman is of the same age or older than the man. When younger, he may feel like a boy, and she like a mother. Whenever the husband is older, his masculinity and sense of protective caring is stimulated, as his wife is younger than he and therefore depends upon him, as eventually do the children.
In today's world the new trend is to marry when the professions are well established and earning power is up--enough to support a nuclear family. But what about the children? The generation gap is humongous, or at least very big, for them. The mom who marries as a child herself, around sixteen or even earlier and having a baby ten months later, would be only about sixteen or seventeen years older than her first child. By the time she and her husband are fortyish and in the stressful throes of male and female menopause (yes, men go through it, too), their children will be in their early twenties and totally able to help handle their parents' traumas.
Compare this to a young woman of twenty-five marrying a man who is thirty or older. Mom will be fortyish and dad, too, when the children are in puberty. Hot flashes for mom, while dad is wondering whatever happened to his youth and resisting having an affair. In the midst of all this, the children are demanding their freedom as they experience their own budding powers of procreation. Under these circumstances, the emotional ups and downs in the home can be almost unbearable for everyone, including the neighbors, who sometimes have to listen to loud, high-pitched voices and banging of doors.
Many nuclear families blow up because of the simultaneous release of the biological forces of bodily change experienced by both generations, which inevitably happens in families who marry late in life--father going through middle age crisis while his teenage son is coping with "testosterone poisoning," mother going through menopause while her adolescent daughter is transforming into an estrogen-powered woman. Of course, the generation gap of twenty-five to thirty years or more between mom and dad and their offspring also contributes to deeper misunderstandings.
What price profession, a well-established financial plan and enough income to maintain a nuclear family? The divorce lawyers get their share, and so do the marriage counselors and psychiatrists--and, oh yes, the doctors, the druggists and the hospitals all take a cut. So, there is a lot to be said, in contemporary Hindu families, for marriage beginning around sixteen for girls and twenty for boys. By this age such children are practically young adults, which even present-day laws recognize.
Sutra 160 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Endowments And Wills
Siva's devotees dutifully save for their future through Hindu Heritage Endowment and prepare a formal, final will and testament, even when young, that provides funds for their family and temple. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 160 from Merging with Siva
Getting the Most from Japa
There are some who in their spiritual exuberance follow the practice of doing 10,000 or 100,000 mantras a day in their japa, hundreds of thousands a month, millions a year. This is totally beneficial if under the direction of a guru who supervises the process. Most likely it would be given to an individual to conquer pride and arrogance. If a seeker is performing such intensive japa without the guidance of a guru, he then would be forcing a situation, using the mantra and the practice of japa like a drug, holding no concept in his mind of the results to be attained or even knowing if he has attained the results he should be attaining. It is the guru who always knows the results of the practice. But he never tells the results to the initiate. Attainment is never revealed intellectually until attainment has unfolded from within the individual, lest the intellectual knowledge of the attainment yet to be attained become a barrier to the attainment itself.
Each guru has his own methods of mantra initiation from his own sampradaya. It's a school of verbal teaching. Most importantly, preparation must be attained and maintained in order to convince an orthodox guru that the commitment is strong enough to make the initiation beneficial. Initiation from an orthodox guru begins a process of learning. It is not the end of a process of preparation after which the devotee is totally on his own once he pays his fee. There are many orthodox gurus in every country of the world. Choose your guru carefully by observing the devotees around him and what they have accomplished. If he has a preparation of training prior to initiation, qualifications to meet--such as vegetarianism, scriptural study, the performance of certain disciplines over a selective period of time--if he receives no fee for the initiation other than a gratuitous dakshina afterwards--the amount left to the discrimination of the devotee, a love offering, or a contribution toward the payment of a puja in a temple to the priest--and if he provides ongoing, more intensive training and education, scripturally and culturally, after the initiation, preparing the devotee for the next stage of initiation, then you have a traditional satguru.
For the ultimate benefit in performing the japa sadhana, look on the Hindu Vedic calendar, panchangam, and choose the amrita yoga days. These are the most auspicious. Next are the siddha yoga days. On any given day, the most auspicious time is during gulika kala. These are the times when the forces of the universe--this means the entire universe, and most especially our galaxy--promote spiritual unfoldment. Of course, the daily experience of 108 repetitions should persist. Any intensification of this--1,008 times, for instance--would be best performed at a specially auspicious day and time. The most auspicious times of day are before sunrise and at sunset. The very best place and time to perform japa is in the temple after the puja, when all is quiet. This is the most ideal surrounding to repeat japa 108 times to gain maximum benefit. When performing japa, just breathe normally. Japa may be preceded by the pranayama practice that you have been taught by your guru.
Japa is a very good preparation for meditation. And you meditate on the mantra as you do the mantra. You can't meditate on the mantra without repeating the mantra inwardly. When the mantra is linked with meditation, it should be pronounced slowly so that you can meditate on each syllable of the mantra that is being repeated. You must remember that japa is the repetition of a few words or a few syllables. That is the sadhana of japa. Everything else is something else.