During our recent weekly homa, Roshan Sivayogam took his Vratasishya vows, becoming an official shishya of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Saiva Siddhanta Church. Roshan is currently at Kauai Aadheenam on taskforce for the next few weeks.
In taking this step, he pledges himself to up hold two vratas: The Nandinatha Sutra Vrata and the Saiva Sraddhadharana Vrata. He read aloud:
"I believe in You, the one Supreme God, Lord Siva, and the Gods of our Saivite faith, and in the Saiva Dharma. In love and trust I recognize Your goodness in providing for my every material and spiritual need. I understand that the 365 Nandinatha Sutras, created by Gurudeva, summarize our monistic Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, our articles of faith and conduct, and other Hindu codes of culture, ethics and right living. I affirm that I understand and agree, one hundred and one percent, with each sutra, having read and reread and related it to my personal life. I now pledge to uphold and pass on to the next generation the wisdom contained within each of these quatrains. I hereby reaffirm the four vratas that I took as an arulsishya--noninjury, spiritual lineage, vegetarianism, tithing--and blend them into this 365 sutra vrata, as a collective vow that I will uphold and defend throughout my lifetime.
"I believe in You, the one Supreme God, Lord Siva, and the Gods of our Saivite faith, and in the Saiva Dharma. In love and trust I recognize Your goodness in providing for my every material and spiritual need. I affirm that the twelve beliefs of our Saivite Creed, and our Affirmation of Faith, fully and unequivocally express my own beliefs, and I wholeheartedly vow to uphold and preach them as an authoritative, distilled formulation of our venerable faith. I understand the importance of beliefs, which have the power to create our attitudes, which shape our actions and reactions throughout life. I appreciate that our Saivite Creed serves to maintain the continuity and purity of the Vedas and Agamas and give strength and guidelines to individuals seeking to understand life and religion.
"In humility and gratitude, having received the blessings of Lord Siva through these spiritual vows, I promise, now and for my entire life, to be an ardent, dynamic, responsive, loving, grateful, loyal vratasishya of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, serving as a member of his global Saiva Siddhanta Church among my kulapati's extended family."
Bodhinatha then blessed him in his new life as a Vratasishya.
Aum Namah Sivaya
The day begins with the arrival of our appointed hosts inspiring us to inquire, as guests do, "What's the day's plan?"
"Yes, yes," comes the answer, eager in tone and full of more promise than useable information. So off we go along the narrow lanes that are called roads, wide enough for one car but magically able to allow two large busses to pass in opposite directions.
Ninety minutes later we arrive at Pathmeda, the original gosala site and home of some 150,000 Indian cows, all pure bred stock.
We are joined by three busses of foreign visitors and devotees and soon come to realize we are part of a day-long official VIP tour.
Together we are given an historical overview (in Hindi) and then lead on a long walk around the perimeter of a 50-acre series of pens, each holding some 100 cows with feeding stations, salt licks and lime.
The group is so enthusiastically, chanting loudly "Gomata, Gopala" together as they bravely march (in full sari regalia) in the hot sand and sun.
We halt at the hospital where serious cases such as injuries, gun shot wounds, cancers and broken legs are tended to. There are three giant sheds in which hundreds of cow patients are being treated. They have a massive x-ray machine and operating table in the back and while we are there a cow ambulance arrives with an injured animal from somewhere (traffic accidents are common, they tell us). It's so grim that Yoginathaswami and I back out and find shelter under a lone neem tree.
The more courageous visitors stay in the sheds, sitting on the sand in their expensive saris, chanting or singing softly to the cows who seem to enjoy the attention. It is taught here that like a person, a cow will heal noticeably faster if it feels cared for and loved. Swami and I reflect that these are the most fortunate of hurt cows on the Earth.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.