Our California team arrived Los Angles a few days ago. The plane landed in the late evening, and they quickly proceeded to a place to stay the night in the giant city. As many know, the weather has brought rain, wind and even a small tornado (fairly close to where our monks were staying) to this usually dusty, concrete jungle. The next day our monk drove along the 70mph freeways for hours, darting in and out of traffic, blinded by the constant mist which sprayed from beneath every vehicle on the flooded speedways. They had several meetings with university professors to discuss the text book issue which we now face, and to get some insight for the upcoming structural quality commission which the monks will be attending, and where our list of recommended edits to the California textbook narrative will come up for review. You can view the proposed document here. That evening the team met with several parents and school children to discuss the issue and get some firsthand accounts of the 6th and 7th grade presentation of Hinduism. That was followed by a short Satsang at the home of Mayuran and Amanda Muttulingam.
Our monks left LA the following morning at 6am and made their way up the interstate to Fremont, California. The two worked their way up the the grapevine, experiencing miles and miles of flatland, replete with, you guessed it, grapevines, but also citrus fruits, almonds, and many other fields of trees which would actually be producing fruit if they had water with which to do it. in an odd juxtaposition to the dead, brown trees, the ground had received a few days of heavy rain allowing for the grass throughout the fields to glow bright green in the morning sun. A thick fog played over most of i-5 as the morning sun evaporated the plentiful groundwater.
The two travelers had been invited to attend the Chinmaya Mission events in Fremont, San Jose and San Ramon. Acharya Aramuganathaswami gave his talk to parents at each group, explaining the issue with the current texts book standards, giving ideas as to how parents can participate, and getting feedback and personal testimony from parents about their child's education. Today is the final of these three events in San Jose.
We unpacked the five bronzes of God Siva yesterday, revealing their astonishing detail. No wonder it took years for the craftsmen in South India to makes these murthis. Five forms each in five metals, to be placed in five niches on the outisee of the Iraivan garbhagriham.
Meantime, we thought you would love to see them, to enjoy the high level of sculpting that was achieved and a few words about this traditional depiction of divinity.
Most Saivites understand that Siva has five powers: creation, preservation, dissolution and the dual graces, concealing and revealing. Those who read our philosophically rich July, 2012, Insight Section, "Five Powers of Siva, Sadasiva in the Agama Scriptures," will have encountered the profundity of this understanding of God (bit.ly/Panchasiva). In Iraivan Temple, these five powers are enshrined as five forms of Siva in bronze, two-foot-tall statues installed in niches around the outside of the central sanctum: Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana.
Sadyojata, "quickly birthing" is Brahma, element earth, color white and denoted by Na in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya. Vamadeva, "pleasing," is Vishnu, element water, color saffron and letter Ma. Aghora, "non-terrifying," is Rudra, element fire, color blue-black and letter Si. Tatpurusha, "supreme soul," is Maheshvara, element air, color gold and letter Va. Ishana, "ruler," is Sadasiva, element akasha, color crystal and letter Ya.
These bronzes were commissioned from Ganapati Sthapati's Mahabalipuram worksite and took several years to complete under his careful direction. They finally and somewhat magically arrived on Kauai in November, 2014, right at the conclusion of the Mahasamadhi observances for Gurudeva.