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.
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.