Loni: Now we are speaking about Siva, I believe. Is that the latest book, ‘Merging with Siva’?
Gurudeva: ‘Merging with Siva’ is the latest book. It is 50 years of my inspired talks and writings all put together in one book. It is very easy to read because it is organized in 365 daily lessons. So, there is a lesson each day. It takes about 7 minutes to read it and to think about it. Then, there are various sadhanas or spiritual exercises every week, 52 of those
too. So, a very popular book. Actually, it gives you a different look at yourself. Most people’s self-image is very poor these days. They don’t see themselves as a soul, so they are rather discouraged. It takes away the discouragement and convinces the individual that he is a soul with several tools, one of which is the mind, another of which is the emotion. He is a soul, living in a physical body and an astral body. Therefore, it creates a transformation in an individual and brings up his spiritual self of the spirit. That is what this program is all about. It is about the spirit within and bringing it forward and I think, the island of Kauai is a wonderful venue for that.
Loni: We did experience something different here. When you were speaking, I was thinking about all of the violence that we have experienced in schools. You mentioned about self-esteem and not feeling guided or at home, so to speak, with ourselves. What is your perspective on what is happening with the new generation, this young generation?
Gurudeva: Well, the new generation is very different than previous generations were. They are very intelligent, they are very independent. If you need help with your computer, ask a 14-year old and he will train you like a professional. But, a lot of the youth are very discouraged because of the home conditions, with mom and dad both having to work and necessarily not being such super good examples for them in home life. That is very discouraging. So, members of our Saiva Siddhanta Church, our family people are running some very good classes in ‘Positive Discipline’ here on the island and school teachers are taking the classes, as well as parents. It is Jane Nelson’s work, ‘Positive Discipline’ and it shows a different way of, shall we say, managing and bringing up the goodness out of someone, rather than putting them down or hitting them or yelling at them.
Loni: The violence is really pervasive in our society. I remember when Mother Teresa came. Well, we have poverty, as you may well know. She said, “We have poverty in India, but you have spiritual poverty.” It was so profound for her.
Gurudeva: Yes, violence and drugs have become some sort of a way of life. So, we are trying in our small way, to change all that and do our part too, for our community, country and society.