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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Key concepts: Naalupadasaivam: "A Saiva doctrine that the initiate should pass successively through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana stages and thence obtain moksha." The charya pada, the dasa marga, path of servitude. Sharing the world of God. The kriya pada, satputra marga, true son's way. Nearness to God. The yoga pada, sakha marga, way of the friend, experiencing inner light, sharing the superconscious mind. We talk to God. The jnana pada, san marga, sayujya patavi, union with God. There is no difference between Siva and the soul. God is our dearest Beloved. The three types of temples provide training and experience leading to worship and meditation in the Atma kovil.