Sloka 79 from Dancing with Siva What Is the Hindu Family Structure? The main Hindu social unit is the joint family, usually consisting of several generations living together under the guidance of the father and mother. Each joint family is part of a ...
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Lesson 234

Sloka 79 from Dancing with Siva

What Is the Hindu Family Structure?

The main Hindu social unit is the joint family, usually consisting of several generations living together under the guidance of the father and mother. Each joint family is part of a greater body called the extended family. Aum.


A joint family lives under one roof. It includes a father and mother, their sons, grandsons and great-grandsons and all their spouses, as well as all daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters until they are married. The head of the family is the father, assisted by his wife, or in his absence the eldest son, encouraged by his mother, and in his absence, the next eldest brother. The family head delegates responsibilities to members according to their abilities. The mother oversees household activities, nurturance, hospitality and gift-giving. Religious observances are the eldest son's responsibility. The joint family is founded on selfless sharing, community ownership and the fact that each member's voice and opinion is important. The extended family includes one or more joint families, community elders, married daughters and their kindred, close friends and business associates. It is headed by the family guru, priests and panditas. The Vedas offer blessings: "Dwell in this home; never be parted! Enjoy the full duration of your days, with sons and grandsons playing to the end, rejoicing in your home to your heart's content." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 234 from Living with Siva

Renewing Life's Plans

When the body reaches middle age, a change of pace occurs. One feels like sitting rather than walking, sleeping more than one did before, and it is more difficult to make long-term plans, ten, twenty, thirty years ahead. At middle age, the question "What am I going to do with my life?" has long been answered but still should be asked, because at middle age, around forty, there is still a long life ahead. It should be planned out as carefully as the life span that has already been lived, based on the experiences gained from it. Many people plan out their lives at eighteen or twenty, and others don't. Nevertheless, when the change of life at middle age comes, both for men and women, it is only wise to regroup one's thoughts, analyze one's desires, motivations and educational skills, physical, mental and emotional abilities. It is time to plan another forty years ahead with as much enthusiasm and dynamism as can be mustered up. After all, they say life begins at forty. A lot of people die at fifty or shortly afterwards because they feel that everything is breaking down. That is because they misinterpret what is happening. They think the death experience is coming, whereas only a change of life, of life experience, has occurred, which began at forty. If they took it as a new passage in life, they could be on smooth sailing until eighty.

Forty years of age is well known as a change of life. Seventy years of age is the prime of life. Eighty is the fulfillment of that prime. An eighty-year-old person, who has fulfilled the prime of life, holding a new-born infant makes a complete circle of life. As one nears eighty years of age, this is again time to revamp one's life, motivations, desires, and to plan for the next forty years, which recognizes a natural life span of 120 years. It is interesting to note that the muscular structure of the physical body does not start to deteriorate until after age seventy-two, and then only slightly, unless one neglects to exercise. Mystics say that eighty years of age is a difficult time to get through psychologically, physically and emotionally, because it is definite that your are old when you are eighty. Therefore, a new plan for motivation for the future should be made well in advance, at least at age seventy-two, so that when eighty rolls around it is well impressed in the subconscious mind that, this might be time to start slowing down and preparing for life after the life of the physical body.

It is at this juncture that one should give one's wisdom to the younger generation, be dedicated to and interested in children and their welfare, manage orphanages, set up endowments and scholarships for educating the young, see into the lives of promising people and encourage them to greater heights. This is the time also to perform sadhana and intense tapas. This is where the yoga marga naturally comes in a lifetime. The physical forces are fading, the muscular structure diminishing. Great spiritual progress in burning out the last prarabdha karmas, even those that did not manifest in this life, can be accomplished at this time. If retirement is thought of, it should be at eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three, eighty-four, around that time. This should be the slowing-down period, yet still being active in the mental, emotional, sociological, political, ecological arenas. Here, now, is a time to practice hatha yoga and pay close attention to ayurveda.

There is another forty years before the natural life span of 120 is reached, plenty of time to fulfill the Sanatana Dharma, to get out there and give of the wisdom that has been accumulated through the past eighty years. This is the real fulfillment of a life well lived. Or if your life was not well lived, you can teach people, from experience, what they should not do, and explain if they don't follow that advice, things won't work out right. If you did do what you should, you can teach people that you did and how it worked out well. Nine times nine is eighty-one; eight and one are nine. This is the beginning of the final cycle toward the fulfillment of the Sanatana Dharma--toward mukti.

Sutra 234 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Maintaining A Hindu Solidarity

Siva's devotees know that for eons our religion has come forward to recreate a Hindu unity. Therefore, they are dedicated to building whenever necessary, and keeping strong always, an invincible Hindu solidarity. Aum.

Lesson 234 from Merging with Siva

Exploring the World of Colors

Sometimes you may experience stressful moments during your daily sadhana. They will soon pass, never to reappear, so do not be worried. What is actually happening is that the white light coming out from within you penetrates various pockets of the inner aura, and one by one they are being lightened up. However, each time the inner light penetrates one or another of these congested subsubconscious pockets of color, the memories of what created them are stirred. This brings up, to be reexperienced, the corresponding thoughts, feelings and emotions. Because they are unbidden, the stress of this intrusion is felt in the external nerve system. Be assured, it will pass. Breathe deeply and, be assured, it will pass. Breathe deeply and diaphragmatically and all will be well. This is a form of mild, self-imposed psychic surgery, as the colors adjust to the rays of white light from deep within your spine through the grace of Lord Siva.

If your child is crying uncontrollably and you can't get to sleep, what color would you bless him with? Would you get angry and yell, "Why don't you go to sleep! I told you, you're disturbing your father!" Flashes of red? The child would be terrified. No, you would harmonize the child's emotions with shades of blue and pale green. An important part of your sadhana is to familiarize yourself with the mental-emotional counterpart of each of the colors. You can familiarize yourself with the individual physical, mental and spiritual effect of each color simply by looking at one color after another and experiencing the results. Each color and the emotions it reflects are like two sides of the same coin. Learn them so well that the thought of one immediately brings the idea of the other. This knowledge is the foundation of your color sadhana. Enter into this wonderful world of color with interest and earnestness.

You can perform color sadhana in a number of ways. For example, study the way various colors in your immediate environment make you feel. How do you feel when you enter a room that is painted blue? White? Yellow? Another way to study color is to visualize each of the colors within your conscious mind. Place before you a piece of paper of the color you wish to visualize. Look at the paper and then close your eyes and try to see the exact same color in your mind. Then open your eyes and look at the paper again and with eyes still open turn your head away from the paper and try to see the color in your conscious mind. Literally fill your mind with the color of the paper. After you have accomplished this exercise with one color, repeat it with another, then another and then another. By using your great soul faculty of observation and through the grace of Lord Ganesha, you will perceive many proofs of the significance of color. You will soon amass a stock of experiences within your subconscious mind of each color and its corresponding mental-emotional state.

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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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