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.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.