A brief observation from Sadhaka Nandinatha about a small shrine in Rishikesh and their visit to the Natha mutt there.
A small shrine exists on the steps of a ghat in front of Ganga near Omkarananda Ashram’s bathing spot in Rishikesh. The shrine is not connected to the ashram, however, it just happens to be there.
It’s Sivalingam in the centre, flanked by Ganapati and Shanmugam, with Amman and Nandi on respective sides. Perhaps this is not phenomenal, but I was surprised to see this shrine set-up all the way up here in Uttarakhand -- including Shanmugam. You always only see Ganapati included with Siva-Parvathi.
Here’s a closer look at Muruga. The other two faces are in the back.
It was interesting. There were huge promotional posters for various swamis, sadhus, sadhwis, centres, missions, etc all over Haridwar and somewhat in Rishikesh. On one of them, which was about 4 meters tall, was a large Balasubrahmanya encircled with head shots of modern saints. It was all in Hindi and we drove past it in a car, so I didn’t get to photograph it.
Another subject: Also, we met with senior swamis of the Adinath Nath Sampradaya in Haridwar. This you’ll see on TAKA sometime hopefully soon. We had a Q and A with them, and through Rajiv Malik as translator I asked if Kartthikeya had any significance in their sampradaya. The most senior swami said that, in their sampradaya, Muruga is considered to have been a contemporary of Gorakshanath and come to the planet Earth some millions of years ago. His purpose was/is to disseminate the teachings of Saivam basically. They do not seem to “worship” Him as such, but He is there in their philosophy and with a more meaningful role than simply Ganesha’s thambi. The question was prompted by one of Muruga’s names in our ashtottara for Him which we use, Haridwarna, translated something as “He who is of Haridwar,” if I’m not mistaken.
I took this photo in the room in which we had darshan with the Adinath swamis. The only depiction I’ve seen of Siva with yellow hair other than our painting. In real life, the hair was more vibrantly yellow.
This is the aforementioned head Swami of the Adinatha Natha Sampradaya in Haridwar. I can’t recall his name, but our HT correspondent Rajiv Malik is sending that to me. Very quiet and deeply content within himself.
We will do more of these photos later when we get home.
"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