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  • What is the difference between the soul and the mind?
    What is the difference between the soul and the mind? admin
    admin on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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    Karma & Dharma [9]

    The soul is the consciousness or the knowing principle in man.
    The mind belongs to the category of matter.
    Siva is the soul and Parvati is the mind.
    The consciousness is the Reality, the unchanging,
    unmoving, all pervading soul.
    Mind being matter is changeable and unreal.

    We perceive objects through the organs of sense perception. The soul enables the organs to perceive the objects. The soul exists in all living beings as consciousness. It is the light of the soul that makes the sense-organs and the mind appear alive and luminous.

    Siva is the unchanging consciousness – Nirguna or without form or shape. This unchanging consciousness-Siva – becomes saguna or with form, when Maya Shakti, which is Siva’s illusive power appears as mind and matter. This phenomenon is known as Ardhanarishwar. (See Page ‘Maya-Shakti-Prakriti, topic 'Ardhanarishwar’)

    Siva’s Maya-Shakti is known by various names such as Uma, Parvati, Kali, Durga etc. This Maya-Shakti or power inheres in Siva just as the burning power inheres in fire, sweetness in sugar, whiteness in milk and meaning in the words.

    Siva stands for the Absolute, the unchanging, static background, of which Kali, the Shakti (power) is the dynamic expression. We call this Shakti or power Mother or Goddess. Goddess Kali combines in herself creative dynamism, destructive terror and redemptive grace.

    God’s power that is enveloped by Tamo-guna-pradhana is Lord Siva.

    Siva’s trishul or trident (the three pointed javelin like weapon) represents the three gunas –Sattwa,Rajas and Tamas. The Trishul is the emblem of sovereignity. Lord Siva wields the world through these three gunas, which is the composition of Maya-Shakti or mind and matter. In other words, if one were able to analyse the composition of Maya-Shakti, it will be found to be made of the combination of the three Gunas (Sattwa-Rajas-Tamas).

    Siva is Trilochana, the three- eyed one, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the eye of wisdom (gnana-chakshu). The burning power of the wisdom of the third eye destroys desires for worldly objects. Sensual desire and lust is represented by Kamadev, the god of love (Eros or Cupid). When a person reaches a state of perfect renunciation- he is said to have burnt all his desires. Siva’s third eye burnt to ashes Kamadev- the god of love. The eye of wisdom leads to transcendental vision of the Supreme Reality.

    We recite regularly the following Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60.

    Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe
    Suganghim Pushtivardhanam

    Urvaarukmiva Bandhanaan
    Mrityor Mokshiya Mamritaat

    [The meaning of the Mantra is as follows:]

    I worship thee, O sweet Lord of transcendental vision (the three -eyed one or Lord Siva). O giver of prosperity to all, may I be free from the bonds of death, even as a melon (or cucumber) is severed from its bondage or attachment to the creeper.

    The word Siva signifies the auspicious. The good Lord Siva roots out sin and terror, and is the bestower of earthly happiness, promoter of good and auspiciousness. Siva is also called Samkara which means doer of good.

    Siva takes one beyond the three bodies (Tripura), gross, subtle and causal that envelope the Jiva or the embodied soul. He is hence the Hara or the remover of all evil and the ideal of renunciation. Therefore we hail ‘Hara hara Mahadeva.’

    In the Rigveda (x,121,4) it is written: Yasya ime himavanto mahitva. That the snow capped Himalayas appear as if they are meditating (dhyayativa), and they are the concrete symbol of the glory of the Supreme. Hence it is no wonder that most of its attributes are transferred to Siva. Kailash (mountain) in the Himalayas is the abode of Lord Siva.

    The snowy Himalayas are white and Siva’s body is also white – Gauranga (gauri = light complexioned). Karpura gaura = camphor hued white. Siva’s body is smeared with bhasma or ashes to indicate renunciation, whitenes and purity.

