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What Happened Today at the Monastery?

We begin a short 4-day phase with a bright Sun One Homa. Bodhinatha gave the State of the Church, 2008 address this morning. This will be available to you in a day or so.

What Happened Today at the Monastery?

The Church’s teaching outreach and Internet developments were a significant part of his report.

Sadhaka Satyanatha mans the recording station.

Visiting the Chocolate Farmer

Yesterday on the second retreat day a group of the monks along with the silpis when to visit chocolate farmers Tony and Will Lydgate.

Tony was a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge on the chocolate tree, and the growing and processing of the bitter magical seed within its fruit. Here he shows trees growing in their shade house, which also protects the trees from wind.

The monks are planning to plant some trees and see if we can get some of our own chocolate.

Tony writes: “Will and I enjoyed your group’s visit yesterday. Such a pleasure for us to share the company of cultured and dedicated people with a mature spiritual focus: a rare breed on Kauai these days.” The silpis came along for the beginning of the tour, but as they are not really fans of chocolate, skipped the tasting session in favor of their regular outing activities.

Tour Day

It was a quiet tour day… only 30 guests in the 9 am tour.

This little girl tries carving granite with her mom’s help to hold the heavy hammer.

Dakshinamurthi statue…

And silent sages who receive the teaching of the Vedas

…which were breathed out in silence by the South-Facing Lord of the Universe….

Heard within as the mantras….

The lion pillar

with the ball in his mouth.

The completed west side sun shade course

Bodhinatha Goes to South Africa

As promised, Sadhaka Harananandinatha brings us a retrospective of Bodhinatha’s travels. Here he is arriving in South Africa.

Bodhinatha was greeted on arrival at his Johannesburg hotel by the Raj Appadu family.

Originally from Mauritius and now living in Pretoria. He and his wife and his parents have brought their month-old baby Tashri for Bodhinatha’s blessings.

Friday evening in Johannesburg. Bodhinatha has been invited to speak at Gurudev Balram’s Bodhgaya Shanti Sanctuary halfway between Joburg and Pretoria. He arrives just after sunset at their peaceful ashram. Balram’s group is involved in personal worship, sadhana and community service.

Gurudev Balram has brought in from India large statues of Hindu deities to be placed in a peaceful two-acre garden setting surrounding the ashram building.

Welcoming arati at the entrance by resident brahmacharini. Some of them had visited Kauai Aadheenam one year earlier with their Gurudev.

Brahmachari Kuvern gives a welcome garland.

Bodhinatha’s seated next to the altar in their newly constructed Yoga Studio which occupies the top floor of the building. A small homa will be performed before Bodhinatha speaks.The residents of the ashram have spent the past year getting the studio ready for classes. It’s really a showpiece of fine craftsmanship.

Bodhinatha watches the homa. We were told that Bodhinatha is actually giving the inaugural talk here in the Yoga Room. Bodhinatha looks forward to visiting again in the near future to see the progress on their meditation garden project.

Homa fire

Next day is an early morning flight from Johannesburg to Durban. Swami Yoga Nanda, head of the Saiva Sithantha Sungum, welcomes Bodhinatha at the Durban Airport. (We’ll tell more about the Sungum in days to come)

Most of the one million Indian South Africans live in KwaZulu-Natal province, particularly in Durban and surrounding areas.

Shren and Misha (center), who were with Bodhinatha on the India Innersearch pilgrimage earlier this year, look on.

Swami Yoga Nanda’s driving through the city streets toward the Umgeni Road Siva temple. A quick stop to see the Chitrai kavadi procession was scheduled for us on the way to the hotel.

Entrance to the temple. Festival crowd is relaxing on the temple grounds.

Since our plane was delayed we have missed the kavadi procession. You can see that there were many people carrying these kavadis this year.

The official name is Shri Vaithianatha Easvarar Temple. Occupying three acres of land near the city center, this is one of the largest and oldest temple complexes in South Africa. Founded in the 1880’s. It’s also one of the most prominent temples in the country.

Durban harbor and cityscape.

View of Durban’s beach promenade to the north of city center.

Late afternoon visit to the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa. This remarkable ashram was founded in 1959 by the South African born Swami Nischalananda (1925 – 1965) on a fourteen-acre property in Glen Anil, Durban.

Bodhinatha is escorted into the Ramakrishna Temple for darshan.

The beautiful altar in the temple.

Swami Vimokshananda, spiritual head of this centre, garlands Bodhinatha.

The Ashram Complex consists of the Sri Ramakrishna Temple, Adminstration block, Library, Bookshop, Ramakrishna Clinic of South Africa, I.T. Room, Lecture Room, Swami Nischalanda Hall, Monks quarters, Living quarters and Anna Purna Kitchen.

See their website to read about the wonderful spiritual, educational, medical and welfare projects performed for the community. A large percentage of the more than 1 million Indians in South Africa live within 200 miles of Durban.

Bodhinatha’s been asked to give a talk at the afternoon service.

The Centre has 6 Sub-centres and 8 Satsang Groups in KwaZulu Natal state and one sub-centre near Johannesburg.

Exchanging literature before our way-too-short visit comes to an end.

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

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