This year, the monastery enjoyed another beautiful celebration of Mahasivaratri. The night began at 7 o'clock, as devotees walked the torch-lit path up to Kadavul temple. There they sang bhajans together until 7:30 when the special Siva homa began. From that very first arati to Ganesha, it was obvious that this would be a powerful night. With everyone gathered around the crackling flames, the monks chanted Sri Rudram with an intense and indomitable cadence. Siva's unlimited and all-pervasive energy and love, swelled through the minds of all present, drawing them inward toward the Self of themselves.
There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancient sages who explained this truth to us. Sama Veda, Kena Upanishad 1.3
As the Homa reached its crescendo, and the final arati had passed, the Siva kumbha was placed upon Satguru Bodhinatha's head, and was paraded around Nandi and the Kodimaram, then brought to Siva's inner sanctum for the night's abhishekam.
Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart. Rig Veda 7.1.2
Soon after, everyone sat and listened to a talk given by Gurudeva on that same night 24 years earlier. Following the talk, a short and serene, silent meditation on the Absolute. After a quick break, Bodhinatha gave an absolutely incredible talk, which we hope to have online soon. He discussed the nine stages of merging with Siva with his usual simplicity and grace.
Namah Sivaya has such power, the mere intonation of these syllables reaps its own reward in salvaging the soul from bondages of the treacherous instinctive mind and the steel bands of a perfected externalized intellect. Gurudeva
The small and sometimes unnoticed crystal lingam, which sits Nataraja's feet in Kadavul, parallels the often unnoticed and silent power reverberating through it. The abhishekam soon began, and the monks took turns bathing the lingam. In pairs, they poured milk, yogurt, citrus, vibuthi and others, over the perfectly clear crystal Lingam. Offering their prana to Siva's formless unevolutionary perfection.
With love and tireless devotion to our great God, the source of all things and the core of our being, Aum Namah Sivaya!
Be unknown. God is unknown. Siva Yogaswami
Aum Namah Sivaya
This evening is Mahasivaratri. The monastery is full of activity as preparations are made for Siva's great and blissful night. We observe tonight 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 and bathing the Sivalinga.
You don't want to see God. You must feel God. God is you. Just be that. Satguru Siva Yogaswami
As long as there is searching, Parasiva has not been found, for searching is two, while It is one. Gurudeva
All this universe is in the glory of God, of Siva, the God of love. The heads and faces of men are His own, and He is in the hearts of all. Krishna Yajur Veda, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.11
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.
Today we celebrate Tai Pusam, a festival for fasting and performing public penance, by which we seek Karttikeya's blessings to dispel our selfishness, pride and vanity.
From Dancing with Siva:
What Is the Nature of Lord Karttikeya?
Lord Karttikeya, Murugan, first guru and Pleiadean master of kundalini yoga, was born of God Siva's mind. His dynamic power awakens spiritual cognition to propel souls onward in their evolution to Siva's feet. Lord Karttikeya flies through the mind's vast substance from planet to planet. He could well be called the Emancipator, ever available to the call of those in distress. Lord Karttikeya, God of will, direct cognition and the purest, child-like divine love, propels us onward on the righteous way through religion, His Father's law. Majestically seated on the manipura chakra, this scarlet-hued God blesses mankind and strengthens our will when we lift to the inner sky through sadhana and yoga. The yoga pada begins with the worship of Him. The yogi, locked in meditation, venerates Karttikeya, Skanda, as his mind becomes as calm as Saravana, the lake of Divine Essence. The kundalini force within everyone is held and controlled by this powerful God, first among renunciates, dear to all sannyasins. Revered as Murugan in the South, He is commander in chief of the great devonic army, a fine, dynamic soldier of the within, a fearless defender of righteousness. He is Divinity emulated in form. The Vedas say, "To such a one who has his stains wiped away, the venerable Sanatkumara shows the further shore of darkness. Him they call Skanda."
Today is Ardra Dashanam and the monastery is observing an abishekam to Lord Nataraja in Kadavul temple, bathing Him in water, milk, yogurt, vibuthi, honey, chandana, citrus and more.
Our Gurudeva had many wonderful words to say about our beloved God, here are just a few taken from Merging with Siva:
"Of course, if you love Siva, obviously you have to love everyone else. Love brings forgiveness. Love brings understanding. Love brings feeling. All Saivites of the world love Siva. They love each other, and they love the Vaishnavites, the Shaktas, the Smartas, the tribal Hindus and everyone in the world, because Siva's energy is working through everyone in the entire world--plants, trees, animals, fish, birds. It's so simple. The object of the lesson is to make yourself a very simple, uncomplicated person. Aum Namah Sivaya."
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