Trip to Northern California

Bodhinatha gives us some wonderful details about his very full visit to Northern California in October 2004. He traveled from the East Bay for Satsang, to the South Bay to give Samaya Diksha, to a Ferry ride from Oakland to the San Francisco Bay for a ride on the Red and White Cruise Ship around the Bay. Finishing with an event across the Bay in Sausalito at the Spinnacker Restaurant for a wonderful Iraivan Event.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning Everyone.

I think I read about 20 Happy Birthday greetings so far this morning. A very interesting garland, I was at Vijay and Chandra Sankara house for the Satsang, it was green and it was a $1008.00 got it all folded just like flowers and to just unfold all the money, very sweet. They started with a goal of $108.00 but they got so much money then they decided to go with $1008.00.

We had a nice trip in Northern California. It was truly a Northern California trip because we were all over the place. It started on Saturday, we had a satsang at the Sankara's new home, beautiful home, it a house way out there it's not even on mapquest yet! One of the out-of-town members got lost and never showed up. It's way out there on the north side, central valley. There was a large group, a satsang with questions.

Then that afternoon we had some private meetings at the hotel, to meet with the out-of-town members. In the evening the members were inspired to have a HBA/HWA dinner. The reason being that there is quite a few younger men in the group and the older men wanted to pass on some of their knowledge, professionals to teach them. Taking interest in the younger men and see them develop the economic side of their life. Then a good dinner and they're all enthused about working together, they hadn't met for quite awhile and then they thought they'd do a lot of their communication on e-mail, something new since they met many years ago.

The next day started with a few more private meetings. Then we did something different, we got on a Ferry that goes from Oakland to San Francisco. How many years do you live somewhere and never go on a Ferry? So it was a first. It leaves from Jack London Square in Oakland and it first goes to the Ferry Building and then goes down to Pier 39. We're off the Ferry and walked around a bit and then took the Red and White Cruise (very appropriate for a Saivite group-red and white stripes,) which went around the Bay. It went down the San Franciso side, then under the Golden Gate Bridge. We went out just a little bit into the Ocean and then turned around and came back and came up the Sausalito side not too close, went around Alcatraz, got to see Angel Island.

It was very interesting and the nice extra boon was that there was an Air Show. So these high performance Jet planes were zooming overhead, four or five Jet planes came swooping down and back up do fancy turns and go down again, they go so high it's amazing. So that's what an extra boon on top of our Ocean cruise we got to watch the Jet planes overhead.

Then the next day we had Samaya Diksha, we went down to San Jose temple, a small and simple temple in San Jose, not fancy but the Priests are very good. We went there once before to check on it, I guess it was in April, before we had Samaya Diksha to make sure it would work. The previous time they had a feet washing puja so they didn't do the feet washing they did the chanting and Hotranatha poured the water on the feet. It started with the left foot and the left foot got about 2 minutes worth of chanting for Vishnu, then the right foot got about 2 minutes of mantras to Shiva. Then I knew for sure they were a Smarta temple, there was no doubt, it's right in their name, it's called Vidika Vidya Ganapati. Vidika based on the Vedas are Smarta and not Saivite. Which is okay, so this time having checked it out, oh by the way they have a nice Guru Gallery on the wall, Gurudeva's picture is very predominate, very nice. Also the Guru's that have visited there or have some affiliation with them. So we had a nice homa, it was an interesting way they chanted Sri Rudram. Sri Rudram has two parts, the first part the nalagam and the second part is called the chanagam. So the nalagam, they would chant one or two lines and then go svaham and stop. Everytime they go for the svaham I'd go up for the ghee. So it was a very interesting way to chant Sri Rudram, they integrated the offerings nicely. They did the chanagam in light speed, I've never heard it chanted so fast, 10 times the speed we do it. Anyway they created a very nice vibration for Samaya Diksha.

