The Sun rose in Aries this morning and it is a brand new beginning.
Sunny skies at the Aadheenam brought many guests after Sadhu Paksha finished.
What a beautiful morning to begin the ‘Tamil New Year!’ with light trade winds and sunshine. Several families arrived for a wonderful morning puja in Kadavul Temple, followed by a tour of the Iraivan Temple.
Here posing with Chidambaram stapathy and four of the silpis are (kneeling) Roozbeh and Didar his wife and son and daughter, Zubin and Ava. Also Murugesu and Navaranjini Veeravagu fom TX, and son Anand and his friend Paula Borges from Palo Alto, CA. Also Gowriharan, Subramaniam, and Nandhitha Thaivananthan from Costa Mesa, CA. and Asha and her husband with their baby (held up high in the back row) from Oahu.
Conch shells were blown by two Sadhaka as a group of monks, led by Paramacharya Palaniswami, walked slowly toward the flagpole for the “flag raising” ceremony to mark the change of seasons from the Moksha Ritau to the Nartana Ritau.
The Monks all go out to change the Coral Pink flag to the Orange flag of the season.
We bring your excerpts from the Saiva Dharma Shastras giving Gurudeva’s guidelines for this season:
REFERENCES TO “nartana ritau” in the Saiva Dharma Shastras
The three seasons are: Nartana Ritau from mid-April to mid-August, Jivana Ritau from mid-August to mid-December and Moksha Ritau from mid-December to mid-April. Each season emphasizes one of the three great books of the Kailasa Parampara. Also, during each ritau, a different group is honored: those in the grihastha ashrama during Nartana Ritau, those in vanaprastha ashrama during Jivana Ritau, and those in the sannyasa ashrama during Moksha Ritau.
Beginning with Hindu New Year in mid-April, three seasons of the year divide our activities into three great needs of humankind -- the learning of scripture in the first season, Nartana Ritau; the living of culture in the second season, Jivana Ritau; and the meditating on Siva in the third season, Moksha Ritau. Thus we are constantly reminded that our life is Siva’s life and our path to Him is through study, sadhana and realization. In ritau one, we teach the philosophy; in ritau two, we teach the culture; and in ritau three, we teach meditation.
The new flag was ceremoniously hoisted into place celebrating the Nartana ratau and also heralding the coming of the Sat Yuga.
114 The First Season: Nartana Ritau
Nartana Ritau, the season of Dancing with Siva, begins on Hindu New Year. This is the period of creation, the warm season, from mid-April through mid-August. The teaching is Dancing with Siva: Hinduism’s Contemporary Catechism, Sivena Saha Nartanam. This foundational text is featured in all mission satsangas. The key word of this season is planning. The colors are orange, yellow-gold and all shades of green -- orange for renunciation, yellow-gold for action, and green for regeneration. High above, the main Hindu flag flies the color orange, heralding the Nartana Ritau throughout this season, symbolizing sadhana and self-control. The other colors adorn smaller flags. This is the season of giving special attention to those in the grihastha ashrama. It is a time of awakening, renewal, review. The emphasis is on seeing ahead, planning for future years. It is a time of planning retreats and other activities for youths and adults for the entire year. During this time of looking forward, the Church’s six-year plan is updated by the Guru Mahasannidhanam and stewards and another year added. The Saiva Dharma Shastras are studied; and any needed additions in supplementary manuals, representing new growth, are made. The practical focus is completion of unfinished projects. Secular holidays to observe among the families include Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June and Grandparent’s Day in August. In the monastery the monks begin their annual 31-day ayurvedic herbal cleansing. Intensive cleaning of monastery buildings and grounds takes place. The special dietary adjustments for the season come into effect and new menus are established. New clothing is issued and old garments mended. This season of harvest and new growth is also the time to review and reestablish picking and planting routines for the gardens. It is a time for ordering seeds and plants for the year, of planting trees, fragrant vines and the annual crop. Review is made for scheduling the care of all nine realms of the Aadheenam’s 51 acres. Kadavul temple and the Guru Temple are cleaned and renewed during this season, and the adjacent grounds receive special, abundant attention. Karma yogis are invited to help in this and other areas with planting and weeding, digging, fertilizing, fence repair and more.
Paramacharya Palaniswami and Yoganathaswami drew the flag up into position.
115 The Sadhanas of the First Season
The daily sadhana is the Sivachaitanya Panchatantra: experiencing nada, jyoti, prana, shakti and darshana. In Sanskrit, it is a time of learning new shlokas and mantras. In the family community, prashnottara satsanga is held for one and all to attend. Families plan for their annual pilgrimage. Shrine rooms are renewed and redecorated for the year, and the clothing of all is renewed in the Hindu style of the current fashion. It is a time of doing things for others, religious outreach. In the missions, Nartana Ritau is the time of bringing in new students and Church members. It is a time of hatha yoga and philosophical teaching.
The flag unfurled in an orange display against the splendor of an akashic blue sky.
116 Festivals and Realms of the First Season
The main festival of Nartana Ritau, and of the entire year, is Guru Purnima. The mathavasis hold special conclave on Vaikasi Vishakham, the full moon day of May. The three Aadheenam realms of the season are: 1) Rishi Valley -- with its secluded Guru Hut and parampara shrines on the banks of Rishi Valley’s Saravanabhava Lake; 2) Wailua Farm, with its pastures, orchards and gardens; and 3) Kadavul Koyil, with its Guru Temple, entry gardens, Banyan Pavilion, Tiruneri path, sacred tank and its Puakenikeni and Mango Mandapams.
Tamil New Year gifts were then given by Paramacharya Palaniswami to Chidambaram Stapathi and each of the five silpis.
"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