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.
Lord Siva is the Supreme Being of the universe, not one of many gods. To Saivites Siva is the supreme being; to Vaishnavites Vishnu is the supreme being. The soul starts with experiencing the world. On one side the soul is pulled by veiling grace toward the world. On the inside the soul is pulled by revealing grace toward God. Resolving karma, maturing in the world, fulfilling dharma, we move toward imperturbability, realization, moksha.