Paraphrased from Satguru Bodninatha Veglanswami lecture 2/20/2015, Himalayan Academy
He is successor to Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, also known as Gurudeva by his followers. Gurudeva was one of Saivism’s Gurus. Gurudeva was founder and leader of the Hindu Saiva Siddhanta Church, Kauai, Hawaii.
We neither fear death nor look forward to it, but revere it as a most exalted experience. Life, death and the afterlife are all part of our path to perfect oneness with God.—GURUDEVA
Yoga is a regular practice of meditation, detachment and austerities.
Meditation: Training in concentration to quiet the mind, and then regular meditation for a long time. No skipping days, much less months! Unless kundalini is active, the deepest meditative states are not available to us.
Dispassion or Detachment: Giving up the false concept that something outside of us is going to make us happier than something inside of us. Detachment only occurs naturally with spiritual awakening. You are naturally detached by the experience on the inside of you in a profound way. You’re naturally dispassionate. It’s a natural phenomenon when we realize the inside of us strongly enough.
Austerity: Patanjali uses the niyamas, but he pulls three of them out and calls them Kriya yoga, the “yoga of action.” We’re not just sitting in meditation; we’re doing something external. Popular today is calling Kriya yoga pranayama. This definition is not correct according to Patanjali. We need to be doing something external. According to him Kriya yoga has three parts: austerity, self-study and devotion.
(1) Austerity is attenuating the kleshas. They are the programming of our personality to look outward. Austerity reverses this. Fire is needed to burn rubbish. Inner rubbish is burned by inner fire.
(2) Self-study is scriptural study plus japa, according to Patanjali. Japa is meditative repetition of a mantra or the name of a divine power so as to get close to it. Thus when communion is established with the divine power then the kundalini awakens.
(3) And through devotion to our Deity is Samadhi attained. We think that we choose our Deity, but Patanjali informs us that our Deity chooses us.
In summary, austerity is the fire that straightens the twisted life and mind of an individual.