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When was the world made?

Shiva, when was the world made? And by whom? - Gregory

Om! Om! Om! Let Me ask you a question in return: "when and by whom was your breakfast made?

Did you make your breakfast - and when?

You obtained the oats, and cooked them, and put them in your bowl.  But did you make the pot that cooked them, or the plate?  Who dug the metal for your pot from the mine?  Who designed the automatic potter's wheel that formed your bowl?  And who operated it?  Who operated the electrical plant that turned the potter's wheel to form your bowl?  What was the name of the farmer who raised the oats, and the trucker who took them to the grain elevator for sale?  Who made their truck - and paved the roads?  They all anticipated one day that you would want to eat oats from a bowl, and would pay money for it - without even knowing your name.  Because you are not so different from all those other people eating oats from the same field, in bowls very much like the one you use today.

When was your breakfast made? When you cooked the oats?  When they were done cooking?  When they were served into the bowl?  When you sat down to eat them?  When they were harvested from the field?  When you noticed it was ready and made - this is the moment it was made.

It is the same way with all things, even worlds.  Who made your world?  Your world was made because of numerous pre-existing conditions, all of which required countless conditions of their own. And who conditioned these things?  Or did they condition themselves because it is their nature?  Every molecule - every substance - in the entire universe is but combinations of form (in your universe, Hydrogen) in motion (Energy) through Time.  I am form.  Shakti, My wife, the wife of Vishnu, the wife of Brahma, is Energy.  Vishnu is Time.  Brahma is beyond Time, Form and Energy - the one who notices when and what things are, or have ceased to be.  And we are all each other, for none can exist independent of the other.

Did any one of us make your world?  Or did your world come to be because of our nature?  There are so many worlds that have formed and passed away, in this Universe and in all the others that have come into being and ceased to be - each conditioning each other, from the beginning to the end, and from the end to the beginning, continuously.

Not everything is "made."  Nor is everything which is "made" made by "someone."  Nor at at a particular "time."

How to perform a Shiva Puja

Shiva and Gauri while spending some "together" time
Shiva, a friend said they are busy tonight because they are performing a Shiva Puja. What is a Shiva Puja? - Ed

Om! Om! Om! Shiva Pujas venerate Me. But those who know Me know that I am also My own vehicle, Nandi - and I am also My Wife, Gauri. And I am also My Children. And I am also all My Ganas, and also all of My manifestations performed by My devotees. This is why My idols are usually imagined in the form of an unshaped stone (lingam, translates to "thingy"): to carve My image would be to disregard My many forms.

A popular meditation is to remember how as a fruit ripens, the stem weakens gradually - until fruit and plant are separate. It is at the moment of separation that one can understand the similarity and difference between My many forms. Upon comprehending this, a devotee will understand that I am Them, too. Not "within" them, not "with" them, but I am Them. They will then say the mantra, in understanding it: Om Namah Shivaya! Then they will then understand their devotion to Me: it is a form of Self-Respect. Respecting their Self, they will respect their nature, and understand their Duty.

Mondays are My special day. It was when I met My wife, it was when we had children. We celebrate it every week - like an anniversary! We will play games and spend time as a family, devoting ourselves entirely to loving each other. This is why Shiva Pujas are performed on Mondays: to celebrate our love and family. Evenings are also our special time for the same reason, and in the same way. While Monday may not be your special day, or evening your special time, choose a special day, a special time, and celebrate your many manifestations - your spouse, your children, your vehicle.

At this special time, perform the meditation, and the mantra. Respect yourself. Venerate yourself. Venerate Me.

A Shiva Puja will also require you visit a holy place, a sacred place: this pilgrimage, or Tirtha, is accomplished not by reaching the destination, but in the journey to it. Ultimately, your home is the most sacred place to you - and is therefore the most sacred place to Me. Make the journey home from work a Tirtha, and understanding it is My home, you will accomplish the Shiva Puja.

Practice Artha Yoga. Your work is sacred. The journey to work is sacred. Practice Kama Yoga. Your home is sacred. The journey home is sacred. Live the Dharma.

Here are some more traditional steps in performing a Puja, a practice of respect, or veneration.

