State of the Church Address, 2003
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2003-01-08
Bodhinatha gives the Annual State of the Church Address by the Guru Mahasannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam. He reviewed the progress of 2002 including new students and members. and presented the goals for publications in 2003. These included the India Innersearch of January 2004; his trips to missions in other countries;. a renewed. focus on sadhana (after a year's break since Gurudeva's Mahasamadhi) in 2003, to finish the Maha Vasana Dasa Tantra; completion of children's courses; and the completion of the main sanctum of the Iraivan temple.
Good Morning! Happy Guru Jayanthi.
Last year was my first State of the Church message and it was short and simple. Some of the monks remember, of course, because we have talked about it. Probably all our family members don't remember the three points in the State of the Church message last year. You wouldn't get A+ on that test. I will remind you!
Our first focus for the year 2002 was on new members. Our goal was to get 23-25 new members, something like that. I think we ended up with about 28 new members last year, a nice accomplishment. We were able to bring in the group which consists mainly of individuals who had been studying for quite a while. The requirements kept getting longer, so they still had not become a member, even though they had been studying five or ten years. Gurudeva loved to challenge us with more sadhanas. So, we brought them all into membership and it expanded our international congregation quite a bit. That was our first focus.
Our second focus for last year was the printing of the Master Course trilogy in the hardcover, color edition. We are almost there in terms of our work. We have a couple more days work on 'Dancing with Siva'. 'Merging with Siva' has been in the works over there for quite a while and they are just finishing up the binding of it. They ran into a small problem on the cover in the binding. But other than that, it is printed. 'Dancing with Siva' will be sent off in a few days to also be printed. We'll have all of our work done here on the trilogy, and we can move on to other goals which come up in our year 2003 for our publication department. So, that is a major accomplishment and puts Gurudeva's core teachings into this beautiful format for all to appreciate for many years to come. We are very happy with that accomplishment
To go along with that was our third goal which was, for our new Academy students, to develop a Master Course study for the new trilogy that went along with it. We came out with the first level, the study is in three levels. The beginning of last year we came out with the first level and enrolled quite a few new students in that program. We are just finishing up the second level which will be finished this month. So they can continue on, some of them, into Level Two with their study. That was accomplished quite nicely. Those were our three goals for last year.
Moving on to 2003, this year's focus. Something all of you already have, but the members, unless they were here during the Mahasamadhi Observance, don't yet have their copy of the Gurudeva photo album and the video. So we are sending that out around the world. It is going out this month along with the membership cards, specifically to every church head of house, every distinct unit. If it is a single person, that single person or if it is a family of four, each one get one copy of the photo album. Then, we are sending out a video to each of the Kulapati and they can show it as well copies can be made for the other members if they want to have one. In this way, we are distributing worldwide in the next few days these two beautiful, very special, high quality creations that were done to honor Gurudeva during the Mahasamadhi time and will now be enjoyed by all the members worldwide. So that is our first focus, which is a special gift.
Second focus for the year, special activities. We are getting more ambitious in our Innersearch department. This last year was our simplest Innersearch yet, Hawaii along with Guru Purnima. We did that to fulfill Gurudeva's statement which seemed a challenge at the time. He is sitting there during his fast and says, "Oh, by the way, you should have an Innersearch next year." That was his instruction to us. "Even if it is a small one." We made it as small as possible! At the time, it seemed like a big challenge to do. But we are getting bolder this year. We are up to an India Innersearch, as all of you know. We are scheduling it a few weeks later than we thought. It is scheduled to start in the middle of January 2004. It is about a little over a year from now and it is a little less than three weeks long. It is a program designed to provide a balance of three activities. One, of course, is attending the temples and ashrams. The other is a regular morning class schedule on the Master Course. The third is cultural programs in the evening. We are going to present a variety of music, dance, Vedic chanting and other traditional cultural forms of India during the evening program as an introduction. We anticipate a number of people going on this program who have never been to India, as well as many old timers. So we want to show them all aspects of India, including the culture. We are going to have a nice balance for that.
