An important part of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's travels is seeing devotees–close sishyas and acquaintances.
Here is Erasenthiran Poonjolai and his wife, mother and son.
Here are the Chandrasekharans, who always love to come and see Bodhinatha when he stays in Phoenix.
The main event was a pada puja satsang at the home of Chellappa and Banu Devi Deva, long time members of Saiva Siddhanta Church. Chellappa always does such a sweet, devotional and skilled pada puja. Vignesh Sukumaran was his helper.
The satguru's feet, decorated with beautiful yellow roses that can really only be grown to such sizes in this marvelously dry climate.
After the pada puja, Bodhinatha gave an upadesha, which all enjoyed. The topic: "Be a spiritual leader!"
Here are Shivadam and Parvati, a young couple who play the harmonium and tambura. They sang beautiful bhajans before and after the satsang.
About 25 families were invited to the satsang. Some 50 people showed up. Pretty good for a weeknight! The group in Phoenix is always so excited when Bodhinatha comes, and they shower him with affection and sit so attentively while he speaks.
Bodhinatha's message was powerful. The essence: A spiritual leader, as opposed to a religious leader, is someone who uplifts people wherever he or she goes, all throughout the day. Don't leave your Hinduism at home when you go out. Bring it with you and find ways to uplift the people around you in every circumstance, ways to make spiritual progress each day when you are out in the world. Be a spiritual leader!
A fun part of visiting Phoenix is always the outings into the desert. We went with several families to the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum in Tonto National Forest.
Here is the organ pipe cactus!
This cactus, which clearly loves it so much here it is making lots of pups, was actually discovered here and named after the founder of the arboretum.
I call this one the platypus. (No idea of its real name.)
One of the large cacti that the Sonoran Desert in Arizona is famous for.
The arboretum has cacti from all around the world, arranged according to where they come from and presented in landscapes just like their native places.
Thank you for a wonderful visit to Phoenix, everyone! Aum Namah Sivaya.
Om Sivaya, Swami,
I am relatively certain your “Platypus” is an Opuntia basilaris cactus, but there are so many variants of this cactus, I won’t even hazzard a guess, especially from a photo!! Nice botanical garden! I will surely visit it next time I am in Phoenix. Thank you for the photos.
Become an accomplished human being; soar into the fourth dimension. Artists experience mountaintop consciousness. Having their source in humble devotion to the Lord, Saiva cultural arts: singing, drama, dance, playing musical instruments and creative skills strengthen concentration and are a form of worship. Religious art is an expression of the soul nature, bringing the beauty of the within into manifestation.
How Can We Be Strong Saivite Hindus?
Gurudeva: "The time has come for Hindus of all races, all nations, of all cultures, of all sects to stand up and let the peoples of the world know of the great religion of which they are one of the staunch adherents." The first way of learning religion is to memorize its tenants. The challenge of living with Siva means bringing religion into the home, into the family, into our interactions with all other people. Kshama-forbearance and patience. Everything we experience we set in motion. Everything is just the next thing to do. Treat everyone in a friendly and inspiring way. Learn our religion and then live by it.
Click here to go to an index of all of Bodhinatha's and Gurudeva's online audio.