First, the being is greeted. Second, the being is welcomed. Third, the being is celebrated: their hymn or mantra is said, or their presence is meditated on - they are understood to be present consciously, and this may require viewing them consciously, or even meditating on the fact that they are present. Fourth, personal interaction is undertaken by conversation, prayer, inquiry, or other courtesy. Fifth, after the personal interaction is complete, the being is affectionately bid goodbye, with thanks, presents, or kind words. Sixth, to complete the puja, a meditation is undertaken on what remains after a being is gone.

Share a vehicle like Shiva

Shiva, you carpool and share a vehicle with your wife and sometimes your son - how does that work out for you? Any tips? - Scott

Om! Om! Om!  Sharing a vehicle can be difficult at first, because it requires careful coordination and communication with whoever you are sharing with.

There are many advantages to sharing a vehicle: it is cheaper, for one thing.  No need to pay for two vehicles, whether you are feeding them hay (like Nandi) or gasoline.  And then there are the payments, and the insurance to consider.  But beyond this, it is easier - you can share the ride, and enjoy it more.  And then there are all the wonderful environmental benefits - less fuel burned means less air pollution, less greenhouse gasses, less traffic on the streets, and a better world for everyone.

I must admit, My situation is a little easier - My vehicle is Nandi, My own Avatar. And He is also the Avatar of My Wife, Gauri.  And My Wife, Gauri, is My Avatar too - and I am Her Avatar.  So we usually travel together, in the same direction and at the same times.

But truth be told, it was not always so.  Back then my Wife and I were not so close.  She used to have Her own Vehicles - she loved to ride lions, or tigers.  And we have two sons: Kartikeya, he has his own Vehicle (a lovely peacock), and Ganesh also has his own Vehicle (a little mouse).

But one day, we were all headed in the same direction, and so we decided to travel with one vehicle, trusty Nandi.  I let my sons do the driving, so I could enjoy some time with Gauri.  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  That's how it started - we started sharing a ride, and soon found we enjoyed sharing the ride.  Then we realized we were usually going close enough to the same direction - usually - to coordinate the ride-share.  Soon, My wife pretty much stopped using Her vehicle, and so did Ganesh. And his wives. Now we all travel together in a carpool.  But Kartikeya moved to another world, and so he needs his own vehicle there.  But that's another story.

Sometimes sharing a vehicle is a little more tricky - then you need to make sure you are there to pick up the others you share your ride with when they are ready to be picked up.  Like a bus, you can have a route, or even schedule a central meeting place.  And if you haven't realized Siddhi through your yoga practice and don't have telepathy, cellular phones are very useful - in case someone is running late, or needs to change plans.  But it is totally worth it to try!

Going home for the holidays?

Om! Om! Om! I received numerous questions about the obligation of visiting family, returning home for the holidays - wondering if they had to visit. Holidays can be so stressful! Such pressure to go home and visit the family. And sometimes, family do not act like friends, either to their own relations - or to those whom they married or are in a relationship with. And sometimes, it is too expensive to visit. Or a person suffers asthma or allergies, and will become injured by a family pet in the house they will visit. Or they are too sick to leave their home. And quite a few of you are concerned about stressful debates on politics and religion!

Relax. Even I have also had similar difficulties. My first wife's family really did not like Me, or My wife for marrying Me. They invited EVERYONE to their party. Well, almost everyone. Everyone but me. They invited my wife - only her - to dinner, and did all kinds of things to make sure I wouldn't come, and that would make Me feel unwelcome and uncomfortable if I did come! I told her that I couldn't come. We agreed, it was inappropriate for her to go without her husband - but she decided to ignore social etiquette and go anyway. She was not actually being made to feel welcome: her husband was a part of her, what she loved most. How could she leave her husband behind and celebrate? Yet some kind of guilt bound her to a false sense of obligation: in fact, now that I remember it, her family did make her feel guilty about not coming.

But there is a reason why we have social etiquette: it is to encourage respect, friendship and love, and protect people from hurting each other. Whether accepting or declining or participating in social events. When she arrived, her family treated her very poorly (they always had a bad relationship, and they were very impolite, especially to her). They made her feel very uncomfortable, insulting her, insulting Me, insulting everything she loved and held dear. They were very mean - in all kinds of ways. They even made her feel embarrassed by Me - my clothes were not fine, or stylish, my manners "rustic," I was not "proper!" And yet, even though they made her cry, they were laughing, and enjoying hurting her! And I was so far away, she had no one to comfort her! Falling into despair, she actually started believing some of the mean things said, and growing more and more depressed, actually became suicidal. Now THAT is a bad party!

But, brave woman! She understood her foolishness at the last moment. She remembered how devoted I was to her, how much I loved her, how her numerous imperfections did not matter to Me, and said to her father, "my life and body are not worthless, though you think them so. They are worthy of my husband, Shiva, to whom I give them!" She sat down in the poses I taught her, and through profound yoga devoted to Me, ignited a sacred fire within her body, and by this immolation offered herself wholly to Me. The fire burned brighter and bigger! The guests understood that in hurting My wife, they had hurt Me - and at that moment, a squadron of Ganas avenged My shame and began to throw the guests onto the fire!

Of course, though I was very far away, that very same moment I knew what had happened. Now, you and I both know NOW my wife was not truly gone, but at the time I really did think my wife was a mortal woman. In grief, I tore some of my hair out and it took the form of a hero! Fulfilling my heart's desire, it went to the party and began to kill everyone, throwing their corpses upon the sacrificial fire kindled by my wife. I had originally been uninvited to the party, it is true, but now everyone was calling out my name and I came! Those who had not yet been killed by the Ganas or my hero asked for mercy, and it was granted. They asked I restore the dead to life - and this was done. My father-in-law's head had been utterly destroyed, though - so I gave him the head of a goat. It suited him, and he thanked me for his new life, calling me Shiva Shankar, the kind and benevolent one. Her family's grief taught them a valuable lesson that day, and all of them became better people for it.

Friends and family should not make you feel guilty or ashamed to goad you into coming to a holiday gathering - how can you be celebratory when struck by guilt and shame? A party cannot be enjoyed when it impoverishes the guests to attend - how much less can the holy purpose of the day be achieved when the worldly comforts of the guests are given up to satisfy their host, instead of for the more noble purpose those comforts should be sacrificed to? A ritual which requires the destitution or injury (economic, physical, emotional, or in any way) of the participants is bad practice. Defend yourself and your family against injury - economic, physical, emotional, or in any way. Practice right, holy sacrifices - not to a host. Do not be ashamed if you are too weak (economically, physically, or otherwise) to attend. You do have a duty to your family - but you also have a duty to yourself!

It is too easy to get a lot of ideas on how things should be: family should gather, people should behave a certain way, certain foods should eaten. But it is because we imagine things should be one way, or another – or that family members should be one way or another – or that we ourselves should be different somehow – that we come to think: things are not as they should be. And this is a troubling conclusion, especially since it is not true.

What would be more truthful is to say that things are always as they should be, but not always the way that we want them to be, nor how they might yet be. Staying present, and accepting, is the way to consider how to improve ourselves, our situation. Or if our situation needs improved at all. That your family does not agree with your political or religious beliefs, has different sexual orientations, or different skin colors – or that your family has gathered, or not gathered, will or won’t share a common experience – these are problems which result from how we think things should be. Such beliefs are easily taken up – and let go. Love cannot be separated by distance or difference. That our neighbors are different from us, that our experiences are not shared with our families and are unique to our own existence, that we feel alone in so many ways – these we can make reasons to celebrate, and say “thank you.”

But I would emphasize that it is necessary to say that “thank you.” Even after years of practice, few Yogis are true mind-readers, and so it is necessary to communicate - with words. When we say anything, it permits someone to read our mind: and how it is said can sometimes mean as much as the words themselves. It takes great skill to say “thank you.”

Yet more importantly, when we say something, it also lets us read our own mind. Saying "thank you" permits us to recognize our love for something or someone, or even the fact we wish to be polite to them. It is by our courtesy that we help them learn that we love them. That we learn that we love them.

Giving is not inherently difficult. We often give in exchange for money: we let go of this to take hold of that, and come to expect something in exchange – and say thank you when we get our change. Shouldn’t we give thanks when our life gives us change? When we give money in charity we expect that money to be spent in some way or another, to help the charity. When the plate is passed, a gift is given to sustain the one accepting the gift. Giving is not difficult. But it is difficult to give generously, expecting nothing in return!

Imagine, then, giving not only without any expectation in return, but entirely selflessly, giving both the good and bad results from that giving to someone else, working, acting - living - completely anonymously, unimportantly, alone, without recognition. Such Yoga is difficult, but begins by merely practicing saying “I love you,” by saying "thank you." Eventually, you can give love unconditionally, without expectation or exchange.

Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!
Shiva Shankar
(PS, Parvati sends Her love)

Fighting with the wife?

Shiva, did you ever fight with your wife? - Anonymous

I certainly did! Even in a perfect marriage like My own, it is normal for people who love each other to have disagreements, and even to fight. What makes a marriage (or friendship) perfect is not the harmony of the spouses, but their practice of love. Love is the way in which each spouse perfects themselves - through perfecting each other.

Yoga is not painless. Love is not harmonious. Neither is living with someone else. Whether you are living closely with your spouse, your siblings or cousins, with friends, you should not expect harmony. Sharing a house is difficult, sharing activities and schedules is difficult, sharing money is difficult. Learning how to disagree, how to work together to come to a solution, learning to share, to coexist, to forgive, to help each other grow - cohabitation is a necessary component of training and practice in Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. It is by learning how to coexist with others that we learn to coexist with our self.

My Brother, Vishnu, always had helpful advice. A person can get angry or happy or sad or anxious or feel any number of things - just because of biological functions of the brain and body, and not in response to the environment. Their feelings are always changing - even if their environment doesn't. Acting on those feelings is a mistake: feelings can make a friend appear like an enemy, or an enemy appear like a friend; they can make big things seem small, or small things seem big. It is never good advice to make a large purchase when emotional. He said form is always changing, too: even from one moment to another, a person's nature can change. So it is a mistake to react to the form of a person. Even if they are irrational or even hateful right now, this will change. Even things are always changing form - what pot has been made that won't one day break? Even your body changes. There is nothing with form, nothing that you can see, taste, smell, hear, or touch that is truly yours; you are not these things, they do not make you who you are. You are not what you do, or feel, or think. Neither is anyone else. Remembering this helps remove possessiveness, and is good advice for preventing fights. Why would a person fight over what is not theirs? Similarly, you could remember things are shared - they are not wholly your own.

That someone has a different way of doing things, is messy or tidy, loud or quiet, does not make them right or wrong. Or you right or wrong. You might have a lot to learn - as they do. Or both of you do. Consider the matter carefully with them, remember the goals of your training, of your cohabitation, of your friendship and love and try to find a solution that makes the best sense. Remain dedicated to finding the best solution, objectively, even if it is not one which makes you happy. For example, in the yoga of dishwashing, there is a "right" and a "wrong" way to load the dishwasher, but there is also a lot of "grey" which is neither right nor wrong, or partially right and wrong. The goal is to get better at loading the dishwasher. This permits perfection. The goal is not perfection.

If one or both of you has to change the way you habitually do things, be patient, supportive and helpful. Habits change slowly. Be friendly, and help your friend become the better person they want to be. Use the moment to grow toward your own goals. Begin the discussion with love and respect and end it with harmony.

But sometimes a fight becomes physical. Or one of the spouses or friends suffers an injury or mental illness which makes them physically harm the other spouse.

My wife suffered from something very similar to Post Traumatic Stress. She loved Me dearly. The trouble started after She defended me from my enemies in battle: I had been overcome, and out of love She rushed to My defense. But in the war She became so enraged, and quite insane. She wore the heads of Her slain enemies about her neck, a skirt made of severed arms, and covered herself in gore; lighting fire to everything, She herself was scorched. She delighted in destruction! And even after all our enemies were conquered, She was so angry, She grew paranoid and violent; she saw enemies everywhere! She began to destroy everything! And even hurt Herself! Everyone was terrified of Her - because I was the strongest, and Her husband, I was asked to restrain Her. Yet I knew She was stronger than Me; only She could restrain Herself. But She was destroying everything She cared for, the entire world. So I had to do what could be done.

I approached her, and found She was ready to kill Me, as well - Me, Her true love, the one She had just saved! In Her insanity, She attacked Me. It was a difficult fight: She was well armed, and a trained fighter. At first, I blocked all Her blows. Then, coming close to Her, I held Her in My arms; in that embrace, I tried to remind Her who I was, I tried to hold Her still... and for a moment, She would seem to collect Herself - yet the instant I loosened by grip, She would again attack Me. She struck Me and hurt Me in so many ways. We strove for what seemed an eternity; it was misery itself. She did not want to hurt Me, and I did not want to hurt Her; neither of us wanted to strive against the other - but She was not in control of Herself. She was in a rage.

