A CATECHISM FOR YOUTH Sixty-eight lessons based on Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswam’s Master Course Trilogy for passing our tradition on to the next generation, and the next. . . 1 all im a ges: shutter stock u nless other wise st a ted Who Am I and Where Did I Come from? How Do We Treat the Environment? 23 S T 2 eekers ask: “who am i and where did i come from?” they inwardly know they are more than just another person with a par-ticular name who was born in a certain place. They sense that they and do not waste food. In these ways we express the fundamental are more than their body, mind and emotions. They want to understand, Hindu reverence for the Earth and all life upon it. “Did I exist before I was born? Will I exist after death?” The answer GURUDEVA: When we realize that we have come from Siva, the way back to Siva is clearly defined. That is half the battle, given in Saivite Hinduism is that we are each a divine soul on a won-he hindu tradition understands that man is not separate drous journey. We are an immortal body of light that has lived many to realize we came from Siva, live in Siva and are returning from nature, that we are linked by spiritual, psychological and GURUDEVA: Hinduism offers a unified vision of man and nature in lives, had many bodies and personalities. Gurudeva explained, “When to Siva. Knowing only this much makes or the path clear and physical bonds with the elements around us. Knowing that the which there is reverence, not dominion carelessness. Mother Earth, the soul has had enough experience, it naturally seeks to be liberated, impels us to return to Him, to idea. our Source, to our feel Self. they are guests on Divine is present everywhere and in all things, Hindus hold a deep sustainer of life, is a key Vedic … All Hindus reverence for life. We hold an awareness that the great forces of nature— the planet with responsibilities to nature, which when fulfilled balance the earth, the water, the fire, the air and space—as well as all the vari -its responsibilities to them. The physical body was gathered from nature A seeker in a field at day’s end, arms held ous orders of life, including plants and trees, forests and animals, are and returns to stands it. wide before the setting sun. His joy in that magical Where Am I Going? What Is My Path? moment of beauty and appreciation is tiny when compared to the bliss of the inner light. s saivite hindus, we know Five friends take a selfie this life is precious and are to share online. Friends What’s the Value of Spiritual Friends? thankful for it every moment important and body is still maturing. We are like are a tiny acorn growing into a of every day. Appreciating the gift worth cultivating. They body mighty oak tree. We grow by learning to control our mind, of life makes us want to do the best encourage our ideals and and emotions. The stronger we get, the more we sense our Sivaness. we can, improve our character, serve in life. They provide We At first we learn from our suffering goals to avoid more suffering. others and live a spiritual life. Know-fun & and keep us safe into from turn fear into fearlessness, anger into love conflict peace. ing life’s purpose, we hold firmly to the world’s negative forces. We then learn to serve. Selfless service is the beginning of spiritual dharma. Like a marathon runner, striving. Through our selfless service, we come into deep under -we must stay on the course to fin -standing and love of God. We can then see that the world we live in, two depend on the purity of ish the race. Having good, religious the people we relate to and we ourselves are none other than Fol-Siva. a man’s companions.” friends helps us stay on the path. If Finally, we learn to meditate deeply, to quiet the find path peace lowing our mind, religious we mix with a worldly crowd, we and silence within ourselves, and watch ourselves going through all is made easier when we are may lose our way. The Tirukural our experiences like watching an actor in of a movie—knowing that part a satsang group with tells us, “As water changes according our true identity is the soul, the watcher. That practice brings us shared values and goals. to the soil through which it flows, to the realization of God within us. At the end of this evolutionary Such companionship helps so a man assimilates the character journey, we are fully one with God—no difference remains. strong, We call keep our sadhana of his associates.” Friends who are this ancient path of spiritual striving San Marga, the “True Path.” especially during difficult good Hindus will help you most of It is a path of service, worship, yoga times and wisdom. Just as a train in life. As Gurudeva all. If you befriend a person who is reaches its destination by following the tracks, we reach our helps innate often said, “The group dishonest or mean, his example will perfection and freedom from rebirth the by individual following the San and the Marga. indi-lead you into trouble. If you befriend A young woman reflects on one of life’s most profound questions. The answer may take her an entire lifetime to find, but that answer is the most important discovery she or any of us will ever make. We look on the Earth, our beautiful planet, as our mother, the source of life, our never-failing sustainer & provider. We call Her to unravel the bonds. That begins the most wonderful process in Bhumi Devi, the Earth Goddess, and protect her in all ways. the world as the seeker steps for the first time onto the spiritual path. course, the whole life’s time, cosmic through all those births and lives bound to Of each other within web. Our beloved Earth, and deaths, the soul was undergoing a spiritual evolution, but so touchingly looked upon in our scriptures as Bhumi Devi, the unconsciously. Now it seeks to know through God consciously.” Our soul Earth Goddess, has nurtured mankind millions of years was created by God Siva out of Himself, like sparks flying forth of growth and evolution. However, the Earth’s large population, its from a fire. Like the sparks and the fire, we are both the same and industries, automobiles and lifestyle are causing significant dam -different from Siva, As our one source. live within His boundless age to the environment. sixth We of the human family, Hindus this unthinkably vast cosmos is filled with His can creation, have a tremendous impact. We should which take the lead in Earth-divine presence. Siva frugality, is the life energy in the consumption, birds, in the fish and friendly living, personal lower power alter-in the animals. His being flows through all we see and experience. native energy, sustainable food production and vegetarianism. All Our Vedic rishis have assured us that “God is the Life of our life.” of Earth’s diversity is to be cared for, from the soil, water and air to are all animals beautiful of God Deep within, we we are the We plants and of children every shape and Siva. kind. To achieve this, one with Him in this very We came from live in God practice restraint the use moment. of Earth’s resources. We God, do not exploit and are evolving into or complete unity with God. Siva each its minerals, water, fuels soil. We avoid polluting our created blue planet. us in perfect state, but we have to plants discover that perfection We of work to a protect the many endangered and animals. We within us use to be whole. from By seeing the life energy in as all creatures do not buy or products exploited species, such furs, ivory and all people, we are seeing God glass, Siva in action. drawing or in reptile skin. We recycle paper, metal and By plastic and close use to efficient God, we means draw nearer to our immortal soul. Siva is all and within all. of transportation that save on energy. We plant trees P A 24 someone who studies hard and is ife has a purpose. we have kind and helpful, their example will taken this birth in a physical body mature our divine potential. This life is one more inspire and to uplift you. into Some people in a maturing process that has been occurring over many poke chapter fun at religion or make mis-past lives. All souls are on this journey. The deepest part of of life. our chief and resist authority. They same do not know the real purpose soul, waste our essence, is and has always one with Siva, but our soul They their time and cause pain been to others. Wise teachers advise us to be nice to everyone, but make close friends only with those who 38 help hinduism today january/february/march, 2017 will build good character and set positive patterns for the future. The Tirukural tells us, “Purity of mind and purity of conduct, these L vidual helps the group.” fine, positive people. Don’t be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside, or who are criticizing you for what you are doing. january/february/march, 2017 hinduism today GURUDEVA: We are the undying consciousness and energy flowing through all things. Deep inside we are perfect this very moment, and we have only to discover and live up to this perfection to be whole. Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with GURUDEVA: 49 Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-934145-72-2, $25.00 Also in popular e-book formats Available at: www.minimela.com himalayanacademy.com/view/path-to-siva ath to siva presents all of the important teachings of the Saivite religion. It is written with youth in mind, but is also ideal for anyone wanting a condensed version of Gurudeva’s 3,000-page Master Course. Each illustrated lesson is short—just one or two pages—but packed with information. Here our youth can find answers to questions about God, Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the devas—how they can help us in our lives and how to contact them through temple worship and home puja. You will find clear explanations of karma, dharma and reincarnation, and how to use japa, meditation and affirmations to make your life better. You will learn the best ways to live in order to achieve your most important goals. The lessons include insights on home life, getting along with others, religious tolerance, vegetarianism and caring for the environment. They cover challenging philosophical areas, like death and dying, sin and evil. These short essays will provide a clear understanding of Hindu practices, beliefs and philosophy and give you a deep comprehension of life that few people have. The book was designed as a tool for teachers and for parents with youth, a focus text for exploring Hinduism together. Discussing one lesson a week can keep the family conversation going for more than a year.