April 17 Homa

Recently the monastery observed its weekly homa. The sacred fire ceremony is a wonderful way to start off each new phase. The monks and any guests can write notes to the devas, which are burned during the ceremony. The paper then become visible in the inner Lokas for the devas to read and act upon. The act of prayer writing is a very important way to keep communications with the inner worlds strong, creating a smooth and successful flow of projects and personal growth throughout the monastery and in other people's lives. This phase is a short one, of just four days. On Sun 3 the monks have Ashram Sadhana Day, for which their time is spent cleaning the monastery. This coming retreat will be Iraivan Day, when the monks work to mail the aadheenam newsletter, write the next one, as well as create the monthly news video and a variety of other Iraivan, mail-related projects.

Celebrating Satguru Yogaswami’s 50th Mahasamadhi

"You can go to the top by climbing up step by step. But exceptionally there are some who, with the help of Sruitis, the guru, and their own understanding and experience, can fly like birds." - Yogaswami

Jai Siva Yogaswami!

Today we celebrate Satguru Yogaswami's 50th Mahasamdhi Anniversary. At Kauai Aadheenam, an early morning puja was held to Yogaswami's Murti. The small shrine was beautifully decorated. Monks and local members came with offerings and the puja was performed with intermittent singing of Yogaswami's Natchintanai. All and all it was a beautiful and powerful celebration of this great sage.

On May 29, 1997, the monastery celebrated the 125th Birth Anniversary of Sri Lanka's Sage Yogaswami. After Guru Purnima, in late July, Gurudeva performed the final arati to a 20-inch-tall, gold-leafed, bronze statue of Yogaswami and sent it off on a tour tracing the diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils throughout the world. He instructed that no plans or schedules should be devised. Everything should unfold according to the inspiration of devotees along the way. In the past 17 years, the tour has traversed half the globe. Moving from Hawaii, through Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in Canada; then on to Maryland, New York and Los Angeles in the USA before crossing the Atlantic for Europe, spending most of the ensuing decade in Germany. Wonderful pujas and cultural events have greeted the statue of the sage at every stop. Last December, Yogaswami arrived in Colombo to visit groups of devotees across Sri Lanka. Today, on his 50th mahasamadhi, Yogaswami has found his way back to Jaffna.

The following excerpt from The Guru Chronicles presents a glimpse into Yogaswami's teachings:
Whenever people were unduly hard on themselves, undertaking disciplines that were too severe, Swami would stop them. "The body is a temple, the mind is a sanctum. You must keep them pure and clear. You need them to do your work. Do not destroy them or harm them." Turning to a devotee sitting at his feet, he said:

"As you walked into the room, it felt cool and fresh because you are on the path and have begun to feel the presence of the atma. Some people come and I feel hot, and there is no air in the room. That is because they are here to trick me and think they can cheat me out of something. You are searching and have no selfish motives. You come just to sit here. You can feel the same peace from me. That is why you come. It is good for people on the path to sit with one another.
More often than not I feel I am in the presence of God. You must treat that feeling you have of the presence of God as you would a little child. Nurture it. Give it everything it needs. If you see it as a child, you become helpless. You must obey its every wish and do exactly as it bids you. Just as a mother knows in every instance what to do for her child, knows the meaning of its cries and gives it what it needs, so does the Presence make itself felt to the devotee. You must carefully nurture the awareness of God that is growing within you. If you do, it will grow and grow, and without your knowing it, you will have disappeared and only That will be."

Click here to watch a wonderful video Interview about Yogaswami, with Dr. James George, who met Yogaswami on several occasions.

Happy Chaturthi!

Adoration to the Remover of Obstacles
Written by Auvaiyar Ma
Translated from Tamil by Tiru K. Swaminathan
(From Om Ganesa, the Peace of God)

O king, is there anything unattainable
To them who intensely contemplate
On the fragrant feet of the son
Of Ummaiyal, of sweet and comely speech?
The thunderous thud of the swift elephant
And that of the agile horse must give place
To that of the rider of this old dame!
He is none other than the mighty Mahāgaṇapati.
Cool, fragrant lotus feet
with anklets tinkling sweet,
gold girdle, flower-soft garment
setting off the comely hips,
pot-belly and big, heavy tusk,
elephant-face with the bright red mark,
five hands, the goad, the noose,
blue body dwelling in the heart,
pendulous jaws, four mighty shoulders,
three eyes and the three required marks,
two ears, the gold crown gleaming,
the breast aglow with the triple thread,
O Being, bright and beautiful!
Wish-yielding elephant, born of the
Master of Mystery in Mount Kailasa,
mouse-rider, fond of the three famed fruits,
desiring to make me yours this instant,
you like a mother have appeared before me
and cut the delusion of unending births.
You have come and entered my heart,
imprinting clear the five prime letters,
set foot in the world in the form of a guru, 
declared the final truth is this, gladly,
graciously shown the way of life unfading.
With that unfailing weapon, your glance,
you have put an end to my heinous sins,
poured in my ear uncloying precepts,
laid bare for me the clarity
of ever-fresh awareness,
sweetly given me your sweet grace
for firm control of the senses five,
taught how to still the organs of action;
snapped my two-fold karma and dispelled
my darkness, giving, out of grace,
a place for me in all four states;
dissolved the illusion of triple filth,
taught me how to shut the five
sense gates of the nine-door temple,
fixed me firm in the six yogic centers,
stilled my speech, taught me
the writ of ida and pingala, 
shown me at last the head of sushumna. 
To the tongue of the serpent that sinks and soars
you have brought the force sustaining the three
bright spheres of sun, moon and fire--
the mantra unspoken asleep in the snake--
and explicitly uttered it;
imparted the skill of raising by breath
the raging flame of muladhara; 
explained the secret of immortality,
the sun's movement and the charm
of the moon; the water lily's friend,
the sixteen states of the prasada mantra;
revealed to me in thoughtful wisdom
the six-faced form and the meanings four;
disclosed to me the subtle body
and the eight separate modes of being;
the orifice of Brahman opened,
giving me miraculous powers,
by your sweet grace, and mukti, too;
revealed my Self to me and by your grace
swept away accumulated karma, 
stilled my mind in tranquil calm
beyond speech and thought;
clarified my intellect, plunged me
in bliss which is the common ground
of light and darkness.
Boundless beatitude you have given me,
ended all affliction, shown the way of grace:
Siva eternal at the core of sound,
Sivalinga within the heart,
atom within atom, vast beyond all vastness,
sweetness hid in the hardened node.
You have steadied me clear in human form
all besmeared with holy ashes;
added me to the congregation
of your servants true and trusty;
made me experience in my heart
the inmost meaning of the five letters;
restored my real state to me;
and rule me now, O Master of Wisdom,
Vinayaka. Your feet alone,
O Master of Wisdom, Vinayaka,
your feet alone, are my sole refuge.

