Hindus often think of karma as being only that which is bad. Actually, this law of action and reaction can be both good, bad and mixed, depending upon the intent and the action itself. Hindus also sometimes think that the Gods punish them for wrongdoings. But; the Gods don't punish; rather they help, guide and protect. The "punishment" that is sometimes experienced is simply the return of karmas created by ourselves. If devotees don't continue making good karmas, and persist in holding hard feelings one against another, then of course unhappiness is the result. It is the force of energy that is sent out into the world through thoughts, words and actions that creates the good, bad and mixed karmas.
Karma is an unfailing natural law, simply explained by this example: Give a beggar 10 rupees. You are not giving, you are investing in your future. Somehow 20 rupees will find its way back to you. He has given you the opportunity to give. When we give expecting to receive, the law will still work, but if we give 10 rupees, we get back 10 rupees. Unselfish giving doubles the return. Giving to a temple is different again; every 10 rupees given brings back 100 rupees in return. God pays a better interest. Giving is an investment in the future, it is not parting with something.
We Hindus know how the law of karma works and use it daily. To reverse the law of generous giving would be unwise, for if you take 10 rupees from someone, you will get twice as much taken from you at another time. Therefore, understanding the law of karma keeps us all very honest.
The dharma of the Hindu mother and father is to raise up their children to be the good citizens of tomorrow. It is their dharma to create and to live a happy home life: wife respecting the husband, and husband respecting and caring for her and the home. The Hindu dharma is to gain wealth, so as to care for and educate the children, to enjoy life, to build places of worship and to see that the religion, in its fullness, is passed on to the next generation.
How is this done? This is accomplished by protecting the children so that they only learn Hinduism during the first 12, 15, 20 years of their life. This, we see, is beginning to happen here in this great temple that you all are building in Pittsburgh. The fulfillment of dharma is fulfillment of Lord Siva's holy law. The foundation of Hinduism rests on the Vedas and Agamas. Scripture tells us that Lord Siva Himself was the author.
ON THE DANGERS OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS
It is very important that all Hindu children be raised in the Hindu tradition. The first impressions are the most lasting, and they are what the children have to deal with throughout their lives. This is because early impressions are locked in the memory pattern of their subconscious minds. For this reason children should not be sent to Catholic or Protestant schools. We know all of the excuses and have heard them so many times. "A better education, better discipline, and on and on." It is so pathetic and now it has almost become an intrinsic part of Indian culture.
The children are told, of course, to not listen to the priests, nuns and other children when they defame Hinduism. We have talked to the children and some said that they learned most about Christianity from the other children. The other children taught the child Catholicism and Protestantism. They also learned to disrespect the three pillars of Hinduism - they are taught to disrespect the temple, they are taught to disrespect the swamis, gurus and priests, and they are taught to disrespect and make fun of the scriptures. They grow up not knowing what to believe.
So, all of you parents who are wanting to practice dharma, send your children to public schools, but not to a Catholic or a Jewish or a Protestant school. Catholic (and they practice their sense of dharma too) would never send their children to a Hindu school, a Muslim school or a Jewish school. They would not do that. Why? Because they want their religion to be strong, they want their religion to grow. You must know that the Christian churches are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to destroy Hinduism. So don't play into their hands by sacrificing your child to Christ for a little bit better education. You're paying a dearer price than you can afford. Your children trusted you when they came into your family to raise them properly. Don't sell them short. Your children are the most precious asset of your family and the most precious asset of this most beautiful temple, they are our citizens of tomorrow.
There are hundreds and thousands of native-born Americans who would love to come to temples like this, who would like to study Hinduism with you, who would even like to convert to Hinduism. Swami Vivekananda said that conversion into Hinduism from other religions is normal, that it has and should take place time and time again. We have brought hundreds of converts and adoptives fully into Hinduism, because they no longer believe in their former religion and want to follow the Hindu dharma. There are special sacraments to be performed for someone converting from one religion to another.
You've often heard that Hinduism is not a proselytizing religion, that Hinduism never convert others, that you have to be born a Hindu to be a Hindu, or be born a Hindu in India to be a Hindu. How ridiculous these notions are. We did a lot of research to find out who originated this kind of thinking. We made a note of every comment of this nature from many, many books and found that it was totally Christian propaganda. All the authors of all those statements discouraging Hindus from converting others were Christians. Whereas, all the authors of statements that Hindus do bring others into their faith were eminent Hindus. Why should a soul born in America who was an Indian Hindu in his last birth be denied his own religion, simply because of Christian propaganda?
Indian Hindus should not create closed groups and shun the Western-born devotees. Be open! Openness, love and trust are needed now. You have something of value and something that you really believe in - Hinduism. But the Indian Hindu does not want to share it with his American-born brothers and sisters. If Hinduism is not actually a proselytizing religion, then how could tens of millions of Americans of European origin get half converted to Hinduism? Now it is your turn, the turn of all the Hindu temple societies to bring these sincere seekers along into the fullness of this great religion and accept them in your hearts and minds. This is the American spirit. This is a duty for all Indian Hindus to perform.
ON LORD SIVA
Lord Siva, the God of all the Gods is with you this very minute. Put your hands on your heart. In between each heartbeat is God Siva's energy. Put your fingers on your pulse. In between each beat of the pulse is Cod Siva's cosmic energy. When you become excited, nervous, frustrated or are under stress, simply take your pulse and feel Siva's energy within you. Feeling the presence of Siva within you will bring peace.
Lord Siva is the Life of your life. He is the Breath of your breath, the Intelligence of your intelligence and the Boon Giver. What is the first boon that God Siva will gives to you? Intelligence. He will give you Intelligence, for he is the author of all wisdom and all knowledge. He will give you intelligence if you worship Him sincerely and without reservation. Yes! It is well worth worshipping Cod Siva, the Supreme God, creator of all the 33 million Gods of our religion, to receive intelligence in return. Along with His gift of intelligence comes the ability to apply knowledge. The application of knowledge is wisdom. The next time that you are frustrated, feel the quiet energy between your heartbeats and feel God Siva there. Get lost in Siva consciousness. We get lost in instinctive consciousness; we get lost in intellectual consciousness. We are missing out on something if we don't get lost in Siva consciousness. For God Siva is consciousness itself. Aum Namasivaya.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.