Classes Under the Trees
The Innersearchers had a marvelous series of classes on the shores of a man-made lake (there are 26,000 here!). Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's six classes brought the 60 pilgrims into a deeper awareness of the Satgurus, with a strong stress on their Mahavakiams. Satguru took each of the Great Sayings, first asking the Innersearchers to share their understanding of these often perplexing statements. It was amazing to hear all of the interpretations coming forward, each a little different (sometime a lot different) but each correct and insightful. Then Satguru dove deeply into the Nandikeshwara Kashika, that ever-so-brief and ever-so-profound first scripture from our lineage. It presents the 51 sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet and in the process unfolds the 36 tattvas. Basically, the structure of the Cosmos. These were rare, and sometimes intellectually challenging, classes, much needed foundation for a full understanding of Saiva Siddhanta.
The gardens of the Habarana retreat provided an apt space for Sadasivanathaswami's four classes during our stay in the high central hills. Each class began with everyone chanting the Guru Vandanam Slokas. He had chosen a story to begin each class, then moved on to the main topic of the day. One day he spoke of Gurudeva's early visit to Sri Lanka, with some insights that were not included in The Guru Chronicles. Another class explored the difference between religion and mysticism, with a brief discussion on SBNR as a global movement. In another he spoke about How Enlightened Beings Die, and gave ten reasons that Hindus have no fear of death. That subject was preceded with the story of a king who had lost his sense of identity, and four times during the story Nukeran and Kavina sang a Tamil song to musically express the king's mood as he moved from doubt to suffering to hope and finally joyous awakening. A fun way to tell a story.
Sannyasin Saravananathaswami's Meditation Classes
Each day the Innersearchers looked forward to beginning with hatha yoga and a meditation class, led by Saravananathaswami. They began at 6:15 under the big banyan tree. With the sun rising, they stretched, did breath control and learned of Gurudeva's preparation for meditation system in some detail. It was quite a sight, all of them on their woven mats, monkeys scurrying around--a great example for all the other residents at the resort, reminding them that they, too, can find peace within if they but make the effort.
Among the delights of Innersearch must be counted the unplanned exchanges and conversations that happen. Sometimes when waiting on a bus, or after dinner before retiring, or after a class has ended, there will be several conversations, animated ones. Innersearchers get to talk story or ask those questions they always wanted to know about, and the monks have a chance to share Gurudeva's marvelous teachings. Today came these: "Can a soul reincarnate backwards in time or is it always forwards?" "How far should a family go in keeping an aged pet alive?" "When is the next Innersearch?" "How did the Rudraksha forest on Kauai get started?"