Gurudeva's Shakti is so strong here at Kauai Aadheenam, stronger than any other place. Initiations are an important part of Saivism. It starts an inner process. The Paramachaya initiations of Palaniswami and Ceyonswami means that they can initiate people into samya diksha. All the monks are feeling Gurudeva really closely on the inside. The Nandinatha Sutras are a great gift. Many times the sutra of the day corresponds to what happens that day such as Gurudeva's Mahasamadhi. On that day the sutra was on dying at home among loved ones. Then on the cremation day the sutra was on cremation. The State of the Church AddressThree things we will emphisize. 1) New members. 2) Finishing printing the Mastercourse trilogy. 3) Master Course study program for new students. Correspondence study and the less formal e-mail/web daily lessons.
This is our first Jayanthi for Gurudeva, when he hasn't been with us in his physical body. But of course, he is with us in his spiritual body and we can all feel his presence if we figure out how to tune into that vibration.
I was recently interviewed by a prominent international magazine, known as 'Hinduism Today'. That is our own magazine, but it sounded good, right? Long interview. Japendranatha interviewed me and he was asking me questions about the history of the Church and the nature of the Church. I was reflecting on various events. He was asking, "Where were the Swamis initiated into Sannyas?" Wonderful questions to think about and ponder.
I was thinking about the 1972 ceremonies in Alaveddy. How many of us here this morning were present in Alaveddy in 1972? One. One? Okay.
Gurudeva was giving initiations, including Sannyasin initiations. That is when He initiated me into Sannyas. What struck me about the moment was Gurudeva's sakti, shall we say, his force was so strong. Just unbelievable. Like it was unexpected. Like turning up a light that is bright to make it extremely bright. That is how it felt. Gurudeva's force was just so dynamic.
I was thinking about that during this interview and I was thinking, "Well, perhaps it was due to Yogaswami's support on the inside, of Gurudeva. And, the fact that Gurudeva was in Jaffna." In other words, somehow Yogaswami's tie to Jaffna was special and therefore in Jaffna, Yogaswami's force was projected through Gurudeva, in a stronger way than in any other place. Anyway, that is how it struck me yesterday.
Gurudeva continued to give initiations in Jaffna. We had an ashram there, Subramuniya Ashram, until the domestic problems the civil strife in Sri Lanka came up in the mid-80's and so we couldn't go there anymore. But definitely, Gurudeva preferred that as his place of initiation.
I was pondering, you know. Likewise, Gurudeva's presence may always be stronger here at Kauai Aadheenam than any other place. His inner power somehow projects through more fully in this place than any other.
Initiation is a very important part of our tradition in Saivism. Though a Guru is always giving blessings, initiation is like a special blessing, a very intense blessing, given with certain intentions in mind. So when it is given, it is like it starts a certain process going on the inside. The simple example that Gurudeva used on occasion, was the analogy of starting a car. It is the spark from the ignition which starts the car and once the car is started, the driver can drive it, right? But if there is no spark, you can't get the car started and you can't move, you are stuck. So, the whole process of being able to drive a car forward on a street depends upon the ignition generating a spark.
Likewise, initiation is to the inner process as the spark is to the car. There is a certain inner process that starts through initiation that allows the one who is initiated to move forward. Just like the car moves forward. But in this case, we are not moving down the street, of course. We are moving forward on the spiritual path. But it is not automatic. Just because someone is initiated, they don't move forward on the spiritual path automatically. It takes effort and we call that effort sadhana.
With each initiation, there are a certain number of sadhanas that are supposed to be practiced to move you forward. If you don't do the practice, you won't move. Like the car, though it is running isn't going forward. So it requires systematic, regular practice, daily practice of the sadhana that comes along with the initiation to receive the full benefit of it and to move forward in one's spiritual progress.
As part of Gurudeva's passing on the tradition during his prayopavesa, he initiated Palaniswami and Ceyonswami as Paramacharyas, meaning initiating Gurus. They have the ability to initiate into Samaya diksha. He gave that same initiation to me some six years ago, approximately. A couple of years after he gave the initiation, he sent me out to initiate. He said, "Put your initiation to use here." He wasn't traveling and he didn't travel for a whole three-year period. He just stayed on the island, in retreat, and focused on writing the trilogy. He put a tremendous amount of energy into writing His legacy, the Trilogy legacy, the Master Course.
