Childrens Corner

Click here to load reader

  • date post

    18-Apr-2015
  • Category

    Documents

  • view

    753
  • download

    1

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of Childrens Corner

The Childrens' CornerExcerpts from MTNA Newsletter Sponsored by The Murugan Temple of North America6300 PRINCESS GARDEN PARKWAY, LANHAM, MARYLAND 20706, USA. PH: 301-552-4889 FAX: (301)552-5043 Email: [email protected], Internet: www.murugantemple.org

PAGE 1

MTNA Newsletter,September - October 2003

My Friend Lord GaneshaSatguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (Kauai's Hindu Monastery) gave this talk in early 2003. This was shared by his swamis with the children attending MTNA's Religion Classes (See above) Here we share an excerpt from this talk with those children who don't attend the classes. Adults, please share this with your children or read it to them. Ganesha as a Real Being Many of the great saints and sages of Hinduism have had visions of Lord Ganesha and shared them with their devotees, thus strengthening the devotees' faith and understanding of these Divine Beings. In ancient times such great saints as Auvaiyar had visions of Ganesha and wrote of her experiences in her devotional poems such as in Vinayaga Ahaval where Auvaiyar says: "Desiring to make me yours this instant, you like a mother have appeared before me and cut the delusion of unending births." (Loving Ganesha, page 330). In modern times Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, has shared some of his mystical perspectives and experiences on Ganesha in his book Loving Ganesha: "There are a great many liberal Hindus and/or Western-influenced Hindus who don't think of Ganesha as a real being. To them He is a symbol, a superstition, a way of explaining philosophy to children and the uneducated. But this has not been my experience of our loving Lord. I have seen Him with my own eye. He has come to me in visions several times and convinced my lower mind of His reality." Though few living today have had such a vision, in the year 1995 Hindus saw first hand the milk miracle where in temples around the world devotees offered milk to the murthi of Lord Ganesha and it was drunk by Him. This surely increased the faith of many in the reality of Lord Ganesha.

through Tem emple Second, Blesses Us thr ough the Tem ple Knowing that the Gods are real beings and that the purpose of going to the temple is to experience Their blessings is what transforms the temple from a cultural hall to a truly sacred place. The stone or metal Deity images are not mere symbols of the Gods; they are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world. This is like our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murthi in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel. As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. Ganesha as a Friend Lord Ganesha is my friend because I spent time over the years getting to know Him including by conducting daily pujas in our temple in Hawaii. There is a common Hindu saying, Ganapathi Tunai, Ganesha is my support, and that is certainly how I feel, in that He influences everything in my life for the better. Ganesha can be your friend also if you take the time to get to know Him through Bhakti yoga, the practice of devotional disciplines, worship, prayer, chanting and singing with the aim of awakening love in the heart and opening oneself to the Deity's grace. Bhakti, devotion to Ganesha, can be increased, or cultivated. Here are some specific suggestions: 1) Make the travel time to the temple be a religious time, don't allow yourself to focus on problems at home, work or school. 2) Bring an offering. The act of giving opens you to the blessings of the Deity.PAGE 2

(Continued) MTNA Newsletter,September - October 2003

3) Put as much time and prana into the offering as possible. Buying a garland at the store is good but making it yourself is even better. The prana in the offering is like touching the Deity and creates an even greater closeness. 4) Pay attention, don't let the mind wander. During the puja keep focused on the murthi and the priest's chant. When singing bhajan keep focused on the meaning of the words. 5) The blessings, the shakti of the Deity, is stronger on some days than others, so attending the temple on the strong days is helpful to attuning oneself to the shakti. For example, there is a stronger shakti on yearly festival days such as Ganesha Chaturthi. Benefits our Life In one of his statements about Ganesha, Gurudeva stressed how easily Ganesha is able to assist us in our day-to-day life: Among all the wonderful Hindu Deities, Lord Ganesha is the closest to the material plane of consciousness, most easily contacted and most able to assist us in our day-to-day life and concerns. Worship of Lord Ganesha leads the devotee most naturally to the other great Gods. Recently we developed a list of eleven ways in which Ganesha can benefit our day-to-day life. It was written for youth, as that is the best time to develop a closeness with Ganesha, however the list applies equally to adults. The Benefits of Worship strengthen memory stimulate intelligence solve problems easier study well in school stabilize emotions improve our character experience good timing increase domestic harmony increase self control remove obstacles in our path be more successful in life Lets look in more detail at three of these areas: Intellectual Control: When you start each days study, or come upon a difficult subject, pray for Ganeshas clear mind. See and feel a bright yellow light around your head.