    Amazing! Lord Siva is present in the Kailas mountain. The most sacred symbol in Hinduism AUM imprinted with snow and ice on the face of the mountain by nature.

    Snow falls each winter and resides on the mountain top in the shape of Om.

    After Arati (devotional adoration of the Lord with waving of lamps) we usually recite the following prayer:

    Karpur gauram karunaa avataaram,
    sansaar saaram Bhujgendra haaram,
    Sadaa vasantam hridayaarvinde,
    Bhavam Bhavaani sahitam namaami

    I bow to that camphor-hued, white complexioned
    (Lord Shiva), who is Incarnation of compassion,
    who is the very essence of (consciousness; the
    knowing principle) of life (of the embodied soul);

    Who wears snakes as garlands, whose eternal abode
    is in the heart of the devotee, I bow to Him (Lord
    Shiva) and His consort Bhavani (Uma or Paarvati).

    Karpur (camphor-hued); Gauram (white);
    Karunaa (compassion); Avataaram (incarnation); Sansaar
    (life of the embodied soul); Saaram (essence,
    the knowing principle or consciousness);

    Bhujagendra (wearer of snakes or who wields the
    Serpent power of Kundalini Shakti); Haaram
    (garlands); Sadaa (eternal); Vasantam (resides);
    Hridayaarvinde (in the heart of the devotee);

    Bhavam (Lord Shiva); Bhavaani (Uma or Paarvati);
    Sahitam (together); Namaami (I bow).

    The rain water is locked up in the Himalayas as snow or ice and river Ganga (Ganges) falling from the heaven is locked up in the Jata (matted locks) of Siva. Hence Siva is called Ganga-dhara. River Ganga issues from the Himalayas, and Ganga flows down to earth from Siva’s matted locks after release. The holy river flows down from Siva’s head and therefore it symbolises the stream of wisdom.

    Snakes are symbolic of the mental powers (the coiled up serpent power of Kundalini Shakti) under the control of the divinity. The moon symbolises mind in a state of tranquility and purity. The Damaru (a small drum-like instrument in Lord Siva’s hand) represents the sabda Brahman. This is AUM and the sound of AUM (OM), from which all languages are formed.

    Rudraksha Beads

    The Mala (rosary) is made from the Rudraksha beads. The Siva Purana (25th chapter) describes Lord Siva, the Yogeshwar (master of Yoga), meditating for thousands of years for the benefit of people everywhere. According to the legend, when Siva opened his eyes, some tear-drops fell on earth and grew into Rudraksha trees. These trees grow in several parts of India.

    Both the Siva Mahapurana and the Devi Bhagavatam describe Rudraksha beads as highly auspicious. The mere looking at Rudraksha beads creates auspiciousness. Touching the Rudraksha beads multiplies the auspiciousness manifold, and the wearing of Rudraksha Mala (rosary) augurs almost continuous flow of auspiciousness.

    Rudraksha beads are found with from one eye to up to fourteen eyes or fourteen sided beads. Their medicinal and other uses are specific to how many sides there are on the beads. For example:

    One sided Rudraksha bead is producer of worldly happiness and liberation, producer of wealth, destroyer of obstacles and problems, fulfiller of wishes and highly effective in tuberculosis type of diseases.

    Two sided Rudraksha bead helps to increase mental powers, calms agitated minds, helps to overcome Tamasic Guna.

    Three sided Rudraksha bead helps in acquiring knowledge and skills, helps increase digestive power, effective in reducing fever and in eye diseases.

    Four sided Rudraksha beadworks wonders in increasing memory, especially helpful to those with weak memory. Also improves power of speech. The procedure is to drink for twenty days, milk boiled with Rudraksha beads.

