Nirvani Adinatha has just completed a major side-project that he worked on here and there on his days off from normal duties. Nirvani is an excellent carpenter and can methodically build structures from scratch with relative ease. Let's walk through the installation of our new redwood meditation hut.
Today was Ashram Sadhana day in the Aadheenam. Consequently, many areas and many items were cleaned by the monks, including Lord Muruga in the form of Shanmukha beneath our large banyan tree on Thiruneri. Task forcers Dean and Kodiswara teamed up and gave Him a good cleaning and oiling. This murti is about nine feet (2m 75cm) tall, so it was quite a job on their part.
After months of toiling and research, Acharya Arumuganathaswami was ready to test out his recently-crafted barrell washer. Our method of cleaning the freshly harvested fruit heretofore was entirely manual. While effective, it isn't entirely the most efficient. Automating some of that process will aid in the overall production.
The Nataraja temple in Chidambaram is exceedingly close to our monks and members. And it should be, being the Center of the Universe. We never expected the great dikshitar lineage of priests from that temple to visit Kauai, but that is exactly what happened this week. Father and son dikshitars are on the island for an eight-day symposium on puja, homa and mantras. They are teaching daily in Hanalei at a yoga studio.
They have been all over America, raising consciousness and also raising funds for their padasala in Tamil Nadu. Their Ratna Charitable Trust runs the Veda priest school in rented facilities, and they are seeking help to build a permanent place where the old traditions can be passed on to the next generation.
The father is Siva Rajasikamani Deekshithar and the son is Shanmuganandha Deekshithar. During their visit monks felt as though long lost brothers had returned.
Their hosts brought them to the Siva Puja yesterday and they were able to tour Iraivan and the sacred gardens with Sadasivanathaswami.
Gurudeva would count it as nearly miraculous that yoga students on this little is are learning puja and mantras from the dikshitars themselves. Gurudeva and Bodhinatha have a long history of connection at Chidambaram, and the two temples are powerfully connected. More so now. At the end of this slideshow are some photos from days gone by in Chidambaram.
As they departed they smiled and said they plan to come each year now and teach on the other islands too. We hope that is possible.
Today is the beginning of the Jivana Ritau. This is the first phase after the monk's two-week Sadhu Paksha retreat. Following this morning's havana in Kadavul Temple, everyone paraded to the flagpole to raise the colors of the new Season.
About this Ritau:
Gurudeva describes this season as a natural time for work, that it is a physical time, a time of exercise and exertion in the physical world, a magnetic time for action and willpower.
The focus is on preserving what has been created, manifesting goals and fulfilling plans made in the past, finishing jobs already started.
It is a natural time for caring for the practical details of the external world including the environment.
There are a number of special sadhanas for the Jivana Ritau.
The main study is the Nandinatha Sutras both at home and at the Mission Satsang. Specifically go through the sutras as well as review your daily sadhanas looking for the ones that have been neglected or totally ignored. Strive to make improvements in those areas. Bring up to date all vratas and sadhanas in which you have gotten behind.
The Jivana Ritau is the season we emphasize culture. Thus it is a time for putting more emphasis on teaching the traditional 64 kalas to children, for learning new Natchintanai songs of Satguru Yogaswami and for improving our Sanskrit puja chants.
It is also the time for honoring those in the vanaprastha asrama including asking them to share their wisdom.
Beginning with Hindu New Year in mid-April, three seasons of the year divide our activities into three great needs of humankind--the learning of scripture in the first season, Nartana Ritau; the living of culture in the second season, Jivana Ritau; and the meditating on Siva in the third season, Moksha Ritau. Thus we are constantly reminded that our life is Siva's life and our path to Him is through study, sadhana and realization. In ritau one, we teach the philosophy; in ritau two, we teach the culture; and in ritau three, we teach meditation.
117 The Second Season: Jivana Ritau
During Jivana Ritau, the rainy season, from mid-August to mid-December, Living with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Culture is the primary text. The key word of this season is work. The colors are rust, copper-maroon and all shades of red--rust for earthy preservation, copper-maroon for fulfillment and red for physical energy. The Aadheenam's 60-foot flag pole flies the rust-colored dhvaja, symbolizing environmental care. Copper-maroon and all shades of red adorn our smaller flags. This is the season of honoring and showing appreciation for those in the vanaprastha ashrama, life's elder advisor stage. The focus is on preserving what has been created, manifesting goals and fulfilling plans made in the past. Inwardly the emphasis is on direct cognition and caring for the practical details of the external world. Practicality is a word much used this season. In the monasteries and the missions, there is a big push on studying the sutras of Living with Siva and the Saiva Dharma Shastras. The format of the mission satsanga changes into one that in fact helps everyone live and breathe with Lord Siva through personal adjustment to the aphorisms of Living with Siva, which define tradition, culture and protocol. Gurukulams are established or renewed to teach the 64 kalas for boys and girls. All work hard to perfect and strengthen Saivite culture in the life of each member. Kulamatas, grihinis and their daughters should think ahead and make plans to send talented children to dancing, singing and art schools for special courses, and ponder ways to make this possible through scholarships and special funds. It is a time of building and repairing and caring for what has been built, planted or created in any realm of life. It is a physical time, of exercise and exertion in the Bhuloka, a magnetic time for action and willpower, of finishing all jobs started since the first ritau.
Aum Namah Sivaya.
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