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.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.