Building Iraivan Through Art, Artifacts and Publications

Today we explored some of the many beautiful artifacts which can be found inside the Monastery's Mini Mela. The little visitor center/gift shop has come a long way over the years, and is now at a high point in sales and support. Proceeds support two main projects: building Iraivan Temple and sustaining our extensive publications. Sadhaka Mayuranatha has been helping Shanmuganathaswami a great deal in managing the Mini Mela's inventory and helping to buy the shop's many beautiful and holy pieces of art, from skilled crafters in India. The Mini Mela is operated primarily by local island members, who all do a fantastic job helping throughout the morning visiting hours. We are all very grateful for their selfless and expert help.

Happy Chellappaswami Mahasamadhi!

Jai Chellappaswami!

Yogaswami explained that most people try to get you to love them by giving you something you like so you will pay more attention to them; you transfer some of your attachment from the thing you like to the person who gave it to you. He told disciples, "Chellappaguru, through subtle guile, pulled me to his side by taking everything away. He did not allow me to put on any show, nor to do any service, nor to know the future, nor to have any siddhis, nor to associate with other saints or sadhus. He did not even allow me to wonder."

Chellappaswami spoke cryptically, in a language that had to be deciphered. Yogaswami himself recorded some of his gems:
"Intrinsic evil there is not," and "Absolute is Truth which none can ever comprehend"--so saying, he would remain mute. "It is what it is, and there is none who can know fully, as it is concealed in dissimulation"--so uttered the lofty Chellappan, clad in ragged clothes, and haunting Kandan's frontal courtyard. At those who frequent that resort, he will hurl abuse, my fond one.
"That is so from endless beginning," he would say and wander hither and thither. "It's all illusive phenomena," he muttered, "Who knows?" and "It was all settled long ago" and went about the outer courtyards of Nallur Temple and sat in the dirt, saying that all that dirt would frighten away the people who came to fall at his feet. I don't think anyone ever got from him an answer to a question. I merely stood and waited behind him for the occasional gem that fell out of all the mad talk.

Mrs. Inthumathy (Amma) Navaratnarajah shares this image of Chellappaswami and thoughtful insights into his guise of lunacy in her manuscript Yogaswami, Life and Teachings.
The great personage Chellappar sat on the chariot house step every day. Yet no divinity was visible on the dark-complexioned sadhu who sat with a vacant look on his face. Coarseness was the only visible sign. Even during festival times when the crowd was so dense that a ray of light would not pass through, he would sit on the step, his face shining, laughing to himself. Sometimes he would lie on the step, looking at decriers. Sometimes he would berate with belittling words those who were wandering about aimlessly. They would in turn abuse him, call him a lunatic and go away. He would not bother about this abuse and would continue to harangue them, taunting them to oppose him.
Sometimes he would stand in Lord Skanda's presence, before the sanctum, wearing rags, and scold in foul language those coming and going. At times he would wander to Tirunelveli, Columbuthurai and other places. People seeing him wander around would ridicule him as insane. He would stand begging before houses, accepting whatever was given. On some days he cooked rice and a curry. He did not sleep much. After midnight, using his hands as a pillow, he could be seen sleeping on the ground.
His versatility with his hands in weaving palmyra and coconut leaves into various objects of art was the only factor that showed that he was not mad. But is this one factor alone enough for the crazy world to realize his sanity?
Chellappaswami lived exhibiting the qualities of a madman and a great sage immersed in spiritual meditation. Those who were deluded by him considered him a madman. Those thirsting for spiritual knowledge saw him in his true colors--a man of deep knowledge. Siva Yogaswami saw him as the royal sage, who in the form of a guru redeemed and saved him. "At the teradi, I saw him, the crescent jewel of grace. He made me his own and showed me the way of bliss."
With these baffling disguises Chellappa wandered alone, hiding his real nature; so that no one realized his true self. Even scholars who were well-versed in Vedanta and Siddhanta, even those who had a long-standing friendship with him could not realize his true inner nature. Chellappa acted well the role of a lunatic he had taken on himself. Yogaswami once noted, "For forty years he acted the role he took without anyone suspecting, and went away."

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