On February 15 of 1975 Gurudeva had a series of early morning visions of Lord Siva that were to become the founding moment, the spiritual seed, for Iraivan Temple. The next day he set out to find the spot where Siva had sat in the vision. At one point in his search, he stopped to rest on a stone. Though there was no wind, a nearby wild guava tree shimmered and shook in a dramatic way, as if it wanted to tell Gurudeva something. He listened, then got up and looked around. Just a few feet away, hidden in the bushes, he found the six stones, one of which Siva had sat upon.
To tell this story, we drew this sketch and then looked far and wide to find a masterful artist to render it in his style.
This is the Kerala muralist's interpretation! Just received today. In fact, it is not quite finished but Palaniswami was eager to see how it was going, so the artist photographed the four-foot-wide canvas.
Note the magical details. Gurudeva is seated on a mini Mount Kailas, to subtly convey Siva's presence in the moment. The artist said he drew the tree as though it were dancing its message, again betokening Siva's part in the moment.
The Wailua River flows by, replete with fishes and turtles.
And these? These are, of course, the ridgeline of the volcanic mountain range we see from the monastery, their fiery birth captured in this stylized form.
The bushes behind Gurudeva provide a kind of nimbus and aura.
There are nine such paintings in the series, to be completed by the end of 2010. Ultimately they will be presented on the ceiling of this Swayambhu Mandapam which will be build around the stones Gurudeva discovered that day. It is common in Hindu temples to have visions, deities and stories painted on the ceiling for pilgrims to explore, enjoy and learn from. Jai Gurudeva!
Hindus believe there is one Truth, we just all don't agree on the name and nature of God. To compare Hinduism with other religions, you need to ask the orthodox practioners what their beliefs are. For example, one Christian minister explained that he believes we are fallen beings, not inherently good and need to be redeemed or face eternal Hell. Hinduism believes the opposite: we are divine beings with instinctive, intellectual and intuitive natures. Everyone will eventually become a spiritual being and attain God realization. That is about as far apart as we can get in beliefs. There is really no way that the two can be compared.