Bengaluru Worksite

The Rajasankar family came out to greet us as we arrived in Bengaluru, welcoming us with loving smiles and flowers. Off to their home which is the headquarters for Iraivan carving here in India. After an arati by Yoginathaswami, we feasted on real food, which is ontologically different from hotel food.

At the site stones are everywhere, mountains of stones, rows of stones, stacks of stones. A long tour ensues, and some of the photos are in the slideshow.

Outing to Kokee

Over the three day retreat, Senthilnathaswami and Nilakanthanatha took our three taskforcers Adi, Vel and Roshan, and our upakurvana, Sivarathna, on an outing to the other side of Kauai. While the east side of the island is lush and green, the west side is much dryer. The group traveled to the town of Waimea, where they took the road up the mountain to see Waimea Canyon. They enjoyed lunch together in Kokee park, visited the Kalalau lookout--which was unfortunately cloudy--and then went for a hike through the mountain forests.

Worksite & the Mutt

We began or first morning in Bengaluru with a meeting with long-time journalist R. Kesava Mallia who has written for Hinduism Today since 2002. It was only our second meeting in all those years, and much was discussed about articles for the future. He is a life-coach for major Indian institutions, and a Vedanta teacher as well.

One of our primary tasks here in India is to visit the Iraivan carving site and work with Jiva our manager, Selvanathan, our master builder, and the silpis. Several hours were spent on the projects, which include our Perimeter Wall (the most time-consuming part of Iraivan still to do), and smaller works.

Details were discussed about the panels that will display scripture, the history of the temple and Gurudeva quotes and insights. This is a happening place, with remarkable talent. It is, we are told, the one place in all of India where the highest quality granite carvings are found.

After a seven-course lunch prepared by Kanmani, Swapna and Nisha, we were off to Chunchunagiri Mutt, amazed by the fine roads here in Karnataka, as good or better than California's small highways.

The new head of the mutt is Shree Swami Nirlalanandanatha, successor to Balaganganathaswami who was so close to Gurudeva and such an essential supporter of Iravan.

We were not prepared for the magical evening that unfolded. Turned out (we were not aware) this was Purnima, and on this full-moon night each month Swami does a Siva Puja and Homa and then leads a massive procession around the mountain, fully four kilometers. Most go on foot, but we were invited to sit in Swami's seven-steed silver chariot. Drums and nagaswarams played all the way, boys danced furiously and all enjoyed darshan of their Satguru. We were taken to the Bhairava Temple (Bodhinatha and I were here for the Kumbhabshikam years back), and had sweet moments with Swami afterwards in his private quarters. We took note that the silver throne we had made for Balaganganathaswami in Nepal was his favorite chair.

Swami is the leader of one of the nation's most important maths, and one can see by all of the construction underway here that he is dynamically building the institution. A residential school for an additional 5,000 students (free to the poor) was just being painted and readied for the next semester.

Quite an adventure for Yoginathaswami and I, both a bit overwhelmed by it all.

November 8th Homa

Following three days of retreat, the monks began the new phase this morning with the usual havana in Kadavul Temple. This phase will be six days long, with Ardra Abhishekam taking place on Sun 2 and a tour day on Sun 5.

"God is with you all the time. There is no work to be done. Move in conformity with changes within your environment. Be steadfast in truth. Natural forces are countless. Be you, your own self, while at the same time recognizing all these. That is wisdom. We do not do anything. Everything happens of its own accord." Siva Yogaswami

Off to New Delhi

Yoginathaswami and I leave the Rajasthan cow ashram at dawn on November 2, picking up Palak and our photographer Arun Mishra on our way. Four hours to the Ahmenabad airport and then a flight to the capital.

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

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