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What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Here is Bodhinatha in Baltimore at the installation of the Murugan Deity there.

At home the Ganapati Kulam gave their report today. Many projects are in the works. Paramacharya Palaniswami has been working on creating a quarterly video for Hinduism Today. Acharya Kumarswami is working on a new version of the book “Loving Ganesha” Arumugaswami is deep into the study and research of Indian History. Sivakatirswami has been working on his Hinduism Today pages and a variety of web projects. Senthilnathaswami is focused on the upgrade of our video production tools and the new Hinduism Today web site design. And Sadhaka Satyanatha is working on a marvelous article for Hinduism Today on Navaratri and also scanning and organizing the digital files of the pillar artwork. These are justs tips of the iceburg of things each one is doing.

Today is the last day of our phase.
This edition of TAKA will remain posted
over our coming two-day retreat,
until Dasami Tithi, Sun One, Friday, June 27th.

The Art of Iraivan Pillars

These illustrations are taken from the symbols on the pillars of Iraivan. We have commissioned Vimala Manivelu in Chennai to produce color versions, which have been scanned. We bring you some of these today and more in the future. The images speak for themselves. To accompany them, we bring you some text from a book that Arumugaswami has discovered called “Garden of Madurai” which has scenes from the 3rd century CE. It details a remarkably prosperous and advanced civilization that flourish in South India at that time.

Gardeb of Madurai, comprising 425 verses.

“The poet enters the city by its great gate, the posts of which are carved with images of the Goddess Lakshmi, and which is covered with ghee, poured in offering upon it to bring safety and prosperity to the city it guards. It is a day of festival, and the city is bright with flags, some, presented by the king to recognize their brave deeds, flying over the homes of captains, and others waving over the shops. The streets are broad rivers of people, folk of every race, buying and selling in the market-place or singing to the music of wandering minstrels.”

A drum beats, and a royal procession passes down the street, with elephants leading to the sound of conchs. A willful beast breaks his chain, and tosses like a ship in an angry sea until he is again brought to order. Chariots follow, with prancing horses and fierce-looking footmen. Meanwhile stall-keepers ply their trades, selling sweet cakes, garlands of flowers, scented powder and betel leaf. Old women go from house to house, selling flower bouquets and trinkets to the womenfolk.

Noblemen drive through the streets in their chariots, their gold-sheathed swords flashing, wearing brightly-dyed garments and wreaths of flowers. From balconies and turrets the many jewels of the perfumed women who watch the festival flash in the sunlight.

The people flock to the temples to worship to the sound of music, laying their flowers before the images and honoring the holy sages. Craftsmen work in their shops–men making bangles of conch shell, goldsmiths, c1oth-dealers, coppersmiths, flower-sellers, vendors of sandalwood, painters and weavers. Food shops busily sell their wares–greens, jak fruit, mangos, sugar candy, cooked rice and chunks of cooked meat.

In the evening the city entertainers please their patrons with dancing and singing to the sound of the lute, so that the streets are filled with music. Respectable women make evening visits to the temples with their children and friends, carrying lighted lamps all offerings. They dance in the temple courts, which are clamorous with their singing and chatter. At last the city sleeps–all but the goblins and ghosts who haunt the dark, and the bold housebreakers, armed with rope ladders, swords and chisels, to break through the house walls. But the watchmen are vigilant, and the city passes the night in peace.
Morning comes with the sound of brahman priests intoning their sacred verses. The wandering bards renew their singing, and the shopkeepers busy themselves opening their booths. All over the city is heard the sound of opening doors. Women sweep the faded flowers of the festival from their courtyards. Thus the busy everyday life of the city is resumed.

Murugan Installation in Baltimore

Photos from the recent Baltimore events.

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

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