Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2002-04-03
I receive requests to send letters blessing various activities at Hindu temples around the world, just as Gurudeva did. The New Zealand Tiru Murugan Temple is having its kumbhabhishekam after only two years, and my message to them is Gurudeva's message about the importance of temples, especially in Hindu communities outside Hinduism's spiritual homeland. Without them, our beautiful cultural heritage will simply begin to fall away. A special puja honoring Paramaguru Yogaswami's mahasamadhi will be held soon in a temple in Ontario, Canada. Yogaswami's attainment is our potential attainment. Be inspired to become That! Yogaswami's advice was to improve ourselves, to control the mind, practice meditation and "Know thy Self by thyself."
We get requests to send letters for various activities at Hindu temples. Usually, we put them in a printed souvenir.
One just went out to New Zealand, to New Zealand Tirumurugan Temple Society on the occasion of the Temple's Mahakumbhabhishekam. This is a group in New Zealand that only formed in January of 2000 and I looked in the file
and there was a letter from Gurudeva in January 2000, congratulating them on forming. Here we are, just a little over two years later, writing the letter on their kumbhabhishekam. One of the reasons is, they bought an existing building. That always speeds you up. Make a temple out of granite, that will slow you down. But they bought an existing building and installed Deities in it. So we congratulated them and gave them Gurudeva's standard statement.
"Subramuniyaswami often stressed in His talks and writings that it is through temples the Great Gods are able to contact and inspire us to improve our lives to see God everywhere, to seek love and harmony in all situations starting in our home and then to all we meet. As we become more stable in this harmonious relationship we are inspired to bring forth the culture to share what we have so it may be passed on to the next generation."
That was Gurudeva's standard thought on the importance of temples in the Hindu Diaspora or when Hindus exist in countries that don't have temples. If you don't have temples, the culture will eventually fade away. Culture isn't perpetuated from one person to another. It comes out of the temple. The temple has a special vibration which uplifts us all, refines us all, reminds us of the culture and therefore is central to perpetuating it.
The second idea Gurudeva always included was, "Of course, the challenge is for the elders to pass on to the next generation, their deep understanding of Hindu philosophy, the uniqueness of the temple and the traditional ways of
worshipping Tirumurugan and receiving His potent blessings. All of us here at Kauai Aadheenam and our magazine Hinduism Today are always available to help in any way we can to support your efforts."
This is a challenge worldwide and we have done a few things to help. But it is an ongoing problem that many temple societies don't have an effective ways of passing on the teachings to the next generation. You visit there, you give a talk where all the kids are outside running around playing. If they are outside running around playing when you are there, it means they are always outside running around playing. That means they are not being taught about the temple. If you don't understand how the temple works then, of course, you grow up not valuing it and not integrating it into your life.
This is an ongoing challenge in terms of dialogue with Hindu leaders of various temples. Gurudeva is encouraging education to take place at temples that are established. It is something we can focus more of our publications on, to be of service.
We recently produced a nice flyer. It is called 'Hinduism's Code of Conduct', which are the yamas and niyamas, ten yamas and ten niyamas. We have forty-eight thousand of them. That will last a while. We print them along with the cover. So this one was two up. We printed twenty-four thousand of Gurudeva's commemorative issue. So forty-eight thousand, five thousand of which will go to Trinidad. We have some live wire missionaries, the Ragunatha family in Trinidad who are very eager to distribute Gurudeva's teaching there. In fact, they are on TAKA with their 'Mystic Mouse' publication. They have quite a support team there, distributing the publications. They were very keen on the yamas and niyamas, it even has their telephone contact on it in Trinidad. So five thousand are going to them and we have forty-three thousand more to distribute around the world. It is a very good publication for this kind of effort of teaching children because it summarizes very distinctly in the English and Sanskrit word, these twenty principles and explains them. Plus, we have the greatest back-up possible. We have Gurudeva's very inspired elucidations of each of the yamas and niyamas in 'Living with Siva', as a back-up textbook for any teacher.
Then, we have the Sri Siva Yogaswami Sivathondu Center, Scarborough Ontario, having a Mahasamadhi Puja for Yogaswami on March 24th. We sent a message there.
"Reflecting on the Mahasamadhi of Sri Siva Yogaswami, his great spiritual attainment comes to mind, which was achieved through many years of strict dhyana, sadhana and tapas." Standard, right? Now, it takes a twist. You have to listen to the twist here. "His attainment is also our potential, our spiritual destiny to be reached at some point in this or a future life. Let his great attainment reinspire us to devote more time to our own spiritual practices."
That is how Gurudeva looked at it and it is beautifully said in the 'Clear, White Light' chapter in 'Merging with Siva'. "We go into the light and sometimes we see the face of a great Master". Then it goes on to say, "who shows us our own spiritual potential." It doesn't stop and say someone greater than we are. No, you will be that eventually. Let it inspire you to
become your spiritual potential. Our soul is what moves from one life to the next through the process of reincarnation. We cannot take our material wealth with us, only our soul. The soul's development, its maturation is the only permanent part of life.
Yogaswami's sagely advise on these matters is timeless. We have three quotes.
"You cannot improve others or the world, improve yourself." Sometimes, it is easier to think about improving others or worrying about making the world a better, safer place. That is easier to do than to improve our self because to improve our self, we have to acknowledge that we are not perfect, that we have flaws, that we have areas that we can improve and then we have to try and actually do it.
Next quote. "Little by little, control the mind. Direct the mind towards God and practice meditation."
Finally, "You must know yourself, by yourself. There is nothing else to be known."
Those are some thoughts from Yogaswami.