After some time I had to accept the fact that war left Her utterly insane. Even today, you may know soldiers who do not come back from war the same way they left, or even wholly in their minds. Post traumatic stress can destroy a person. She had been similarly injured by Her war. She felt no grief at the hurt she caused Me, or the world. I was not insane, and so I did feel grief. This grief weakened me more and more. Eventually, She was so much stronger than Me. Her fury grew as My weakness became evident: She was relying on Me to restrain Her. I persisted; but I knew that I would be destroyed by Her before much longer. Everyone urged me to hurt Her in self-defense - but I knew to do so would be to hurt Myself. I was urged to kill Her in self-defense, in defense of the world. But I knew if I had killed Her I would myself die; we shared but one heart. But then I understood - and to save the world from Her destruction, I laid down before Her, permitted Her to kill Me - and thus bring about Her own destruction.

I laid Myself down before Her altar in supreme sacrifice. She raised Her sword for the victory blow, and then saw I was weeping like a baby - for Her impending death, grieving for our love. And at that moment, She shared my grief. She threw down all Her weapons and wept with Me.

We held each other for a long time. She was scorched from battle, even Her hair was singed. I held Her in both hands and smiled, then laughed. She asked what I was laughing at? I pointed at her blackened skin, and in the emotional moment could only say "Kali!" The word encompassed the "black" color of Her skin, the "grief" we both shared, the "one" heart we shared, the "strife" and "war" we had just shared, but it also carried the derogatory connotation of "imperfection," and "ugly."

She looked at herself and saw the filth that covered Her - not only the gore from Her war, but My own blood and tears. She saw where She had hurt Herself. She did not also laugh. She was horrified, and desired to purify Herself. If I could have given Her that grace, I would have: but no one can escape the consequences of their actions, good or bad. I forgave Her, and urged Her to forgive Herself: She had been out of Her mind and not responsible for Her actions. Everyone - every being, even non-beings like She and I - makes mistakes. The important thing was to recover, and do better. What was past could not be undone, but the future lay ahead. This did not comfort her; She was overcome by regret, and felt too weak to do better. So She wept.

I tried to comfort Her. She would not be comforted: She felt like she still had enemies to slay. Already, She felt the insanity growing again. I urged her to forgive Her enemies. But She was becoming gripped by insanity again, and could not. She and I began to struggle again, but now I felt no grief. I defended Myself. My great strength prevented Her aggression from hurting Me - or the world. And woke Her to Her own weakness. When she regained Her mind and the fit had passed, She understood how the war had wounded Her. She understood at that moment She could no longer be my Wife, or my friend, nor be near anything She loved; She could perform no duty. She had no reason to live. She vowed She would destroy Herself upon my altar, for She had become My enemy, Her own enemy. Death was better than that incurable injury which caused so much distress to Her and those who cared for Her.

Remembering when She had burned herself upon my altar in the form of Sati, I held her close and wept. And as we wept a river of tears, all Her Black was washed away. The Black took a hollow form and, possessed of insanity and wrath, tried to hurt Me before leaving to slay Her enemies. This was no longer Kali, no longer my wife: it was Kausiki! Hollowness and without form, pure power, without mind, heart or body, a pure selfish malice, devoid of love. No longer my wife, Kausiki left my presence. I was glad when Kausiki left. When Kausiki left, the darkness rose and before me was Gauri: the body, heart and mind underneath that shell of blackness. All that Black shell had been washed away by tears! She was radiant! But neither Kausiki nor Gauri was Kali. Kali had destroyed Herself.

Gauri stood before me; her skin as white as if She had never seen the sun in all Her life. Indeed, She had been there all along, under that Black skin. Behind all that blackness. My wife had forgotten who She truly was, but I remembered. And this grief manifested my understanding of Shakti; Shakti had taken form before Me, as Gauri. Now, Shakti was embodied in a more perfected form, as Gauri. Gauri was everything Shakti wanted to become. She embraced Me, and at that moment taught Me to let go of all the pain I still held in my heart for Sati; my profound distress from sympathy in Kali's suffering was extinguished - and I learned better wisdom.

Practicing Yoga alone is challenging enough, but when you commit to practice with a friend, yoking yourself to your love for them, you must expect great difficulty from time to time. But out of the difficulty, greater perfection is born. Your friend will help you become the better person they know you can become, the better person you want to become - if you help them become the better person they must become. As you might feel some discomfort from your usual Yogic practices, you must bear this pain too: through love, through compassion. But do not permit yourself to be injured by your friend, as this would injure them, for you share one heart.

