Celebrating Mahasivaratri

Several days ago, the monastery celebrated our 2015 Mahasivaratri, Siva's great night. In Dancing With Siva this night is described: Mahasivaratri is the night before the new-moon day in February-March. We observe it both as a discipline and a festivity, keeping a strict fast and all-night vigil, meditating, intoning Siva's 1,008 names, singing His praise, chanting Sri Rudram, bathing the Sivalinga and being near the vairagis as they strive to realize Parasiva.

Our evening started with devotees singing bhajans followed by a Siva homa. The homa was very powerful and concluded with a short parade. Bodhinatha carried the Sivakubha out around the kodimaram and then into the Inner sanctum. We then listened to a Sivaratri talk given by Gurudeva in 1997, after which Bodhinatha gave an inspired talk about merger with Siva. We concluded the night with an abhishekam to the small crystal Lingam which sits before Nataraja as our worship of the formless Parasiva.

Siva is not a friend of fathomers,
Of those who seek a God within their ken,
Or those who dwell in twin-mind's separateness,
Or those who think of Him but now and then.

Unfathomable He, mystery untold,
Unseekable, our God, beyond all mind,
Undivided, separateness' nemesis,
Unthinkably beyond what what souls may find.

How then to fathom such raw Omnitude?
How to draw near That without breadth or length?
Perhaps just trust. Perhaps just be, and see
That He is there as life, as love's mute strength.

Better yet to know what can't be known,
Defiant Truth that flees the grasp of man,
To say, "I searched but was the searched I sought,
With not a separate thing to understand."

The Holy Day of Tai Pusam

The full moon in the month of Tai is a very holy day in our Saiva tradition. Lord Muruga receives his Vel from Mother Shakti. Here at Kauai Aadheenam we hold the puja in the evening. As always it is a very powerful puja. We bring you some photos of the milk, yogurt and vibhuti abhishekam and the arati after the alankara. We recommend you switch to the lightbox/popout image view (small icon at the bottom on the right) to go through the photos. Vetri Vel Muruganukku!

Early Tai Pongal For Young Pilgrims

During our most recent Maha Samadhi Observances, Shanmuganathaswami gave a class to all in attendance on the sacred cow with many dimensions of this most wonderful animal. In an instant all the half sleeping children in the class moved to the front and started asking many questions! This was their favorite class of the week! After class, one of our Kulamatas created a project where they could channel their appreciation and love of the cow.

Celebrating Tai Pongal and Mattu Pongal

Over the last few days we celebrated Tai Pongal with a special lunch, which of course included a pot of boiled sweet rice. This is a time to celebrate the harvest and all the natural abundance we receive. A small shrine and bowl full of freshly harvested vegetables accompanied the many tasty dishes prepared by Natyam Nandinatha. The monks served themselves and joined Bodhinatha in the courtyard for lunch. The following day we observed Mattu (cow) Pongal, bringing offerings of sweet rice, fruits and flowers to our cows, in thanks to Go Mata (mother cow) for the sustenance she provides us. A short puja followed and some melodic chanting of Go Suktam. The cows were very happy to get so much attention from such a large group of monks all at once.

Quotes on the importance of the Cow from Lemurian Scrolls:

"Lord Siva used the cow to pour out the essence of Saivism and help clear conditions of the past. For these reasons, plants and animals were given the best of care, treated as the Deity Himself. This knowledge was carefully taught to newcomers. At milking time, mathavasis could be seen gathered around, brushing the cow, feeding her and chanting sacred mantras. (p. 264)

"The cow has been on this planet since before the Sat Yuga. (p. 266)

"The cow, the sustainer of life on the planet for many yugas, was brought here another cycle of yugas ago, our Shastras tell us. (p. 267)

"Our Deity puts His darshan through the goat, into its milk, to hasten its psychic power. Through His darshan, delivered in this way, He gives inner knowledge and stimulates extraterrestrial experiences. It has to be taken immediately to capture the darshan. Our Lord Skanda’s darshan comes through the goat, and Lord Siva’s through the cow. Much milk from the goat will be used at the end of the Kali Yuga by souls to make the transfer into the Sat Siva Yuga in the same body. (p 267)

"As the cow and goat, as well as the herb, the tree and the vegetation, can read the thoughts of us all, chanting and singing should occur while tending to their needs. (p 268)

"All knowledge of Saivism can be imparted by our Lord Íiva when the milk of the cow is taken in the correct way. (p. 269)"

Below is an english translation of Go Suktam:

"The resplendent cows have come here and brought us
bliss. May they stay in a sanctified place and be pleased
with us. May the mother cows and calves live here
appearing in many forms, yielding milk upon many dawns
for our spiritual perfection. ||1||

"Indra gives abundantly to the worshiper many gifts and
imparts knowledge. He always gives these gifts; never does
he take away what belongs to the worshiper. He forever
increases the rices of devotees. He installs the ardent
seeker in an exalted place, inaccessible to imperfect beings. ||2||

"They are not lost. Robbers to not injure them. They are not
frightened or assailed by unkind persons. The master of the
cows enjoys a long life with these cows. He worships the
Gods and makes offerings unto them. ||3||

"The horse which darts quickly as if tearing the ground
cannot approach these cows. The cutting instruments fail to
come near them. These cows, belonging to the mortal man
who performs sacrifice, wander in a wider, large stretch of
land without fear. ||4||

"I revere these cows as appearing in the form of Bhaga, the
Goddess of enjoyment and delight. They are Indra. They
yield the enjoyment of the first­ poured libation of soma.
Verily, these cows are the Indra. O! my fellow beings, it is
Indra, consciousness personified, whom I desire with both
heart and mind. ||5||

"O! revered cows, you fatten those who have become
emaciated. You bestow beauty on ugly beings. With your
pleasant and deep voice make our dwellings replete with
happiness and riches. Always in our congregation, your
great and innate divinity is lauded. ||6||

"May you have many calves, graze over good pastures, and
drink pure water available from wholesome and clear
sources. May not the thief become your mater, nor the one
who brings evil by his harsh speech. May the weapons of
Rudra leave you aside without harming you. ||7||

Let the constant nourishment of the cows be solicited. May
the mighty seed of the bull be always present in your
strength, empowering you to bestow auspiciousness on all
beings and in everything." ||8||

Happy Tai Pongal!!!

From Sloka 100 of Dancing with Siva:
"Tai Pongal, in January-February, is a harvest thanksgiving and invocation for prosperity. God Surya, the Sun, is honored, and daughters are presented with gifts."

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