Since arriving earlier this week from Austin, Bodhinatha and Senthilnathaswami have criss-crossed the huge Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex several times, going from event to event, meeting to meeting.
First upon arriving on Tuesday evening was a meeting with the board of directors of the up and coming Hindu Temple of Greater Fort Worth. There are no temples west of Arlington, and this strong group is working hard to create one here on the outskirts of the west side of the metroplex because it can typically take an hour or more to get from here to any of the other temples. This dedicated group is our host, bringing Bodhinatha back to Fort Worth for the third time in three years. With each visit, as their temple project progresses, they ask Bodhinatha for more and more advice on topics ranging from how to situate the murtis in the temple, to what other kinds of facilities to build on their 17 acre parcel, to how to manage various aspects of the project and issues that arise in the process. They have officially asked Bodhinatha to be the temple's guiding guru, which he accepted. In his presence, the board officially signed over part of the land to the temple that they have been holding in a trust until now.
On Wednesday we drove to Plano for a live interview with Karishma Himatsinghani on her popular internet radio station, RadioKarishma. The interview covered a variety of interesting topics and will be replayed frequently in the coming weeks. Tune in to find out when. You can even download her station's free iOS app, called "Karishma," and listen on the go! Conversation with her and her husband afterward included an informative discussion about Internet radio and mobile apps, something the monastery may venture into with our vast library of audio content in the years ahead.
On Thursday evening we drove all the way out to Richardson to the beautiful, recently constructed University of Texas Dallas campus to meet with the branch of the Hindu Students Association there. In a discussion and advice-giving format, they asked Bodhinatha lots of questions about the four stages of life (ashramas), especially the brahmacharya ashram and how their duties and focus of life will change over time, as well as other topics, including details of reincarnation and karma. The group was especially engaged and truly enjoyed their time speaking with Bodhinatha directly about their concerns and questions.
The blessings of Lord Murugan awaken wisdom which resides in his chakra. "Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe." When we get emotional we lose touch with our wisdom. Murugan inspires penance to soften karmas and purify the mind, chitta-shuddhi. If you do kavadi in the right spirit, to get the full blessing, have in mind specific misdeeds, apologize to the deity, learn from it, promise to do your best. Visions are still happening. Feeling the energy of the deity is stronger during festivals such as Skanda Shashti.