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."

Celebrating Ardra Darshanam

Several days ago the monk's observed Ardra Darshanam. After several days of preparation the annual, grand Abhishekam was commenced for Lord Nataraja. While the monastics observe the monthly Ardra nakshatra with an abhishekam, this annual event is supplemented by greater volumes of offerings--including 108 coconuts--and a powerful astrological alignment through which Siva's loving shakti flows unhindered. The morning began with a special Siva homa which was later followed by the elaborate puja and abhishekam, which is never photographed. Bodhinatha commented made the distinction that while Mahasivaratri is a time of intense discipline and meditation on the divine, Ardra Darshanam is a festival of love, of Siva's overpowering blessings which flow forth from the inner sanctum.

From the Tirumantiram:
The ignorant prate that Love and Siva are two, But none know that Love alone is Siva. When men but know that Love and Siva are the same, Love as Siva, they ever remain.

My God is the melter of my heart of love. Let all adore my God, the Lord of primal love, first of beings, my Siva, who again and again melts my heart. May He render me His love in foremost measure!

Praise Him but once, the Pure and Holy One, and He will be your escort to heaven. He, Lord Siva, decked in honeyed konrai blooms, sits enthroned in my love, steadfast and free.

Within Love is He, and within our outer nature too; as the body also is He; He is the past and future; the Lord of Rishis; He is the Precious One who dwells inside our Love. Only those, who in Love reside, will find in Him: their refuge of freedom.

World’s Largest Coconut?

As we approach Ardra Darshanam (tomorrow!), the monks have been hard at work to prepare. The Siddhidatta Kulam has been readying many things, including the 108 coconuts which are uniquely used for the Kadavul Abhishekam. Among them we found this one. It is one if the largest coconuts we've ever seen! It will be among the first to be poured over Lord Nataraja tomorrow morning.

Holy Days, Holy Images

On this fifth and final Pancha Ganapati festival day, Aarti Visswanathan has hunted down another collection of images of our Loving Ganesha for all to enjoy as we offer Him our praises and our appreciations for guiding us all on the path of dharma.

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

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