Our first stop in Chennai was the Sanskrit College. Here we meet with the head scholar. This college was founded over a hundred years ago and is one of the premier Sanskrit institutions in South India.
There are classes in the various Vedanta philosophies, jyotisha, language and more.
Class in Sanskrit literature.
The astrology of the day.
Another language class.
All the students pray in this shrine at 8:30 each day, and take turns performing the rituals.
Dr. Deviprasad, the principal, presents Bodhinatha with a gift. Shanmugam Sivachariyar accompanied us to the college, where he also studied.
Group portrait in the shrine room.
The is the Kuppaswami Shastri Institute housed in the same building as the Sanskrit College. Bodhinatha is seen with the staff and visiting researchers.
The Institute has a collection of some 1800 palm leaf manuscripts kept in an air-conditioned room.
One of the smaller sets. The Institute also has a library of tens of thousands of books.
Visiting the Ramakrishna Mission’s Universal Temple in Chennai.
We had a lively meeting with the head of the ashram and the editors of their magazines, including Vedanta Kesari.
Like Bangalore, they had a large bookstore. This center is responsible for most of their publications in English, hundreds of titles.
We visit nearby Kapalishwara temple, the famed Siva temple.
At noon, Sri Pitchai Gurukkal arrives to see Bodhinatha. He flew specially from Madurai that morning to see Satguru. We informed Gurukkal of our interest in the Saiva Agamas, in producing English and Tamil versions of the Yoga and Jnana sections. He offered his help in any way needed.
The afternoon was spent in a series of meetings with devotees and others. Here is Gunalan, his wife and family. His wife is interested in teaching Positive Discipline to parents of children at the school her children attend.
Their two girls sing for Bodhinatha.
Meeting with Manivel and his clan. Manivel does a great deal of art for the Aadheenam.
He shows the nearly finished painting of Iraivan. This one is much closer to the actual temple than earlier paintings made during conceptual stages.
Pethuraja and his family meet Bodhinatha after a meeting of the San Marga Trust trustees, of which he is one.
Meeting with Tiru Naguleshawara Gurukkal, priest of Keeramalai Temple in Sri Lanka. He remembered Gurudeva’s visit there in 1983. Today, he says, the temple lies in a high security zone near a Sri Lanka government military base. The army, air force, navy and police forces regularly visit the temple for worship, a demonstration of how the Buddhist Singalese respect the Hindu temples.
Sheela Venkatakrishnan meets with Bodhinatha. Her driver, at left, asked to meet Bodhinatha as well. Many blessings!
Within our Saiva Siddhanta Holy Scriptures the Saiva Agamas explain the basis of temple ceremonies and worship plus yoga and jnana. The Tirukural was considered by Gurudeva to be "the most accessible and relevant sacred text." In it are practical and helpful guidelines for our conduct in every day life. The point of family life is to gain steady improvement, forever, in self control in the midst of responsibilities in the fulfillment of family dharma. Meanwhile, not taking detachment too far but taking it in the sense of spiritually looking for happiness, not outside in other people or possessions, the world, but inside ourselves and then sharing it with family and friends. "We regard the writings of our satgurus as scripture."
Path to Siva, Lesson 20
Tirukural, Introduction and Contents
Tirukural, Chapter 15 Possession of Self-Control
"The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas." We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple, the three worlds. In the temple we're being good dvaitists in the dimfi perspective, focused in bhakti upon God Siva. In meditation we're monists, in the shumif perspective. We claim our oneness with Siva, Sivoham, I am Siva. In surrender, shrinking the ego through devotion, we have a realization that we're not the doer, that Siva is doing it all. Siva's energy comes through our soul.