April Chitra Puja

Over the retreat, the monastery celebrated the chitra nakshatra with our monthly padapuja to Gurudeva's tiruvadi in Kadavul Temple. Local members joined the monks for the silent abhishekam. As milk, yogurt, honey, coconut milk, rose water and more were poured over Gurudeva's sandals, His loving energy permeated the temple and the minds of those present. Sadhaka Jayanatha and Natyam Rajanatha performed the ceremony.

"Because sound is the first creation, knowledge is transferred through sound of all kinds. It is important that one listen to the highest truths of a sampradaya from one who has realized them. The words, of course, will be familiar. They have been read by the devotee literally hundreds of times, but to hear them from the mouth of the enlightened Rishi is to absorb his unspoken realization, as he re-realizes his realization while he reads them and speaks them out. This is Saiva Siddhanta. This is true sampradaya--thought, meaning and knowledge conveyed through words spoken by one who has realized the Ultimate." Gurudeva


In a magical and mystical intersection of events, Gurudeva's wooden sculpture ended a 3-month journey from India yesterday, arriving at the monastery on Yogaswami's 50th Mahasamadhi anniversary. What are the chances?
Actually, two wooden masterpieces arrived. Their story begins about two years ago, when Bhani Karthigesu of Singapore heard about the renovation of the Media Studio and offered to have some wooden work done for it. That evolved into having Ganapati and Gurudeva carved in north India in the traditionally style. There were delays when the craftsman's family fell ill, but those delays were required to make today happen so magically.
These sculptures will adorn the entry cave of the Media Studio, the first thing visitors will encounter upon entering, Ganesha on the left wall and Gurudeva on the right, gracing the visitor's arrival.
The monks instructed the artist to carve Ganesha in His pose of writing the sacred texts. After all, this is the building from which all of the monastery's writings, books and magazine and art, have taken birth, and it will be the space where that continues for another 1000 years as the monks fulfill Gurudeva's commission and command.
The art on these two wooden sculptures is remarkably detailed, and several monks have commented that the Ganesha especially may well be the best ever seen of this form of sacred art. Thank you, Bhani, and all who have helped with this marvelous project. Not too many days now before the floor will be installed and the monks will move back into the new space. 

Gurudeva Padapuja

"If all the temples were destroyed, the gurus would come forth and rebuild them. If all the scriptures were destroyed, the rishis would reincarnate and rewrite them. If all the gurus, swamis, rishis, sadhus, saints and sages were systematically destroyed, they would take births here and there around the globe and continue as if nothing had ever happened. So secure is the Eternal Truth on the planet, so unshakable, that it forges ahead undaunted through the mouths of many. It forges ahead undaunted through the temples' open doors. It forges ahead undaunted in scriptures now lodged in nearly every library in the world. It forges ahead undaunted, mystically hidden from the unworthy, revealed only to the worthy, who restrain themselves by observing some or all of the yamas and who practice a few niyamas."

This morning during the chirta nakshatra, the monks, along with local members and guests, invoked Gurudeva's light and blessings with an early-morning Padapuja to Gurudeva's black granite tiruvadi in Kadavul Temple. Natyam Nandinatha and Nirvani Nilakanthanatha performed the abhishekam. As usual, Sri Rudram was chanted for the first half, after which the rest of the puja was performed in a blissful silence. Gurudeva's presence was strong as his inspiring and subtle energy filled the hearts and minds of those present.

Gurudeva Siva Vision Day

Today we celebrate Gurudeva's Siva Vision Day, calculated by Revathi nakshatra in the month of Kumbha. It is today that we worship Siva at the svayambhu lingam, to which Gurudeva's vision lead him. Just before sunrise, monks and devotees walked through the darkened gardens, to the lingam square to enjoy a short puja and meditation.

Here is the story of Gurudeva's vision, as told in these excerpts from The Guru Chronicles:

In the early hours of February 15, 1975, lying on a tatami mat in his Ryokan room, Gurudeva was having one of those profound sleeps that is neither awake nor full of dreams. In that clear space above physical consciousness, the 48-year-old satguru experienced a threefold vision that would be the spiritual birth of the great Siva citadel called Iraivan Temple and its surrounding San Marga Sanctuary.

