April 2014 HHE Newsletter via Hindu Heritage Endowment News tinyurl.com/ptjsrcg
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.
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."
For the next two weeks, the monks of Kauai Aadheenam will be observing Sadhu Paksha. A time of retreat when the mathavasis break their normal, morning temple and meditation routines, to wonder through the sacred gardens in the early morning hours. In the morning quiet, they find a serene place in nature, a rock by the river, the top of a hill, or perhaps under a sacred tree. The gardens invite the monks to go within, amongst the peace of the flowing waters, the flutter of the windy leafs and the beauty of the early-morning bird songs. Coming out of mediation their eyes open to the warm light of the rising sun. Here are but a few of the sights that this time of year brings to the monastery's sacred gardens. Whatever you see, see as Śiva and do not be distressed, O mind! Those who are free from agitation and who the senses five control will surely win the bliss of Śiva. The path prescribed by your religion you should always tread, and live in changeless, silent contemplation. Whatever you see, see as Śiva. Siva Yogaswami
Today, the Media Studio's wallpaper is being installed. The artwork, originally created by S. Rajam, has been printed into giant murals by ARC Pacific on Oahu. The artwork is being put up by two skilled installers, Lyle and Mark. Most of the mural art will have wooden wainscoting installed beneath it, with a large redwood piece of trim above. Many other parts of the project are nearing completion as well. The finish stonework is moving along quickly, the vents and screens are being created put in place, the window shades have been installed, the exterior lighting is being completed and the rolls of vinyl flooring have arrived, ready to be installed in the coming week.
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