Feel smart. Strongly desire to understand. When you have a problem in life, at school, home or work, Lord Ganesha will help you. Ganesha knows everything about you and everybody you know, from the past into the future. But you must ask for His help. See Ganesha's majestic face and with mental force ask for help and explain the problem. Lord Ganesha will send you ideas and thought power, introduce you to new attitudes, help you to understand other people, help you use wisdom and not emotions to face lifes many experiences. (Story about passing exams) Emotional Control: Through the worship of Lord Ganesha, we feel better about life, rising above the lower emotions of insecurity, fear, anger and jealousy and instead experience peace and contentment. Tuning in to His shakti and being, through atttending puja at the temple or even just visualizing Him in your mind, helps raise you up into the muladhara chakra and therefore out of anger and fear into a calm state of mind. In fact, you can slowly seal off these lower states of mind and keep awareness permanently lifted above the animal instincts of fear and anger through the regular worship of Lord Ganesha. Good Timing: Lord Ganeshas worship can enable us to tune in to the natural flow of events that allows us to be in the right place at the right time. Have you noticed that some days our timing is excellent and yet other days everyone we go to see has just left, the store just closed, we missed our bus by one minute. The worship of Ganesha can help us change a day of bad timing to one of good timing. Conclusion In conclusion, the worship of Lord Ganesha can benefit our life in many ways provided we have developed a closeness with Him to the point where He is our friend. Ganesha is then able to help us become happier, more successful and more cultured Hindus who value the temple as an indispensible part of our life. My Friend Lord Ganesha.

PAGE 3

MTNA Newsletter, November - December 2003

By Sivathondan Let us start this article with an acknowledgment. Gurudeva (Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Kauai's Hindu Monastery, Hawaii, USA) had written many books on Hinduism in English for those of us living in the West (www.gurudeva.org). We use many of His books in the Religion Classes for children at the Murugan Temple every Sunday. Thank you Gurudeva. A Hindu believes in karma and reincarnation. Accordingly, we are the sum total of all of our previous lives. There are young souls and there are old souls. For example, you may have the great opportunity of growing up with a relative of yours (or a neighbor) from childhood. Now, try to recall that person's life up to the present. That person may be old now with a feeble physical body, but he may be as stubborn as, and as angry as when he was young many years ago. This is a good example of a young soul (now in an old body). Then, you may also have witnessed a young kid showing love and patience with his fellow playmates while they were all restless. This is an example of an old soul (now in a young body). Old and young are not gauged by the earthly age of a person's physical body; rather it is judged by how a person has evolved spiritually through many reincarnations. Attachments and desire are the two shackles that hold a soul in the physical body, but they are the necessary catalysts to create and resolve karma, thereby assisting the soul to gain experience and to evolve as a spiritual being. As Gurudeva said, everyone teaches you a worthy lesson; you learn what to do by observing some, and you also learn what not to do by observing many others. If you were blessed with looking at the face of an angry person, then you know that you don't want to look like him. That tells you to keep away from anger. Likewise, an impatience person teaches you the virtues of patience. That is why Siva Yogaswami said, "Everyone is doing Sivathondu," (everyone is serving Lord Siva). The young souls are in the process of creating new karma for themselves by delivering back the karma to the old souls, who are now in the state of receiving and resolving their past karma. Karma comes through other people, especially the ones you are closely associated with daily (parents, children, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers, spouse, in laws, etc.). There is a difference between the way you feel hurt when your mother says that you are stupid and a stranger saying the same thing. So, if your karma is to get hurt emotionally then you know who will bring it back to you more effectively. If you want to resolve your karma, Gurudeva advises not to react to it by accepting responsibility; otherwise it comes back to you again and again until you do. Say it to yourself that this is all my past creation now

