The daily lessons from Gurudeva’s Master Course, for the last few days, the “Dancing With Siva” portion, has been about our line of gurus; the Kailasa Parampara. Plus, at our editing sessions we’ve been working on the line of Guru’s book, all about stories about the gurus. So, in that frame of mind here, so I thought I’d share the story from the lesson which is about Gurudeva’s meeting with Yogaswami. It starts out talking about Chellappa and Yogaswami.
“After Chellappan’s Mahasamadhi in 1915, Yogaswami undertook five years of intense sadhana. Later, people of all walks of life, all nations, came for his darshan. He urged one and all to ‘Know thy Self by thyself.’ It was in his thatched, dung-floor hermitage in 1949 that we first met. I had, just weeks before, realized Parashiva with his inner help while meditating in the caves of Jalani. ‘You are in me,’ he said. ‘I am in you,’ I responded. Later he ordained me Subramuniyaswami with a tremendous slap on the back, and with this diksha sent me as a sannyasin to America, saying: ‘You will build temples. You will feed thousands.’ I was 22 at that time and he was 77. In fulfillment of his orders have I, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, composed these 155 shlokas and bhashyas, telling an infinitesimal fraction of all that he infused in me.”
That’s a nice statement: “An infinitesimal fraction of all that he infused in me.”
So when I read that, I remembered the other story that preceded that, which is; that before Gurudeva went to Yogaswami’s hut the first time he stopped at the Nallur Temple and worshiped there and then when he went to Yogaswami’s hut, Yogaswami asked him the question: “Have you seen me before?” Of course this is the first time in the physical plane that they’d met each other. And so Gurudeva said: “Yes I saw you at Nallur Temple,” meaning that when Gurudeva was there worshiping at Nallur, looking in at the sanctum he saw Yogaswami. So it reminded me of our story the last phase, you know how we had a priest in Malaysia who was worshiping Munishwara and one day Munishwara turned into Gurudeva. So a very parallel story, a very nice tradition. So you never know who you’ll see when you go to the temple.
So there’s a story from one of our books on Yogaswami which focuses on how we encouraged everyone to worship at the temple, encouraged temple strictness.
“Swami was very strict in protecting the tenets of Saivism. He would say that by holding the pujas and festivals according to the rules and traditions, with complete faith and devotion, many benefits would accrue to the world. As an example swami would relate the following episode. There was a government agent in Jaffna named Dyke. He went to Punakari during the dry season. There were no irrigation facilities there. He asked the people who were there: ‘Without any irrigation facility, how do you cultivate?’ Some of them replied pointing to the Pillaiyar Temple: ‘If we ask Pillaiyar we will get rain.’ The temple priest had a bath and following all the ritualistic details went to the temple and prayed for rain. There was a huge downpour, it caused a flood and Dyke had to wait three days for the waters to subside before he could return to Jaffna. Swami praised the abhisheka and worshiped in the temples.” You have to be careful what you ask for in the temple.
The following incident took place a few days before Swami’s samadhi. “A devotee placed his offerings at Yogaswamis’ feet and worshiped Him. Swami took that offering and told a trusted devotee: ‘Take this and do an abhishekam in the Nallur Temple.’ He would tell people to study the Kanda Puranam both in temples and in homes. Even a few days before his samadhi swami arranged for the study of the chapter Markandaya Padalam in the Kanda Puranam. That study Tambya the teacher rendered the explanations. Swami also attended this study off and on, encouraged everyone. Swami never liked the sacrifice of animals. There was an old Iyengar Temple amid the paddy fields in our village. Every year the people celebrated the Pongal Festival with a huge sacrifice. Goats and cocks would be sacrificed. One day swami who returned from Anunikam looked at me and said: ‘I saw many corpses in your village,’ referring to the goats and cocks that had been sacrificed at the temple. Swami’s compassion for those animals and birds stopped this sacrificial practice. Earlier the temple authorities who refused to stop this practice when the people of the area arose in a storm of protest, now stopped it of their own accord. ”
So, another of the features of our “Dancing With Siva” lessons on our line of Gurus was quoting some of the great sayings, the Mahavakyam of the gurus. And so one of the famous Mahavakyam of Chellappaswami is Naam Ariyom, which means of course; we do not know.
So here’s a Yogaswami story that develops this idea further of not knowing. This is a direct quote: “Look at those trees, the trees are meditating. Meditation is silence. If you realize that you really know nothing then you would be truly meditating. Such truthfulness is the right soil for silence. Silence is meditation.”
Yogaswami bent forward eagerly and continued. “You must be simple, you must be utterly naked in your consciousness. When you have reduced yourself to nothing, when yourself has disappeared, when you have become nothing, then you are yourself God. The man who is nothing knows God, for God is nothing. Nothing is everything. Because I am nothing you see, because I am a beggar I own everything. So nothing means everything, understand.”
“Tell us about this state of nothingness,” requested my friend with eager anticipation.
Yogaswami: “It means that you genuinely desire nothing. It means that you can honestly say that you know nothing. It also means that you are not interested in doing anything about this state of nothingness.”
“What,” I speculated, “did he mean by know nothing? The state of pure being in contrast to becoming?”
Yogaswami: “You think you know but in fact you are ignorant. When you see that you know nothing about yourself then you are yourself God. ” End of story.
This is certainly an informative story and it shares a number of important points about Yogaswami’s teachings. The most dominant point made has to do with nothingness and not knowing. In life the normal emphasis is on acquiring knowledge. That is replacing a lack of knowledge on a subject with knowledge. For example, we purchase a new computer and know little about it’s operating system. Therefore, we need to read the manuals, talk to experts, and end up acquiring enough knowledge to operate the computer. We have replaced a lack of intellectual knowledge on the subject with knowledge. However, Yogaswami’s approach is the opposite. We start with intellectual knowledge about God and strive to rid ourselves of this knowledge. When we succeed we end up experiencing God. Why is this? It is because the intellect cannot experience God. Experience of God in His personal form and His all pervasive consciousness lies in the superconscious or intuitive mind. And the experience of God as Absolute Reality is even beyond the intuitive mind. One of Chellappaswami’s Mahavakyam as we mentioned also emphasizes the same idea. Naam Ariyom, we do not know.
In Gurudeva’s writings this idea also appears in his cognizant ability aphorisms as follows: “The intellect, strengthened with opinionated knowledge, is the only barrier to the superconscious.”
Gurudeva goes on to explain that: ” A mystic generally does not talk very much, for his intuition works through reason, but does not use the processes of reason. Any intuitive breakthrough will be quite reasonable, but it does not use the process of reason. Reason takes time. Superconsciousness acts in the now. All superconscious knowing comes in a flash, out of the nowhere. Intuition is more direct than reason, and far more accurate.”
Thus we can clearly see that the same idea is being expressed by all three gurus of our Kailasa Parampara.
Which is that the experience of God is only possible when we transcend the limited faculties of our intellect and the concepts it has about God and dive more deeply into our superconscious intuitive mind and beyond.
Said another way, clearly the experience of emptying ourselves of our intellectual concepts about God, needs to precede filling ourselves with the experience of God’s Holy Presence within us.
Aum Namah Sivaya, thank you.
[End of talk]