Today is Ardra nakshatra, a time each month when Siva's blessings become extra potent. The Monastery always celebrates with a beautiful abhishekham. The King of Dance is bathed in gallons of water, fresh milk from the aadheenam's cows, fresh yogurt, honey, freshly squeezed citrus juice from the gardens, rose water and an array of other herbs and essences. During this powerful ritual, Lord Nataraja absorbs the prana from the many substances and then radiates the energy out to His devotees. The experience can be quite powerful, and more often then not, a tourist or another other first-time visitor will happen into the temple during the worship, and walk away completely changed. A common question from such a freshly inspired soul is simply: "what did I just experience?" Often times, seeing Siva's blessings upon others is just as, if not more fulfilling than the blessings we receive ourselves. Aum Namah Sivaya!
The world is seen as it truly is--sacred--when we behold Siva's cosmic dance. Everything in the universe, all that we see, hear and imagine, is movement. Galaxies soar in movement; atoms swirl in movement. All movement is Siva's dance. When we fight this movement and think it should be other than it is, we are reluctantly dancing with Siva. We are stubbornly resisting, holding ourselves apart, criticizing the natural processes and movements around us. It is by understanding the eternal truths that we bring all areas of our mind into the knowledge of how to accept what is and not wish it to be otherwise. Once this happens, we begin to consciously dance with Siva, to move with the sacred flow that surrounds us, to accept praise and blame, joy and sorrow, prosperity and adversity in equanimity, the fruit of understanding. We are then gracefully, in unrestrained surrender, dancing with Siva. The Vedas state, "The cosmic soul is truly the whole universe, the immortal source of all creation, all action, all meditation. Whoever discovers Him, hidden deep within, cuts through the bonds of ignorance even during his life on Earth." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Religion needs to be of the present. Mankind is evolving spiritually; mass consciousness is rising. When we go to the temple, in the right spirit, contributing devotion and prana, being open to the blessings of the Deity; it purifies the mind. The Hindu religion focuses on the mind; purifies it; controls it, subdues the ego, makes us more humble.