State of the Church 2004
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2004-02-21
This morning Bodhinatha spoke following the guru puja held for Gurudeva's 77th jayanti. Bodhinatha shared with us the traditional annual "State of the Church" talk in which he called for 2004 to be "The Year of Japa," a time for members to come current with their daily japa disciplines and all of us to focus more intently on this sadhana. Bodhinatha shared some of the publications that are coming into being this year, as well as Iraivan's progress, noting the capstone will go up in April. He also described the Indian Odyssey Innersearch that is about to begin.
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Good Morning, everyone! Happy to have such a large gathering this morning. Glad so many of you were able to come to join us to celebrate Gurudeva's Jayanthi.
Carrying forward in Gurudeva's tradition, on Jayanthi we give a State of the Church Address. The idea is to give a preview of what is coming up in the year ahead, what we are focusing on, what we are not focusing on. I would like to read that to everyone.
I want to review the last two of them, this is our third State of the Church Address.
In 2002, the focus was on bringing in new members. About thirty in all came in, in 2002. Finishing the Master Course Trilogy in hardcover. Issuing Level One in the new Academy Master Course Study. Continuing the jointing and carving work on Iraivan Temple. Visiting our members in Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore and California, at least once. That was 2002.
2003, our focus was on issuing Level Two of the new Academy Master Course Study. Finishing our first small book, in quite a while, 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundations', which the printer will finish in the next few of weeks. Moving ahead with Saivite Hindu Religion Children's Course Book Three. Printing a pocketbook size edition of Dancing with Siva, it is really small in case you haven't seen it, good for plane rides. Continuing the jointing and carving work on Iraivan Temple. Organizing the 2004 India Odyssey Innersearch. And again visiting our members.
That is 2002 and 2003, in review.
One of the main focuses for the coming year is on Japa, the Panchakshara Mantra and Samaya Diksha. In fact we have dubbed 2004 as the Year of Japa. This is because we will be giving Samaya Diksha to members who qualify, starting on the India Innersearch in January and later on in the year in Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, California and even here if some qualify here, that come here.
To help prepare our members for receiving Samaya Diksha, we have created a special 6 month preparation course which has been mailed out to all members who indicated that they wanted to receive diksha this year. So far, we have 29 members who have asked to prepare, that is a nice size group.
A second focus for the Year of Japa is for all members who have all ready received samaya diksha to bring themselves current. Which of course means doing an extra 108 repetitions of Aum Namah Sivaya for every day that was missed since you received diksha, I am sure no one here is behind, everyone is current? Or at least, will be by the end of this year. So we want to get current if we are behind in our diksha.
For publications, our focus for the year 2004, producing a new version of the 'Know Thyself' booklet, which leads into the Master Course study and talks about the Guru Parampara. That will be nice.
For the Saivite Hindu Religion Children's Course, we will print Book Three and move forward on Book Four. We are going to produce a pocketbook edition of Merging with Siva, same size small.
For our teaching program, our major teaching program for 2004 is, of course, the India Innersearch in January. We have some 90 participates, including staff which makes it our largest program ever. 90 people and we have planned a balanced program giving equal emphasis in the three areas of Master Course classes, Temple and Ashram visits and Cultural Events. So it is a nice balance.
There is also the possibility of a week long student and member retreat in Malaysia in December. It is still in the planning stages and depends on the members there volunteering to coordinate it.
For travel, our usual Ganesha Chaturthi journey to Mauritius, with stops in Malaysia and Singapore is all planned out and we are just buying our tickets. We go that far in advance in our ticketing. We also have a trip to Vancouver and Edmonton, Canada scheduled for June which corresponds with the annual festival of the Mahaganapati Society there in Alberta.
The trip to Toronto and Montreal is still in the planning stages for August. We are going to California, but we haven't set our date yet.
The most recent trip is we have received a verbal invitation from the President of the Atlanta Temple, Dr. Raghu who was here recently on pilgrimage, inviting us to be the chief guests at the Pranapratishta for their new Siva temple for Memorial Day Weekend. They are opening a Siva temple, as a completely separate building from their Vishnu temple that they already have. It sets a nice pattern, having two temples with a little distance between them, for Siva and Vishnu.
The last area is our Aadheenam property. Our main activity in developing our property is, of course, the Iraivan Temple jointing, it is a big project. The good news is the Sanctum will definitely be finished sometime soon, after Tamil New Year- April 13th, we will have the Capstone in place. It is going to look beautiful for everyone. And we hope it will be gold leafed before it is put in place as well, to make it even nicer.
Also for Iraivan, we re starting a Capital and Endowment Fund Raising Campaign with the goal of raising 13.6 million dollars in six years. This is an inspiration and being coordinated by Deva Rajan with the close help of Easan Katir, Dr. Shan Sundar and Surya Kumar, all of whom are major donors to Iraivan.
Also we have our parcel across the river, our 400 pica parcel, Himalayan Acres and our focus this year is on planting additional trees. Lots of trees are needed for fences, wind breaks and future fruit production.
That is our coming year, in short. Thank you for listening. The Year of Japa!
We already got all our prasadam and vibhuti from Gurudeva. So, I won' t repeat that and I will excuse myself.
Aum Namah Sivaya.