Be in the Temple III

by Swami Shantananda

The “Be in the Temple” satsangs, which were held via live video stream between March and August 2020, were prasad from Gurumayi Chidvilasananda to the global Siddha Yoga sangham. They were held in the midst of a global pandemic, and I for one could feel how, through these satsangs and the teachings Gurumayi imparted in them, our Guru was guiding us to draw from within ourselves the hope, strength, and knowledge we would require to navigate these trying times. Gurumayi’s intention for the “Be in the Temple” satsangs was to make people’s spirits soar again—and as you well know, that certainly happened. Many people shared on the Siddha Yoga path website and with Rohini Menon, Managing Director for the “Be in the Temple” satsangs, how their participation in these satsangs brought upliftment to all levels of their being.

The expositions on the pages of “Be in the Temple III” will support you to take what you received and learned from the “Be in the Temple” satsangs one step further. These expositions, which have been written by Siddha Yoga meditation teachers and scholars of the literary and scriptural traditions of India, explain in greater depth the Siddha Yoga teachings, practices, and traditions that you became familiar with in the “Be in the Temple” satsangs. In their expositions, the authors draw upon a wide variety of knowledge—scriptural, philosophical, scientific, linguistic, and cultural—to explain the topic at hand and its relevance to students’ sādhanā.

On the Siddha Yoga path, study—adhyāya—encompasses both learning from the Guru’s words and the scriptures and learning from our experiences of the inner spiritual realm—those experiences we have that are beyond words. Study is a commitment to knowing who you truly are, knowing the depth of your divine nature, and knowing how your soul and your world form a continuum of awareness that brings about profound fulfillment and love. I remember when I first learned this for myself. As a lifelong lover of scholarship and knowledge, I’d always held study in high esteem and eagerly embraced it, but I’d always thought of knowledge as different from love. So you can imagine what it meant for a scholar to discover that knowledge, jnāna, leads to bhakti, devotional love!

I encourage you to bring newfound awareness and understanding to your sādhanā by reading these expositions, studying them, and making note of your insights. Examining sacred teachings in this way, with the purpose of identifying what you can apply in your own life and sādhanā, is like unearthing gold—the gold of divine wisdom.

Moreover, when study is done with genuine interest and curiosity, this very effort motivates you to live by what you are learning. Don’t we want the experience of living the precepts of our path? Spiritual practice shows you that the knowledge of the Self is an experience as well as an understanding. You come to feel: I can live as I wish to. And as you notice your longing to live by the Guru’s teachings, you can take steps to do so—to assimilate those teachings and manifest them in your life. Then, over time, you will find that what you think, feel, speak, and do become increasingly natural expressions of a life of dharma, a life of abiding by and abiding in the Truth.