The Ganapati Kulam is hard at work on the July/August/September, 2009, edition of Hinduism Today. This issue's feature article will be about Iraivan Temple. It is a beautiful, colorful article penned by our correspondent Lavina Melwani in New York. The worshipful image of Iraivan Temple, the maha sphatika Sivalingam, figures prominently. Out of our archives we dug this image, painted by artist Manivelu in Chennai, updating it with Photoshop magic to show the avudaiyar (base of the lingam) in panchaloka, a special type of bronze that is a blend of five metals prescribed in the Agamas for certain temple murtis. As you have seen on TAKA recently, this massive, 10,000-pound metal base has recently been cast by sthapatis in Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu. It is now getting its final touches before it is shipped to Kauai.
"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