Yesterday after the Ganesh puja in the temple the following came to my mind that I was compelled to get up and share with the group:
“In meditation you rest into the absolute… pure consciousness, pure is-ness. From that depth of your being, the influence wells up and permeates all levels of your being. You know that it is something best done twice daily. Over time it cultures the physiology in the direction of enlightenment.
The pujas, havans, and all the ceremonies at the temple approach from a different angle. Obviously there is the physical aspect of the procedure. From there is permeates the physiology more and more deeply… through the levels of thoughts, feelings, etc. ultimately touching and enlivening the depth of your being.
It is as if meditation goes from the bottom [or depth] up and the ceremonies go from the top down. Meditation awakens you to the unstructured, pure abstraction, which lies at the basis of all life and existence. The ceremonies awaken you to the deepest structured level of existence and permeate all levels of your being from there. That is why it is best to not actually meditate during the ceremonies but to instead keep your attention on the ceremony. To transcend, to bring the attention to the unstructured level, is different from staying with the structured and enliving the Absolute from there. It is like the distinction between Atman and Buddhi… transcendence and the very finest relative.
Meditation waters the root of life. The ceremonies, mantras, etc. direct their nourishment through specific aspects of life, depending upon the deity (personified aspect), sankalpa (specific purpose), etc. You can have a havan for health, wealth, happiness, or even more specific things. Often the results are felt immediately. However, as with meditation, it is best viewed as a culturing process. Every day, every day, every day do your meditations and attend the temple. Culture your being to live in harmony with nature day by day.
It does not really make a lot of sense to only meditate on special holidays. No! Of course not! People understand that meditation is a culturing process that is done twice daily. But it seems few understand that attending the temple is also a culturing process best done every day. You can attend pujas, havans, do japa, pradakshina, etc. It does not have to be for an extended period of time. Just attend the temple and touch in, touch in, touch in.”
I then asked Panditji to comment to the group about what I said and to feel free to correct or refine anything that he felt was not exactly right. As he and I both have enjoyed through the years his knowledge gave beautiful confirmation to what I said.
Another important approach is that of knowledge, but not just intellectual facts but true understanding from the depth. My lectures are for that purpose. I remember years ago, after attending a number of my lectures someone said, “I think there is a lot more going on here than just a lecture.” Honestly I was a bit shocked that it took them time to understand that. Yet I was delighted that they now understood. What we offer here at Mount Soma, daily group meditation, the temple, and the lectures are all great catalysts to your evolution. Make hay while the sun shines!