Our February 2020 news video covers recent events at Kauai Aadheenam including our observance of Thai Pusam and Mahasivaratri, as well as the recent progress on the construction of Iraivan Temple and the recent new vows taken by two of our monks.
Today the first QR Code was installed in Siva's Sacred Garden. For several years we have plotted and planned to do this, and now it has begun. Our plan is to have a QR Code at each major place in the monastery, to inform visitors (when they start returning, since today Hawaii announced a complete quarantine starting March 26).
This one is placed at the Silpi Bronze Pavilion. If you use your mobile to scan the third slide in this post, you will be immediately swept into the silpi world on the wings of a 2 minute video (thank you Rajkumar for your editing help).
The idea is that even though the bronzes tell the visual story of how Iraivan is being sculpted, it is missing that musical sound of their chip, chip, chip. Now visitors standing at the pavilion can experience the sounds of creation.
This week our little island has been seeing a large weather system rolling over. We've had so much rain in the last 24 hours that our rain gauge has overflown and our river has risen substantially. A time to deeply appreciate whoever invented the umbrella. In other news, our monks recently cleaned the ocean air-induced build up on the surface of Iraivan Temple's Avudaiyar. Now the temple's inner sanctum is enjoying a newfound glow. In our vegetable gardens we have a new pumpkin patch coming online, which will be the inspiration for some hearty pumpkin curries. Yum!
With increasing concerns flooding in from devotees around the world for the health and safety of our monks and island members, we are reminded of just how much love there is out there for this small band of souls. Like most, we have been following the potentially dangerous COVID-19 pandemic, and just today we heard of the first case on our little island. Each day visitors from all over the world arrive here. Satguru and the senior monastics have concluded that it is prudent to temporarily restrict access to the monastery, for the health of our island community, pilgrims, members and monks. Self-isolation is regarded as the primary strategy against this fast-moving virus.
For now, only Church members and pre-approved persons will be allowed to enter the monastery grounds. The MiniMela will be closed. Kadavul Temple will continue daily pujas for monks and members. Visitors will still have access to the sacred Rudraksha Forest.
Gratefully, all here are well. We thank you for understanding and hope to reopen access to Kadavul Temple as soon as it is deemed appropriate. In the days ahead we hope you stay safe and in good health, which is important for all on the spiritual path.
Aum Namah Sivaya. Sivaya Namah Aum.
Recently we gave taskforcer Yajatadeva the mission of going around the aadheenam with a camera. His goal was to photograph whatever caught his creating eye. Here is the aadheenam through his lens. Aum.
Aum Namah Sivaya
One of Gurudeva's instructions for Iraivan Temple was that it was to be a library in stone, depicting many important facets of our great tradition upon its 24 outer pillars. Each of these pillars is beautifully carved with stone images, replete with meaning. Until now it might be hard to find someone who could give you a full explanation of each one, so we've compiled all that info into an easily accessible web app on our website. We're hoping it can help visitors and our tour guides, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about Hinduism or our temples online. You can access it at: https://www.himalayanacademy.com/pillars-of-iraivan/
The app works well on phones, tablets or a desktop. We hope you'll enjoy exploring its rich content. Aum Namah Sivaya
Today, we welcome a new Sannyasin, Swami Vishvanathaswami. Having completed years as a Nirvani Sadhaka and several years as a yogi, today he experienced the death of his old self during a ceremony this morning in Kadavul Temple. We share with you words from his vow book, The Holy Order of Sannyas. At the homa in Kadavul (no cameras allowed):
Together he and the satguru symbolically conduct his antyesti samskara, the ritual funeral rites, to betoken the death of the personal self and the birth of the spiritual being. He places the remnants of personal identity, hair, clothing, pulnool or sacred thread and all desires for wealth, progeny and fame into the homa fire, beseeching the permission of Lord Ganesha and heeding the path of Lord Muruga, vowing aloud his renunciation thus:
"All that I have and all that I am I now give unto my God, my Gods and my guru. I have no family except the Divine Father Siva and Mother Sakti who dwell in Kailas and on Earth the sangam of Saivite devotees. I have no home except the stillness of Being. I have no possessions except my faith and dedication. I have no desires except my desire to serve and to realize God."
He then says aloud three times, "I, wishing for mukti, take refuge in this sacred Order and in God Siva, who created the world, who breathed out the Vedas. The purpose of my life is to cultivate dispassion, to become pure, to attain union with God Siva and be immersed in Divine Love. I do fully and of my own volition accept these Holy Orders of Sannyas, now and for the remainder of my life, and bind myself in the fulfillment thereof to the ancient Order of sannyas, to my satguru, to my Saivite Hindu faith and to the devas, the Mahadevas and Lord Siva Himself. I am the Atman, the non-dual Parasiva, pure and free."
He then walks seven steps around the homa fire, returning to kneel at the guru's feet. He is thereafter dead to the world. The satguru then whispers the Panchakshara Mantra in the candidate's right ear three times, along with personal instructions for meditation. The sannyasin is given his ascetic name, "Vishvanathaswami!" his danda, a mala of 108 rudraksha beads for japa yoga, a deer skin, a kamandalu or water bowl. After bathing in the nearby river where he intones the sannyas mantra, dips three times into the waters and then dons the kavi for the first time, the candidate returns. A puja is performed to invoke the blessings of the Second and Third Worlds. The satguru then takes ashes from the homa fire and marks the tripundra on his fore-head and covers the body with the sacred ash. After the puja the following are read aloud to the sannyasin:
"Hail, O sannyasin, love's embodiment!