Everything is Good

returning back to me; if it is not in my karma then it is not going to happen to me, and pray to Lord Ganesha to give you the means to resolve it. Try it, it will never repeat again. You may have seen people avoiding situations, then in a different place and at a different time meeting the same situation in disguise, for one simply cannot dodge his karma. Resolve and get rid of it now. For example, you wrote a nasty letter to yourself and mailed it to yourself, and forgot about it. A few weeks later the mailman brought it back to you. You opened and read it and got angry with the mailman. How come? That is why everything is perfect in Lord Siva's universe, and everything is the will of Lord Siva. We are all spiritual beings; the only purpose in life is to evolve ourselves towards realizing the Self and to merge with Lord Siva; that is why we are all here. A time will inevitably arrive in everyone's life to make him realize this; so everyone must be patient and show tolerance to everyone else. You cannot teach calculus to a three year old; be patient until he grows up. We are all growing up spiritually, but we can accelerate the growth. How? That is why we need spiritual lessons. A tall building requires a strong foundation. This is true when it comes to raise good children. Here we share with you a few lessons we teach to the children at the Religious Classes. Respect and listen to your parents, for they are your first gurus. If they ask you to do something, don't ask why. Pray to Lord Ganesha always, especially in the morning and before going to bed. Say "Aum Sri Ganesaya Namah" for good education. Don't get angry. If you do, then pray to Lord Ganesha, or close your eyes and at least think of Him until your anger disappears. Karma comes through other people, particularly through those of your family members and close friends. If it is not in your karma, then it is not going to happen to you. So, don't get angry with the person who delivers your karma back to you. You can create karma in three ways: physically (hitting someone), emotionally (insulting someone by calling names) or mentally (thinking hurtful things about someone). So, watch out what you do, say and think. Speak that is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Avoid gossiping. At the temple, pray to Lord Ganesha in the following way: When approaching Lord Ganesha, think of Him as a real being. Don't think anything else except Him. Give your love to Him and feel His love for you. Cross your hands and knock on your temples gently three times, then hold your right ear with your left hand and your left ear with your right, and bob up and down three times by bending your knees. Next, go around His shrine three times clockwise while chanting "Aum Namah Sivaya;" walk slowly. Finally, prostrate in front of Him.PAGE 4

MTNA Newsletter, January - February 2004

CHILDRENS' CORNERMake Friends with Your Karmaby Sivathondan

In His book Merging with Siva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami described karma as: "'Action, deed.' This is one of the most important principles in Hindu thought; karma refers to (a) any act or deed; (b) the principle of cause and effect; (c) a consequence or 'fruit of action' (karmaphala) or 'after effect' (uttaraphala), which sooner or later returns upon the doer. What we sow, we shall reap in this or future lives. Selfish, hateful acts (papakarma or kukarma) will bring suffering. Benevolent actions (punyakarma or sukarma) will bring loving reactions. Karma is threefold: sanchita, prarabdha and kriyamana." [The picture above depicts this basic classification.] "[1] Sanchita karma: 'Accumulated actions.' This is the sum total of all karmas of the present and past lives. [2] Prarabdha karma: 'Actions begun; set in motion.' That portion of sanchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of one's bodies, personal tendencies and associations. [3] Kriyamana karma: 'Being made.' The karma being created and added to sanchita in this life by one's thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. Kriyamana karma is also called agami, 'coming, arriving,' and vartamana, 'current, revolving, set in motion.' While some kriyamana karmas bear fruit in the current life, others are stored for future births." Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (Kauai's Hindu Monastery, USA) said, "Prarabdha karma determines the time of birth. The time of birth determines one's astrology." Thus, astrology (mahadasas and bhukti) only reveals what is in the prarabdha karma --the karma that one has to face in his present life. The nine planets (nava-grahas) are just Lord Siva's workers, who deliver back to us the karmas that we have to face in this life. So, if we have a bad time, it

is because of our bad karma that is returning to us, and it is not the nava-grahas who are doing anything bad to us or punishing us for an unknown reason! The soul attains liberation (moksha) from the cycle of births and deaths once it has resolved whole of its sanchita karma. Satguru Bodhinatha has noted the following "Ten Principles for Effective Karma Management:" 1. Forego retaliation 2. Accept responsibility 3. Forgive the offender 4. Consider the consequences 5. Create no new negative karmas 6. Divinely influenced karma 7. Mitigate past karma 8. Accelerate karma 9. Resolve dream karma 10. Incinerate karma Closely following these ten principles, one can most efficiently resolve the prarabdha karma, and also very effectively stop creating [new] kriyamana karma. Further, one can also totally or partially eliminate the remaining sanchita karma in the present birth. (Quotes from Merging with Siva reproduced with permission of Himalayan Academy.)

