A painting of Lord Skanda as young Kumāran

Subramanium festival discourse

Swami Suryananda talks at the grand finale of our Lord Subramanium festival.

Download discourse – mp3

Divine friends, today is a most auspicious day because it is the end of the festival for Lord Subramanium, Lord Murugan.

For the last two weeks, we have been worshipping the Lord and his two Shaktis every morning with Abishekams. At the start of the festival we separated Shiva and Shakti and now we’ve brought them together.

That energy of Shiva and Shakti is in every single person who is here. We are both male and we are female. And when the male and female are balanced and in harmony then we’re in alignment, we’re in tune. When there’s a dominance of one of the other then we can be out of tune, out of alignment.

You see Valli, Devayani and Murugan. Perfectly in harmony, perfectly aligned. And with those three facets of the Divine, there is Shakti, there is power: Iccha Shakti, Kriya Shakti and Jnana Shakti.

Each of us needs those three aspects of Shakti in our life to evolve. Iccha Shaki is the power of will. Kriya Shakti is the power of action. These are represented and embodied in Sri Valli and Devayani.

Jnana Shaki is the Vel of Murugan. That knowledge pierces the ignorance that we have, the illusion that we have, that we are separate from God. We’re very much involved and identified with our incarnation; ‘This is me, this is my body, this is my life, my husband, wife, children, house, job career…’

Self knowledge

But who are we really? We are Divine by nature. Jnana – Divya Jnana – Divine Wisdom and knowledge help us to begin to see that. But we need the other two Shaktis to open ourselves up so that Divya Jnana can flow unimpeded within us.

Every single one of us has a drama in our life. The battle between our lower nature, the manifestation of our karma, and the Divinity within us which is yearning to be realised.

That is the purpose of our birth: to realise that we are God. Not separate from God. Not separate from the person sitting next to us. Not separate from nature. Not separate from any manifestation of life.Swami Suryananda

We talk about the universality of God – what that means is that there is nothing that is separate from God.

Now, through Maya, through the play of Maya, the Lord and the Divine Mother have given us the opportunity to experience life. That experience is in our general living; having a body, having a family, going about our life… experiencing sorrow, joy, happiness, sadness… many opposites in our life.

But ultimately these experiences are for us to learn that we are not that which is impermanent. We are not the body. How many incarnations have we had? How many mothers have we had? Fathers, children, brothers, sisters?

Not just hundreds, but thousands and thousands of incarnations in that path of evolution. And yet, many of us are attached to that which is impermanent. We identify ourselves with our body; ‘this is who I am’.

It isn’t who you are. Your body will fall apart and die, but you don’t die when your body dies. The Divinity within each of us cannot die. It gets a new set of clothes – a new incarnation, a new body, a new opportunity, a new set of parents and siblings. There’s a new opportunity for education and experience.

Life is a gift

Life is a gift, Divine friends. It’s a very precious gift, and those of us who are a little bit older know that as you get older, that gift begins to slip away faster and faster. When you’re a child, each day seems to last a long time, you fit so much in a day.

As you get older, you slow down, your mental capacity diminishes, your body starts to fall apart. You see life slipping away and you ask yourself ‘What have I achieved in my life? Am I fulfilled as a human being? Or am I just running after that which is impermanent?’

The fact that you are all here means that the Lord within you has given you that motivating Shakti – that Iccha Shakti to come here today to come to the Temple. Your karma has brought you here to have this beautiful darshan of the Lord.

This is an opportunity, Divine friends. Opportunities come to us in life like logs on a stream. They come along, they float together for a period of time, and then they drift apart. The important thing is to begin to recognise the opportunities that the Lord gives us to immerse ourselves in the energy of God.

Guru Sri Subramanium – the founder of Skanda Vale Monastery

Our Guru, Guru Sri Subramanium, used to remind us that we only become an ignited piece of coal if we roll that coal into the fire of Divine consciousness. The Lord has given us simple ways of doing that. Simple ways of igniting that coal; through worship and through service.

Only when we forget ourselves is there space and time for that energy of God that is within us to manifest and to be realised.Swami Suryananda

When we’re preoccupied with ‘This is mine, that’s mine, I want to do this, I want to go here…’ then there’s no space, there’s no time for God. Our ego, our egocentric nature – this false identity that we’re separate from God – is dominant. All the time in our life.

A partnership with God

A temple (or a powerful place of pilgrimage) is a reservoir of Shakti, of power. That power will transform the vibration that we carry. It will elevate our awareness, elevate our consciousness so that we begin to look at things differently.

We’ll feel good with the energy of God. We feel uplifted, we feel lighter because that Shakti changes our whole vibration, our whole aura. It’s like opening a channel of communication directly to the Lord. When that is done frequently, on a daily basis, then we begin to form a partnership with God.

Now you don’t need to be in the temple to do that. Just make a little time and space at home to involve God in your life. Five minutes, ten minutes a day, to share your life with God. To talk to the Lord – whichever aspect of the Lord that you love. Ask for grace, ask for help. Ask for the experience of God.

You don’t need to know lots of fancy mantras or chants, or Vedic rituals. You just need to have to deep sincerity and love for God. Even if you don’t have love for God, you can cultivate love because every single one of us has love embodied within us.

Devotion

There isn’t a single person who hasn’t got love, because God is love. God is embodied at the core of our being. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be alive. The more that we express that love in our life, spontaneously, the more that we begin to become our true nature. We begin to become Divine.

The more we open our eyes, the more we recognise that love that is embodied in our fellow human beings. Rather than criticising and pulling them apart, rather than running them down, the more we look at the quality of love and elevate them, and recognise that they too are Divine by nature, then the whole vibration of our interaction begins to change.

