With the extra help from taskforcers and karma yogis, the Siddidatta Kulam has been making steady progress in a variety of areas, including the upper and lower gardens. On Sun 1, the team did their weekly upkeep of the garden and then proceeded to weed the wingbean fence, which has started its abundant cycle of production. Another important project they've been working on is the preparation of our newest raised garden beds. While having raised beds has proven to be one of the most effective gardening techniques for use in our environment, it can have issues. When heavy rains fall, the beds have the potential to fill up with water, unless the hard clay beneath them has been properly broken up. We call this clay-breaking-up process "double digging." It is an excellent way to get your day's exercise.
"What is Saivism? We are devotees of Lord Siva and we are doing Sivathondu--that is Saivism" Yogaswami
The Rajasankara family has a beautiful shrine room which follows Gurudeva's ideals: a central room decorated better than any other in the home, kept pure and immaculately clean. They asked Yoginathaswami to hold the morning atmarta puja, which he did for two days. There were leisurely moments each day for the swamis to "talk story" with the family and share informally, interspersed with Kanmani's world-class cuisine.
The first afternoon five Master Course students came to the home to meet for two hours with the swamis to talk about the spiritual path. Lots of good questions came, questions about commitment, about affirmations, about meditation. I showed the 15-minute Keynote that will be presented on November 21st at the World Hindu Congress in New Delhi, a rehearsal that proved useful as several little errors were discovered.
On November 8th we drove to the Siddhaganga Mutt, a 1,200-year-old monastery that today is a strong educational institution, with over 10,000 students, several colleges and technical schools.
This is the home of our 2013 Hindu of the Year, and we have come to personally hand the Renaissance Award to Siddhaganga Swami. It's a great privilege, especially since swami is 107 years old (108 in April we are told). Swami is seated in a small office right off the road, bent with age but alert and radiant.
We offer a large tray containing 18 kinds of flowers that Jayendrapuri Swami has sent with us, and give Swami the plaque and a copy of the magazine. To our amazement he opens it and begins to read the articles, without glasses!
We tour the complex and meet the successor. See details in the photo captions.