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    Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    Namaste,

    Thank you again to everyone in their willingness to help me understand things in context.

    I really enjoyed this text. It seems that in this text that Shaiva not seen primarily as a destroyer at all. Briefly he is described as a destroyer of evil or as both a creator and destroyer; lord of all things.

    Is Shaiva depicted as more a destructive entity in other texts, perhaps some of the epics? Or did westerns just completely misrepresent him?

    I have arranged to visit a local temple on Friday and plan to spend some time in meditation there, assuming that is okay. I don't know if mantra chanting is okay. What would you all recommend as far as how to allow for experiencing Shaiva's presence through a temple visit?

    Thanks, Liang

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    Vannakkan: It is my personal opinion that Siva is misrepresented, yes. I much prefer 'dissolution' to destruction. The dwarf that Nataraja is stepping on represents the ego, and the circle of fire represents dissolution, or form returning to formlessness.

    For Saivites like me, Siva is just the term we use for God. The encyclopedic trinity is largely a concoction.

    Temples vary in what they 'allow' or not. Silence is always a safe bet. If you want to chant a certain mantra out loud, or with any volume, it would be best to ask the priest first. Silent meditation is definitely not a problem, unless you choose a high traffic spot. Friday morning shouldn't have much of a crowd, but the evening could have. Again, depends on the temple.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    It is my personal opinion that Siva is misrepresented, yes. I much prefer 'dissolution' to destruction.
    +1

    Sometimes the Westerners choose the wrong words for describing certain Hindu concepts and sometimes Indians (Gurus) with a limited knowledge of the English language, do a great disservice to their own religion by choosing the wrong words. Case in point, a certain Guru wanted his followers to introduce the Hindu teachings to the westerners in one or more of a number of ways: Talk to them, offer them prasadam, invite them to the temple with no pre-conditions, give them free books etc. But his way of saying 'by any means' came out as 'by hook or by crook'. I am sure he did not know first of all that the phrase he used has a negative connotation and second, he was ignorant of the meaning of words 'hook' and 'crook' in this context. This is a phrase which many Indians use without really knowing what they are saying.

    Keeping all this in mind, one has to dig deeper to get the real translation/essence of Sanskrit words, rather than the superficial meanings used in common English language translations. This makes it so much harder for people new to the religion but I don't see a way around this problem.

    Pranam.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    Namaste ji,

    Hi Liang Ch'an, sorry I haven't been around to add my welcome yet. Welcome! =)
    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkan: It is my personal opinion that Siva is misrepresented, yes. I much prefer 'dissolution' to destruction.
    +1
    Another +1
    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Keeping all this in mind, one has to dig deeper to get the real translation/essence of Sanskrit words, rather than the superficial meanings used in common English language translations.
    Also +1.

    Sanskrit is a deep language, with words that have a deep hierarchy of meanings. Some words have no actual translation or clear concept in English or other Western languages. Tamil as well. It is incredibly worthwhile to study either or both of them as much as you're able.

    I do japa at the temple I go to, but silently, as EMji suggests.

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    harih oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    Just a few ideas for one’s kind consideration...

    Who was śvetāśvatara ? The upaniṣad is named after him, this seer or ṛṣi (rishi). The term means he who has ( or is carried by/ drawn by)
    white mules or horses. It suggests he ( this seer) is lead by pure senses. This is to suggest his purity, his stainless level of being.

    Two śloka’s from the 4th chapter:
    sūkṣmātisūkṣmaṃ kalilasya madhye viśvasya sraṣṭāram anekarūpaṃ |
    viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ jñātvā śivaṃ śāntim atyantam eti || 4.14

    this says in general,
    that person who knows/realizes this Being, the auspicious, gracious, benevolent one (śivaṃ)
    who is most subtle ( subtler than the subtlest or sūkṣmātisūkṣmaṃ) who encircles ( some say creates)
    this whole universe, who assumes many forms, that person ( who knows this Being) attains infinite peace.