He sent me out. I was traveling around and as part of visiting the members, I initiated I think about forty members all together in India, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius. As part of the ceremony, I would always give a speech beforehand that, "Now, it is very important that we understand who is initiating whom here. So, we have to look at this as that I am invisible and Gurudeva is initiating you through me. Okay? You got that straight?" Because, we are trying to create the tie between them and Gurudeva, not to me. I was just acting on Gurudeva's behalf.
So I would say that a few times to make sure everyone understood quite clearly, "Okay. It is just as good as if Gurudeva were here, giving the initiation and that is how I should look at it."
Once that was straight, I would, it is part of the process of giving the initiation, try to find Gurudeva on the inside. Because if Gurudeva is going to give this initiation, he has got to be there. So going on the inside, then seeking Gurudeva's vibration and strength. Of course, he is tuned into you because he knows the ceremony is going on. It is not like he is not aware of it. He knows in his conscious mind, "Bodhinatha is initiating at this time, in this place, which is this time here. So therefore, I need to be on the inside with him." He is doing it deliberately.
It was a very interesting experience. Experiencing Gurudeva on the inside during initiation. Why am I talking about that? What does this have to do with anything? That is a good question.
Well, to me that same sense is what has existed here at the Aadheenam since Gurudeva's Maha Samadhi. That same sense that I had then. Gurudeva is so close to you on the inside, so powerfully projecting himself, in the sense not of his personality or his thoughts, but his spiritual force, his actinic force. He is so powerful on the inside that it has made everyday like a day of initiation. That is how it feels to me, it is very special. Other monks have come forward, we all haven't sat down and shared Gurudeva stories at length because everyone is busy. But a number of monks have come forward to me and shared that experience just on their own initiative, I didn't ask. "Oh, Gurudeva feels so close to me on the inside, it is just amazing."
Gurudeva did say, one of his very important statements during his prayopavesa was, "I'll be with you 24 hours a day on the inside." That is what he said.
Of course, we have taken that very seriously, but it is a very powerful presence when you are tuned into it. So, it is like Gurudeva is definitely alive and well and blessing us all, I think in an extremely dynamic way here at Kauai Aadheenam.
I just wanted to share that because it is how Gurudeva is present at this ceremony.
One of Gurudeva's gifts to us is called the 'Nandinatha Sutras'. 365 sutras, one for each day of the year, which are designed to give us very specific guidelines for how to live. It gets down to details, like what to eat, what not to eat, what direction to sleep. Very specific things in life. How to get along, husband and wife, how to raise children, rules for monks and so on. There are guidelines for every part of life given in these shastras.
One of the amazing, you can call it mystical aspects of the sutras is, that it often relates to what is going on. You read the sutra of the day and it relates to some event that is happening during that day. Now, how can that be? The sutras start in the year which starts in mid April, the Hindu year starting in middle April, which is around the 14th of April is Sutra 1 and it starts counting from that point.
This was pointed out to me by one of the monks, I didn't notice it myself. But it was amazing that the day of Gurudeva's Maha Samadhi, which was November 12th was Sutra 214. "Siva's devotees welcome life saving medical intervention, but in their last days avoid heroic, artificial perpetuation of life and prefer not to die in a hospital but at home with loved ones, who keep prayerful vigil." This was the day we were keeping prayerful vigil for Gurudeva, can you believe that! Here we are keeping prayerful vigil on his last day and there is the sutra, " ... home with loved ones, keeping prayerful vigil." He passed away at 11:30 at night.
So the sutra for the next day, since you can't have everything in one day says, "Siva's devotees strive at the moment of death to depart the body through the crown chakra and consciously enter the clear white light and beyond. A perfect transition culminates in God realization." Do you believe that? Here we are. Okay, so then nothing happened the next day.
The following day was of course the cremation, right? "Siva's devotees arrange swift cremation." Do you believe it, the day of cremation.? " ...arrange swift cremation, ideally within 24 hours. The fire and accompanying rites sever ties to earthly life and give momentum to the soul, granting at least momentary access to superconscious realms." How can that be? It is just amazing that the sutras are so tied to our life.
