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Sishya Rajen Manick on Taskforce

Longtime Saiva Siddhanta Church formal sishya, Rajen Manick from Mauritius, has arrived on Kauai for his first in-person visit to his Guru's home. He'll be staying with us for a few months to finally experience Kauai Aadheenam in depth and continue his service of translating the Master Course trilogy books into French. He also has extensive experience with conveying our teachings to seekers in Mauritius, so he will gather more resources and skills for that.

Mauritius Visit 2023– Ladies Satsang

On the final day in Mauritius, a special class was held for the women. It happened in a garden kutir, a kind of yoga hut. Stories ensued, songs and poems and lots of sharing. Tillainthaswami held a 40-minute preparation for meditation class and questions and answers were encouraged. Paramacharya was deeply impressed with the ability of the women to hold a laser focus during the entire meditation, not one among them swerving from the task at hand. It was proof of the power of years of sadhana to bring the mind under the dominion of the will. The men were such good sports, waiting nearby. At the end group photos and a surprise Farewell Party, complete with a Creole singer and drummer going from table to table and the joyous clapping and general merry-making of happy souls on the spiritual path. A perfect conclusion to a perfect week.

Mauritius Visit 2023– Sevaka Appreciation

They are amazing, giving long hours each week and month to manage the homa (attended by 4-5,000 each month on the first Sunday), hold Saiva Siddhanta classes, host Zoom teaching sessions, make garlands, guide visitors, maintain and enhance the landscape, and more.

Paramacharya gave each one a "ponnadai." The ponnadai is a ceremonial shawl that is draped over someone to honor or appreciate them for their achievements or contributions. It is often presented at weddings, religious ceremonies, and public events to show respect and admiration. They certainly deserve this honoring. Thank you, one and all. You made our week, our month, our year.

Mauritius Visit 2023–Path to Siva Seminar

Satguru Bodhinatha's condensed catechism on Saiva Siddhanta, called Path to Siva, has become the major study introducing Mauritians to the teachings of Saiva Siddhanta Church, and it was natural there would be a session on its contents. The swamis had prepared resources, including a short video of Gurudeva speaking of the path, so those who never met him could look into his eyes and listen to that resonant deep voice.

The mandapam was nearly filled. A famed veena player and his team offered music as all got settled and again at the end during vibuthi darshan time. There was an important Q&A time that allowed those studying the booik to have their various uncertainties addressed. It was an inspiring 90 minutes for all.

Mauritius–Thinking About Nandi

A short visit to the Sivalingam pavilion at the Spiritual Park to reflect with the kulapatis on the installation of a small Nandi. They have long wanted to place Nandi here and after some discussions the right place was determined and a plan made.

Out to Sea

The Mauritian sishyas hosted the swamis for a catamaran voyage on the ship owned by Sivakumaran Mardeemotoo. For two hours we sailed, watching the sunset and enjoying some informal time with the kulapatis and kulamatas. Tillainathaswami was at the helm, learning the sailor's arts from a master.

Three Teens Take Vows

In Mauritius two boys and a girl took the Brahmachariya Vrata, a vow of purity and celibacy until marriage. They voiced aloud to all present their intentions and then Paramacharya tied the symbolic cord around their waist as a reminder. It is rare in modern days for teens to so commit, and everyone honored their high purpose with applause.

Spiritual Park Tour

A long and leisurely walk through the Spiritual Park to acquaint ourselves with the many additions and improvements since we last visited in 2014. The Park has many visitors, up to 10,000 come here on Ganesha Chaturthi, and many do not know that it was Gurudeva who founded it. So they placed this founder's pavilion right at the front where everyone enters.

The tour was so informative. We were especially impressed with the three new pavilions, designed in Mauritian style with wood and thatch.

