Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami spent the better part of the week in Midland, Texas, home town of George W. Bush, and the dusty, deserty home of many an American oil baron. So, you’re probably wondering, what is this thing? It’s a pump jack. These contraptions pump black gold from deep underneath the ground in their quasi-serene, bobbing-up-and-down fashion, dotting the landscape of the Permian Basin (West Texas and Southeast New Mexico), a high desert area that provides more than a quarter of the crude oil the United States consumes. Yea, West Texas is a little-talked-about but important part of the US economy.
So, why was Bodhinatha in Midland? They have a growing Hindu community, of course! Drs. Mrunal and Padmaja Patel, members of the Hindu Association of West Texas and students of our Master Course Correspondence Study Program, invited Bodhinatha here to speak at the temple and local community college and to hold satsang in several homes. Here, he speaks at the temple.
His presentations, developed in Apple’s Keynote software, grab the attention of the audience, probably like no other visiting Hindu swami.
Bodhinatha signed copies of What Is Hinduism? for three of Dr. Patel’s balvikas students.
The Doctors Tolia, who hosted Bodhinatha for satsang in their home one evening later in the week, came forward for vibhuti prasadam.
Over 100 came for the event, the largest ever for a weeknight at the temple.
The following day, the Patel family brought Bodhinatha to their home for pada puja and satsang. The priest of the HAWT temple, who Bodhinatha knows previously from the Kasi Vishvanatha Temple in Flint, Michigan, guided Mrunal Patel in the puja.
Next, Bodhinatha was taken to Midland College for a public talk. About 150 people, Hindus and non-Hindus alike, attended. Bodhinatha spoke on yoga, meditation and enlightenment to a rapt crowd.
No visit to West Texas is complete without a traditional Mexican dinner. Cuando estás tan cerca de México…! (Left to right: Dr. Padmaja Patel, Dr. Mrunal Patel, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami, Dr. Khandelwal)
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta