At home the monks are on Sadhu Paksha. We just passed through a 3-day retreat. Periodically each of the kulam groups goes to stay by the ocean for a day or so to take a break. Watching the sun rise on the eastern ocean horizon is always an uplifting experience.
On another retreat outing we visited a noni farm near on the north eastern coast. At the edge of the farm, just a few feet from the drop-off to the ocean, huge albatrosses are nesting.
These birds have a wing span of nearly 6 feet. They have no fear of humans as their only known predator are sharks and if you are not a shark then they don’t fear you. This led to the near decimation of the species when dogs were brought to Hawaii and the dogs ate many of the birds who did not see them as predators. Later the birds were protected and their population is increasing again.
If you thought your parenting logistics were challenging, consider this: the main staple of these birds are a form of squid that they can only eat off the coasts of Alaska. But to breed they must have warm weather. So Mom and Dad fly to Hawaii, where their eggs are warm and protected. While Mom sits on the eggs, Dad takes a 3-day flight to Alaska, eats his fill and returns to Kauai. Then he sits on the eggs and Mom takes the 3 day journey to Alaska, has lunch, and flies back to Kauai!
Within our Saiva Siddhanta Holy Scriptures the Saiva Agamas explain the basis of temple ceremonies and worship plus yoga and jnana. The Tirukural was considered by Gurudeva to be "the most accessible and relevant sacred text." In it are practical and helpful guidelines for our conduct in every day life. The point of family life is to gain steady improvement, forever, in self control in the midst of responsibilities in the fulfillment of family dharma. Meanwhile, not taking detachment too far but taking it in the sense of spiritually looking for happiness, not outside in other people or possessions, the world, but inside ourselves and then sharing it with family and friends. "We regard the writings of our satgurus as scripture."
Path to Siva, Lesson 20
Tirukural, Introduction and Contents
Tirukural, Chapter 15 Possession of Self-Control
"The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas." We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple, the three worlds. In the temple we're being good dvaitists in the dimfi perspective, focused in bhakti upon God Siva. In meditation we're monists, in the shumif perspective. We claim our oneness with Siva, Sivoham, I am Siva. In surrender, shrinking the ego through devotion, we have a realization that we're not the doer, that Siva is doing it all. Siva's energy comes through our soul.