Our adventure at Suttur Mutt continues. The swamis come to get us at 4am, off to the temple where we are first taken to the samadhi shrines of the previous gurus, which are lined up on the left and right of the temple sanctum in two rows, open and worshipped daily by devotees. We ask about a book sitting on the shrine of the Satguru who lived about 150 years ago. They open it for us, and inside we see the most intricate Aum Namasivayas written, page after page. We are told he sat and wrote these every day of his reign, filling over 200 books and writing the Panchakshara mantram, in Kannada, 70,000,000 times! Amazing.
Then off to the Abhishekam. We are asked to chant Siva's 108 names, for they are charmed we can, and we sit with their priest and chant, then offer a bilva leaf for another 108 mantras.
Breaking for breakfast in our rooms, we returned two hours later to find the shrine transformed. Ganesha is sitting on a pile of 108 coconuts on the floor, and Nandi has been covered with butter and decorated with grapes, dates, cherries and such. Such alankara are seldom seen.
We continue to be amazed by how the Suttur founder resembles Gurudeva in their murthis, and sometimes are caught unaware, stunned by a sense of, "Gurudeva, there you are!"
Off we go for a lightening three-hour visit to three temples. The Chola Sri Kanteswara Temple is on the banks of the Kapila River, and there are massive crowds gathered on this Sunday. The temple itself is amazing, with unique pyramidal pillars at the entrance and stunning towers, obviously renovated in recent times to pristine condition.
We end up on the top of Chamundi Hill, to join throngs seeking the blessings of this fierce form of Shakti. The silver work on the doors is like nothing we have ever seen, so intricate and perfect in its artistry. And these doors are 20 feet tall! Our Sutter hosts seems to have a magic power and all gates open to us.
On the way down the hill we visit the famed Mysore Nandi, that gargantuan black bull that must be 15 feet tall, and takes the breath away. How ever did they get it here? Who could move such a stone in those days even one meter? Nearby, we bend low to enter a cave where Siva resides, and fall at His feet. All that, and the day is only half done!
Focus on being a soul, not the body, mind and emotions. When we think of ourselves as a soul we're able to move forward and get closer and closer to Siva. That's the whole idea of Saiva Siddhanta. A negative self-concept is an obstacle. We can change our self-concept through applying Gurudeva's teachings, affirming every day that we are a divine being. Vasana daha tantra: Going back and understanding experiences; clearing up the reactions to the past.