What Happened Today at the Monastery?
Sun Four, the end of a short phase. It was a beautiful day today with many guests and sincere pilgrims here to see Bodhinatha. Note the side bar update with Bodhinatha’s latest Sun One upadesha.
END OF PHASE
Today is the last day of our phase.
This edition of TAKA will remain posted
over our coming two-day retreat,
until Dvitya Tithi, Sun One, Saturday, August 2nd.
Sadhu Paksha Announcement The monks’ summer Sadhu Paksha begins next phase. There will be no public tours during time. See our visitor info page for more information.
The Wigneswaran family of four on pilgrimage from Sydney, Australia. The parents have been here before, it was the children’s first visit. They helped us a lot to coordinate temple visits during the 2006 Innersearch in Sydney.
The Wigneswaran’s worshipping Lord Siva at the Narmada Lingam.
Here is the extended family of Prof. Braham R. Agarwal who is visiting here from Florida. He is the Chairman of the Hindu University there and a long-time reader of Hinduism Today.
The group had a wonderful inspired talk with Bodhinatha
A lovely Hindu Tamil family from Anchorage, Alaska are here on a weeks pilgrimage. On the right is Puvanesvaran Pillai with his 16 year old twin girls, Prishanya and Priyanka, and their mother Thilagavathy, and the girl’s grandmother, Ambikayamma. They are all great friends of the “Dandapanis” in Alaska, who are longtime devotees of Gurudeva, and it was they who highly recommended that the Pillai family visit this temple.
Vow Renewal Ceremonies
A photo of a youthful Gurudeva which none of us has ever seen arrived magically, released from a private collection in Sri Lanka where it had been preserved since 1949.
Today Gurudeva is smiling in his world of light, for he gave such place of pride to the great path of the Saiva monk and urged families to train their young boys, at least one, to follow it.
Yesterday was the once-every-two-years vow taking for the yogis and sadhakas, guided midday by Bodhinatha.
The vows are given for two years at a time, and each signs his name in the Sacred Vows booklet.
But first, Bodhinatha has had silver earrings made for the six monks renewing their vows. They are larger than before. In India, the Nathas wear massive earrings. It is a signature of the tradition. Except for the Satguru, our earrings are not so prodigious. Palaniswami removes Yogi Jivanandanatha’s old earrings, and gently but firmly pushes to get the larger ones in. Yogi took it with a smile.
Yoginathaswami does the same for Sadhaka Adinatha.
Once the rings are in lace, pliers are used to bend the silver into its final position.
One by one, each of the monks receives the new earrings.
We recall a day in 1982 when the Guru Mahasannidhanam of Dharmapura Aadheenam in South India brought out a truly GIANT set of golden rings and asked Gurudeva to accept them as a gift. A great deal of pushing was required to create a new hole in the lobe, but Gurudeva stood the whole time in perfect poise.
Bodhinatha takes his spiritual seat in the Guru Peedam to oversee the formal vow-taking.
Acharya Kumarswami leads the recitation, guiding the monks through each vow one by one.
The six recite in unison their vows of humility, purity, obedience and confidence. Others sit behind to witness the pledges which are a solemn commitment to themselves, to the Satguru, to the community of seekers and to God and the Gods.
They read together:
THE SACRED VOW OF PURITY: KNOWN IN TAMIL AS TIRIKARANNASUTTI.
Purity is the pristine and natural state of the soul. It is not something which the sannyasin attains as much as that which he already is, and which becomes evident as the layers of adulterating experience and beclouding conceptions are dissipated. Purity is clarity and clearness in all dimensions of being–physical, mental and emotional. It is innocence as opposed to familiarity with the ways of the world. It is, for sannyasins, the observance of chastity, called brahmacharya. In Tamil purity is given its fullest expression in the term tirikarannasutti, which means “purity in mind, speech and body.” These three–also called thought, word and deed–convey the amplitude of the ideal of purity.
Purity does not consist in merely doing good and being good, though these are essential, nor is it an external appearance or show of such goodness. It is primarily an inner quality, equally present in the saint who outwardly reflects the purity of his attainment and in the sage who inwardly rests in that same purity though his attainment may not be apparent. Purity is not a manner of behavior, though it may be reflected in our behavior, and there is no merit in taking on the semblance of being pure when one is not yet pure.
SACRED VOW OF OBEDIENCE: KNOWN IN TAMIL AS TAALVU ENUM TANMAI.
Obedience is the state of willingness and cooperation in which the soul remains open and amenable to enlightened direction. For the sannyasin it is an unbroken pledge of trust in and surrender to the satguru, the Siva Yogaswami Guru Parampara and the mystic process of spiritual evolution. In the Tamil language this definition of obedience is expressed in the term taalvu enum tanmai, which denotes “the quality or state of humble submission.”
Obedience does not consist in blind submission and yielding to authority, nor in weakening our own will that it may be dominated by the will of another. Yet it is, in another sense, submission to a sacred purpose and the divine authority of the Second and Third Worlds. It is, for the sannyasin, an inner quality that allows him to remain consciously tractable and responsive. At those times when the instinctive nature looms strong and there arises a sense of “I” and “mine,” obedience is a surrendering of the ego to the soul or the instinctive nature to the spiritual nature. As long as the ego dominates the life of man, he will experience obedience as capitulation or subjection. As the soul unfolds and separateness is replaced by knowledge of the unity that pervades the universe, obedience is perceived as the union of minds and purpose, a state of harmony so complete that there can exist no distinction between him who gives and him who receives instruction or direction. True obedience is based on agreement, trust and knowledge, as opposed to passive servility, nonresistance or domination which
have ignorance and fear as their basis.