PAGE 5

CHILDREN'S CORNERAum, Cosmic Sound Loving Ganesha is Aum. He is the A, the base sound of the universe; He is the U, the sound of the galaxies; and He is the M, the sound of the planets and the littlest stars. Bhagnadanta, Broken Tusk As the story goes, Ganesha broke off His right tusk in a sacrificial act to use it as a stylus while taking Vyasas dictation. Thus he teaches us that we must finish what we start. Ankusha, Goad Loving Ganeshas deliberate mind prods dullards on in their birth karmas whenever they tarry. with His ankusha He goads forward all souls that are moving too slowly. Yajnopavita, Sacred Thread Loving Ganesha wears across a massive shoulder the holy cord to remind us that we, too, can be twice born through His grace, that none is low and none is high. Nagapasha, Snake Cord Loving Ganesha wears a snake around Him to tell us all that we have to be like Him and control our instinctive, animal mind. Yes, it is possible through the grace of this God. Dadima, Pomegranate Loving Ganesha knows we may be led astray by ways of worldly people who eat meat. He offers us red dadimas, as if saying: Its many pink seeds are so much better than flesh. Phala, Fruits Loving Ganesha, dweller in the forest, enjoys all the Earths many life-sustaining fruits. He wants parents and children alike to stay healthy by eating lots of energygiving fruits. Narikela, Coconut Loving Ganesha holds the coconut, symbol of the ego, soft and sweet inside, hard and rough outside. When we break a coconut to Him, we break the egos hold on us. Shashikala, Crescent Moon Loving Ganesha, like His father, Siva, wears the crescent moon on His great head. It is a symbol of times passing, of auspicious moments and of the powers of the mind. Pasha, Noose Loving Ganeshas provident mind, like the noose, draws close those He loves most dearly and reaches out to encircle and save strayed ones in extraordinary ways. Shunda, Elephant Trunk Loving Ganesha has a versatile trunk, and makes it known that it is a symbol of His capacity to always love His devotees. With it He reaches out to touch each of them. Modakapatra, Bowl of Sweets Loving Ganesha is said to have a sweet tooth, or tusk. But the modaka ball is a symbol of what He loves most, moksha, liberation, the sweetest of all things sweet. Amra, Mango Loving Ganesha says of the mango: It was given to Me from Lord Sivas own hand after performing My first wisdom act. It represents the highest spiritual fruition. Lambodara, Big Belly Loving Ganesha has this world and all the billions of galaxies in His abundant belly. All known and unknown universes are contained within His prodigious girth. Mushika, Mouse Ganeshas companion, a mouse, attests to the allpervasiveness of the elephant God. Mushika, the mount or vahana, carries Him into the mind's every nook and cranny.

SHOW AND-TELL SHOW-AND-TELL GANESHA

Lord Ganesha

This month, Sivathondan created a beautiful lesson on Lord Ganesha as a page in a coloring book. Get out your crayons or colored pencils and use the captions to help your imagine and learn.

Classes for Children

MTNA Newsletter, March - April 2004

Every Sunday from 10:30 A.M. to 12 noon, we have Bhajan, Religion and Tamil classes for children at the Murugan Temple; each class is for half an hour. Bhajan is taught by Ranjini Iyyar and Rathini Vijayavel, Religion by Nigel Siva and Geetha Prabhukumar, and Tamil by Ananthy Navaratnam and Shobana Mohan. Students' parents take an active role, especially during the Tamil class. Please direct your inquiries to Geetha Prabhukumar (703-7570518) or Oliva Reginold (301-552-4735).

Aum sri ganesaya namahSivathondan This page is constructed using information found in Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswamis book Loving Ganesha, Chapter 6.

