Our first stop in Chennai was the Sanskrit College. Here we meet with the head scholar. This college was founded over a hundred years ago and is one of the premier Sanskrit institutions in South India.
There are classes in the various Vedanta philosophies, jyotisha, language and more.
Class in Sanskrit literature.
The astrology of the day.
Another language class.
All the students pray in this shrine at 8:30 each day, and take turns performing the rituals.
Dr. Deviprasad, the principal, presents Bodhinatha with a gift. Shanmugam Sivachariyar accompanied us to the college, where he also studied.
Group portrait in the shrine room.
The is the Kuppaswami Shastri Institute housed in the same building as the Sanskrit College. Bodhinatha is seen with the staff and visiting researchers.
The Institute has a collection of some 1800 palm leaf manuscripts kept in an air-conditioned room.
One of the smaller sets. The Institute also has a library of tens of thousands of books.
Visiting the Ramakrishna Mission’s Universal Temple in Chennai.
We had a lively meeting with the head of the ashram and the editors of their magazines, including Vedanta Kesari.
Like Bangalore, they had a large bookstore. This center is responsible for most of their publications in English, hundreds of titles.
We visit nearby Kapalishwara temple, the famed Siva temple.
At noon, Sri Pitchai Gurukkal arrives to see Bodhinatha. He flew specially from Madurai that morning to see Satguru. We informed Gurukkal of our interest in the Saiva Agamas, in producing English and Tamil versions of the Yoga and Jnana sections. He offered his help in any way needed.
The afternoon was spent in a series of meetings with devotees and others. Here is Gunalan, his wife and family. His wife is interested in teaching Positive Discipline to parents of children at the school her children attend.
Their two girls sing for Bodhinatha.
Meeting with Manivel and his clan. Manivel does a great deal of art for the Aadheenam.
He shows the nearly finished painting of Iraivan. This one is much closer to the actual temple than earlier paintings made during conceptual stages.
Pethuraja and his family meet Bodhinatha after a meeting of the San Marga Trust trustees, of which he is one.
Meeting with Tiru Naguleshawara Gurukkal, priest of Keeramalai Temple in Sri Lanka. He remembered Gurudeva’s visit there in 1983. Today, he says, the temple lies in a high security zone near a Sri Lanka government military base. The army, air force, navy and police forces regularly visit the temple for worship, a demonstration of how the Buddhist Singalese respect the Hindu temples.
Sheela Venkatakrishnan meets with Bodhinatha. Her driver, at left, asked to meet Bodhinatha as well. Many blessings!
Treat the guest as God; the guest's heart is more sensitive than the most sensitive flower. If we generously give to others, we will attract more wealth in this and future lives. Siva's followers serve holy men, honor elders, help each others families and grow together in Godliness. Giving to a temple builds punyam; you are helping the temple help humanity. "Charities merit cannot be measured by gifts given, it is measured by measuring the receiver's merit."
We need to perfect Ishvarapujana, personal worship, before we can expect to do really well in meditation. "The idea of Ishvarapujana, worship, is to always be living with God, living in Siva in God's house..." Learn the spirit of the puja, learn the spirit of devotion, get deeply into worship in the home. During puja, we're giving prana and devotional energy to the Deity; we receive blessings in return. God isn't living in your house, it's God's house and you are living in it.
The three stripes of vibhuti across the forehead signify trying to purify ourselves from the influence of anava, karma and maya. There are two ways we're attached to the world, that which gives us pleasure and pain. We're slowly changing our karma over a period of many lifetimes through wise action in the present. With humble action we work on lessening the ego-sense rather than enhancing it.