In helping your friend become better, do not take upon yourself their pain through sympathy, but perform your duty. A surgeon must cut their patient without sympathy. But must be gentle nevertheless. You can help bring form to your friend's dream, and see your own dreams take form too - if you are willing to let go of what you presently are, what they presently are. Are you prepared to lay yourself upon your spouse's altar, as they lay themselves upon yours? In marriage, spouses are reborn through joy in love. In friendship, friends are reborn through joy in love, and over many lifetimes of rebirth find perfection through love.

Such love comes naturally, and is performed without expectation of success or fear of failure, without praise or blame, through Karma Yoga.

Are we there yet?

Shiva, How long does a student usually require to become competent in Yoga? - Ben

Om! Om! Om! The answer depends on the form and path of their practice: competency in Bhakti Yoga can be attained in less than a year, competency Karma Yoga can be attained in as little as 12 years, but competency in Jnana Yoga will typically require more than 25 years and competency in Hatha Yoga will require the rest of your life. The answer also depends on the natural skill and ability of the student. The certainty of success depends upon many factors, not limited to the suitability of the location of practice. Certainly, under ideal conditions and the necessary natural skill and ability, a person could attain competence after a single lesson - but these situations are rare.

A person who has never traveled between Grand Junction and Denver might ask for directions from someone who has made the journey frequently, examine maps and learn all the arts of navigation - and still get lost along the way, especially if a detour is required by construction or weather. Or if they crash, or are robbed somewhere along the way. That person might fly from airport to airport, take the train, drive a car, even bicycle or walk, and arrive sooner or later. That said, if asked how long it takes to go from Grand Junction to Denver, it is easy enough to say "the journey typically takes between an hour and two weeks. Numerous people have made the journey, and most make it to Denver in 5 hours." If asked which is best: walking, biking, driving or flying, careful consideration would have to be made to the financial and physical strength of the person, their desire to see things along the way, and the speed they must reach their destination. Some will doubtlessly prefer to walk - but others would like to fly. However, just because a person wants to fly does not mean they can afford the ticket. Or just because a person began the journey on foot does not mean they won't finish it on wheels - or by wings.

Numerous people have made this journey ahead of you, it is possible - and necessary - to undertake. Do not be concerned with how fast you progress: simply make the best progress you can. It is not a competition with others. But don't be afraid to ask for help along the way.

Shanti! Shanti! Shanti! - Shiva

Monday blues

Shiva, I have a difficult time returning to work on Monday after a weekend... - Mitchel

Om! Om! OM! While I understand "the weekend," I do not think there is no "beginning" or "end" to the week. A person works tirelessly every day - not necessarily for their employer, but in the performance of their duties, in the practices of Yoga. It is always more difficult to return to work after stopping work, more difficult to wake up than to go to sleep, more difficult to get up after sitting down. I am not saying that you do not need rest - but merely suggesting that a change of work is often the best rest. Play is very important work and can be done improperly, like any duty.

Your difficulty to returning to work can be easily resolved by more attentively performing your duties on Saturday and Sunday. If these are, in your practice, designated days for play or household cares (cleaning, repairing, or the like), consider how you are performing these duties to advance your Yoga. Play is both important and difficult work.

I, too, take a day for play. Monday, in fact. Mondays are, in fact, my favorite day: it was on a Monday when I first met my love, my wife; Monday was when our children were born. Mondays have always been special to us, like celebrating an anniversary every week. We will play games and spend time as a family, devoting ourselves entirely to loving each other. This is why Shiva Pujas are performed on Mondays: to celebrate our love and family.

This sort of ritual may not work with your schedule: but the day of the week really doesn't matter too much. Perhaps, make Saturday or Sunday (or both) that sort of "special day" for you and your family. Some people do not have the luxury of a weekend, and must satisfy themselves with a particular time of day or a particular ritual (such as dinner or breakfast) to celebrate and play.

While games, feasts and other celebrations are great play, you might also consider taking the day to visit holy places: not just Temples and Ashrams, but the mountaintops, the deep forests and vast deserts, the oceans and rivers. Pilgrimage, especially when undertaken with your family, is an important ritual in Grihastha which you will find refreshing. If you work daily, take a little time to walk the streets of your neighborhood and behold the sky, the creatures of the world.