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What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Saravananathaswami and Sadhaka Dandapani gave their kulam report today. Swami is working on the logistics of Bodhinatha’s up and coming trip to Singapore and Malaysia. There is planning to be done for the conferences be held by the Hindu Center in Singapore as well as the 3rd seminar on What is Hinduism topics.

Sadhaka Dandapani has been work on the wrap of up the last innersearch by create a wonderful photo album souvenir for all the innersearchers and he will soon be unveiling in a new super series of slideshows from that great trip that you can all. He has also been working on the visitor pages of our web site to provide better info and navigation for pilgrims.

Outside there has been rumbling and shaking of the earth all morning and early afternoon as Dennis Wong and his son Charlie have been working on the back road into the monastery that has sorely needed to be upgraded. The giant roller/compactor can be felt all the way into the temple! Some pics tomorrow.

Our lovely lotus pond at work…

And we take this opportunity to bring another excerpt from the ancient romantic drama called “The Ankle Bracelet” which opens a window on the advance culture of South India as far back as 300 ce. This is from the Chapter Five:

Indra’s Festival

“The Sun appeared, peering over the eastern hills. He tore off the mantle of night, spread his warm and friendly rays over the pale Earth…

“The sunshine lighted up the open terraces, the harbor docks, the towers with their loopholes like the eyes of deer. In various quarters of the city the homes of wealthy Greeks were seen. Near the harbor seamen from far-off lands appeared at home. In the streets hawkers were selling unguents, bath powders, cooling oils, flowers, perfume, incense. Weavers brought their fine silks and all kinds of fabrics made of wool or cotton. There were special streets for merchants of coral, sandalwood, myrrh, jewelry, faultless pearls, pure gold, and precious gems.

“In another quarter lived grain merchants, their stocks piled up in mounds. Washermen, bakers, vintners, fishermen, and dealers in salt crowded the shops, where they bought betel nuts, perfume, sheep, oil, meat, and bronzes. One could see coppersmiths, carpenters, goldsmiths, tailors, shoemakers, and clever craftsmen making toys out of cork or rags; and musicians, expert in each branch of the art, who demonstrated their mastery in the seven-tone scale on the flute and the harp. Workmen displayed their skills in hundreds of small crafts. Each trade had its own street in the workers’ quarter of the city.

“At the center of the city were the wide royal street, the street of temple cars, the bazaar, and the main street, where rich merchants had their mansions with high towers. There was a street for priests, one for doctors, one for astrologers, one for peasants. In a wide passage lived the craftsmen who pierce gems and pearls for the jewelers. Nearby were those who make trinkets out of polished nacre and sea shells. In another quarter lived the coachmen, bards, dancers, astronomers, clowns, actresses, florists, betel-sellers, servants, oboe players, drummers, jugglers, and acrobats.

“In wide fields near the town were encamped horsemen and their swift mounts, war elephants, chariot drivers, soldiers fearful to look upon. Near these were palaces of knights and princes. Between the quarters of the workers and the nobles lay an open square, large as a battlefield where two great armies might have met. There, under rows of trees, the sheds of a market were set up. The haggling of buyers and sellers could be heard there all day long.

“On the first day of Spring, when the full moon is in Virgo, offerings of rice, cakes of sesame and brown sugar, meat, paddy, flowers, and incense were brought by young maidens, splendidly dressed, to the altar of the local guardian deva, who, at the bidding of Indra, king of heaven, had settled in the town to drive away all perils that might threaten Muchukunda, its ever-victorious monarch. Hands on their hips, these virgins gyrated madly as if possessed… As they went away from the altar, the dancers cried: “May the king and his vast empire never know famine, disease or dissension. May we be blessed with wealth — and when the season comes, with rains.”

“The people made merry on Indra’s chosen day. Great rituals were performed in the temples of the Unborn Shiva, of Murugan the beauteous god of Youth, of nacrewhite Valiyon, brother of Krishna, of the dark Vishnu, called Nediyon, and of Indra himself, with his strings of pearls and his victorious parasol. A festive crowd invaded the precincts of the temple, where Vedic rituals once revealed by the god Brahma were faultlessly performed. The four orders of the gods, the eighteen hosts of paradise, and other celestial spirits were honored and worshiped. Temples of the Jains and their charitable institutions could be seen in the city. In public squares, priests were recounting stories from the scriptures of the ancient Puranas.”

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

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