Bodhinatha will start the long journey home tomorrow. Here is his report for April 3 in India (yesterday )
Om Sivaya, everyone,
Morning visit to Meenakshi Temple. It is, of course, known as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukovil. However, it might be better named Sundareswarar Meenakshi Thirukovil, as the lingam was there first and is at the center of the temple.
As Wikipedia says:
This temple is a complex of many deities. The Siva shrine lies at the centre of the complex, suggesting that the ritual dominance of the goddess developed later. Outside the Shrine, lies huge sculpture of Lord Ganesh carved of single stone and there is a shrine for a giant Ganesh temple, called the Mukuruny Vinayakar. This idol is believed to have been found during an excavation process to dig the temple lake.
Evening visit to Tirupparankundram. The main event was a graduation of 19 students from the Skandaguru Vidyalayam which Sivachariya Karttikeyan helps manage. Nachiappaswami and Madurai Aadheena Kartar were also there and gave talks as did I. Included in the event was a surprise. They gave us an award for our work digitizing the agamas. It included a medium size framed certificate we will try to bring back with us. Nandinatha, Nellaiapan and Niraj were able to also visit the Murugan shrine for darshan.
At home the monks continue with Sadhu Paksha retreat.
"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