On September 30th an Appreciation Luncheon was held on the campus of the University of Victoria in Canada. Here in the capital of British Columbia we celebrated decades of support at a gathering hosted by the Pillay family who lives here. Sadasivanathaswami called each family forward and shared a few stories and examples of their Sivathondu. There were testimonials and tears and lots of love in the room. Each one present felt they were undeserving, that it was just part of their life to do these things. But then that is how the generous of heart always feel. Paramacharya made it clear that though we were honoring a few, there were far more around the world that deserved to be in the room. He mentioned that we are all fulfilling Gurudeva's visions and projects under Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's amazing oversight.
As Gurudeva loved to say, "Just a little bit of kindness is so easy to express. Just a little bit of kindness heals the mind. And in this day and age, when so many are frustrated, troubled and need a little bit of help, appreciation and encouragement, your kindness can help. The kindness that you express in what you do is healing unto you, too. So, see yourself as a being that always expresses kindness."
The traveling monks attended a homa put on by the Pillay family of Victoria, B.C., Canada. The officiating priest was Chandrasekara Gurukkal, originally from Vellore and now in Toronto, who was at the monastery ten years ago. He and Kandasamy Gurukkal performed the mahasamadhi rites for Gurudeva in Kadavul temple, and also the namakarana samskara for Yogi Rajanatha! That post is here.
After the homa we had the pleasure of being part of a small concert. Performing was the world renowned flutist Shashank Subramanyam.
After having several of these fascinating cactus plants in the aadheenam gardens for more than a few years, we've finally had one of them fruit. Just recently our monks found this bulky dragon fruit on one of these unique climbing cacti. And it was TASTY! This, usually subtle, airy-sweet fruit was full of tasty natural sugars which several monks were able to enjoy. We hope to see more of these colorful treats next time the plant fruits.
The last stop in Colorado was to visit the quiet and scenic Shambala Retreat Center, some 9,000 feet high into the Rocky Mountains. This 600-acre facility is home to pine and aspen forests, providing a safe and supportive container for the teaching of paths of personal health, deepened awareness and transformation. There are approximately 50 people on staff living on site and keeping up with daily chores such as cooking, ground maintenance, construction and cleaning.
The center has over 150 programs per year and welcomes all people with inspiration, interest and curiosity about understanding the nature of self and society. Please visit links that currently don't work inside the captions:
Cache la Poudre river