Multiple families attended our morning 6am Siva homa and than toured the grounds afterwards. From right to left-- Padma and Prabhakar Neppalli on far right are from California; Rajeev and Manju Bhargava are from Alaska and have been involved with the temple project there since they met Gurudeva when he came on the cruise and then gave the Ganesha murti to get a temple started; Srinivas Bhamidipaty with parents-in-law and close friend are visiting from Dallas and just met Bodhinatha there about a week ago. The parents-in-law live at Tirupati town in India and dreamed to visit our place.
Over the retreat several of the monks and Adi went over to Himalayan Acres to plant palms. These Areca Palms are just a few hundred of the eight hundred that we intend to plant.
This morning the monastery enjoyed its first Homa since Satguru Bodhinatha's Return. There were many devotees in attendance including several guests who helped with the chanting of Sri Rudram, giving it extra strength. Bodhinatha burned prayers to the devas that were written by monks and devotees.
From Living with Siva about prayers to the inner worlds:
The three worlds are connected when puja is performed and worship is begun. There are certain rites that can be performed to enable individuals to communicate directly with beings in the inner worlds. Prayers are given and received in many ways. Among the most intimate, personal forms of communication is the written prayer to the devas or to God. Burned in Agni's sacred fire, it disintegrates in the physical world and quickly re-forms in the astral world. When a prayer is burned in a temple wherein this practice is consecrated, its astral image is received and read by the devas, and properly dispatched and answered, within the confines of our karmic pattern. Prayers may also be conveyed by slowly, mentally enunciating the words, visualizing them rising up the spine, through the top of the head, reaching beyond to the feet of God. The devas will not intervene unless asked. This is the inner law. The Vedas avow, "He shines forth at dawn like the sunlight, deploying the sacrifice in the manner of priests unfolding their prayerful thoughts. Agni, the God who knows well all the generations, visits the Gods as a messenger, most efficacious." Aum Namah Sivaya.
After the homa, Bodhinatha gave a perceptive talk about controlling one's thoughts. He explained the five categories of thought, and that each has a certain way in which it can be dealt with, whether through performing the vasana daha tantra, through using affirmations or by practicing breath control.
The last stop on Bodhinatha's recent trip was West Texas, in the Permian Basin popular for its abundant fossil fuel resources.
First on the agenda was the third in a series of interfaith panels that Dr. Padmaja Patel has arranged so that members of the local community in the twin cities of Midland and Odessa can learn more about how various faiths look at modern issues. This year the event (video here) was hosted by St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church in Midland, with their retired Bishop Rev. Sam Hulsey speaking on the panel with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (Hindu), Dr. Randel Everett (Baptist), Rabbi Holly Cohn (Jewish), Mr. Jerry Zant (Mormon) and Imam Wazir Ali (Muslim).
Just prior to the weekend, the Patel family was joined by Chellappa and Banu Devi Deva from Phoenix in taking Bodhinatha and Senthilnathaswami on an overnight outing to Big Bend National Park on the Mexican border. Oh, what a beautiful piece of the Old West! Hikes and much needed relaxation after a couple weeks on the road were in order. On the way back, a stop at the famous art town of Marfa for a look at the galleries, followed by the Monahans Sand Dunes, then we were back in Midland-Odessa for a full weekend program of satsangs and talks before heading home to Kauai. Enjoy the photos and captions for details.
He taught me humility, infused in me the light of devotion, granted me the grace of His feet. After holy interrogation, testing me entirely, He revealed to me the Real, the unreal and real-unreal. Undoubtedly, the Siva-Guru is Iraivan, the worshipful Lord Himself.
Gathering the strands of my fetters, he knotted them together and then wrenched them off. Thus freeing me from my fond body, straight to mukti he led me. Behold, of such holy potency is the presence of my guru divine!