PAGE 6

MTNA Newsletter, May-June 2004 -- Note: This is the complete article from which excerpts were published.THREE WORLDS AND THE HINDU TEMPLE Sivathondan In His book Merging with Siva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explained the following: First World: Bhuloka, the physical universe (physical plane) of gross or material substance in which phenomena are perceived by the five senses. (The world where we live when we are in our physical body.) Second World: Antarloka, the astral or subtle plane (astral plane). Here the soul continues its activities in the astral body during sleep and after the physical body dies. It is the in between world which includes the Devaloka and the Narakaloka. The Second world exists within the First World or physical plane. Third World: Sivaloka, realm of Siva, or Karanaloka. The spiritual realm (causal plane) of existence wherein Mahadevas and highly evolved souls live in their own selfeffulgent forms (soul body). Three worlds: The three worlds of existence, triloka, are the primary hierarchical divisions of the cosmos. (1) Bhuloka: Earth world, the physical plane. (2) Antarloka: Inner or inbetween world, the subtle or astral plane. (3) Sivaloka: World of Siva, and of the Gods and highly evolved souls; the causal plane, also called Karanaloka. Temple: An edifice in a consecrated place dedicated to the worship of God or Gods. Hindus revere their temples as sacred, magical places in which the three worlds most consciously commune (structures especially built and consecrated to channel the subtle spiritual energies of inner world beings). The temples psychic atmosphere is maintained through regular worship ceremonies (puja) invoking the Deity, who uses His installed image (murti) as a temporary body to bless those living on the earth plane. In Hinduism, the temple is the hub of virtually all aspects of social and religious life. It may be referred to by the Sanskrit terms mandira, devalaya (or Sivalaya, a Siva temple), as well as by vernacular terms such as koyil (Tamil). A Hindu temple is therefore a special place, where one communicates with the Gods easily. Here we present a few helpful suggestions on how we conduct ourselves inside a Hindu temple. DOS AND DONTS IN A HINDU TEMPLE 1. Take a bath and wear clean clothes when coming to the Temple (preferably traditional Hindu clothes, or simply dress conservatively. You are not going to a party or socialize with others at the Temple). 2. Go to the Temple with love in your heart, and think that Lord Siva is within each and everyone of us. 3. Bring a small gift (a flower, a fruit, or even a leaf) to offer to the Gods, always. 4. Leave your shoes outside the Temple. 5. Walk slowly and softly inside the Temple. 6. Always pray to Lord Ganesha first. 7. Tell your problems to the Gods, and leave them at their feet when you go home. 8. Do a lot of Sivathondu at the Temple, like making garlands, sweeping the floor, cleaning and polishing the oil lamps, picking up litter from floor, etc. 9. Sit in front of Lord Muruga and perform japa. Aum Sharavanabhava Aum, Aum Sharavanabhava Aum, Aum Sharavanabhava Aum, 10. During puja, concentrate on the puja. Learn the meaning of what the priest is doing.

1. Dont wear or bring shoes inside the Temple. 2. Dont run or play inside the Temple. 3. Dont walk fast when you walk around (pradakshina, circumambulation) the Gods. 4. Dont do any fast prayers, that is, doing fast pradakshina, fast singing of religious hymns, etc. Even if you sing one song, learn its meaning and sing it with love. Lord Siva is the God of love, nothing but love. 5. Dont perform japa quickly like a marathon, sometimes called machine gun japa, because it brings little benefit. If you dont have time to do japa, dont do it at all. It should not be a meaningless ritual. It should be a very meaningful experience. 6. Dont talk loudly with others inside the Temple (avoid talking is best). 7. Dont come to the Temple to socialize with others. 8. Dont litter inside the Temple.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (left) and Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami, both from the Kauais Hindu Monastery, are going to be at the Murugan Temple during our Kumbabishakem Anniversary 30 May and also on 31 May, 2004.

PAGE 7

CHILDRENS CORNER

SHOWANDTELL MURUGAN

In this months Childrens Corner, Sivathondan adds his beautiful and spontaneous drawing of Lord Murugan to an excerpt from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswamis Dancing With Siva.

What Is the Nature of Lord Karttikeya?

SHLOKA 24: Lord Karttikeya, Murugan, first guru and Pleiadean master of kundalini yoga, was born of God Sivas mind. His dynamic power awakens spiritual cognition to propel souls onward in their evolution to Sivas feet. Aum.

