Bodhinatha in Trinidad, Part I

Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Shanmuganathaswami arrived in Trinidad very early in the morning of the 17th, for a week-long visit. Here they are at at the VIP Lounge, looking very bright considering they flew all night.

They are being welcomed by, from left to right,
Dr. Byam (Chief Protocol officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Pandit Tiwari, and Mr. Ramoutar. Smt. Ashwinee Ragoonanan is also in the welcome party but invisible as she is behind the camera.

Bodhinatha meets with Pundit Ramesh Tiwari.

Shanmuganathaswami chats with Hinduism Today correspondent Paras Ramoutar.

In the evening, Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami attend an evening function at the Chaguanas Edinburg Temple. Here they assist Pandit Tiwari for the puja and havan.

Bodhinatha and Shanmuganatha swami

It is still early in the evening and the devotees are just beginning to gather.

Devotees of the Edinburg Hindu mandir join in performing the havan.

Then Pandit Tiwari introduces Bodhinatha who will do give a Keynote (similar to Power Point) presentatioan on the 9 beliefs of Hinduism

Bodhinatha winding up his presentation. He told us “It lasted about one hour, some bhajans here and there, then a closing arati. Some 250 plus devotees in attendance on a Tuesday night. Group was very attentive for the whole hour. Ashwinee had a table with HA publications and we believe signed up some new subscribers to Hinduism Today. Ashwinee Ragoonanan is a distributor of Hinduism Today for Trinidad and has serviced several hundred subscribers for over ten years (we’ll show her picture soon).

Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami in Trinidad, Part II

Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami have arrived in Trinidad. Here Bodhinatha performs pradakshina around the Shiva and Shiva Lingam prior to entering the Edinburgh Hindu Temple in Chaguanas, Trinidad. He is giving a series of keynote lectures for three nights at the temple to help celebrate its 27th year.

Bodhinatha chats with one of the temple devotees prior to the first night's event.

The August 17 keynote is on general Hinduism and focuses on the nine beliefs of Hinduism.

About 250 devotees attend the keynote. The first keynote was well received as it was informative and colorful, with a balance of traditional and contemporary photos and artwork.

The devotees sit on benches and are allowed to wear shoes in this area. Shoes are not permitted in the temple section where the Deities are located.

Pundit Ramesh Tiwari is the dynamic and charismatic founder, leader and teacher of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple. Here he is presenting awards to five devotees in honor of their service this past year.

Devotees come forward with their families to accept the award from Bodhinatha.

They feel very blessed.

Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami visited a giant 50 foot Hanuman with Pundit Tiwari.

The Hanuman is part of the complex of a South Indian style temple.

This is the entrance of the temple by the sea which was created by Sewdass Sadhu. He was born to poverty-stricken parents in India on January 1, 1903. Yet he was a man with an inexplicable desire to build a house of God against impossible odds and regardless of the consequences to himself and his family. He first came to Trinidad as an indentured laborer for five years. After completing the contract as a cane cutter, he returned to India only to realize he had reentered poverty. So he returned to Trinidad and settled in Waterloo, a predominantly pro-Christian and anti-Hindu village. In 1947 he built the foundation of his dream temple. Hinduism Today covered the story in the April-June 1997 issue.

Jai and Chandra Seecharran came to Trinidad to be with Bodhinatha for his lecture tour. Jai and Chandra are from Guyana and now live in Surprise, Arizona. They are joining Bodhinatha in Guyana as well. Here they enjoy some chit-chat together in the Cara Suites hotel lobby.

Flag Raising Begins the Jivana Ritau

Our summer Sadhu Paksha is over and we began Sun One today after the homa with the traditional raising of our Hindu Dvaja — Flag Raising.

Paramacharya Palaniswami lead the way while Bodhinatha is traveling.

We share with your our traditional seasonal excerpt on this season from the Saiva Dharma Shastras.