Other special activities. We are continuing to visit the Missions on a regular basis. Once a year for Mauritius at the Ganesha Chathurthi time. They are looking forward to that already, we are planning it out. Once a year for Malaysia and Singapore and then for California at least once a year, more often when possible. So those programs are in the works. We are going off for our yearly visit to Malaysia-Singapore on January 21. We have some wonderful programs coming together for that.
One of the areas we are looking forward to this year is, our Publication/ Editing team will have finished its duties with the Master Course trilogy and will be able to move forward in other areas. Something we have been looking forward to doing for quite a while. Probably the most important publication we will be working on, but it is also long-term, is the stories of the Kailasa Parampara. Those of you who have been around forever know it was originally released as 'Soldiers Within'. Just a very simple portion of it. Since then it has developed a lot, plus we have some beautiful, really unique artwork done by Rajam, custom made for the book. We are going to start developing that with the idea in mind that lots of the new members really don't know much about the history of the Parampara. They have never been to Jaffna, may never go to Jaffna. It is quite a different place than when many of us had the opportunity to go there in the 1970s and see for ourselves Yogaswami's hut, Chellappa's hut, Nallur temple and hear all the stories that went along with it. Was a beautiful experience. So we are trying to preserve that experience and pass it on to those who didn't have it in person through this publication, so that everyone who is a student and a member has an excellent feeling for the history of our Kailasa Parampara.
Another definite for this year in our publication area is, we are moving ahead again with the Saivite Hindu Religion Children's Course. We are issuing Book Three of the course in printed form this year. Possibly even more, but at least Book Three will be done. Plus, we are redesigning it a little bit, making it smaller, putting the Teacher's guides on computer file in PDF form and keeping the book itself as just the material the children study. This makes it smaller, less expensive to produce, easier to use overseas in different classes. Once we issue this, we will have a new energy through them. Some of the teachers stopped just because they ran out of material. Giving them Book three, we already know they will say, "Oh, we will start up again. All I needed was Book Three." This is one class but one class is hundreds of people when it comes to Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. We get a few classes going, we get maybe five hundred more children get back in the study of Saivite Hindu Religion.
We have other plans for the publication area but those are the two areas, the Parampara story and Book Three. Book Three will be done and the Parampara we will have made good progress on this year and we are planning a number of smaller books as well.
Another major focus for the year, of course, is Iraivan Temple. It made good progress this last year. This coming year we have two wonderful things to look forward to. One is that the wood and the sand that is around the temple, protecting it, is already in the process of coming down. It will continue to come down and should be down in a month or so, I believe, so that we will be able to see the entire temple standing there, all at once. You might want to sit down when you do that the first time, it is going to be so beautiful. As Palaniswami says, "We saw each beautiful item go into the temple. Now we are going to see it all at once, when it comes down. It is going to be very spectacular." We have that to look forward to in the near future.
Then the sanctum itself, the entire inner sanctum, garbhagriha mukhamandapam is scheduled to be finished in September, donations permitting. That should be really a landmark for the temple, to have the sanctum totally done and standing there, make it really look fantastic and to guess how it will be, visually complete all at once. Again, it will be kind of overwhelming to see it all at one time.
Those are two very important physical aspects of Iraivan temple. Otherwise there is a general increase in activity of the global membership in terms of fund raising for Iraivan, promoting Iraivan temple. We saw that here with the calendar, beautiful calendar the Hotranatha family did to fund raise for the temple here this year. In Malaysia, we have Iraivan Day on January 26th, . They are having an all-day display and presentation for Iraivan temple. We will be there on that day, giving a talk. We are hoping to introduce lots of new people to the temple which will lead in coming months to some significant donations coming in from that country.