I saw Lord Siva walking in the meadow near the Wailua River. His face was looking into mine. Then He was seated upon a great stone. I was seated on His left side. This was the vision. It became more vivid as the years passed. Upon reentering Earthly consciousness, I felt certain that the great stone was somewhere on our monastery land and set about to find it.
Guided from within by my satguru, I hired a bulldozer and instructed the driver to follow me as I walked to the north edge of the property that was then a tangle of buffalo grass and wild guava. I hacked my way through the jungle southward as the bulldozer cut a path behind me. After almost half a mile, I sat down to rest near a small tree. Though there was no wind, suddenly the tree's leaves shimmered as if in the excitement of communication. I said to the tree, "What is your message?" In reply, my attention was directed to a spot just to the right of where I was sitting.
When I pulled back the tall grass, there was a large rock--the self-created Lingam on which Lord Siva had sat. A stunningly potent vibration was felt. The bulldozer's trail now led exactly to the sacred stone, surrounded by five smaller boulders. San Marga, the "straight or pure path" to God, had been created. An inner voice proclaimed, "This is the place where the world will come to pray." San Marga symbolizes each soul's journey to liberation through union with God.

That vision must have wrought profound changes in Gurudeva's interior world, for it certainly was the seed of profound changes on the outside. Immediately he embarked on a long journey that would bring Saivism deeply into the lives of his followers and build not only a temple to honor his life-changing vision, but a traditional aadheenam like the great ones he had visited in South India just three years before.
Gurudeva had observed there was no such temple/monastery complex in all of the West for Hindus and threw himself into its creation. With no authorities to guide, he searched within for the systems of spiritual and material management and crafted an astonishing set of procedures and flows to guide every aspect of his several institutions, and to inform the monks' lives and relationships.
By the spring of 1987 Gurudeva's vision for Iraivan Temple was evolving from a mystical revelation to a real-world plan. Working with sacred architects in South India, he was defining its physical form, establishing the principles of its creation and considering the style of the massive stone edifices built during South India's Chola Dynasty a millennium ago. The big question was still pending: What form of Siva would inhabit the inner sanctum? It was a meditation that continued for months, for he knew the relevance of this decision. It would define the temple more than any external style. It would be its life and essence, the most holy and powerful force around which all else would circle.
One day, in an early-morning vision in his private quarters, Gurudeva saw the future, as he would later say. In fact, he often said, if you want to know what you should do, do this: In your mind, travel into the future, and from there look back and witness what happened. The present-day decision will be obvious.
In this vision of the yet-to-be, Gurudeva saw a massive crystal Sivalingam shining brightly in the sanctum of Iraivan Temple, radiating out to the world. It was a titan among crystals. In fact, it seemed in this first seeing impossibly large, fantastical and beyond reality.
The Agamas say one can worship this Great God Siva in the form of a Lingam made of mud or sand, of cow dung or wood, of bronze or black granite stone. But the purest and most sought-after form is the quartz crystal, a natural stone not carved by man but made by nature, gathered molecule by molecule over hundreds, thousands or millions of years, grown as a living body grows, but infinitely more slowly. Such a creation of nature is itself a miracle worthy of worship.

Gurudeva Padapuja

This morning was Chitra nakshatra, the time to honor Gurudeva with our monthly Abhiskekam to his paduka in Kadavul Temple. Worshiping Gurudeva's holy feet, we draw forth his blessings from the inner planes in which he resides. Gurudeva's rose-like energy filled the temple this morning, as milk, vibhuthi, honey and other essences were poured over his feet in loving silence. Fittingly Gurudeva's Murti was surrounded by bouquets of fragrant roses. Sadhaka Mayurantha and Sadhaka Jayanatha performed the Abhishekam.

"I have faith in human integrity, in that unfailing 'still small voice of the soul' which each who listens for can hear. We are essentially pure souls temporarily living in a physical body. We can and should use our God-given gift of free will encased in love to make a difference in the world today, even if it is in a small way. All of us making the same difference together do so in a big way." Gurudeva

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