    I use the term ‘encircles’ because the term śiva is rooted in the term śī , ‘in whom all things lie’ - all things known, unknown or yet to be are within this Being.

    ghṛtāt paraṃ maṇḍam ivātisūkṣmaṃ jñātvā śivaṃ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaṃ |
    viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ || 4.16

    this says,
    by knowing Him, the auspicious, gracious, benevolent one (śivaṃ), who is hidden in all beings,
    extremely subtle, like the essence of ghee ( that is hidden in milk) who envelopes the universe, ( that knowing person) is free from all fetters.
    The term ‘all fetters’ = sarvapāśaiḥ which means sarva or ‘all’ + pāśaiḥ = a snare, bond , cord , chain , or fetter.

    You ask
    Is Shaiva depicted as more a destructive entity in other texts, perhaps some of the epics? Or did westerns just completely misrepresent him?
    Briefly he is described as a destroyer of evil or as both a creator and destroyer; lord of all things.
    The West ( in my opinion only) tends to simplify things to the mundane level of understanding. This keeps things at the superficial level.
    That is good at times ( like in an elevator and you are asked to explain something before the 5th floor) , yet all the richness is
    lost to the mundane and trite view. One passes up a diamond and thinks it to be just a stone.

    Now pending one’s school of thought ( called dárśana or ‘view’ , sight, seeing, knowing) śiva takes on many-many different
    notions, qualities, and the like. My views are honed and structured ( on this matter) by the trika śaivism, it consists of 4 schools of thought:

    • pratyabhijñā ( SELF recognition),
    • kula ( a grouping and used for 'totality' , Universal Consciousness),
    • krama ( progress made step-by-step),
    • spanda ( the throb, movement, SELF-referral of the Divine).


    To suggest or infer I am competent in these 4 schools would be misleading. I consider myself the student (śiṣya).

    So you ask is it the destructive and creative power? Yes, but that is limiting. He is everything that can and cannot happen. He is not only lord of all things, (all things meaning seen, unseen or yet to come, thought of, never thought of, and impossible to think of) is none other than Him to begin with.
    Here is the view on this matter ( which takes some time to digest). I yield to the support offered by abhinanagupta-ji's work called bodhapañcadśikā or the 15 verses of wisdom. He informs us of the following:
    tasaivaiṣā parā devī
    svarūpāmarṣantosukā |
    pūrṅatvaṁ sarvabhāveṣu
    yasya nālpaṁ na cādhikam ||

    I will rely on svāmī lakṣman-jū for the proper translation of this śloka. This then says,
    The collective state of the universe is His supreme energy (or śakti) which He created to recognize His own nature.
    This śakti who is the embodiment of the collective state of the universe, loves possessing the state of God Consciousness.
    She is in the state of ignorance remaining perfectly complete (pūrṅatvaṁ) and full in each and every object.

    So, here is the insight and observation: śiva is rooted in the term śī , ‘in whom all things lie' + the collective state of the universe is His supreme energy =

    Nothing can be outside of Him. That suggests creation, destruction, maintenance, Grace, all possibilities, every possible outcome, every possible condition, action
    or non-action that can occur or not occur for ever. What does that mean ? you are Him ( as am I, my dog, cat, tree, quarks, molecules, electro-magnetic spectrum,
    the saint, sinner, good cop, bad cop, the weather, sun, moon, galaxies, and nothing at all or
    ākāśa
    (pure space).

    Our duty/dharma is to re-member who we are, that is why we have our chance of being human. You ( we) need to go no further than your SELF (
    ātmán) to
    make this discovery - it is not outside you.

    iti śivaṁ


    Last edited by yajvan; 01 February 2016 at 01:50 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6

    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad and temple visit

    Yajavan,

    Thank you! I found the interpretion you shared very helpful. It is very compatable with my meager understanding of Reality I encounter in meditation. Especially "in whom all things lie." Where would you suggest I read further?

    -Liang

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