THE SACRED VOW OF HUMILITY: KNOWN IN TAMIL AS PANNIVU.
Humility is the state of profound maturity in which the soul, immersed in the depths of understanding and compassion, radiates the qualities of mildness, modesty, reverent obeisance and unpretentiousness. There is an analogy in the Saivite tradition that compares the unfolding soul to wheat. When young and growing, the stalks of wheat stand tall and proud, but when mature their heads bend low under the weight of the grains they yield. Similarly, man is self-assertive, arrogant and vain only in the early stages of his spiritual growth. As he matures and yields the harvest of divine knowledge, he too bends his head. In the Tamil language this absence of pride or self-assertion is known as pannivu. Pannivu also means “jewel.” In the Holy Kural it is said that “Humility and pleasant words are the jewels that adorn a man; there are none other.”
Humility does not consist in concealing our merits and virtues or in thinking ourselves as worse or more ordinary than we are. Nor is it a pretended meekness. Rather it lies in not exalting ourselves before others, for we perceive the grandeur of God Siva in every human being and reverently acknowledge Him there. Humility in this ideal is the awakened perception that “Siva is All.” It is the inner being predominating over the outer nature.
THE SACRED VOW OF CONFIDENCE: KNOWN IN TAMIL AS RAHASIYAM.
Confidence is the state of trust in which the sacred teachings and sensitive or personal matters are not divulged to others. Spiritual instructions must be protected and preserved by those to whom they are entrusted, never wantonly or indiscriminately revealed. When we confide in another, we do so with the assurance that sensitive and serious information will not be inappropriately disclosed. In the Tamil language confidence is known as rahasiyam, meaning “secret or mystery.”
Confidence as applied to these Holy Orders does not mean “certainty” or “a belief in one’s abilities” or “self-confidence.” Rather, it is a confiding, a trusting and a relying upon. It is the sharing of privileged teachings or information that should not be disclosed, but held in confidentiality. In its most simple form it is the keeping of a secret.
That done, each comes forward and prostrates to Bodhinatha to supplicate his blessings for the next two years in the monastery. Bodhinatha signs the vow books.
We quote a little from the vows which guide our Order’s spiritual progress.
Postulants are urged
to continue to uphold the spirit of the Sivanadiyar, or Slave of Lord Siva. Satguru Siva Yogaswami, Gurudeva’s guru, extols the Sivanadiyar in the following Natchintanai verse:
We are Sivanadiyar. We are Sivanadiyar.
We are Sivanadiyar. We are Sivanadiyar.
This is charya. This is kriya.
This is yoga. This is jnana.
This is mantra. This is tantra.
This is the great panacea!
The practice of yoga for all sadhakas is overseen by the satguru, individually according to their personal needs and unfoldment. The Church postulates the sadhana marga as followed by the Kailasa Parampara, a path that stresses sadhana and tapas above intellectual learning and practical application of the religion above mere recitation of its principles.
This is the path of spiritual change and awakening, of pragmatic demonstration of the philosophy. All postulants are on this sadhana marga.
These four vows are a
holy covenant by which the postulant pledges himself to the ideals they contain and promises to defend and preserve the doctrines and faith of Saivism and the polity of the Saiva Siddhanta Church. The monastic enters into this covenant and takes these vows between himself and the divine beings of all three worlds, binding and obligating himself in the fulfillment thereof to his satguru, his fellow monastics and indeed to all Saivites.
The monastic pledges that he will faithfully abide by these vows in good times and in bad. He knows that difficulties will come to himself and to all his brothers at one time or another and that these tests may be all the more challenging for those who have progressed the farthest, just as the mountain climber faces his greatest obstacles near the summit. He will not lose heart if impediments appear, but face even the most difficult passages through his karma with courage and determination. In difficult times he promises to read these Sacred Vows and to take refuge in their ideals.
I do hereby accept and promise to fulfill to the best of my ability the disciplines and directions, including the Individual Restrictions, Sadhanas and Tapas, contained in these Sacred Vows as my sadhana and my way of serving Saivite Hinduism and my satguru through Saiva Siddhanta Church. I further promise to abide by and fulfill the dictates of The Lord Subramaniam Shastras, and to live a life of reverence and selflessness, serving as a Sivanadiyar the Deity, Lord Siva, the Mahadevas of Saivite Hinduism, my own satguru and the Kailasa Parampara.
Saiva Siddhanta Church has established the Postulancy to offer its members the traditional life and disciplines of the Saiva sadhaka, the single man residing in a monastery and serving the Saivite faith.
New Natchintanai Booklet Released in Toronto, Canada
On Sunday, July 20th, there was a Special Guru Purnima Puja held at the Sangamam Banquet Hall in Toronto, Canada.
After the Thiruvadi Puja a small Natchintanai Song Booklet was distributed. The first copy was received by two children, Param and Sarasvatha Balaganesan.
The booklet was prepared by the Monks of Kauai Adheenam to be used for this summer’s children’s camps in Toronto. This booklet is 24 pages long and contains 13 popular songs (just the first verse of the very long ones).