Suttur Mutt spared no expenses when hiring performers for the five-day festival. At any time there were artists somewhere, sometimes simultaneously, including plays that went from midnight to sunrise — it takes a lot to entertain 250,000 people. Here is a short clip of a cool musical style we heard there.
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Today was an auspicious one for the Kailasa Paramapara, Rudiren Carpanen Pillay and Uma Sivanathan. They both received their Samaya Diksha and the precious and magical gift of Panchakshara mantra was passed on from preceptor to sishya in the simple ancient initiation into mantra japa yoga given by Bodhinatha to each of them.
This is the first and foundational step onto the Saiva Neri, the Path to Siva. The daily contemplation on Lord Siva, Siva Dhyanam, begins with this practice and deepens through the years, as we repeat the Sacred Letters Five and let our hearts and minds melt in Divine Love for the One God of All.
"Thou who art non-pareil,
The consort of UmaDevi,
Whose temple is thy devotee's heart.
'Ye art not the body', said he
And gave me strength divine
To purge me of my fearful bonds,
Oh Primal One, Namasivaya
That Tattvas ninety six are unreal,
I realised through thy grace,
And transcended their barriers,
Oh Siva, Namasivaya.
To those who have crossed
The six centres of consciousness,
Thou did'st grant thy Lotus Feet
Thou great God, Namasivaya
In the void of silence, that I may
Attain peace thou willeth.
Thou source of Vedas and God of Devas,
Thou sovereign ruler, Namasivaya.
Thou pursued me that I may turn to thee,
Thy beauteous form I saw,
In rapt synthesis I was thine for ever,
Oh Source of Grace and Power! Namasivaya.
Those who behold the sight
Of thy dance with raised legs-
Will they perish in this world
Full of toils? Namasivaya.
Art thou not the support
Of those who seek thee
In the temple of the body?
Oh Sankara, Namasivaya."
We are on the move today, from Suttur to Kailash Ashram to Bengaluru airport to Delhi. India's roads are definitely getting better, some wide and modern, but the drivers still drive as if they were stuntmen for a Mission: Impossible movie.
The day started with a short but lovely darshan meeting with Sri Shivarathri Desika Mahaswamiji of Suttur. The summary of it is that one of his devotees told us, "This man does not smile much, but this morning with you he smiled all the time." So did we. There is a true connection here, a sense of kinship. We offered our departing gifts: a rudraksha tree grown from Kauai seeds at our carving site; a copy of The Guru Chronicles; and two of the most beautiful, colorful and ripe papayas we have ever seen, swami's favorite fruit.
He flipped through the pages of The Guru Chronicles with genuine interest. He handled it carefully, weighting its heft in his hands, looking at the chapters, the index, the glossary. I will not be surprised if two years from now we see a book called The Suttur Chronicles following its wake.
Later, in Bengaluru, Jayendrapuri Swami absolutely loved to see us. He lit up from head to toe, so sincerely that it felt touching. He and Paramacharya had conversations about Gurudeva and Trichiswami, with rarely-heard stories and an enraptured audience of about ten people, including Jiva's family. We also had a tour of the ashram, where renovations are under way and a new, 108-feet-tall gopuram is being built. Carving of some granite pieces is done right there. They were also quite happy to show us their video studio.
The sign celebrating the 51st year of Swami's life was still there, reminding how revered our dear brother is -- kings and important people often have long names. Say it in one breath: His Holiness Parama Pujya Srimatparamahansa Parivrajakacharya Sachidananda Pranavaswarupa Acharya Mahamandaleswar Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji.
He sends his love to all at the Aadheenam, including the pets -- Puli, Simha and Vyagrapada mentioned by name.
On route to Delhi now. To end, an enchanting story we heard in the car, about the late Chandrashekharendra of Kamakotti Peedham, a saint of astounding simplicity and humility. The tale reminded us of Gurudeva teaching that money has energy, and that funds from harmful, illegal activities carry bad karma with them.
So goes the story: a man went to see swami, prostrated to Chandrashekharendra and, leaving a business suitcase at the feet of the sadhu, went away with haste. Devotees opened the bag and gasped. It was full to the brim with money, nothing but a lot of money. Swami looked at one of his followers, a rather poor man, and told him to take the suitcase, run after the man and give him back the fortune. The instructions were to wait at the airport until he was sure the businessman had really left taking the money with him--instructions the devotee followed relentlessly, until the millions in cash flew to somewhere far away. It was late at night when the tired devotee returned to the to the ashram, and the sadhu greeted him with grace and a smile. "Come," the sadhu said, "You will sleep in my room tonight." The devotee was falling asleep when the swami woke him up, holding his outstretched hand like a beggar. "Hey! Can you give me a rupee?"
So are the saints of India.
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