Swami Ramana Swaroopananda Visits

Kaua`i Aadheenam is honored to have Swami Ramana Swaroopananda visiting us for several days. As a young man in Tamil Nadu, he was a brahmachari under the tutelage of Swami Tejomayananda, head of and successor to Swami Chinmayananda's Chinmaya Mission.

Later in his monastic life, Swamiji was initiated as an Acharya and was sent on a mission to Sri Lanka from 1998 to 2006. He worked in the Chinmaya Mission centered there, though based mostly in Colombo. A copy of Siva Yogaswami's Natchintanai was presented to Swamiji during that time, and Swamiji found himself completely captivated by the teachings therein. Consequently, Swamiji went to Jaffna and with the help of Sellathuraiswami, he was mentored in the meaning of some of the mystical phrases in Yogaswami's songs. Sellathuraiswami managed the Sivathondan Nilayam after Yogaswami's mahasamadhi and did so up until his own Great Departure in 2006.

Inwardly drawn towards Sri Ramana Maharishi's path of Atma Vichara from a young age, Swamiji beseeched Swami Tejomayananda for blessings to venture to Thiruvannamalai, home to Ramana Maharishi's abode at Arunachalam. His guru granted his disciple's wish and thus began Swamiji's current life living and teaching in the famous citadel of Siva.

This morning, Swamiji graced us with his presence in the Media Studio for the Ganapati Kulam's meeting. After all the monks gave their daily Sivathondu report for the day, Swamiji was invited to speak. Initially, Swamiji's modesty shown through and felt uncertain what to say. After being freely encouraged by Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami to say whatever he felt moved by, Swamiji unleashed some beautiful insights and sentiments.

The eloquence and boldness with which Swamiji spoke was profound, and quite honestly, a bit surprising. This quiet, unassuming soul declared that Yogaswami is one of his gurus and has greatly impacted both his inner life and teaching mission. The contrast between Ramana Maharishi's quiet, subtle gaze and Siva Yogaswami's fierce, commanding call to action created a perfect harmony in his mind, Swamiji told us. These seemingly opposing, yet completely reconcilable, attributes made one monk verbalize the parallel natures of these sages to Siva-Sakti, respectively.
 
Swamiji knows many Natchintanai and was, with ease and depth of understanding, powerfully reciting pertinent verses from his heart, more than from simple memory. His respect and affinity for Yogaswami was extended to Gurudeva, Bodhinatha, and all the mathavasi of the aadheenam, noting how inspired he is in seeing our monks working in the fields, building our own buildings, growing and preparing our own food, etc. It was rightly noted that this is a parallel of Yogaswami's requirement which he had for his disciples living in his Batticaloa ashram.

A student of the Vedanta systems, Swamiji mentioned the amount of scriptural study, debate, and interpretation that goes along with that, stating that with the intense focus on different schools and practices, one can be uncertain of what to do and/or how to practically produce inner results in one's life. Upon absorbing the wisdom of Natchintanai, Swamiji revealed that he was transformed by Yogaswami's blunt demands to stop studying and start being. Swamiji, in Tamil, quoted a Natchintanai verse where Yogaswami likened excessive study to "hugging ghosts," meaning embracing something intangible and fleeting, and to start being by actually sitting down and being still. "Do! Don't think!"

Swamiji humbly and rightfully reminded us that the world will always be a place of duality, with great efforts always being directed towards dharma and adharma by all kinds of souls in all yugas. He stressed the necessity of Sivathondu and teaching, but urged one never to forget the Ultimate Goal which is to merge fully with Siva by "knowing thy Self by thyself."

Having performed the tapas of being on mauna (not speaking) for three years, Swamiji continues his serious efforts, both inner and outer. This seriousness is reflected in Swamiji's burgeoning ashram-temple complex at Arunachalam in Thiruvannamalai, called Sri Arunachala Ramana Atma Vidya Mandir. Please check out Swamiji's website.

It is always a blessing and joy to have a fellow monastic from another order visit the Aadheenam. Swami Ramana Swaroopananda, we salute you and thank you for your tireless devotion to the Truth. Om Tat Sat Om!

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Patanjali Yoga Sutra Class

Every few months Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami holds a Yoga Sutra class with our young Sadhaka. This afternoon Sadhaka's Nandinatha, Rajanatha, Mayuranatha, Jayanatha and Dayanatha all gathered in the Guru Temple with Satguru. Satguru continued their exploration of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with comparisons to Gurudeva's teachings. The class included the intricacies of various types of Samadhi, such as samadhi with form (think savikalpa samadhi), whereby the observer, the observed and the act of observing coalesce into oneness, and samadhi without form (nirvikalpa samadhi) when awareness transcends even the highest experiences and dissolves in the timeless, spaceless, absolute Self. The class continued through a discussion of remolding the subconscious mind into the subsuperconscious mind and on into Patanjali's description of the five kleshas which bind the individual in ignorance. Two important kleshas deeply discussed were attachment and aversion, both of which can be equally binding forces in our lives. Attachment being the residue of positive experiences and aversion the result of negative ones. All in all a fun class for everyone. Om Namah Sivaya!

The Lord With Six Colorful Faces

Today's photo is brought to you by Suzette Barnett, a recent visitor to the Aadheenam. The subject is Lord Shanmuga amidst the banyan tree along Thiruneri which leads to Kadavul Temple. She was the first to discover His multi-colored appearance, which became evident upon the pruning of His banyan tree. One of the consequences of this recent trimming is the drastic increase of sunlight on His form, thus showcasing the aforementioned colors. We see hues of green, yellow, blue, and even some red. These are all the tiny life forms which grow on everything here in warm, wet Kaua`i. In other places, this might be thought of as "dirty," something to be prevented or removed. But here at Kaua`i Aadheenam, we embrace the unavoidable and acknowledge our outdoor Deities as suitable refuge for all of Siva's forms.

In his mystical hymn on Lord Murugan called Kandar Anuboothi, Saint Arunagirinathar implores Lord Murugan,

"Oh Shanmuga! I beseech You to reveal that one mystery called Eternal Truth. Is it Ether? Water? Earth? Fire? Wind? Or is it the dawn of sensory knowledge? Or the ever-reverberating Vedas? Or is it the mind, the abode where I was subdued and won by You?"

June 22 Homa

"Whatever exists and wherever it exists is permeated by the same divine power and force."
Śukla Yajur Veda, Īśa Upanishad 1. EH, 45

Following a 3-day, full moon retreat the aadheenam's mathavasis begin their new phase today. This will be a standard five day phase with a few unique happenings including a webinar with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami for our members, a Yoga Sutra class with Satguru for our young Sadhaka, and travel preparations for Satguru's next trip which will depart at the end of this phase. This retreat, the monastics will observe Iraivan Day, a time when the whole monastery joins forces to help with newsletter mailing, our monthly news update and with fundraising efforts for Iraivan Temple.

Satguru and the monks were joined at this morning's homa by local devotees and visiting pilgrims. Following the final arati, everyone sat down to listen to Satguru's upadesha about how we can help to create world peace by creating peace within ourselves and our homes. The audio for the talk will be online in the coming days. Aum Namah Sivaya.

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