Over the past few weeks the Siddhidata Kulam has been working to create forms for the twelve new garden beds which are being added to the monastery's vegetable garden. The wooden forms are almost finished, which will allow for one big cement pour. Making it all happen in just one pour will allow a truck load to be ordered, saving the kulam countless hours of hand-mixing cement. Once the beds are finished, they'll have the potential of increasing the garden's production by roughly 20% or 30%.
In a magical and mystical intersection of events, Gurudeva's wooden sculpture ended a 3-month journey from India yesterday, arriving at the monastery on Yogaswami's 50th Mahasamadhi anniversary. What are the chances?
Actually, two wooden masterpieces arrived. Their story begins about two years ago, when Bhani Karthigesu of Singapore heard about the renovation of the Media Studio and offered to have some wooden work done for it. That evolved into having Ganapati and Gurudeva carved in north India in the traditionally style. There were delays when the craftsman's family fell ill, but those delays were required to make today happen so magically.
These sculptures will adorn the entry cave of the Media Studio, the first thing visitors will encounter upon entering, Ganesha on the left wall and Gurudeva on the right, gracing the visitor's arrival.
The monks instructed the artist to carve Ganesha in His pose of writing the sacred texts. After all, this is the building from which all of the monastery's writings, books and magazine and art, have taken birth, and it will be the space where that continues for another 1000 years as the monks fulfill Gurudeva's commission and command.
The art on these two wooden sculptures is remarkably detailed, and several monks have commented that the Ganesha especially may well be the best ever seen of this form of sacred art. Thank you, Bhani, and all who have helped with this marvelous project. Not too many days now before the floor will be installed and the monks will move back into the new space.
"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.
Jiva writes to us from the carving site in Bangaluru:
We are almost near perfecting the face of Gurudeva. We have reduced the original hair with the Rudraksha Malas by over 5 inches. We are comparing the face to the face sculpted by a Holly Young and refining it.
I've been spending a lot of time to get the special features in Gurudeva's nose right, along with his cheeks. Please burn some prayers in the homa fire since we are working on these two very important works and need a lot of blessings from the inner worlds.
The photos are a little blury because of the granite dust floating around by others using the machines.
The granite model of Bodhinatha arrived a couple of days ago. As usual, the initial carvers only bring it about half way to perfection. We have started working on it and will ensure that anyone who sees the model will know for sure who He is. Very detailed measurements are taken and transferred the same to the granite model and then we begin the long process of bringing forth the artistic talent, so that at the end of the day, we have Bodhinatha with us. I am personally spending hours with the carvers working on every detail. -Jiva.
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