It was our first visit to Dubai, a stop-over on our way back from Mauritius, and we were fortunate to be hosted by Iraivan temple builder Anil Kumar. He graciously invited us to his home in Al Sharad for breakfast, and Bodhinatha signed his set of the Master Course trilogy books and Loving Ganesha. Anil found Loving Ganesha online in 2005 and has been ardently following TAKA and reading the monastery newsletter.
Anil is an electronic engineer and has lived in Dubai with his wife, son and daughter for 15 years. He gave us a first class tour of Dubai in his car, and we visited the famous artificial archipelago, the Palm Islands. Read about these interesting works of constructive artwork herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Islands
Anil also took us to the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest tower in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa
We were able to experience a "mountain-top perspective" from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. It was Ramadan month in Dubai, and the devout Muslims were observing a month long fast which did not allow eating or drinking (even water) during the day until sunset. We were impressed in how they could observe this sadhana in weather that reached 114.8 degrees during our visit. We determined that the Ramadan fast had begun in 2012 on the first tithi after the new moon (prathama) in July. Each year it moves backwards about 11 days. The crescent moon in the window would be the opposite of the crescent moon seen on the first day of Ramadan which would look more like this (but smaller):
Anil took us to two Hindu temples in Dubai, discreetly tucked away near the Dubai museum behind a mosque. Dubai has a large Hindu population, and Anil introduced us to a couple of his friends who we met at our hotel. From left to right, Anil, Mohan, Bodhinatha, Shanmuganathaswami and Arun. Anil posed many questions to Bodhinatha about astrology, eclipses, naga shrines, navagrahas and other mystical themes which Bodhinatha explained about at length. Thank you Anil for making our visit to Dubai an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.