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Thread: How can I find my path?

  1. #1

    How can I find my path?

    Dear Members,

    I am convinced of the truth of Sanatana Dharma and its most lovely vision of God, but how can I find a path within it? Particularly given a non-practicing spouse (hence too home life) and living in an area without any temples (rural Japan) or local sources for support. I have been studying and meditating for many years but feel that I would like to have a specific path and a practice, at least of some sort. I have recently started to use japa mala in my morning meditation, but what mantra should I choose? Will my Ishta Devata reveal it/her/himself? How can I love and grow in and serve God in the meantime?

    Please help, and my heartfelt thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: How can I find my path?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    how can I find a path within it?

    I have found opening your intellect to different schools of thought is always beneficial. One of these schools will arise , will resonate over the others . It finds you! Your responsibility is to take a look and study/practice.

    A path
    Now, that said, the notion of a path is always interesting. We think there is one, yet there isn’t one ~ technically~ speaking. A path suggests you need to go somewhere, from here to there. Yet what one is looking for is always with you. It never leaves, even if one is not paying attention to it. And what is that? It is pauruṣātma or one’s own Self. Not one person is without this. Yet we feel it in a limited way, not full, whole, and that is why many wish to have a ‘path’ to it. Yet it is there; the notion then is unfoldment, yet more specifically, re-remembering one’s own Being.

    A temple
    Now what of this temple? Sure you can find one, yet you are this walking temple , as you house pauruṣātma within you. You are never without it. Don't be slighted of not entering a building that is ~officially~ a temple. Find one with time, without stress.

    On occasion
    On rare occasions one is blessed with the amala karṇadhārāḥ or that unblemished, selfless helmsmen ( as abhinavagupa-ji calls them) that will point the way; more specially he/she will remove the poison of pāśa. This is the poetic way of saying he/she will remove the bonds of ignorance,of limitation. That limitation suggesting I am not full, whole1, complete.

    So, where does one start ?
    As I have said many times there is an ocean of knowledge
    2 available to the one that is looking. Yet from my point of view, one may want to get a lay of the land. This can be done by studying the śrīmad bhāgavad gītā. It is considered the cream of the veda-s.
    Is is so insightful even other schools look to this great work as an anchor of vast wisdom and truth. An example would be the trika school (kaśmir śaivism) and its translation, called bhāgavadgitārthasaṁgraha3. This is not a ‘starter’ book, but I offer it to suggest the gravity and profoundness of śrīmad bhāgavad gītā. I am a better person for reading and practicing its knowledge.

    Adding to it, our upaniṣad-s grooms the intellect. But reading which ones? See this HDF post:

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...worth-studying
    There are many-many views on Reality (sattā). Yet with some of the readings just mentioned, one gets a feel for this wisdom, and somehow or other is guided when done in earnest ( as I have found).

    given a non-practicing spouse
    - Just become the light the best you can, the spouse will benefit. Of this there is no doubt.

    How can I love and grow in and serve God in the meantime?
    No effort is ever lost.
    śrīmad bhāgavad gītā 2.40


    nehābhikramanāśo'sti pratyavāyo na vidyate|
    svalpamapyasya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt||40||

    in this yoga, no effort is lost and no obstacle exists; even a little of
    this dharma delivers one from great fear ||

    The term for obstacle in this verse is pratyavāyo which means decrease , diminution; it means reverse , contrary course , opposite.
    Hence one’s dharma ( that which is uplifting, beneficial) is not impeded or reversed. Even a little of this (dharma) is beneficial, and is not lost.
    To get the full benefit of this śloka I will leave you to read this grand work.


    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ


    1. wholeness – see this post: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...%ABr%E1%B9%87a
    2. Ocean of knowledge: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...ighlight=Ocean
    3. the commentary mentioned on the bhāgavad gītā is by mahāmaheśvarācharya śrīmad abhinavaguptanatha , most know as abhinavagupa. His view is the that of paramādvaita ( the highest-supreme view of non-duality).
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3

    Re: How can I find my path?

    Namaste Yajvan,

    Thank you very much. That is extremely helpful and quite encouraging - you have uplifted my heart! I am very grateful to you.

    This has been a decade-long endeavor for me, with the last four years or so especially in earnest. I have read and read and read and am ready to finally just start doing something, if you know what I mean. (I should mention that by training and vocation I am an academic philosopher and so the study part comes naturally.) I will take your advice and keep at it and let God lead, and continue to pray that I be blessed with a helmsperson. Wonderful.

    My thanks again,
    Om Hari Om

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    Re: How can I find my path?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by gurio View Post
    I have read and read and read and am ready to finally just start doing something, if you know what I mean. ...and continue to pray that I be blessed with a helmsperson. Wonderful.
    Note that one's unfoldment is composed of knowledge and experience. We can technically say:

    • pauruṣa jñāna - knowledge of Self ( Being, pure awareness); typically 'sparked' by dikṣā1 (initiation)
    • bauddha jñāna - intellectual knowledge of Self; sparked by reading, listening, contemplating, cognition

    Both complement and support each other. Over time they become pure (Self) knowledge (jñāna). Yet in the beginning bauddha jñāna may be differentiated ( fractionalized) knowledge and pauruṣa jñāna my be glimpses of that transcendental state ( the 4th) , we do not wait. We begin.