We are the ones who choose what we eat. What vibrations we eat. By eating, I mean that every single thing that we are involved in is a vibration which is food for our whole being. What we look at, what we read, the people we talk to, the conversations that we have, the video games we play, what videos we look at, where we go… every single thing is a vibration.

Compassion

We can choose the vibrations that make us feel fulfilled as a human being. Vibrations of love, of compassion, of caring. One of the Lord’s names is Karuna – compassion. He has such immense compassion and understanding for us, for every one of us, knowing this difficult journey of evolution that we’re on.

The Lord has that compassion that gives us from time to time, that opportunity to transform our lives. To elevate our consciousness. To be with him.

He is Kumaran – eternally youthful. He is a vibrant power – a fire. He’s an energy. Become child-like, Divine friends, and dance in your heart with that energy – with the fire of Murugan. When you look at Him, just take your mind there and ignite that flame within you.

In the pujas that we’ve done for the past two weeks, we’ve done Suprabatham; we light the lamps in the Gopuram. And when we light those lamps, we’re saying ‘My Lord, may You ignite within my heat. May that tiny light, that little glow grow brighter and brighter so it becomes an inferno of love, that nothing may extinguish.’

May that love light the world – lighting every single interaction that you have, with everyone you meet. Be aware of that vibration of love that you can carry, Divine friends. Choose to carry it. Choose to exercise it and you will become Love.

The Guru

Murugan is the Guru. He is the principle of the Guru. We get so involved with ‘Guru this, Guru that, Guru has this body, this form, this Guru can materialise this, and this Guru can do that…’

Guru is a principle. Beyond form. Murugan is the Guru. He will be our mirror. He will reflect directly at us, that which we show him. To show Him love, means showing the person next to us love because He is embodied within them.

If we show Him love, compassion and understanding, then that will be reflected to us by Him, a thousandfold, Divine friends.Swami Suryananda

We need grace in our lives. We can’t live without grace. Our lives are difficult enough. We all have challenges in our lives – our bodies fall apart as we get older. We need grace because grace gives us the capacity to live in that consciousness of love – to elevate our consciousness.

The Guru in the form of Murugan is always there. Even though he is Commander in Chief of the heavenly forces, and destroyer of the Asuric forces, He has that beautiful, child-like quality – that inner simplicity, joy and love which is accessible if we surrender ourselves at His lotus feet.

He will give us the strength and the power to master ourselves, to master our lower natures.

Self-acceptance

Divine friends, don’t get stressed out or wound up about your own negativity. Every single one of us has parts of our nature that we don’t like. Beating ourselves up doesn’t do anything constructive.

Accept yourself and appeal to the grace of the Lord to transform your consciousness and purify yourself. Likewise, don’t judge a single human being. It’s so easy to have an opinion about somebody else.

It’s so easy to judge and label another human being. What does that achieve? Not a single one of us has the capacity to understand the karmic path of evolution of our fellow human beings.

Live in the moment. Live in love. You will capture Murugan. He will come running to you if you live in love, Divine friends.

Seva – selfless service

It’s very important for me to thank, on behalf of the Community, the many, many people who have made this day happen. Who have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks; putting gravel down, decorating, making garlands, cooking food, car parking, cleaning toilets.

All of the seva that has gone on in seva. We wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for the love of those people who have given of themselves to serve God. On behalf of all of the Community, I thank them. But please join them, make this your community, come and be involved in seva.

Most of us are a different colour to most of you! But, like you, we are Divine by nature, we have a yearning to be able to integrate with God, to serve you, to serve the Lord.

We want you to be part of our community. It’s a family. In the world, with the pressure and stress that we have in our lives, the benefit of a community is a group of like-minded people who can support each other, who can elevate each other’s consciousness, who share the same yearning and love for God, who can excite each other to worship God – to serve God, not just here, but in your own communities.

This can act as a hub. Skanda Vale can act as a power centre for you to refresh yourselves – refresh your families. Energise your consciousness. Come here and stay here. We have beautiful new accommodation – it’s completely free.

We feed you, we house you, we look after you, and we give you an opportunity to serve the Lord and experience the energy of God.

God is free

You know, if you travel to Sri Lanka and India, in many temples God is exclusive. Unless you’re a Brahmin, a priest you have no access to God. Unless you have lots of money you don’t get Darshan for more than one second.

Now that can’t be right, Divine friends. How can it be right that a wealthy person gets to sit at the front for the whole puja, whilst someone without money might not even get in for Darshan?

God is free. There is no price tag on God, Divine friends.

God is free here. Come and make use of this opportunity. Come and talk to us, get involved. All of these people with bright yellow t-shirts on are our seva group. Go and talk to them later this afternoon. ‘How do I get involved? How do I become part of this?’

It’s not our design. This is the Sankalpa of our Guru, Guru Sri Subramanium. Only through his grace has Skanda Vale come about. Only through his grace are we here today. This is just the beginning of the manifestation of that Sankalpa.

It will grow very big and touch the hearts of many thousands of people, right across the world. Be a part of that Divine friends.

Transform your own lives through the choices that you make. See this as an opportunity to do something positive for your own evolution. Think about today when you go home. Think about the experience of the energy of God that is here.

It’s so easy to forget about the positive experiences that we have, and focus on the negative. Make a point of focussing on this, and change your lives. Make that assertion; I will get involved. I want to be part of this. I want to share this vibration, and live in this consciousness of love.

We’re now going to chant Namavali and then we will take the Lord and His two Shaktis back to the temple for final aarti, and then we will feed you!


Vel Vel Muruga!

Watch Skanda Vale Swamis perform a puja to Lord Murugan's Vel...



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