Sloka 10 from Dancing with Siva
What Is the Universalistic Smarta Sect?
Smartism is an ancient brahminical tradition reformed by Shankara in the ninth century. Worshiping six forms of God, this liberal Hindu path is monistic, nonsectarian, meditative and philosophical. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Smarta means a follower of classical smriti, particularly the Dharma Shastras, Puranas and Itihasas. Smartas revere the Vedas and honor the Agamas. Today this faith is synonymous with the teachings of Adi Shankara, the monk-philosopher, known as shanmata sthapanacharya, "founder of the six-sect system." He campaigned India-wide to consolidate the Hindu faiths of his time under the banner of Advaita Vedanta. To unify the worship, he popularized the ancient Smarta five-Deity altar--Ganapati, Surya, Vishnu, Siva and Shakti--and added Kumara. From these, devotees may choose their "preferred Deity," or Ishta Devata. Each God is but a reflection of the one Saguna Brahman. Shankara organized hundreds of monasteries into a ten-order, dashanami system, which now has five pontifical centers. He wrote profuse commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita. Shankara proclaimed, "It is the one Reality which appears to our ignorance as a manifold universe of names and forms and changes. Like the gold of which many ornaments are made, it remains in itself unchanged. Such is Brahman, and That art Thou." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 165 from Living with Siva
Supporting The Marriage
Once a marriage has occurred, both families are relied upon to hold it together through the years. It is the duty especially of the husband's parents to support and make the marriage work and to offer a home to their new daughter. But it is unacceptable in modern Hindu society, and especially in our fellowship, to follow the oppressive tradition in which the girl becomes the total charge of the boy's family and is seldom allowed to see her family of birth. It is the duty of the bride's parents to monitor her protection and observe the couple's abilities to dwell in unity and concord, while allowing them freedom to work things out together in their new home.
If she is abused physically, they must open their doors to receive her back, to be sheltered, comforted and consoled. It then becomes their duty and that of all shishyas in the community to try to patch things up, restore harmony and obtain trustworthy promises from the husband that this will never happen again. The bride should receive no blame for her husband's violence, for it is he who has broken his promise to adore her and protect her from harm.
The blending of the two families as a one family gives both the son and daughter two families to support them in good times and bad. It is the responsibility of both families to work toward assuring an endearingly enduring marriage, as well as to guide the raising of the progeny, so that they may become good, productive, dharma-aware citizens, contributing to society at large. If the two families fail in this mutual effort, society fails.
To build solid marriages, some Hindu institutions provide a family evening for fellowship and discussion with a trained counselor. Once a year during the holy time of Pancha Ganapati, the couple take out their marriage agreement and together study where they have been lax or derelict. They trace back in their minds to incidents that are still vibrating as negative samskaras, and apologize humbly and seek forgiveness and total resolution. They renew their commitment to each other. This is a wonderful key for setting the tone for the coming year--of harmony and peace, which leads to abundance and happiness. We call this anahata yoga, cleansing the heart chakra, bringing up that true love for one another. It is the process of bringing up all those things that were not settled before going to sleep, to retrieve those seeds before they get ploughed under and produce another crop of sorrow in the coming years. It is bringing up little things that each one said or did that hurt the other and were not resolved. It is bringing up incidents of anger, any physical violence, which should never be but may have been. It is time to extend apologies, talk with your kulaguru, and make promises and New Year's resolutions to set the course of the future on the path of dharma, which is based on ahimsa.
Sutra 165 of the Nandinatha Sutras
Annual Monetary Gift To The Satguru
Siva's close devotees observe the tradition of expressing appreciation to their satguru by giving an annual love offering at Guru Purnima in July-August, thus enabling him to help others on the path. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 165 from Merging with Siva
Intellect And Intuition
Mystics never demean or belittle intellectual reasoning. The intellect is not bad. It is good and necessary when used correctly. But they also do not elevate it too highly, knowing it is not the whole mind, it is only one phase of the mind. Instinctive, intellectual and intuitive phases define the whole of the mind. We often use the terms "unfolding intuitive faculties" and "developing intuition" in an effort to encourage an individual on the path to work within himself in subduing his intellect so that he can actually observe the already functioning totality of his intuitive mind.
In order to subdue the intellect--that partial conglomerate of thought patterns and modes of procedure which accord with the culture of the day--it is first necessary to inwardly observe how one's acquired intellect actually functions. Observation is a faculty of the intuitive mind, and this particular aspect of observation only comes into usage after daily meditation has been maintained over a long period of time. Once an inkling of success in knowing intuition and how it differs from reasoning, emotional impulses and pre-programmed patterns within the subconscious awakens, the contest is won. Then and then only we can sustain this knowledge and dive deeper into the inevitable, all the time losing the future and the past, and loosening the reins of the intellect.
Some men say they are part of God, that the God Spirit is within them. The intuitive mind we consider to be that part of God's vast mind--our inspiration. If you have ever had a hunch and had it work out, that is the intuitive mind working within you. It has temporarily dominated your conscious mind and made it possible for you to look into the future and estimate its happenings. The intuitive mind is the essence of time, yet it understands time and timelessness, its essence. It is the essence of space, yet it comprehends space and spacelessness. It is real, yet it does not exist--real only when used, nonexistent to the lower realms of the mind.
Man's individual awareness is either captured by the nerve system of external consciousness of the animal bodies which his soul inhabits as vehicles to live in on Earth, or captured by his celestial nerve system. This, then, is the intuitive nature, the natural expression of the transcendental soul known as man.