This morning the monastery held a sacred fire ritual to begin the new phase. Satguru Bodhinatha is traveling in Singapore and Malaysia, so Sadasivanathaswami burned the written prayers and gave a short talk in his stead. He discussed the Iraivan carvings that are on their way from Bangalore, which include Hanuman and the statues of the satgurus. He then gave insight into the world of microbiology and the many amazing new discoveries and understandings coming about in new science, in which the microcosm echoes the macrocosm in infinite complexity and inestimable intelligence.
Cycads and their close relatives the Encephalartos are among the ancient plants of the world, found in fossil remains some 280 million years old. Plus, they are known to live as long as one thousand years. So they are a natural choice for the monks to plant near Kadavul Temple where our giant mango tree had to be removed. So Sadasivanathaswami, Arumuganathaswami and Adi Srikantha visited a cycad nursery yesterday and selected dozens of the species, to be delivered in July.
These plants create giant cones that weigh up to 60 pounds. In tribal days in South Africa, the cones were used as a food source, so it may not surprise that the name Encephalartos means, literally, "bread in the head" since there is a lot of high-quality starch in the crown head at the top of the trunk.
During this last retreat, Acharya Arumuganathaswami, Sadhaka Tejadevanatha and task-forcer Adi Srikantha, traveled across the river to the monastery's Noni feilds to harvest fruit. It will be fermented and later pressed to resupply the monk's dwindling stores of this incredibly medicinal juice.
Over the retreat several of the monks spent some time in the wood shop working on individual projects. Here Sadhhaka Jayanatha has hand carved a natural base for a crystal lingam. In the background Nirvani Nilakanthanatha is on the lathe turning a wooden bowl from our own harvested tree.
Satguru Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami visited the home of Vijay and Umayil Eswaran in the hills of Petaling Jaya. They enjoyed watching the 24 minute Annual Update of the monastery and Iraivan Temple building progress on the iPad. After lunch they visited the Eswaran's new home a few hundred feet down the hill, which by the way, is the same hill upon which the Gasing Sivan Temple is located. Bodhinatha presented the Eswaran's with a wooden "Aum Sweet Aum" plaque for their new house, laser etched by the monks from a Kokee cypress wood tree. Their new "smart" home is full of state of the art equipment, and at the same time there are art pieces hundreds of years old, including some very old doors.