On the left, is the priest Venkatachalapathi Samudrala who was trained in Tirupati, and is now serving in Bakersfield, California. He is here on Kauai to perform a wedding and is delighted to come to the Aadheenam with members of the wedding party who are sponsoring his trip.
Venkatachalapathi has the unique distinction of being the first Hindu priest to say a prayer in the US Congress, in September, 2000. At that time he was serving in the Shiva-Vishnu temple in Parma Ohio. He opened a session of the U.S. House of Representatives with a prayer. Representative Sherrod Brown, (D- OH) had invited Mr. Samudrala as a guest chaplain.
Venkatachalapathi has been a long time reader of Hinduism Today magazine which he says is a great inspiration for him, and the felt it was God’s grace that brought him today to visit the Aadheenam and see Iraivan temple
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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.