Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami are in Greenbelt, Maryland attending the pujas and festival activities of the annual Ilankai Nallur & Kathirkamam Kanthan Festival at the Murugan Temple of North America. This temple has three endowments with Hindu Heritage Endowment, and this connection with HHE is inspiring Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami to spend some time reviewing the HHE website.
During the homa on the front steps of the temple little Lalitha was given her commencement of learning ceremony, vidyarambha, one of the sacraments of childhood. Lalitha is the daughter of two of Bodhinatha's Master Course students, Mayuran and Amanda Muttulingam.
One of the first activities to begin the Nallur festival was the Ganesha abhishekam. In 1981 Gurudeva gifted a Ganesha murthi to the late Arumugam Saravanapavan and his wife Pathmini, and this was the beginning of the Murugan Temple of North America. A beautiful shrine was built for the Ganesha murthi in the temple, and the shrine has since developed a very powerful vibration. Pathmini created a fund (#39) for the Pillaiyar shrine with HHE to insure the continued pujas and abhishekams for Lord Pillaiyar. The fund provides a grant to purchase milk, honey, coconut water, flowers and other supplies for the shrine. Pathmini created this as a single-donor fund in which only members of her family may contribute. Read this inspired story at the HHE web site: http://www.hheonline.org/reports/2003/oct-nov-dec/
Unless kundalini is active, the deepest meditative states are not available to us. But to activate kundalini, Gurudeva tells us we must invoke the grace of Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan. "Yoga is internalized worship which leads to union with God." Experience the inside of you in a profound way. This requires dispassion. The popular term "kriya yoga" usual refers to a form of pranayama, but the original kriya yoga is defined by Sage Patanajli as the practice of three of the niyamas: tapas, svadhyaya and Isvarapranidhana. To achieve samadhi we practice yoga, steady restraint of mental activities, austerity, meditation, detachment, self study and worship of God. Communion with the Ishta Devata, the chosen God is a key and also Gurudeva tells us: the Deity chooses you.
Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Lesson 39
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lesson 5
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras