Jai to our beloved Gurudeva!
Last night, during the chitra nakshatra, we observed our monthly pada puja to Gurudeva. Sadhaka Mayuranatha and Natyam Nandinatha performed the silent, contemplative puja which permeated the temple with Gurudeva's infinite and loving presence.
Click To Play Gurudeva's Audio Talk
The Stewards and Staff of Hindu Heritage Endowment met this weekend for their 2nd quarterly meeting. Sadhaka Mayuranatha, which serves in the Finance and Administrative Kulam, was invited as a guest to learn more about the inner workings of the endowment as well as a broader overview of the endowment's religious mission.
The mission of Hindu Heritage Endowment (HHE), which is strictly religious and nonpolitical, is to strengthen Hindu religious and cultural traditions throughout the world by providing Hindu institutions with a permanent and growing source of income in order to assure their financial stability and further their diverse programs.
Visit the HHE website at www.hheonline.org
Saturday is the main festival event. About one thousand devotees attend many of whom drive down from New York/New Jersey. It began around 9:30 with a procession around the temple with about ten of the men carrying kavadi with a spear through the checks and hundreds carrying milk. Lots of dancing by the kavadi carriers. Next was an elaborate Murugan Abhishekam in which the milk everyone carried was offered. When the curtain closed Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gave his talk which had a Tamil transaltion. After yopam pushpam there was elaborate Veda chanting, Devaram singing and nathaswaram and thavil playing before the final arati. Interesting to note that the from the current opening for the alankara to the end of the abhishekam the electric lights in the sanctum are turned off and light is provided by five oil lamps--the same as Iraivan will be.
Next the parade deity was taken out and installed on top of the chariot. It is pulled around the temple with two large ropes. There were eight tables at which the chariot stopped and a short archana was done. The first six were for the six Murugan pilgrimage temples, seventh was for Batu Caves and eighth (with a new large poster we sent them) was for Iraivan. The chariot stops and each temple gives an offering tray. Archana is done and most of the tray's contents returned. Manyof the devotees do kadadi dances while the chariot is stopped.
Chudika Mahadevan works on restoring a cow destined for the Mini Mela.
These are photos of Yogaswami and of his hermitage in Jaffna where he stayed towards the end of his life as he was recovering from a broken hip.
From The Guru Chronicles:
"We Learned Silence in His Presence"
In June of 1961, after three months in Jaffna General Hospital, Swami returned to Columbuthurai and moved into his new hermitage. People took turns caring for him. There was always someone on duty to look after Swami's needs, and Dr. Rajakaruna visited the ashram every morning to do physical therapy for Swami. In spite of this, he never regained the ability to walk.
As his strength returned, Swami would take excursions in his wheelchair. He was often sighted kilometers from his hermitage in his chair, pushed by Sivayogeswaran, nephew of Mr. Tirunavukarasu. He also moved about freely by car in the mornings. At noon, he would have lunch and then take a nap until 4pm. In the evenings he received devotees in the ashram.
A special activity each weekend was driving to the beach. He especially loved to visit the seaside in those days; it seemed to give him physical solace. A. Thillyampalam and his teenage son T. Sivayogapathy would arrive in their Rover with their driver at 4:30pm. The son's duty was to sponge Swami's body, dress him for the outing and ever-so-slowly move him into the wheelchair for the short ride to the road.
Swami sat in the front seat with the driver as they drove to the beach. Once there, they parked the car, with doors wide open and the skylight pulled back, so he could enjoy the sea breeze. From the seaside, Swami and his hosts proceeded to Sivathondan Nilayam, where, from the car, he would call Chellathurai over for a short talk.
Typically they proceeded to Nallur Temple. Parked at a distance in front of the teradi, Swami sang Sivapuranam and worshiped. Money, coconuts and camphor were sent inside the temple in a basket so that a special puja could be performed invoking the blessings of the Deity.
As sadhus and others invariably approached, Swami personally handed a plantain to each one, while, on the other side of the car, Thillyampalam reached into his coin purse, carefully prepared for just this moment, and gave each one a coin, ten or fifty rupees--a generous sum, as in those days an ample meal could be purchased with a single rupee. This remained the pattern until January of 1964.
People were no longer afraid of the once-fearsome sage, and many who had not dared approach him earlier now came. Often he sent them to the Sivathondan Nilayam.
Increasingly, efforts were made to ensure Swami's comfort. His legs were swollen with excess fluid, and it helped if someone rubbed them. He allowed only a few men to massage his legs, and they considered it such a blessing that they would have massaged forever if he had not sensed their fatigue and asked them to stop.
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