A quiet walk through the park:

Arriving in Lovely Mauritius

After a grueling series of flights, from Malaysia to Singapore to Dubai to Mauritius in one lone 25-hour day of airports and long flights, Paramacharya and Tillainathaswami arrived on the island of Mauritius. Senior sishyas greeted us with affection and drove us to a remote cottage right on the beach. It had been nine years since our last visit (delays caused by COVID), so there was much to catch up on. A short rest, then off to an Indian restaurant to share a welcoming meal. Then sleep. Ah, sleep.

Mauritius is an island off the coast of Africa, about 50% larger than Kauai, but with 1.5 million people, 52% being Hindu. It is renowned for its lush forests, white sandy beaches, and volcanic mountain ranges. Notably, it has a significant Hindu population, constituting nearly half of the total residents. This Hindu community profoundly influences the island's culture, festivals and architecture.

Adults Please Leave the Room

Our wandering monks held a Malaysian youth day in Klang, fully orchestrated by Sivajnani Nagappan. It was a sweet event, conducted at the Iraivan Illam (home), a Saiva sanctuary and cultural center dedicated completely to Gurudeva's mission. It contains shrines, meeting halls, classrooms, kitchen, offices, and more. After an arti by Tillainathaswami, the youth gathered. Parents were sitting at the back, expecting to observe, but Paramacharya (in consultation with the young men and women) excused the parents, explaining that this way the questions for the swamis would be more open and uncensored. Big smiles illumined the faces of the fifteen participants as their parents, with great understanding, left the room.

The program was officially titled "The Power of You." Paramacharya told a few stories and offered some empowering tools for their teen life, based on Gurudeva's life and teachings. These, he said, were divine arrows in their quiver, to be used to face challenges, resolve issues, and meet the craziness of life with joy and wisdom. Many present were involved in sports and dance, so Paramacharya shared insights into how they could develop a core strength of spirituality, just as great athletes follow regimens to strengthen their core muscles. He also stressed ways to awaken and use intuition in life.

Questions followed, with some being shy and others eager to challenge the swamis with tough questions. The two swamis took turns answering. At noon, lunch was served followed by a break.
After the break, things changed. The once-reserved youth came alive with questions, courageously asking about stress in their life, verbal abuse, gaming habits, smut (their word for porn), the value of virginity, how to deal with criticism, and friendships gone wrong. They seemed to enjoy the answers, loudly applauding the swamis if some real insight was offered. Tillainathaswami took them through a simple Shum preparation for meditation session.

To conclude, four sweet Tirumurai songs were sung by one of the girls. The parents were invited back into the room and came forward for vibuthi prasadam, short personal discussions, and photos with the sannyasins.

In his opening statements, Paramachaya read the following poem, written in lesss than a tenth of a second by ChatGPT and untouched by human hands:

In Hawaii's sunny, palm-sway groove,
Two swamis live, always on the move.
They teach of yoga, karma, and love,
In their peaceful monastery, skies above.

"You know," said Swami One with a grin,
"It's time to pack; a journey's to begin!"
Swami Two nodded, "Let's take our show
To lands afar, where oil palms grow."

With orange robes and beads, they flew through sky,
Landing in Malaysia with a heartfelt sigh.
Kids gathered round, a youthful, eager crew,
"Teach us," they said, "what the power of 'you' can do!"

Swami One spoke first, "Harness your will!
Like surfers ride the waves, with skill to instill.
Your life force is sacred, let it not drift away,
Control it, and watch your troubles go way."

"Karma is but energy, your actions make it so,"
Swami Two added, "Learn this and you'll glow.
Use your intuition, be wise and be free,
And you'll float through life like a leaf on the sea."

Boys and girls listened, their eyes shining bright,
Playing soccer later, but now with more insight.
Acing exams, with focus so fine,
Singing hymns of love to God Siva, divine.

Relationships flourished, friendships grew pure,
Each little squabble, they'd easily cure.
"The power of you' is the power of me,"
They chanted in chorus, as grateful as could be.

Swami One and Swami Two, mission achieved, took to the sky,
Off to Mauritius shores, waving Malaysia goodbye.
Yet the tale's not over, for this much is true,
The power of "you" is a magical key that turns every lock you pursue.

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