BHASHYA: Lord Karttikeya flies through the minds vast substance from planet to planet. He could well be called the Emancipator, ever available to the call of those in distress. Lord Karttikeya, God of will, direct cognition and the purest, childlike divine love, propels us onward on the righteous way through religion, His Fathers law. Majestically seated on the manipura chakra, this scarlethued God blesses mankind and strengthens our will when we lift to the inner sky through sadhana and yoga. The yoga pada begins with the worship of Him. The yogi, locked in meditation, venerates Karttikeya, Skanda, as his mind becomes as calm as Sharavana, the lake of Divine Essence. The kundalini force within everyone is held and controlled by this powerful God, first among renunciates, dear to all sannyasins. Revered as Murugan in the South, He is commander in chief of the great devonic army, a fine, dynamic soldier of the within, a fearless defender of righteousness. He is Divinity emulated in form. The Vedas say, To such a one who has his stains wiped away, the venerable Sanatkumara shows the further shore of darkness. Him they call Skanda. Aum Namah Sivaya.

What Does Lord Karttikeyas Vel Signify?

MTNA Newsletter, July - August 2004

SHLOKA 25: The lancelike vel wielded by Lord Karttikeya, or Skanda, embodies discrimination and spiritual insight. Its blade is wide, long and keen, just as our knowledge must be broad, deep and penetrating. Aum Namah Sivaya.

BHASHYA: The shakti power of the vel, the eminent, intricate power of righteousness over wrongdoing, conquers confusion within the realms below. The holy vel, that when thrown always hits its mark and of itself returns to Karttikeyas mighty hand, rewards us when righteousness prevails and becomes the kundalini serpents unleashed power thwarting our every effort with punishing remorse when we transgress dharmas law. Thus, the holy vel is our release from ignorance into knowledge, our release from vanity into modesty, our release from sinfulness into purity through tapas. When we perform penance and beseech His blessing, this merciful God hurls His vel into the astral plane, piercing discordant sounds, colors and shapes, removing the minds darkness. He is the King of kings, the power in their scepters. Standing behind the temporal majesty, He advises and authorizes. His vel empowering the ruler, justice prevails, wisdom enriches the minds of citizens, rain is abundant, crops flourish and plenty fills the larders. The Tirumurai says, In the gloom of fear, His six-fold face gleams. In perils unbounded, His vel betokens, Fear not. Aum Namah Sivaya.

From Dancing with Siva by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami Sivathondan

PAGE 8

MTNA Newsletter, September - October 2004

CHILDRENS CORNERTHE NALLUR MURUGAN TEMPLE SivathondanWe dont know when the Nallur Murugan Temple in northern Sri Lanka was established. The Temple was shifted from place to place in the Nallur area for unknown reason. Historians say Jalpana Vaipava Maalai is the only Tamil literature to mention the origin of the Temple. Although originally built in 948 A.D. in the Kurukkal Valavu, the Temple had to be reconstructed number of times in different places because of foreign invasions. The fourth and present Temple was constructed in 1749 by Krishna Subiyar and Ragunatha Maapaana Mudaliyar in the original Temple premises of the Kurukkal Valavu. The Temple was built using bricks and stones and had a cadjaned roof. The original shrine had only two main halls without any Clock Towers, surrounding courtyard, enclosing wall, or ornately carved towers (gopuram). The first Clock Tower was erected in 1899, and the main Hall where the vel appears was refurbished in 1902. The first enclosing wall was erected in 1909. The Temple has been gradually renovated from time to time with the Lord's grace and the contributions of the general public. In 1964, the Vasantha Mandapam was renovated into the grand temple we see today. The Nallur Kanthaswami (Murugan) Temple has its main entrance in the east. The main entrance has an ornately carved five-storied tower (gopuram). The surrounding inner-yard has Temples namely for Lords Ganesha, Vairavar, Sun, and Sandana Gobalar. The holy pond and Thandayuthapaani Temple can be seen in the southern part of this Temple, while a large holy garden is located on the northern side. Personal Experiences When I was a small boy growing up in Jaffna, the largest metropolitan city in northern Sri Lanka, my grandmother told me two stories about the Nallur Murugan Temple which I will share with you here. The present chariot or temple car (the first picture) used in the festival is an exact duplicate of an old one that was ruined by termites in the 1960s. I had seen the original one, which was very beautiful and had three stages. The bottom stage had a lot of wood carvings depicting stories of Lord Murugan, and was stained wood tone and varnished. The middle stage had beautiful ornate columns, had a pedestal at the center to place the idol of Lord Murugan, and painted with several vivid colors. The top stage was similar to a traditional Hindu temple tower. This chariot was originally made for the Vaitheeswaran Sivan Temple in Vannar Ponnai, a city in the heart of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. -- I grew up on the street directly north of this Sivan Temple (the street is actually called Sivan Temple North). I saw Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami for the first time at the Vaitheeswaran Sivan Temple on Friday January 7th 1983.-- This chariot was made in South India, and brought to Kankesanthurai harbor, the northern most port of Sri Lanka

