In India today dozens of stone craftsmen are working on Iraivan projects, and other sculptures for the monastery. Here the YA step, one of the NAMASIVAYA steps up to the sanctum, is being carved. The finished side is away from us.
Meanwhile, the major project in Bengaluru is the carving of the Nandi Mandapam, shown here (though the 45-foot-tall flagpole is just barely seen at the top of the drawing). This little temple within a temple will have some of the most elaborate and detailed sculpting of all, and a charming Nandi will sit contentedly within his stall.
Nandi the bull represents the ego or personal identity of each soul and also the desire for realization of God. He sits in front of the flag pole, beholding Siva night and day.
This is the top of one of the 12 pillars.
The pillars are small, as you can see.
Part of the roof stones.
It's a large project that most of the silpis in India are now focused on under the able direction of the Jiva Rajasankara family.
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