Does any power exist apart from love?
Diffuse thyself throughout the happy world.
Let painful maya cease and ne'er return!
Day and night give praise unto the Lord.
Pour forth a stream of songs
To melt the very stones.
Attain the sight where night is not nor day.
See Siva everywhere, and rest in bliss.
Live without interest in worldly gain.
Here, as thou hast ever been, remain.
Then never will cruel sorrow venture nigh.
Hail, O sannyasin,
Thou who knowest no guile!
Establish in thy heart and worship there
The Taintless One--
Panchakshara's inmost core,
Whom neither Vishnu nor Brahma
Had power to comprehend.
Thou that regardest all others as thyself--
Who in this world can be compared with thee? The powerful karma
Thy past deeds have wrought
Will vanish without trace.
Daily, on the thought
Is not this jiva Siva?" thou must meditate.
Best of sannyasins, of one-pointed mind! Morning and evening worship without fail The Holy Feet of the Almighty Lord,
Who here and hereafter
Preserves and safeguards thee.
Cast aside the fetters of thy sins!
By steadfast concentration of thy mind Awareness of a separate self
Thou must extirpate.
Conquer with love all those that censure thee. Thou art eternal! Have no doubt of this! What is not thou is fancy's artiface. Formless thou art!
Then live from all thought free!"
For lay brothers who have proven their dedication, completed twelve years as a postulant and attained a sufficient level of maturity, Saiva Siddhanta Church offers the role of the old sadhaka with additional opportunities for mature service and responsibility. The old sadhaka, are also known as nirvana sadhaka. Should the nirvana sadhaka desire to receive sannyas diksha after the age of 72, he would complete the Yogi Tapasvin Application and sign "The Holy Covenant of the Yogi Tapasvin" following his 70th birthday. Nirvani Haranandi has chosen that path.
Here are some words from that covenant.
Gurudeva says of the yogi's focus on Lord Murugan and the depths of meditation, "To attain even the permission to perform yoga one must have the grace of Lord Ganesha and the grace of Lord Murugan. Lord Murugan is the God of the kundalini, of the advanced yogic practices. Unfoldment all happens within the kundalini and the chakras within our subtle bodies. Once a profound relationship is developed with Lord Murugan, then with the guru's permission and guidance, true yoga may commence. Otherwise, no matter how long one sits in meditation, no matter how hard one tries, it is just sitting, it is just trying. There is no fire there, no shakti, no power, no change. It is the Gods who control the fire and at this stage help the devotee immensely, bringing him closer and closer to the supreme God, Siva. Quite often the yogi in his deep internalized state may see in vision the feet or form of God Siva before he begins to blend into the mind of God Siva, called Satchidananda. It is God and Gods in form that help us to find the formless God."
O yogi, without forethought, dive into me.
Without forethought, I accept you,
For you are the other part of me--
Parasivam, Satchidananda and all forms
I flow through, contemplate or meditate.
The heart of the holy trembles not in fear;
All passions stilled, it enjoys calm unruffled.
Neither is there death nor pain,
Nor night nor day,
Nor fruits of karma to be experienced.
That, truly, is the state
Of the desire-renounced.
Tirumantiram, verse 1624
The following are nine attitudes and daily disciplines for the yogi in addition to those outlined in his Sacred Vows.
1. To practice ashtanga yoga daily (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi) as prescribed for him by his guru, striving to know and love God Siva, and to spend his free time in the temples, in the cave, in his guha, walking on San Marga and in other holy spots, alone and unto himself in his yoga, and carrying his danda whenever dressed in his robes as a reminder of his tapas.
2. To fulfill the shastric injunction of striving to be a model monastic, turned inward, performing japa, singing bhajans and devarams, reading and memorizing scripture, studying Shum and practicing mauna. Mauna is extremely important for the yogi, for excessive talk will inhibit his inner progress.
3. To emulate the renunciate attitudes and ideals of the Saiva swami as outlined in the Holy Orders of Sannyas and to assist the swamis and old sadhakas in every possible way to implement the mission of the Church.
4. To hold the attitude of being the six-year-old Bala Murugan, cooperative, humble, respectful to all.
5. To perform a two-year retreat from family and former friends upon the signing of this holy covenant.** This consists of four discreet six-month retreats, as described on pages nine to thirteen.
6. To work with other yogi tapasvins whenever possible, to sit together at monastery functions and gatherings, walk together, worship together, perform guru puja together and so on.
7. To take every opportunity to perform ashram sadhana, with the knowledge that through his cleaning he is purifying himself.
8. To refrain from watching television except by invitation, and from reading newspapers, magazines and the general daily mail not specifically given to him to read, as well as not browsing the web for news and other sites not directly related to his kulam work and approved projects.
9. deepen his appreciation of the Church's spirit and to study and obey the Saiva Dharma Shastras as his guide to understanding the Church's mission. This is in addition to his daily reading of the Holy Orders of Sannyas, The Master Course daily lessons and "The Self God."
Here's a group from one of our weekly tour days. This day saw over 100 people, awed and inspired by their adventure through the Aadheenam's natural beauty and mystical artistry. Here they pose by the Sipli Pavilion before heading over to Iraivan Temple to see how it is carved, firsthand.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.