Approaching a Hindu Temple Deity: A Primer for Beginners

A lot of meditators to Hindu temples are not coming from traditional Hindu, or Eastern, backgrounds. Many practitioners today are coming from the yoga culture that has permeated the world. These wonderful souls seeking to find the depths of yoga practice, and its origins, make their way into the holy temples of the Hindu faith seeking to stretch their new flexible wings. With a few pointers, anyone can feel right at home at any mandir, temple, math, mut, ashram or monastery/temple complex!

Graced by Gardens

Enjoy this on-your-own paced slideshow with inspirational quotes

Our Friendly Planets

In the Hindu view, the planets are not mere celestial bodies circling the Sun. They are also divine beings. Each is like a prism, conveying subtle energy from the far galaxies, thus impacting affairs on Earth according to its unique nature and location in the sky. The ancient science of space and time that understands and maps this influence is called jyotisha (literally science of light) or Hindu astrology.

Hindu Vedic astrology is based on the basic beliefs of karma and the reincarnation of the individual soul. It is a complete science of understanding ones past, present and future patterns of experiences, as well as personality traits and character. Your horoscope is an interpretation of the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of your birth, which form the unique karmic map of your birth chart.

Astrology is a part of Vedic self-understanding. We look to the stars to see ourselves better, to discover the mysteries that lie all about us and within us. In rita dharma, that heavenly cosmic orderliness, stars are more than massive conglomerates of molecules or fiery furnaces fleeting afar. They are entities, potent presences that affect us despite their distance. There are, of course, many Hindus today who pooh-pooh such notions. "Stuff and nonsense," they will cry, "What thoughtful person can accept that stars, so remote, influence life on Earth?"
But what thoughtful person, asks the astrologer, would deny the powerful tides dragged across our planet by a faraway moon, or gainsay the not-so-subtle solar forces that are the very stuff of life here? "Ah, but go out another few thousand light years and tell us what petty influences persist," our doubter might challenge. The jyotishi (Vedic astrologer), realizing the basic East/West difference in world views, attempts to help the skeptic understand the Hindu perspective. "In Eastern thought, particularly Hinduism, we conceive of all existence including the stars and planets not as being out there, but rather in here within the consciousness of each one of us. In other words, consciousness encompasses all of creation. The outside and inside are mirror images, and the essential nature of the cosmos is not that of multitudinous distinctions but rather the many-faceted expression of a one unified Reality. Thus we do not follow the mechanistic, externalized approach typical of Western thought."

Learn more here: https://www.himalayanacademy.com/media/books/jyotisha-hindu-astrology_ei/web/ch38_53.html

The Still Sadhu

The monks schedule has entered sadhu paksha, a time of year that allows us to wander about in the early morning hours and remain alone and still. There is no mandatory roll-call at 5:30am, instead there is a mandatory call to dive within among the sacred grounds we call home. Before the sun rises, we begin our day's work and rise within the spine up to our highest potential.

This is also a good time for us to test our skills and see how we meditate without a guided group using Shum. After so many years one can use Shum intuitively and use the monthly mamsani at a different pace.

In looking through the archives to make this blog post, it becomes clear that we move so much throughout the year. Activities are never departed from our life and TAKA often reflects the various projects that we are involved in. But what sustains it all? The life-giving force behind our movement is our stillness. Like a battery on its charger, we gain power in the darkness of the morning before the city wakes and then unleash that energy right into the seva we set out to do. This dance, this sankalpa is performed without fail day in and day out, and our mission would not work without an inner fire being roused and fed with heavy loads of guru-given meditation.

So where does your day begin? Do you wake up as late as possible only to rush off feeling incomplete? The wholeness of being must be sought for in the silence within. This Self-expression must be exercised in order to live a life with meaningful permanence. All else is subject to the repetitive dual nature of prakriti. While we can not, and should not, avoid karmic law, we can arm ourselves with the virtuous qualities of the soul. We can wield the soul-nature without inner practice only so much. Eventually we need to become acquainted with our real selves.

Sloka 2 from Dancing with Siva

Aum Namah Sivaya. The monks are just wrapping their week and are heading into two days of retreat. We'll see you soon! For those who haven't checked out our youtube channel for further DWS videos, here is Sloka 2 "Where am I going, what is my path." Enjoy!

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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