Whales Watching at Dawn

On March 26th, with a little time available before the morning class session, the Innersearch pilgrims set out to the deep ocean during the sunrise. Satguru and the pilgrims embarked on speed boats to watch dolphins and whales. On the way, their first stop was below the Koneswaram Temple. Several fishing boats stopped here too before going out for the catch of the day. The Ravana's cleft view is seen from bottom to top and also the huge Siva statue is visible.

Pigeon Island Excursion

On March 25th, Innersearch Sri Lanka pilgrims took a little excursion and study tour to Pigeon Island. Located north from Trincomalee, visitors take a 10 minute boat ride from Nilaveli beach.

Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The island is small with a total area of 471.4 hectares. The rock pigeon colonized the place and gave it its name. This national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka and has been designated a sanctuary since 1963.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami had an enthralled group of students for the day's class, under some of the natural shade. Later, pilgrims and monks went snorkeling to swim among the reef's friendly sharks, sea turtles, many of colorful fish and corals.

Pilgrimage to Koneswaram Temple

Koneswaram is revered as one the Pancha Ishwaram of Sri Lanka. This is the abode of "Kona" (the Chief Lord or God). The presiding Siva deity's name is a combination the words of Kona and Ishwara.

The temple stands distinctly atop Konesar Malai, a high point of land that overlooks the Indian Ocean, near the Trincomalee (Thirukonamalai) District. The original temple is believed to be built around 205 bce, with key features resembling the Dravidian temple architecture, such as a thousand pillared hall.
The temple complex was destroyed by the Portuguese Empire in colonial religious attacks between 1622 and 1624, and Fort was built near the site from its debris. Ruins of the Koneswaram temple are still found underwater, and several murtis have been rediscovered.

Koneswaram is described in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is mentioned by Sambandhar and Sundarar Nayannar in Tevarams between 600-630 ce. Another prominent Saivite, Arunagirinathar visited here in 1468. In 1952 the Society for Restoration of Koneswaram did the initial reconstruction work and more renovations were done by local Tamils in 1982.

Reconnecting With the Ancient Tiruketeeswaram Temple

Tiruketeeswaram is one of the Pancha Eswaram temples dedicated to Lord Siva and venerated by Saivites throughout the world. Its famous tank, the Palavi tank, is of ancient antiquity and was restored from the ruins more recently. Literary and scriptural evidence in the Tirumurai dates this temple back to the 300BC to 1500AD when the temple was well kept by the Pallava, Pandyan and Chola Dynasties. Tirunyana Sambandhar sang about the greatness of this Temple, as did the 8th century Nayanar, Sundarar during the Sangam period. The Portuguese destroyed the temple in 1589 and for over 400 years this ancient edifice remained dormant in the scriptures and Tirumurai songs. Through these references, the original site was rediscovered in 1894. A Hindu reformer named Arumuka Navalar came to revive and rebuild the Temple at the request of the local Tamil people. The current restoration work is tremendous and will restore the greatness of this ancient Saivite abode. Aum Namah Sivaya.

Darshan With Satguru

On March 24th during the Innersearch in Sri Lanka, students, teachers and tdministrators from both the Yogaswami Hindu Girls Home and Thirunavukkarasu Nayanar Gurukulam came to spend some darshan time with Satguru and the monks. After giving a brief general overview of their activities Satguru offered vibuthi prasadam to all present.

David, Emilse and Little William Beck

David Beck, his wife Emilse and little William Beck came for a visit. David is part of the LiveCode community. Livecode is software used by several of the monks for the past 20 years, to build all kinds of cool tools for the monastery, and of late, by Brahmanathaswami for the SivaSiva app.

David is co-founder, CEO and CTO of Rotunda Software now helping non-profits manage over 989,200 volunteers! He came with his fiance, Emilse about nine years ago. Then Swami suggested, "When you have your first child, bring him back for blessings." It is something David remembered all these years. Today they returned, married, with their little son William.

Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple visit

March 22 was day nine of the 2019 Innersearch in Sri Lanka. Not far from the Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple is where Yogaswami was born. As a young man, Yogaswami, known as Sadasivan, would frequent this temple, so our lineage has long held a deep connection here. Gurudeva was once invited into the inner sanctum by the head priest to do arati. This was unheard of at the time, and surprised many temple priests in the area. The head priest simply told them, "I saw Lord Muruga at the entrance, so I let Him in." This time around, to the surprise of many, after the homa Bodhinatha and the monks were also invited into the sanctum and Bodhinatha did the grand abhishekam himself. The energy of the invocation, puja, temple circumambulation, homa and abhishekam was tremendously electrifying. This continued when a second puja was conducted at an altar before the Mayil Vahana, where the Six-faced Shanmuga was the presiding deity. 1008 names were chanted by the revered chief priest of the Temple Maharajasri Ratnasabapathy Kurukkal. The event continued with a parade of Shanmuga around the first prakaram (the outer part of the inner sanctum) of the Temple. Temple prasadam was served as lunch, following these events. Overall, Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple blessed us with a day of powerful, divine energy.

Visit to Sri Durga Devi Devasthanam

On day nine of the 2019 Sri Lanka Innersearch, we visited the Sri Durga Devi Temple near Maviddapuram in Jaffna. This is a well-known Temple involved in numerous community oriented activities and charitable work. Temples in Jaffna are the hub, not only for spiritual unfoldment, but for the preservation of culture, education and the for the welfare of devotees. The large and colorful four-sided gopurams are a recent development and make this temple the second largest in Jaffna.

Chellappaswami Mahasamadhi

With yesterday and this morning being the annual celebration of Chellappaswami's Mahasamadhi, it's a good time to share our 2019 Innersearch visit to Chellapaswami's Shrine in Nallur. Here are some photos taken with Satguru and pilgrims during the worship at Chellappaswami's hut. Siddhanathaswami did the abhishekam assisted by Rishi Thondunatha.

Visit to Sivapoomi Palace of Tiruvasakam and the 108 Sivalingam

In the afternoon of March 21st, the Innersearch visited a special place just to the south of Jaffna. Dr. Aru Thirumurugan, head of the Siva Boomi Trust in Sri Lanka has been doing so much service in various areas of the north. The Tiruvasagam Palace in Navatkuli is yet another spectacular project undertook by his team. The work was completed in June of 2018. The full Tiruvasakam is carved in 12 languages on granite walls and displayed around a hall which circles a Dakshinamurti shrine. Around are 108 perfectly carved Sivalingams and corresponding hanging bells. As devotees circumambulate the shrine they ring the bell above each Sivalingam. The Tiruvasakam Palace is a scene to behold and an experience to forever cherish. After circling the compound, the Innersearchers enjoyed an enchanting Nagaswaram performance by P.S. Balamurugan and company.

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