November 16, 2018 - Lesson 218

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Sloka 63 from Dancing with Siva

From Whom Is Good Conduct Learned?

The first teacher in matters of good conduct is our conscience. To know what is right and what is wrong we can also turn to God, to our satguru and swamis, to scripture and to our elders, family and trusted friends. Aum.


Divine laws cannot be avoided. They do not rule us from above but are wrought into our very nature. Even death cannot efface the karma created by evil deeds. Good conduct alone can resolve woeful karmas. Therefore, it is essential that we learn and adhere to good conduct. Good people are the best teachers of good conduct, and should be sought out and heeded when we need help or advice. Talk with them, the wise ones, and in good judgment be guided accordingly. Ethical scriptures should be read and studied regularly and their wisdom followed. The loud voice of our soul, ever heard within our conscience, is a worthy guide. When we grasp the subtle mechanism of karma, we wisely follow the good path. Good conduct, or sadachara, for the Hindu is summarized in five obligatory duties, called pancha nitya karmas: virtuous living, dharma; worship, upasana; holy days, utsava; pilgrimage, tirthayatra; and sacraments, samskaras. The Vedas offer this guidance, "If you have doubt concerning conduct, follow the example of high souls who are competent to judge, devout, not led by others, not harsh, but lovers of virtue." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Lesson 218 from Living with Siva

Controlling The Forces

There are three kinds of adultery: physical (the worst); emotional (very distressing); and mental (the secret kind). Physical adultery breaks up marriages, destroys homes and creates distraught children. Even if it is forgiven and the couple reunites, it is not forgotten. There is always wondering, "Will it happen again? Did it happen last night?" Emotional adultery is quite common. In the workaday world, husbands often become more attached to their female employees and associates than to their wives. Working wives become more emotionally attached to their boss and fellow workers than to their husbands. It is understandable. After all, she spends more waking hours with men at work than with her husband.

I was asked, "How should a Hindu man relate to women in the workplace and maintain his religious life?" Very carefully, very carefully. It's important that you remember that you have a path to follow and you are in the workplace to do your job, be friendly to everyone equally, not having favorites nor any likes or dislikes. Behavior should be professional. Professional behavior is detached behavior yet friendly behavior. The Tirukural reminds us, "The chivalry that does not look upon another's wife is not mere virtue--it is saintly conduct" (148).

Mental adultery--that's the secret culprit. Who knows what anyone is thinking? But the feeling is one of drifting away into a fantasy world, of deciding to become or not become emotionally or physically involved with someone other than one's spouse.

But most devastating, most insidiously devastating, is mental adultery through pornography. The visualizations, the fantasies, the changes in sexual habits it produces and the secrecy all bundled into one creates a distance between spouses, unless of course they are enjoying the same pornographic episodes. A verse in the Atharva Veda implores, "Sin of the mind, depart far away! Why do you utter improper suggestions? Depart from this place! I do not want you! Go to the trees and the forests! My mind will remain here along with our homes and our cattle" (6.45.1. ve, p. 489). It is hard to believe such verses were composed thousands of years ago. Human problems haven't changed that much, have they?

The Sanatana Dharma is the oldest religion in the world. Therefore, its followers are the oldest people in the world, having fully explored sex (the Kama Sutra is the oldest known erotic text) and learned how to control it; established a system of sanctified marriages and found out how to keep interpersonal relations going unhindered. India's culture spread all through Asia, and because of it one rarely sees any affection shown in public--kissing, hugging, hand-holding, touching or feeling. One might wonder how such a large population can be accounted for!

Hindus know that the sexual force is an energy, either under control or out of control. When controlled, it creates peace, well-being and health and provides a mental, emotional, physical balance. When out of control, just the opposite is the case: confusion, secrecy, stress, fear of discovery, lingering guilt, which creates misunderstandings and unresolvable situations.

Sutra 218 of the Nandinatha Sutras

Funeral Rites And Remembrances

At the death of a Siva devotee, family and friends gather for funeral rites in the home. They prepare the body and arrange for cremation. On the seventh day, the deceased's picture is honored, and food is offered. Aum.

Lesson 218 from Merging with Siva

Your Astral Counterpart

You will recall from last week the first aspect of man, the physical body, and the second aspect, the vital health body. The third aspect is the astral body.

The astral body is almost an exact duplicate of the physical body. However, changes that appear upon the physical body, such as aging, first occur within the structure of the astral body. The astral body is of the subconscious mind, at the level of the memory and reason chakras. It can be easily disturbed and is sometimes called the emotional body. It is made of odic prana and kept intact by the general life flow of actinic prana bursting constantly forth from its atomic structure. Being the exact counterpart of the physical body, the astral body appears like the physical body in size, shape, in every sense except weight. It differs in weight because it is composed of astral odic matter. This matter vibrates at a higher rate of vibration than what we might call physical matter.

Try to picture for yourself the fact that the physical body and astral body are of different vibrations and fit one inside the other, connected by the energy factor, which is the odic pranic energy of the vital health body. The astral world vibrates just inside the physical world that we see through our physical eyes and feel with our physical hands. Therefore, it is an exact duplication of everything that exists materially to our physical senses. This is logical to us, knowing and having identified the states of mind, for each state of mind is a form of vibration working together with all the others. The "one mind" is in different forms of vibration, all working together, one aspect within the other.

As we can walk and talk using our conscious mind and our physical body as a vehicle during our waking hours, so can we walk and talk using the duplicate of the physical body, our astral body of the subconscious mind, during the hours we are asleep. When we are in the astral body in the subconscious world, other people are also in that world, and forms of communication take place, as in the physical world.

There is a cord of odic and actinic force which connects the two bodies. It is called the silver cord. Should someone travel too far from his physical body astrally, or have an intense astral experience, an extra supply of energy would be drawn from the vital health body and the physical body, and he would be tired on awakening.

The inner study of you can be complicated, for you are a most complex being of many dimensions. As we embark on this week's study of the inner you, it may be helpful to have a list which you can refer to now and then to put together the pieces in the right order. The age-old teachings which are captured in this book boldly claim "man" to be more than is usually understood, that being a mortal body with an intellect, small or large. Man, as the mystics understand him, is the immortal soul surrounded by seven aspects. Here follows a summary of the "seven aspects of man" established around the actinic causal body of the soul, anandamaya kosha, "sheath of bliss:" 1) the physical body, annamaya kosha, "food-made sheath;" 2) the vital health body, pranic sheath, pranamaya kosha; 3) the astral body, instinctive aspect of manomaya kosha; 4) the human aura and instinctive mind, prabhamandala and manas chitta; 5) the intellect, odic causal sheath, buddhi chitta; 6) the subtle nerve system, nadis and chakras; 7) the intuitive mind, actinodic causal sheath, vijnanamaya kosha, "sheath of cognition."

Just as we have school, entertainment, discussions and meetings with friends in the conscious mind on the physical plane, so do we go to school, enjoy entertainment, discuss problems and meet and talk with friends on the astral plane. And as the subconscious mind receives impressions from the conscious mind during our waking hours, so does the conscious mind receive impressions from the subconscious mind as we go through experience during our sleeping hours.

In the same way, people have seen with the eyes of their astral body, while simultaneously conscious through their physical eyes, people on the astral plane. Similarly, those who are traveling on the astral plane can see people on the physical plane, as they look out through the odic astral force field into the gross conscious-mind world. Travel is much faster on the astral plane, as it is done through desire, and the astral body is a much more refined rate of vibration than is the physical body, which functions close to the time sequence as we know it.