After a pleasant drive south along the Texas-Louisiana border down to Houston, our first event was with 50-60 invited guests of the Hindus of Greater Houston at their "Keshav Smruti" facility. Bodhinatha gave a great presentation about affirmations, his recent work with the Hindu Students Association and how to interact positively and proactively with the local media.
After the presentation there was plenty of time for interactive discussion with this key group of Houstonian Hindu leaders.
The discussion was lively. The Hindu community in Houston is enormous, one of the largest in the US, and so well established, with at least 25 temples and community centers throughout the area. These representatives were eager to draw on Bodhinatha's wisdom and experience regarding matters from teaching children about Hinduism to dealing with negative media portrayals to taking care of 60,000 Bhutanese Hindu refugees who have arrived in the area in the past couple of years and who are being targeted by strong, local Christian conversion efforts.
On Saturday morning we drove up to The Woodlands, a beautiful, wooded area north of Houston, where a new Hindu temple is being built. Here Bodhinatha stands in the currently-under-construction facility with one of the founders, Dr. Urmil Shukla, while a crane operates nearby.
Beth Kulkarni (far left) is another of the founders of this temple. She is a shining light in the Houstonian Hindu community for the past several decades.
After visiting the temple, Bodhinatha gave a presentation and had some intimate discussion with a small group of ten at Dr. Shukla's home. Attendance was low because of the cricket match between India and Sri Lanka this morning. Mrs. Kulkarni said that many, many more people RSVP'd, but that was before India rose to the cricket World Cup final game position.
A visit to Houston is never complete without seeing Pandit Rajendra Sharma and his wife Asha (left) and their dear friend Asha Chaku (center), who came to Bodhinatha's hotel room for darshan.
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.