The Great Banyan Tree

An artist visited the monastery a few months back and went home inspired by the giant banyan at the entry. So she rendered her inspiration in this work of art. Thanks to you, M'mhawa Tamara

"I visited your Monastery a few months ago, and spent time with your Banyan. I came home and worked on a project, and I wanted to share the painting with you. I attached it."

June 15th Homa

This morning marks the beginning of the monastery's new phase. The monks just ended their three-day full moon retreat. This phase is only four days. Sun two is our monthly Ashram Sadhana Day, when the monks team up to clean the monastery. Gurudeva always said that if ever creative energy was obstructed, one of the first things to do is to clean your environment to create an uplifting and actinic space.

With the full moon and the recent celebration of Vaikasi Visakham, today's homa was very powerful. Bodhinatha gave a wonderful talk afterwards, elucidating verses in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and clarifying Gurudeva's Twentieth Aphorism from Cognizantability:

The seed of desire is a false concept in relation to corresponding objects. The conscious mind throws into its subconscious a series of erroneous thoughts based upon a false concept. This creates a deep-rooted desire or complex. Single out the seed of desire by disregarding all other corresponding erroneous thoughts. Then destroy that seed through understanding its relation in itself and to all other corresponding thoughts. The deep-rooted desire or complex will then vanish.

All your conflicts in life are caused in this way. In tracing each major conflict back through the power of concentration, of which we shall learn more later, all seeds are gradually and systematically destroyed, giving you an intense release and a burst of light from within. ¶Get off to a good start now and congratulate yourself on the fact that you have at last found the key to remove all your suppressions, repressions, unqualified feelings and unfulfilled desires through the application of right thought. Concentration digs up the seed in this manner and brings it before the mind as a fact, not as an elusive remnant of fiction. ¶Call upon your inner intelligence to help you and guide your unfoldment from within. Show to your own mind the seed of desire, which may be far divorced from the desire itself. It may be so far removed you will wonder how it was ever connected and was able to create the desire in the first place. In this wondering, you begin the birth pains of understanding, and when the birth is complete through qualified thinking, the seed will vanish, and the desire will resolve itself into the halls of memory. ¶Your major desires should be qualified first; then you can tackle the subtle ones. This law can be a tremendous help to you on your path of enlightenment, for the world is a place in which we learn. Therefore, all things of which we lack understanding represent a challenge to us, to qualify and resolve in our own consciousness.

New Sannyasin, Kaivalyanathaswami,
Initiated by Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Yesterday was the auspicious day of Vaikasi Vishakam. It is one of the most holy days of the year, especially dedicated to Lord Muruga and spiritual initiations.

After over 45 years of exemplary selfless service to the Kailasa Paramaparai, having reached beyond the age of 72, and after having been a Yogi Tapasvin for the last six years, Yogi Jothinatha was reborn as Kaivalyanathaswami. Bodhinatha gave him Sannyas diksha early in the morning yesterday in a traditional ceremony with only the swamis present. The auspicious day finished with a very powerful Vaikasi Vishakam Muruga abhishekam and puja in the evening.

We quote here from the inspiring text of the Holy Orders of Sannyas (click to read on line)

SCRIPTURES PROCLAIM that candidates for sannyas must be of a sattvic nature and possess a natural purity. They must be one-pointed and tranquil. Sankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination states: "He alone may be considered qualified to seek the Absolute who has discrimination, whose mind is turned away from all enjoyments, who possesses tranquility and the kindred virtues, and who feels a longing for liberation... Longing for liberation is the will to be free from the fetters forged by ignorance--beginning with the ego-sense and so on, down to the physical body itself--through the realization of one's true nature... Be devoted to Brahman and you will be able to control your senses. Control your senses and you will gain mastery over your mind. Master your mind and the sense of ego will be dissolved. In this manner, the yogi achieves an unbroken realization of the joy of Brahman. Therefore, let the seeker strive to give his heart to Brahman... The fruit of dispassion is illumination. The fruit of illumination is the stilling of desire. The fruit of stilled desire is experience of the bliss of the Atman, whence flows all peace."

Candidates must have reached their twenty-fourth year and have begun their training for sannyas before age twenty-five, or have entered the sannyas ashram after age seventy-two.

Together he and the satguru symbolically conduct his antyesti samskara, the ritual funeral rites, to betoken the death of the personal self and the birth of the spiritual being. He places the remnants of personal identity, hair, clothing, pulnool or sacred thread and all desires for wealth, progeny and fame into the homa fire, beseeching the permission of Lord Ganesha and heeding the path of Lord Muruga, vowing aloud his renunciation thus: "All that I have and all that I am I now give unto my God, my Gods and my guru. I have no family except the Divine Father Siva and Mother Sakti who dwell in Kailas and on Earth the sangam of Saivite devotees. I have no home except the stillness of Being. I have no possessions except my faith and dedication. I have no desires except my desire to serve and to realize God." The candidate then says aloud three times, "I, wishing for mukti, take refuge in this sacred Order and in God Siva, who created the world, who breathed out the Vedas. The purpose of my life is to cultivate dispassion, to become pure, to attain union with God Siva and be immersed in Divine Love. I do fully and of my own volition accept these Holy Orders of Sannyas, now and for the remainder of my life, and bind myself in the fulfillment thereof to the ancient Order of sannyas, to my satguru, to my Saivite Hindu faith and to the devas, the Mahadevas and Lord Siva Himself. I am the Atman, the non-dual Parasiva, pure and free."

So saying, the renunciate walks unclad seven steps around the homa fire, returning to kneel at the guru's feet. He is thereafter dead to the world. The satguru then whispers the Panchakshara Mantra in the candidate's right ear three times, along with personal instructions for meditation.

Kaivalyanathaswami took his three vows of sannyas: Renunciation, Purity, ObedienceAnd we read aloud Yogaswami's from Natchintanai:

Hail, O sannyasin, love's embodiment!
Does any power exist apart from love?
Diffuse thyself throughout the happy world.
Let painful maya cease and ne'er return!
Day and night give praise unto the Lord.
Pour forth a stream of songs
To melt the very stones.
Attain the sight where night is not nor day.
See Siva everywhere, and rest in bliss.
Live without interest in worldly gain.
Here, as thou hast ever been, remain.
Then never will cruel sorrow venture nigh.

Another Recent Tour Group

"God Siva's veiling grace hides Siva as He dresses in many costumes. He is a dancer, you know, and dancers wear many costumes. He will come as a guest to your home, unrecognizable. You might think it is your dear friend from a far-off place. That, too, is Siva in another costume, and you must treat that guest as Siva. Giving to Siva Siva's own creation in your mind brings the highest rewards through the law of karma."  Gurudeva

We had another tour day recently, just days after the previous one. This happy group expressed their joy at having been able to visit and see the monastery's many simple wonders.
The above photos are both panoramas, so make sure to pan left and right.

Kashi Gets a New Home

Kashi, our new calf, is now 28 days old and ready for an upgraded calf pen. Having passed the critical stages of development with flying colors, he's now ready to explore the wonders of eating grass.

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

September 2014
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