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.
Friends who are fine, positive and good Hindus will help you most of all. It's important for parents of teenagers to know their teenager's friends. Our strength comes from mixing and interacting with others who are practicing sadhana. "The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group."
Pray to Lord Ganesha before beginning work. Turn everything you do into selfless service, seva, karma yoga. Work becomes worship. Hold the perspective of Sivanadiyar that you are the devoted servant of God Siva. "Do everything you do as Sivathondu. Give up this 'I' and mine."
"As you approach God's home, you can feel the spiritual energy, and as you go inside you are engulfed in peace." Trust in and open up to the deity. God is a very subtle presence. The temple and the murti within it are set up so that anyone can feel God's presence once they have enough devotion. Go to the temple and through the sanctified murti see God. Kumbabishekam purifies the temple, infuses divine energy into the murti. The deity, during puja, resides in the murti. Continuous daily worship perpetuates and over the years strengthens the power of the temple.
Be close to God by going to the temple. By shifting our minds to our religion the flow of positive karma is intensified. Being open and receptive receive the blessings of the deity. Bask in the divine energy radiating out from the murti. Creating a strong tie to the temple, perform a sacred act when you return home. Light a lamp in your home shrine; bring the vibration and summon the devas from the temple.