So turning to the present, as Paramacharya Palaniswami pointed out in his class yesterday, the sutra was relating to Church membership and, of course, we were bringing in Church members. Yesterday's sutra: "All within my Saiva Siddhanta Church are stalwart and dedicated, not one is half-hearted or equivocal. Each is a jewel, important to me and to each other. Thus, strictness is necessary when accepting new members."
So that was yesterday. Now, today: "All within my Saiva Siddhanta Church accept new-comers as part of their own family. They care for, teach, gently guide and prepare these souls for their first initiation. Yea, they too were once new members."
Isn't that interesting that we are just having brought in new members and today it is also talking about nurturing new members.
So I thought it was a very appropriate message to coincide with Jayanthi. Of course, it will coincide with Gurudeva's Jayanthi every year, that sutra. No one calculated, "Well, that is sutra 268, it talks about membership. Let us have that sutra fall on Jayanthi every year." No, no. They were moved around backwards and forwards and here and there. The fact that they ended up in the order they did, no one could have controlled it, it just happened. The whole book was moved around to fit better. It so happens every year on Gurudeva's Jayanthi, the sutra will be on nurturing new members. So that is amazing how the sutras apply.
Gurudeva traditionally gives what he calls a 'State of the Church message', which can be quite lengthy. So I just have a few simple 'State of the Church' thoughts in that regard. The 'State of the Church' means for our members, students and devotees looking forward into the coming year and talking about what our main emphasis will be, what the themes will be for all of us during the coming year.
Certainly, one of the themes for the coming year is new members and we have two groups. We have a group of
arulsishya, those who are preparing for membership and get to participate in all our activities. They are, over the next one to two months, all coming into membership. I think fifteen to twenty individuals have been studying for years and years and will be coming into membership, mainly in Asia. So that is wonderful. As well as, we have a group of students who will be coming into being arulsishya or preparing to become members and are able to participate in all the activities. As a result, you can look forward to say three or four months from now. On a global basis, we will have quite a few new people participating in the various Mission activities around the world, which is a wonderful step forward.
So new members, accepting new members is definitely one of the themes for the coming year. They have been studying for quite a while and have all certainly earned being accepted into membership.
Another theme for the coming year is our Master Course Trilogy. As you know, that the first one in the new format is 'Living with Siva'. Previously, they were paper bound, printed in the US, in black and white. The new version is hard cover, will hold together, not fall apart and full color, beautiful color paintings throughout reflecting the text. It is really an exquisite book in terms of its production and of course in terms of the words that Gurudeva spent much of the last ten years in perfecting the wording of all of his books.
'Living with Siva', as we know contains the Nandinatha Sutras and even goes into greater detail, into how to live, how to put Saivism into practice in the various aspects of our daily life. The other two books 'Dancing with Siva' and 'Merging with Siva' will get printed this year and should exist and be distributed hopefully to everyone by the end of this year.
Definitely the year 2002 is the year of the Master Course Trilogy coming into this beautiful new hardcover, full color edition and ending up in all of our shrine rooms and bookshelves to study as well as to share with other people. That is really a grand step forward. It can make us all very proud of this accomplishment, getting them into this format.
So the second theme for the year is bringing the Master Course Trilogy into existence, for all three books.
The third and last theme I wanted to mention this year, for this year is the Master Course Study Program for the new students, not for our members. But for new students to go along with the new edition of the trilogy, we have redone the basic Master Course study into a three-level study that uses the new textbooks and someone can go through the three levels in a three-year period for example and complete all the basic Himalayan Academy studies. We are issuing the first level, as of now, it is available to new students. Saravananathaswami is overseeing that at 'firstname.lastname@example.org' So, as the new theme there is the existence of a brand new course which makes excellent use of this material.
In a less formal way, the course is available, I mean the study is available as daily lessons, which is the essence of the study to read 'Dancing, Merging and Living with Siva' including the sutra of the day,on a daily basis. Because of the internet, we are able to offer that in two ways, one is e-mail. On e-mail, someone can receive at no charge or cost, the lessons in their in box, every morning. They come in and there is lesson of the day from the Master Course. As well as, it is on our web site if someone prefers to access it in that way.
So, studying the daily lessons and the supervised study is the third and final theme for the year 2002.