closest to India. From the port, devotees pulled the chariot to its intended destination, the Sivan Temple, on a route that passed the Nallur Murugan Temple. When the chariot arrived at the Nallur Temple, it suddenly stopped and refused to move. Everyone was surprised, and the architect of the chariot was sad and slept at its wheels for the night. Lord Murugan came to the architect in a dream and told him that He wanted the chariot for His Temple. That was how the Nallur Murugan Temple got the beautiful chariot, and to this day, the Vaitheeswaran Sivan Temple is without any such type of chariot. Dear Lord Siva gave it to His beloved Son! It was here at the iron gates of the chariots shed that Siva Yogaswami met his guru Chellappaswami.

anything. Yogaswami told him to do anka pradakshina around the Nallur Murugan Temple. The man said, Swami, I am very weak. Swami replied, At least do it from the chariot shed to the gopuravasal (the front entrance of the Temple). The man obeyed to Swamis advice. Upon arriving at the gopuravassal, completing this short ankapradakshina, he threw up a lot, and suddenly became hungry for the first time in a very long time. He went to a tea shop near by and enjoyed a good meal of stringhoppers, completely cured of his illness. When I read this incident, I also wanted do ankapradakshina around the Nallur Murugan Temple, but I had to wait until I was physically old enough. I finally performed this penance in 1982 before coming to USA. When I am writing this, I can feel the love of Lord Murugan even now the same way I felt so many years ago.

Day 23 of the annual 26day festival is the saparam festival. Saparam is a cart with a very tall tower decorated with colorful fabrics and fresh flowers (the second picture). The mula moorthy of the Nallur Murugan Temple is a small vel which is taken around the Temple most of the time during festivals. One time during the saparam festival, when the Temple owner just thought This is a huge saparam for a very small vel Immediately, he saw the vel shining well above the tower of the saparam. When Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami went to the Nallur Temple for the first time, He saw His gurus face (Satguru Siva Yogaswami) hovering over this vel at the Sanctum Sanctorium, even before He had met Him in person. During festival times my grandmother and I went to the Nallur Murugan Temple very early in the mornings. They spread beach sand around the temple and big tractortrailers went around to wet it, so that the devotees who walked around the Temple or did ankapradakshina (circumambulation by rolling the body around the Temple) would experience the love of Lord Murugan. During Siva Yogaswamis Maha Samadhi in 1964, I read many stories about Him. I will share with you the one that is close to my heart. There was a man, who was very sick; he threw up what he ate, and was unable to eat

One time during my teen years, I was in front of the Arumugaswami shrine (Lord Murugan with six faces) in the Nallur Temple praying with my father. Suddenly relentless thoughts came and disturbed me. Like most teens, I had thoughts like This is just a statue, this is not Murugan, there is no God I felt empty and scared. I concentrated persistently and prayed to Lord Murugan while standing in front of that shrine to get rid of those thoughts forever. You just ask the idol, and it turns into God, the divine power of Nallur. This may be why it is in the cross roads of many Satgurus! A favorite even for children is the Thandayuthapaani Ceremony (the mango festival), on day 22. This reenacts two events: Lord Ganesha winning the mango from Lord Siva by circumambulating Him and Parvathi, and Lord Murugan leaving them as Lord Palani Andavar (Thandayuthapaani). The Palani Andarvar shrine adjacent to the Temples holy pond is my favorite place at the Nallur Temple from childhood. As with all Murugan devotees, Lord Murugan in the Palani Andavar form is the ultimatethe Satguru form to all seekers; one can experience the same in our Murugan Temple of North America.Pictures and historical data were taken from www.nallur.org

