While in West Texas, on November 13, the Patel family took Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami on an outing to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The 3.5-hour drive across the flat desert of the Permian Basin, dotted with the occasional oil well and nothing else, was finally rewarded by the subtle hills of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
After descending in an elevator 750 feet in one minute, we entered the caves.
The experience of the caves is really not possible to describe accurately, or depict accurately in photographs--unless, of course, one has the equipment and skill of Ansel Adams.
We learned all about stalactites, the formations that hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites, the formations that build upward from the cave floor.
This is the King’s Palace, a very large room in the caverns. Special lighting has been installed to highlight some of the formations.
These caves were not formed by underground water like most were. These caves were formed by water on the Earth’s surface back when there was ocean above, 150 million years ago. This water seeped down through limestone, carrying bits of calcite which then stuck together one after the other, creating all the formations. This tiny pool was created by recent water seeping through. The caves are still active. Whenever there are rains, which is rare in the desert above, the water slowly pushes through, and formations continue to grow.
The blessings of Lord Murugan awaken wisdom which resides in his chakra. "Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe." When we get emotional we lose touch with our wisdom. Murugan inspires penance to soften karmas and purify the mind, chitta-shuddhi. If you do kavadi in the right spirit, to get the full blessing, have in mind specific misdeeds, apologize to the deity, learn from it, promise to do your best. Visions are still happening. Feeling the energy of the deity is stronger during festivals such as Skanda Shashti.