Arriving in Chennai we settled in for five days of project meetings and satsangs, empowered by a morning at the famed Kaalikambal Temple. This is the temple managed by the family of the famed Sri Sambamurthi Sivachariyar, who did our Panchasilanyasa puja in 1996, preparing the spiritual foundations for Iraivan Temple. In his life, he conducted more than 1,000 temple kumbhabhishekams.
Accompanied by Nellaiappan, we were greeted by large groups of Sivacharyars, both young and old. They were gathering here from several gurukulams for 10 days of homa and puja to bring peace to the world and for the well beings of the all beings. It seems we arrived on the very auspicious opening day, a blessing since there were many shrines being prepared, home kundas and more. We were greeted with kumbha, garland, chanting, special country style drumming (really loud!) with damaru and, of course, the traditional nadaswaram and tavil. We felt we had arrived at an inner world. In fact, we had!
Led by Shanmugam Sivacharyar (youngest son of the late Sambamurthi Sivacharyar), we had darshan of Siva and Sakti at five shrines. The chants inside the stone chambers were potent, pure, empowering. We were told the nine-days were about protection of humanity from calamity and distress, and later at the hotel Sabharatnam mentioned the power of this particular deity and that such pujas, according to the Agamas, could only be held at the outskirts of a town, never in the center. The Adi Saiva community here is clearly grateful to Kauai Aadheenam for the support over the years by Gurudeva and Bodhinatha's recent help to revive and now translate the Saiva Agamas, a project the several gurukulams are fully committed to completing.
That night we had satsang at the home of Sheela Venkatakrishna. It proved a unique time. A storm moved into the city, with rain, thunder and lightening. Only the bravest of souls could make it through that challenge, and they came to a home filled with light but not the external form of light, as the electricity failed for the night.
Sheela brought candles into the space and in the dim light we heard four priests chanting the Vedas. I gave a short talk on light and on the guru's work to bring us into the light, out of the darkness, reading Gurudeva's words on the importance of the guru to guide us through the shadows of the mind into the radiance of our soul, often shrouded, ever brilliant at its core. It proved a blessed time, made more memorable by the unusual circumstances of the evening.
Jai Gurudeva! Jai Sambhamurthi Sivachariya!
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