    Since Siva is the unchanging consciousness-Nirguna or without form, how to give a form to the formless for the purpose of worship? This dilemma is solved through the symbol of the Siva-Linga. Like the inverted bowl with the limitless rim called the sky, the Siva-Linga represents visible infinity. When Siva and Shakti are separated into a duality of chit and sat- consciousness and manifest existence or matter (subject and object), the universe of different planes of existence comes into being. This is variously described as spirit and matter, Purusha and prakriti, Brahman and Maya, Siva and Shakti, Linga and Yoni etc.

    A legend

    When creation was completed, Siva and Parvati went to live on top of Mount Kailash

    Parvati asked: "O adorable Lord, which of the many rituals observed in your honour does please you most?"

    Lord Siva replied: "The fourteenth night of the new moon in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun is my favourite day. It is called ‘Sivaratri’. My devotees give me greater happiness by mere fasting than by ceremonial baths and offerings of flowers, sweets and incense. The offering of a few bilwa (bael) leaves is more precious to me than precious jewels and flowers. My devotee must observe strict spiritual discipline during the day and worship me at night "

    Parvati was deeply impressed by the words of Lord Siva. She repeated them to her friends, who in their turn passed them on to the ruling princes on earth. Thus was the sanctity of Shivaratri broadcast all over the world.

    On Mahashivaratri, the devotees observe strict spiritual disciplines during the day. The devotees worship Lord Siva at night in four different ways during each of the four successive three hour periods of the night. Bathing the Siva-Linga in milk in the first period, in curd during the second period, in ghee in the third period and in honey in the fourth and last period. Every three hours, a round of worship of Siva Linga is conducted. Evils like lust, anger, jealousy, born of Rajas and Tamas, are subdued. The devotees break the fast after the fourth and last round. In the morning, the devotees should feed the Brahmins (priests) first and after doing the prescribed ceremonies, break the fast. The devotees observe vigil throughout the night. After the completion of the rites of Shivaratri, the devotee presents gifts or donations to the officiating priests.

    According to Vedic scriptures, the performance of this ritual is both obligatory and desirable. The injunction laid down for the performance of the ritual for transforming the devotee’s body into a residence fit for the divinity are: non-injury to living creatures, truthfulness, freedom from anger, celibacy, compassion, forbearance, austerities, calmness, freedom from passion and malice. As a reward, it is said that one who performs the sacrifice of Shivaratri with all the attendant rituals and keeps the fast according to the rules laid down gets happiness and realises his most cherished desires.

    In the case of Siva as chief of ascetics, no food is generally offered as prasad. The daily ceremonials are of austerely simple kind. Water is poured on Siva-Linga with perhaps a few oblations of flowers and bilwa leaves. It is remarkable that even in cases where food is offered to this divinity it is not allowed to be eaten by his votaries. According to the Brahminical rule, ‘leaves, flowers, fruits and water become unfit to be consumed after being consecrated to Siva’.

    The three most important religious activities during the Maha-Shivaratri festival are: fasting during the entire lunar day, keeping a strict night vigil and worshipping the lingam with offerings of foods, leaves, flowers etc. and with recitation of mantras. The two great natural forces that afflict man are Rajas (quality of passion) and Tamas (inertia). The Shivaratri Vrata aims at the perfect control of these two qualities.

    The motivation behind the vrata or fast is mainly the promotion of physical and mental self-control by acts of penance, thanks giving, praise of the Supreme Lord and for desiring special boon.

    Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, advised to offer this inner worship to Lord Siva daily:

    "O Lord Siva, Thou art my self. My mind is Parvati. My pranas are Thy servants. My body is Thy house. All my actions in this world are Thy worship. My sleep is samadhi. My walk is circumambulation around Thee. My speech is prayer unto Thee. Thus do I offer unto Thee all that I am."

    The following is from theTulasi Ramayana, Uttara-Kanda, Doha   45:

    "Sankara Bhajan Bina Nara Bhagati Na Paavai Mori"
    Sri Rama said: "With joined palms I lay before you all another secret doctrine:
    without adoring Sankara (Lord Siva) man cannot attain devotion to Me."



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