Subramuniyaswami, Sivaya H.H. An inspired talk given by Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, at the Saiva Siddhanta Church Concord Mission, Concord, California, on December 23, 1987.

We are now entering our 43rd year of service as a guru. The Hindu guru is a spiritual mother and father to the devotee. The mother and father are the first guru. The spiritual guru is the second. Together, the three of them do a good job in raising the children. Now, more than ever before, parents are sending their young men to the monasteries of the Church for two years of religious training, discipline and service.

Without the discipline of yoga and a concentrated religious training, it is easy for the child, when he leaves his mother's and father's side and enters worldly life, to avoid many things; for most people go through life on the "avoidance path." We human beings can distract ourselves in so many ways. We are the only creatures on this earth that spend multi-billions of dollars a year to distract ourselves and to avoid facing up to our karmas-good, bad and mixed. It is the guru's job to see that his devotees do not avoid the karmas that are meant to be lived through and understood in this incarnation. The guru has his job to do, and he knows full well exactly what it is. The parents have their job to do as well. And they know what that is. They work together to produce a happy, healthy next generation of honorable religious citizens.

All our devotees have to improve and improve and improve and improve. That is why they perform daily sadhana so regularly. When children are with their parents they are helped to mature their intellect, their physical body and their emotional nature. Having accomplished this, the parents then present their beloved child to the family guru. Then it is his duty to bring forth the child's spiritual life, to awaken a deeper love for God Siva.

When we truly love God Siva, nothing is impossible. Love gives energy; love gives life; love gives the power of understanding and forgiveness; love gives one a new start in life; love gives willpower. With love in the will, one can go through the things that have to be gone through in a lifetime. We should not avoid experiences and store any kind of karmas away for another life by distracting ourselves in the external world.

Who is driving us onward? It is Lord Siva himself. Lord Siva comes to us in many forms. He comes as a Siva Lingam; He comes in your form, and your mother's form, and your father's form, and your teacher's form and in the form of the temple priest. He comes to us in many forms and through them is always driving us forward on the spiritual path.

Once you come, through birth, into your mother's and father's home, you can't get rid of them, can you? There's nothing you can do. You can run away from home; but they are still with you mentally and emotionally. Once you take a guru into your life, you can't get rid of him either. Most gurus have psychic powers; they can follow you wherever you are. They can be many places at a single point in time. This is the mystical life of a Hindu guru. It is the guru's duty to take away the external ego and bring you closer and closer to God Siva.

When you are close to Lord Siva, he talks to you in the silence of your mind. This is why the yogis know Lord Siva best, because they know the silence. The voice of God is silence. The Siva Lingam represents timelessness, formlessness, spacelessness – complete silence. How do the other Gods talk to you? Through the voice of your own conscience-they talk to you through the voice of your own conscience. Many cannot listen to silence even for a few seconds before they become distracted. Still others do not listen to their own conscience, they can avoid that, too. But they cannot avoid their mother and father. They are always there in their life, even when deceased. They cannot avoid their guru once he has come into their life. He's always there, watching. He knows all the different areas and layers of their karma.

We do not want young members of Saiva Siddhanta Church to drift away into the abyss of modern-day society. You don't want that. I don't want that. We don't want members of Saiva Siddhanta Church to create additional confusing karmas in this life, karma they can avoid creating. We're not here to make new karmic patterns; we're here to heal up the old ones. Modern-day society has been created by the other religions, not Saivism, not Hinduism. And much of it is the dross of the non-religious people of this world. To send our Saivite children out into the modern world before they are completely prepared is unwise. This is why the far-seeing Saivite parents are sending their young men to the monastery for two years for discipline, service and religious training before they continue into higher education and later, perhaps, enter family life. Many of these parents have been careful through the years to refrain from living a double standard in their own homes. It is difficult for children to grow up seeing their parents behave one way in the temple or before the swamis and another way in their own home. The home must be Saivite through and through for the well-adjusted Saivite child to emerge.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.