So that was in San Jose and the next event was in Sausalito and that's quite a drive. We went to Sausalito for the Reception, even though it turned out to be Columbus Day holiday lots of people work. It's not a holiday where regular business take off, you have to be in the Banking or Government business to get it off. So lots of people couldn't come. But we did have about 100 people, about 10 or 15 members a good size group for two hours. Sadhaka Dandapani was the MC and told some stories about the Innerseach and Iraivan Temple and a number of activites. Had a nice testimony for Dr. Rao, he's a Professor of electromagnetics at the University of Chicago in Irvine, Illinois. He was telling about his experience here, he looks at us in a very special way. He was telling about what a wonderful experience he had here and declared us to be the thirteenth Jyothir Lingam, being twelve Siva temple in India, we being the thirteenth and he rattled off a chant in Sanskrit . The senior priest from the Concord temple was there by the way and he gave a nice chant at the beginning and he was chanting along with Dr. Rao's sanskrit and they went through the twelve names and afterwards he said "I went through each of the twelve Jyothir Lingams, but you usually go to Kashi but in America you got to Kauai, in India you go to Mahresvara but in America you go to Kauai." He went through each of the twelve Jyothir Lingams just like that, to make his point. At the beginning he said he was used to giving 50 minute lectures but I'm only supposed to talk for 5 so I'll try my best. I think it was about 10 minutes. He put all of this in his text book, he had a text book on electromagnatism which is in its sixth edition, he says it's the only text book in the world where the author is alive and it's in its sixth edition. So he was quite proud of it. And in the beginning preface it says, Aum Sri Ganeshaya Namaha, he says how many electromagnetic text books have the courage to say that, it has some big dedications in it. So it's the only book on electromagnetizm in our library, I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Anyway he's a very sweet person.

Deva Rajan gave a talk on Capital campaign. He said specifically we weren't try to raise any Fund Raising at this event, but he introduce the Capital campaign for about 10 or 15 minutes.

I gave a talk about 20 or 30 minute which was focusing on travels, I mentioned all the travels for this year and gave four themes from the travels. One was on Hinduism Today another was Four denominations, work is worship, and Peace. So I just gave a five minute summary of each of these themes. And the group enjoyed the talk. I got a few laughs, a Gujarati joke telling about the BAPS-Swaminarayan event and the first 2 1/2 days was all in Gujarati except four words-one, two, three, four. That was the total amount of English for 2 1/2 days, so that broke the tension, they all laughed at that joke.

The final part of it was the Multimedia presentation from the computer up on the big screen, which was a combination of three areas, lots of variety. Just general information on the Aadheenam, information on the construction of Iraivan Temple and then shots of some of the travels of the year. Everyone liked that and it was a nice way to end.

We stopped around 6:00pm and people came up, we gave them all a "Know Thyself" on the table and it gave them an opportunity to come up and get it signed, it was a way to encourage them to come up really. Some of them came up and got it signed and asked questions and shared problems. So we were there until 7:45pm talking to people afterwards.

It was a very successful reception and we want to do one again next year, plan it far enough ahead of time so we can get this room on the weekend itself, Saturday or Sunday. It's a beautiful location, the Spinnaker Restaurant, we we're in the Banquet room and it's right on the water. You go out the door and you're on a pier, the food (hors d'oeuvres) were served on the pier. You go outside and there's the water and your look off to the right and there's San Francisco, the City, all the beautiful buildings and all the skyline. It was a very clear night, we were very fortunate the weather warmed up it had been cold the week before, we all had our jackets and we didn't need them because it was warm and that night was warm and it was clear. I'm sure many nights its not clear you can't see San Francisco but that night was clear so toward the end of the event it's dark and you can just see San Francisco and all the tall buildings and the water, it was really a very nice backdrop for the event. Everyone liked the location so we hope to use that venue in the future.

That was our very nice trip. We had quite a few came from out of town Michigan, Chicago, San Diego. A very diverse group was at the Satsang.

Have a wonderful day.