On Sunday we had a small contingent of students led by Sarah Hadmack who is a Religious Studies Instructor from Windward Community College and University of Hawaii. Sarah believes coming to Kauai is a wonderful educational opportunity for her students and many more wanted to come.
After giving the group a basic introduction to our Natha Sampradaya we asked if Sivakatirswami could come join us at the Iraivan site and answer some of the more academic questions the students had.
Sivakatirswami has worked extensively with Himalayan Academy students in years past and has a vibrant and very connecting spirit with students. Among much joy and laughter were questons regarding the way in which “yoga” is being taught in studios all over the United States today with all the emphasis on “asana postures” with very little importance being prescribed for the real ancient core practices of yoga and internalized worship.
Other subjects included; the “intellectual misrepresentation” of claims that all religions are one while ignoring the unique differences in core beliefs and goals; how Saiva Siddhantans look at God, the Satguru; and how faith must eventually meet the litmus test of direct experience, and many more. Sivakatirswami came bearing gifts of the new edition of Hinduism Today for all those present and all those left behind in Oahu.
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The letter "Ya" in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya, stands for the soul. Bodhinatha uses the Panchakshara Mantra to show how the soul is initially drawn by Siva's veiling grace, which leads the soul to maturity through experience in the world. Then comes Siva's revealing grace. When we've had enough of the world, Siva's grace pulls us toward God. The mantra also has the simple, two-syllable form. Si- Reflecting on God the Transcendent Absolute, Va-God as the All Pervading Consciousness