Morning: Visit to Yogaswami's Columbuthurai Ashram for tiruvadi puja, meditation and Natchintanai singing. Next was Vani Vaideeshvaran Sivan Temple for homa and abhishekam. Third was Sivathondan Nilayam for more tiruvadi pujas and meditation followed by lunch. I would say the group really felt in touch with Yogaswami after these visits.
Afternoon: Maviddapuram Murugan temple for a fantastic puja to the Arumugam utsava murti with six priests. Part of the heightened experience was all the innersearchers being quite close to the murti during the puja. Last was Tellippapali Durga Devi Temple for the end of a homa, quick puja and vibhuti blessings mostly for the girls who live in the adjacent girls' home.
"Amazing" "Unbeliveable" "I have been visiting temples my whole life, and never experienced such a puja"
At the dinner table on February 26 comments flowed as freely as Muruga's Grace had all day long. It began at Yogaswami's hut in Colombothurai, that magical compound where the Lion of Lanka lived simply in a thatched hut with a cow dung floor yet roared for over 50 years. It was walking into the history of the guru paramparai and all were deeply moved. Each approached the samadhi shrine with awe, each sang Natchintanai with the locals, each sat in silent appreciation of such a moment.
At one point Ms. Yogapushani came forward to share Yogaswami's last moments here, at 3:15am in March of 1964. She was in her early 20s at that time and remembers vividly. Sadasivansathaswami asked her to share with all what transpired that morning and recorded as she spoke of how Yogaswami had earlier told everyone that he had done all he came to do. They gathered when they saw his Great Departure was near, and sang Natchintanai. She said his mouth opened and he seemed to be singing along with them, but there was no sound. Then quietly he left his body.
Innersearchers visited the historic gate where Gurudeva received the slap on the back that would be heard around the world, and they crossed the street to visit the small shrine where Yogaswami had established his guru's sandals. It has been newly renovated.
This visit was for many a lifetime goal, a return to the source.
Our march through the history of the paramparai continued after leaving Yogaswami's hut.
First to the ancient Vannarponnai Sivan Koyil for a major homa and abhishekam. The walls feel so old here. This is the temple where Arumuga Navalar gave his sermons, where Kadaitswami spoke to the public and gave them courage to follow Saivism despite colonial domination and conversion efforts, and where Yogaswami wrote some of his Natchintanai and once heard the anklet bells of Siva/Shakti.
Then off to Maviddapuram Murugan Koyil. This is Yogaswami's birthplace and Murugan here was his family's deity as he grew up. It is a truly ancient temple (they say over 3,000 years) and gloriously full of light and loving grace. It was built by the Cholas, so it has a familiarity for us and a connection to Iraivan.
The swamis were brought by the priest deep into the sanctum, something Thondunatha says he has not seen since they did the same for Gurudeva in 1983. The long and elaborate puja for Shanmuga cannot be described. Six priests presided, six lamps were offered again and again, six voices chanted the 1,008 names of Murugan. Never had we sat for such a darshan. Never. Never. These are the magical moments of Innersearch.
Off to the Amman temple for our last darshan of the day. A large group of priests was ending one of ten days of chanting 100,000 names of Shakti. Dozens of young girls sat to sing Natchintanai to Bodhinatha and the Innersearchers, and he offered Vibuthi to one and all. This temple has a story. Long ago it was just a thatched shrine which Yogaswami visited. He took a stick and struck the ground three times, saying, "If you but sing Kanda Puranam here often, this will one day be a marvel." They did, and it is. They are building their fourth rajagopuram now, and the temple is second in size to Nallur in all of Jaffna.