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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ideals of marriage - a lesson from 'Living with Siva'

The Ideals Of Marriage

Marriage is an institution, a business, a spiritual partnership, a furtherance of humanity and a contract--a three-level contract involving body, mind and emotion. Marriage is a necessary commitment not only for the continuation of the human race but also for the furtherance of each individual soul's spiritual unfoldment. The interaction on all levels between the couple, and later their children, molds the good, bad and confused karmas into new dimensions. Saivite marriages involve not only the bride and groom but also their parents, their priest, guru, astrologer, relatives on both sides and the entire community. The feeling of responsibility to the community is ever present. The community's feeling of responsibility to make each of its marriages work out well is also always present.

Why are Saivite marriages different from other kinds of marriages? It is because of the ever-abiding belief in the ever-present oneness of God Siva within each one. God Siva is within you, and you are within God Siva. God Siva is the Life of our lives. This and more the Saivite saints sang. To forget that Siva is within the wife, to forget that Siva is within the husband is to forget Saivism itself. This basic Saivite belief lays the psychological foundation for the husband to see the wife as a Goddess and the wife to see the husband as a God. All other behavior comes out of this belief. Belief creates attitudes, and attitudes create actions.

The knowing that each one has come into life to work out certain karmas they brought with them in this birth, and that karmas are generally worked out through other people, gives a challenge and a goal--to resolve these karmas and receive the reward of mukti, freedom from rebirth. Because of this belief, this understanding, the husband and wife blend their energies more constructively. Their attitudes are naturally more generous, forgiving and understanding, their actions and interactions more harmonious and mutually supportive. A woman gives her prana, spiritual energy, to her husband, making him strong. Children give their prana to their parents, because to them the parents are Siva-Shakti, the first guru. The wife, always attending to her husband's needs, sets the pattern for the children. By focusing her energies within her family, she builds up a great spiritual vibration in the home. In fulfilling his purusha dharma, the husband gives his prana, love and loyalty to his family, and he benefits the community through his service. He never, ever raises his voice in the home; nor does he show anger in any way. He is the model for the entire family. When his sons come of age, they join their pranas with his, and as a result, the family, the community and the country flourish.

Believing in reincarnation, the parents know that their relatives--and they themselves--will be born back into their family again and again to work out their unfinished karmas. A Saivite home is a karmic factory, a recycling of souls, a mill that grinds exceedingly fine the seed karmas of this and past lives.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Midnight Run - A run for service (6-August-2010)

This is my second run for the Midnight mission. It was a little different as summer has set in US. Accordingly, we mad a change in the food. clothing and free drink relief we were offering to the homeless in New York city.

This time I rode along with a passionate volunteer, a preaching minister of christian religion, a former retired teacher. Though years could touch her age, it couldn't seem to have dampened her spirit. It was enlightening to hear her experiences while driving and sharing my own perspectives in return until we reached NY city.

We went to the same places we went last time, but the expectations were different. New homeless and no familiar faces. We distributed the relief and finally by 12.35 we started. She rode me through the Times Square and I realised that the Times Square is never desolate in any hour - lively, kicking and buzzling with crowd always.

I reached home by 1.15 the next day and had a peaceful and satisfied sleep coming from the good work done hours before :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Writing.. for hope..for yourself and a fellowman

Volunteering. I can't fathom how much variety of experience this hobby of mine is going to give me this lifetime. An experience of a kind and first-ever for me - I wrote letters. You may ask me - are you kidding? Writing a letter. We all write letters (more of emails now) every day. Sheets and sheets of paper, pages and pages of email.. So what's special :-)

The special thing here is to write to someone, somewhere whom you may never meet or never see face-to-face. Now that's interesting isn't it.. And what if say that they are for prisoners!

Today I was taken to the Scarborough Church by my friend Barbara ( a friend in FPC, Ossining) to write letters to people who are serving their sentences in the prisons of USA. These people whose life took a turn for ever when they committed some crime/illegal act violating a serious law either in consciousness and cold-bloodedness or just in a fit of rage, passion, ignorance and clouded thinking - crimes that can chill you - killing innocent women, children, old men and other people, robbery, drug wars etc. - the big world of devilish crime.... and can't fail to realize that they are fellow human beings who are supported by the same mother earth, breathe the same oxygen from the air, drink the same water to sustain blood ..the difference only in where you are, and having freedom - Freedom of living your way ..we all take for granted more often.

Writing letters - to people who've not been visited by any family member, loved one or friend for years, denied permanent parole, 23 hrs a day locked in confinement behind steel walls, who may have all but forgotten what it means to see another face, face-to-face with love, speak a word, express a thought...these again we take for granted !!

Barbara and her senior lady friend explained to me the purpose. how your letter with a sincere intention to help can bring relief and peace to the person who receives it, the happiness the person may feel on thinking that someone out there in the world considered important to write for him, though they never have any relation whatsoever. We held hands in prayer asking God to help us with the Spirit to give us words of hope, love and understanding to be written in the letter to make that person feel better and realise that the world still awaits him/her and can feel loved.

I wrote to a person Jelio (name changed to protect identity), who was doing good, allowed permission to work and earn in another block of the prison...but after having found a weapon in the room by the jailors ..had been detained in 23 hr locked confinement until further assessment. The despair he poured out in his letter, not knowing who did it or how it came into his room and the sheer frustration of being wronged when things were going all fine ( the same feeling he once gave to another person when he participated in an armed robbery!!). I'm reminded of the eternal law..what you sow you reap..what you give out..comes to you in return.. but yet i felt compassionate enough to cheer him up. He said he has turned to reading bible and more hours of prayers and with tears (he had never cried during his days of crime), tears of sorrow and repentence. I wrote giving him encouragement to start speaking to God and listen for answers in the quietness of heart, which I did when I lost my parents.

Another letter to Stevens(name changed to protect identity), seems to be well-read, a son of a pastor with a strong religious background, never appreciated religion then, entered into crime and now in prison. After reading bible and interacting through several letters with the ministry of church, he now feels why he doesn't have the 'fire for jesus' like devoted christians have and feeling frustrated being unable to sustain faith being in prison for the last 15 years, not allowed for parole. I gave him the example of how every river has to chart its own course to reach the ocean but its sure to reach. His path of faith may be different than a devout christian outside prison, but he too will reach the same God through Jesus, like every human being will do one day.

I wrote a lot, cited words of hope, examples flowing through me from the Spirit of God. I realised, obviously, I would never have written such inspiration all by myself and it moved my heart and thoughts.

I felt happy today that my handwriting was good, my english was good enough and all that I read, heard, listened and learnt from people and things around helped me create letters of hope for these persons god made me interact with through paper and pen. And now I eagerly await if they'll read them and respond to me, giving me a chance to reform myself in return and feel blessed!