PAGE 9

MTNA Newsletter, November - December 2004

Children's Corner Sivathondu (rptbjhz: rptbjhz Siv athondu ( rptbjhz: L )By Sivathondan In His book Merging with Siva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva) said, Japa ($gk;) is the prelude to raja yoga (uh$ nafk;). Japa links Siddhanta (rpj; j he ; j k ; ) with Vedanta (ntjhe;jk;) through the repetition of the mantra ha) Namah Siva (Xk ekrptha Xk; Aum N amah Siv aya ( Xk ; ekrptha ) , or Aum (Xk; Sharavanabhava ( Xk; rutzgt ) for the uninitiated. To meditate (jpahdk; bra;a), one must be free from anger, jealousy and contention. Karma yoga (fh;k nafk;) should be practiced by the devotee prior to this to smooth out all character flaws. Sivathondu which is another word for karma yoga - service to Siva (rptd:), is the platform for japa yoga. You can read more on this in Chapter 23 at http://www.himalayanacademy.com/books/mws/ mws_table_of_contents.html Sivathondu is the basis for everything. It is an essential foundation for japa. Japa leads to raja yoga, which leads to enlightenment. Now, what is Sivathondu? It is selfless service to mankind, for Lord Siva is in everyone and in everything. Helping others without expecting anything in return is Sivathondu. Treating everyone the same with kindness is Sivathondu. Singing devotional songs is Sivathondu. Forgiving those who have hurt you is Sivathondu. Doing work in and around the Temple, as simple as picking up a piece of trash on the Temple floor and throwing it out in the trash can, is Sivathondu. [Please dont think that others are messing up the place. If that thought comes, simply thank them for giving you the opportunity to do Sivathondu at the Temple. Young souls are creating karma (fh;kh) for themselves, while old souls are resolving theirs.] Thinking about God while doing Sivathondu gives you abundance of energy to do more, which in turn melts your heart with devotion (bhaktigf;;jp). I know a person very closely, who was a disciple of Siva Yogaswami from his childhood in Jaffna (Sri Lanka). He had memorized Sivakavasam

(rptftrk;) in Sanskrit, and one day he had recited it to Yogaswami. After listening to this wonderful Sivakavasam, Yogaswami had asked him to say it everyday for the benefit of all the souls. I had seen that person religiously repeating it everyday, all the time (not simply once a day, but continuously). That is Sivathondupraying to Lord Siva for the benefit of all the souls. Selfless service leads to Self realization. Ganesha Mantras for Sivathondou and Japa Doing Sivathondu at the Temple fills your heart with devotion. Then, you can sit in front of a deity and do japa, then a little meditation (jpahdk;). You can get a boost of energy and inspiration by repeating the following mantras (ke;jpu':fs:) as you travel to the Temple, as you do your Sivathondou, and as you sit quietly after your Sivathondou. Aum shri ganeshaya namah Xk; fnzrha Xk ; _ fnzrha ek& This [Aum shri ganeshaya namah] mantra (ke;jpuk;) is usually taught to children for their good education. It increases their memory power, and they become successful in their examinations. Of course, people of any age may use this mantra when taking courses in a school or university, and for success in attaining their degree (from Loving Ganesha, 1996, First Edition, pp.172 - 173). Another important mantra is Aum namo bhagavate gajananaya namah Xk; enkh f$hdeha Xk ; enkh g&tnj f$hde ha ek& This [Aum namo bhagavate gajananaya namah] is a devotional mantra personifying the allpervading consciousness of Ganesha. This mantra is very efficacious to have the darshana (juprdk; ) of Ganesha or to feel His immediate presence as a person (from Loving Ganesha, 1996, First Edition only, p. 172). These mantra japa (ke;jpu $gk;) must be performed slowly, while thinking of Lord Ganesha (or looking at Him), with a lot of love in your heart. The effects are wonderful.

PAGE 10