With the temple coming up so nicely, we felt we better keep improving the rest of the property here so that it all comes up together. So we have two major improvements coming in. One is the large granite Dakshinamurthi, which is 12 ft. tall. I mean, this is huge, really, really tall, massive Dakshinamurthi, which will go under the banyan tree there near where the pattarai is, where we used to do the ceremonies. It is going to be installed out there. We will have Siva and the four sages coming. It is ready to ship, so it should be here in a few months. Fully carved, ready to ship. That is going to add a beautiful dimension to that part of the property, very near the path of the Saiva Saints. Something very spectacular to view this, totally complete at this time.
Then we have the Vel. 12.5 ft. granite Vel also finished, that is coming soon to go up on Muruga Hill. If you go out there at this time, you will see we are putting in the base. Nice cement, lava-rock base going in to be ready to receive that. We will install it at an auspicious time.
So, we will have two very nice improvements to the rest of our property coming up in the next couple of months.
As all of you here know but those listening don't, we are starting to plant our four hundred acres which we call Himalayan Acres, across the river. Some land that has come to us for agricultural use. We are already started with coconut trees and a few fruit trees and there will be a few more hardwood trees going in, in the next week. We are starting to plant it. Coconut trees take a while but others will be more visible, I think, sooner. But that is a wonderful part of bringing up the rest of the property. We are going to have some beautiful plants over there for everyone to enjoy.
Last but not least, Sadhanas. You may have noticed in reflection there wasn't any sadhana follow-up last year. Have you finished this sadhana, did you do this sadhana? How about this, how about that? We gave you a break. One year break from sadhana follow-up! Of course, I think all of you here have finished the sadhanas that Gurudeva gave. But some of the members particularly new members, have not done the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra. So that is our one focus in sadhana for the year is to make sure that everyone who is a member has totally finished the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra, which includes any penance that came up that Gurudeva gave you which you haven't completed yet. For example, some of the members were asked to carry kavadi three times and they haven't done the third time. Maybe they have done one or two times, some of them are in that situation of one or more carrying kavadi still left to be done to finish out the penance side of the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra. Everyone who has finished the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra should complete the annual Vasana Daha Tantra for the year 2002, if you have not finished it already.
So that sadhana, Maha Vasana Daha Tantra or Vasana Daha Tantra, is our one theme in the sadhana area for those that have not completed both of them. You will be hearing about it in Satellite News, pop up in talks here and there to encourage everyone. Sometimes the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra, you get stuck in the middle. You are going along fine and you hit a year you really don't like. "I don't want to think about that year. That was the year of my worst behavior of my life. I am going to stop." For whatever reason, something unpleasant or a number of unpleasant things in particular years, can cause members to stop, which has happened.
It is our job to encourage them to continue and remind them of the importance of it, that it is really central to clearing out the subconscious mind and moving forward with our life. There is lots of resentments down there, lots of unresolved experiences if we haven't done a systematic sadhana like the Maha Vasana Daha Tantra. Amazing, what it brings up! It forces us to look at relationships we think we have resolved and we find out we didn't. We find out there are people we still react to in our memory. We are still mad at them for what they did to us 25 years ago.
We can clear all of this out of the subconscious mind through this very simple practice of Maha Vasana Daha Tantra. Even Gurudeva did it, it is not like he just created it. He also went through the entire process, you know. It is a lot of years, seventy something years there. He went through the whole process. Think how lucky we are. We are only twenty, thirty, forty. Get it done while you are young! It takes less time.
Those are our focuses for the year and I think we will have a very dynamic year. I think it is a year of a little more expansion. It was a very conservative year, the first year after Gurudeva's Mahasamadhi. But I think we are all feeling more like expanding, more dynamic situations. We will be embarking on more new activities this year than we did last year. This isn't a complete list for our activities. It is just a list of some of the major focuses that involve the membership, so the members have some idea of what the focus is, what direction the Aadheenam is going, what direction their sadhana should go, how should we look at the membership of our Church.
Aum Namah Sivaya!