    Having the helmsman (amala karṇadhārāḥ) is no doubt a blessing. Yet one does not wait. We look for a practice that makes sense to us. We do not strain, but we look to find one’s abhyāsa
    2 (practice) and begin. It may change over time as one finds more utility from another practice. We look for these practices from a capable ācārya (teacher – source of right conduct, guide) to point the way.

    So, our knowledge and reading give us a lay of the land, no different than a map. Yet a vehicle (abhyāsa) is still needed to take advantage of the map ( knowledge); one compliments and supports the other.
    This is not my invention (the same words of abhinavaguta-ji regarding this matter – tantrāloka 1.46) and are the words of my teacher. Knowledge and experience is the upāya ( the means), patience and persistence.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ


    1.
    dikṣā - initiation; some call śaktipāta – the decent of power; the decent of grace
    2. abhyāsa - repeated or permanent exercise , discipline , use , habit; that practice of the mind to remain in its unmodified condition of sattva/balance/purity.

    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  5. #5

    Re: How can I find my path?

    Namaste Yajvan,

    Yes, we begin. I am much encouraged by your wisdom, my heartfelt thanks again. Yours are just the words that I have needed, particularly "with time, without stress" and "we do not strain". I cannot tell you how that has struck a chord within. I will take some steps on a Shaivite understanding/approach and, as you advise, remain open to the utility of practices, to adjustments and intuitions, to experience and the growth that follows. And I will continue to read and to study.

    On that, I could not find the exact title you used regarding the commentary on the Gita; did you by chance mean this one?: "Bhagavad Gita: In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism"? (Found here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/09816228...I2RELCM88ZXXV0)
    Om Hari Om

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    Re: How can I find my path?

    Vannakkam: Looks like you only have on-line help and scripture/books to go by, given where you live. and the situation.

    Hinduism is first and foremost, a religion of practice, not just a 'book' religion, as some other great faiths are. You're surrounded by Shinto and Buddhists though, so perhaps that is already evident, as they aren't 'book' religions either.

    From a mystical, non-intellectual point of view, it would be signs that you look for in order to search out a more specific sect, or sampradaya. Try to determine who is calling you (which God or goddess) because in mystical Hinduism that's how it works. So too with Guru. The saying is that when the devotee takes one step towards a Guru, the Guru takes 9 steps towards the devotee.

    So, from this POV, we take it out of the circular routine of the intellect, and ito intuitive 'feel'.

    Best wishes on your search.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: How can I find my path?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    Quote Originally Posted by gurio View Post
    On that, I could not find the exact title you used regarding the commentary on the Gita; did you by chance mean this one?: "Bhagavad Gita: In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism"? (Found here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/09816228...I2RELCM88ZXXV0)
    Yes that book is the correct one... for those looking into an English site, it too is found here: https://www.amazon.com/Bhagavad-x12B.../dp/098162281X

    Now that said, one needs to be mindful that this is not an entry level translation. What am I saying? If one is not grounded in the knowledge of the śrīmad bhāgavad gītā , that allows you to compare and contrast other translations that one has read, then this book may be a bit advanced. It is my job ( as I see it) to set the proper expectations.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: How can I find my path?

    Namaste,

    Any of the following bhajans/chants/Aartis interest you?

    Aum Namah Shivaya - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq-CKdT6IG4
    Hare Krishna - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQixMcpNZ4M
    Lord Vishnu Aarti - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ucCEjXS9n8
    Jai Ganesh - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg88CknV1zY

    Pranam.

  9. #9

    Re: How can I find my path?

    Namaste,

    Thank you all for your kind responses, and a few words to each of you lovely people.

    Eastern Mind: I appreciate that, and I am hopeful. Thankfully there is now much online and who knows where God will lead? I will trust to intuition, as you mention; after all, it is what has led me to this point and indeed to this site (after some years of hiatus (from the site, I mean) but during which I continued seeking). Intuition/the inner voice, surely a blessing that must be honed and always listened to, always considered. I'm reminded of Yajvan's words above on the initial dispensation when thinking along these lines. And I like the one-step, nine-step saying very much, thank you for sharing it. I signed up for the Himalayan Academy's daily lessons to help get me started and I am excited to learn.

    Yajvan: Thank you for confirming the book and for your words of caution. I take note of them and will use scholarly care.

    Believer: Yes! The first (Aum Namah Shivaya) I found a few days ago and have been listening to it quite a lot. A good sign! I also like the fourth. This speaks to me, along the intuitive lines mentioned by Eastern Mind, of a Saivite calling. I am much encouraged.

    Blessings to you all,
    Om Hari Om

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