112 Introduction

Beginning with Hindu New Year in mid-April, three seasons of the year divide our activities into three great needs of humankind–the learning of scripture in the first season, Nartana Ritau; the living of culture in the second season, Jivana Ritau; and the meditating on Siva in the third season, Moksha Ritau. Thus we are constantly reminded that our life is Siva’s life and our path to Him is through study, sadhana and realization. In ritau one, we teach the philosophy; in ritau two, we teach the culture; and in ritau three, we teach meditation.

117 The Second Season: Jivana Ritau

During Jivana Ritau, the rainy season, from mid-August to mid-December, Living with Siva: Hinduism’s Contemporary Culture is the primary text. The key word of this season is work. The colors are rust, copper-maroon and all shades of red–rust for earthy preservation, copper-maroon for fulfillment and red for physical energy. The Aadheenam’s 60-foot flag pole flies the rust-colored dhvaja, symbolizing environmental care. Copper-maroon and all shades of red adorn our smaller flags. This is the season of honoring and showing appreciation for those in the vanaprastha ashrama, life’s elder advisor stage.

The focus is on preserving what has been created, manifesting goals and fulfilling plans made in the past. Inwardly the emphasis is on direct cognition and caring for the practical details of the external world. Practicality is a word much used this season. In the monasteries and the missions, there is a big push on studying the sutras of Living with Siva and these Saiva Dharma Shastras. The format of the mission satsanga changes into one that in fact helps everyone live and breathe with Lord Siva through personal adjustment to the aphorisms of Living with Siva, which define tradition, culture and protocol. Gurukulams are established or renewed to teach the 64 kalas for boys and girls. All work hard to perfect and strengthen Saivite culture in the life of each member. Kulamatas, grihinis and their daughters should think ahead and make plans to send talented children to dancing, singing and art schools for special courses, and ponder ways to make this possible through scholarships and special funds.

It is a time of building and repairing and caring for what has been built, planted or created in any realm of life. It is a physical time, of exercise and exertion in the Bhuloka, a magnetic time for action and willpower, of finishing all jobs started since the first ritau. On the farm, there is harvesting of the land’s fruits as we celebrate abundance. In the missions during Jivana Ritau, the shishyas can form tirukuttams, and thereby visit students’ homes, see how they live and meet their families.

19 Festivals, Realms of the Second Season

Krittika Dipa is the major festival of Jivana Ritau. This grand event, conducted by the family missions, is open to members, Academy students and to special guests by invitation, including honored dignitaries of the island, neighbors and friends of the Church. Ganesha Chaturthi and Skanda Shashthi are also conducted by shishyas on the Island. The Aadheenam Realms of this period are: 1) San Marga, the straight path to God, with its rudraksha, neem, konrai and bilva forests, and Agni Mandapam. 2) The Wailua River, with its Nani Kaua Waterfall and Pond, Bali Hai Falls and Ganga Sadhana Ghats. 3) Pihanakalani Trail–legendary Hawaiian path toward the volcano, beginning at the Aadheenam and continuing past the Orchid Pavilion of Religions to the Teak Tree Turnaround at the edge of Rainbow Amphitheater.

Jivana Ritau: The rainy season, from mid-August to mid-December, when Living with Siva: Hinduism’s Contemporary Culture is the focus of study.

Hoisting the new flag.

Jayendra Manoharan Mardemootoo from Mauritius makes sure the new flag does not touch the ground.

Up, up it goes…

Welcome to the Jivana Ritau!

Bodhinatha's Keynote presentat…

Bodhinatha’s Keynote presentation on the 9 beliefs of Hinduism in Trinidad last night was a huge success.

Malaysia Satsang

Kulapati Dhasan Sivananda sends us this report from Malaysia where we see new life and energy in the fellowship.

A marvelous turn up for monthly satsang by Malaysia Mission and were told that this temporary venue known as Chitra’s, Kuala Lumpur was blessed by Satguru Bodhinatha during his recent visit to Malaysia. Around 35 to 40 members and devotees attended the satsang. Aum.

Together with Bodhinatha’s lively photo and the profound presence, everyone felt so blessed. Members and devotees, each drawn by the love of Siva

All of us were greeted with a delicious prasadam after the Satsang.

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