We recently had some visitors from Canada. Our long time good friend and officiating priest at many of our ceremonies Kandaswamy Gurukkal and two other priests, Bhanu Prakash, Surja Prakash. Here they discuss the on-going work to preserve and bring forward our Saiva Agamas.
Each year around this time we design and produce something that captures Gurudeva's amazing life and teachings. Past years it was a calendar, or a DVD, a Spiritual Toolbox or Power of Affirmation.
This year we are creating a 100-page booklet that shares 14 of the major visions in Gurudeva's life. Here he is seen in Jalani caves in Sri Lanka, where a python slithered across his lap during a deep meditation.
Below in his own words are excerpts from this booklet.
"It was in Denver, the mile-high city in the Rocky Mountains, that the commentaries (to Cognizantability) were written, seven years after the aphorisms were revealed. My external mind was learning to fully accept superconscious knowing, and the deeper inner mind was actively making itself the knower of the known. Oddly enough, one day the inner said to the outer mind to number each aphorism, which are now Sections One and Two of Cognizantability, and place them all face down on the floor. I obediently did this."
"Then, one after another, the commentaries were revealed, three words at a time with a significant pause between. The superconscious would dictate word by word to the conscious mind to be written down."
"Amazingly, it proceeded to dictate the commentary to number seven, then number fourteen, and so on. When all were done, the natural impulse urged me to turn over the aphorisms that were still face down on the floor with a number on the back to see if the commentary matched the aphorism. It did! They all did! Truly, I became a more dedicated believer in the jnana marga, the aftermath of experiencing the beyond of the beyond of the beyond, which we call Parasiva, the fulfillment of the yoga marga."
"As the years passed by, one after another, this procedure of bringing unrehearsed wisdom through from the higher mind to the external became a natural part of my daily life, "one of the tools of the trade,'' I have often said. These psychic powers sometimes take years to develop. But under the right circumstances those carried over from a previous incarnation come immediately, of course, and are as much available as the ability to speak, listen and feel."
It literally means "tree in a tray" and the Egyptians were cultivating trees in containers as far back as 4000bce.
In our still-being-landscaped Rishi Valley, not far from Iraivan Temple, five new bonsai plants have been established. There they are, on the posts.
They are of different species, and have been displayed in the traditional Japanese manner near the new Lotus Pond.
Some are pines, some banyans and one is, more on that in a moment…
First, meet the Bonsai Sensei, Tandu Sivanathan.
Tandu has been a student of the ancient art for many years, and was inspired to bring some of his creations to the monastery, as permanent residents.
Near the Rishi Valley Falls,
he has placed them, including this 300-year-old Buttonwood. Imagine, for three centuries one person and then another has been nurturing, shaping and caring for this little marvel.
Elsewhere in the garden grows this rare and distinctive Philodendron gigantea variegata.
"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