Pilgrimaging to Sabarimala!
Thank you, Madan Ganesan, for your accurate and inspiring article, “My Sabarimala Pilgrimage” (OctNov/Dec 2023), about Lord Ayyappan and your 18 pilgrimages to His temple. The photos are also excellent. I went to Sabarimala with my Guruswamy two times when I was 60 years old. I lived in India for about two years. I am back in Kalamazoo, Michigan, now. I love meeting Ayyappan devotees. We are all part of his great spiritual family. He is made of love, pure love. I also wrote a biography about my Guruswamy when I returned to Michigan. It is on Amazon, entitled Driven by the Divine. One of the chapters is devoted to my discovery of Dharma Shasta Lord Ayyappan. He is made of light and bliss. You know that. I know that.
I found the article “Life after Death” (Sep 1999) very helpful, as knowledge overcomes fear. Well, belief is a vagary and knowledge only counts when you know, and you only know after you experience. So I can’t say, “I know;” and saying, “I believe” is meaningless to the reality or not. I have practiced meditation for some time, and going out through the chakras I can understand. The author says aim for the crown, but we might not necessarily go out on that, the highest, level. But the article has given me comfort and an extra way of dealing with death. Why we have to learn all these as lessons I don’t know; surely we were created perfect as we are the sparks of source.
Restoring Hindu Temples
The article “The Amazing Grass-Roots Effort to Restore South India’s Neglected Temples” (Jan/Feb/Mar 2023) was very interesting. We are also engaged in this effort. Please check out the following website for temple renovation projects and ways to help: behindeverytemple.org. [Editors: Quoting from this inspiring site: “At present, there are over 5,000 ancient dilapidated temples just in Tamil Nadu alone. Oftentimes miscreants are damaging such monuments and some sculptures are disappearing from villages. In other areas, these ancient temples are being demolished and the land is being sold off illegally. Hindu temples reflect synthesis of tradition, arts, the ideals of Sanatana Dharma, beliefs, values, and the way of life cherished under Hinduism. The temple is a link between man, Deities, and the Paramatma (God) in a sacred space. . . . Temples represent an integral part of dharma and the upliftment of society as a whole, so we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to help save and protect them while ensuring the ancient science of India is not lost to future generations.”]
This insightful article from Hinduism Today’s August 1998 issue, “Telling the Future by Shells,” delves into the rich traditions and practices that connect spirituality with the natural world. A truly enlightening read that reminds us of the profound wisdom embedded in ancient practices.
Helping Swamis & Swaminis Keep the Philosophy Alive
Our magazine is a far-reaching medium for Hinduism’s leaders and their message
By Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami,
publisher of Hinduism Today
Hinduism today regularly carries a column called Minister’s Message, which features inspired outpourings from distinguished swamis and swaminis. These great souls have much to say, much to teach, and much to remind people. And it is, in part, our magazine’s mission to help them be better known and heard.
On page 16 of this current issue, for example, Swami Advayananda, President of Chinmaya International Foundation, delineates frankly what keeps people bound up in externalities and unable to dive within themselves, where they would find finer, more satisfying principles to live by. The obstacles, he explains, are usually habit and plain, ordinary desire. Thoughtlessly, one wants to “bask in the warmth of the external world of glittering objects and eke out small tinsels of ephemeral pleasures.” Thus, people tend to keep going ‘round and ‘round until finally they decide firmly to turn within.
In another issue, April/May/June 2020, Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, says, “To attain perfection, one has to follow the six indispensable steps: selfless service, self-assessment, companionship of righteous people, patience through self-discipline, tenacity in beholding spirituality and self-development. When one understands these six steps in a true sense and abides by them firmly, his consciousness awakes, his conscience gets cleared and his thoughts enlightened.”
And long ago, in the January-February-March 2013 issue, it was the turn of His Holiness Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, head of Shri Chitrapur Math, Karnataka. “Concentration on a mantra helps a beginner, in particular, to hold other thoughts at bay until one realizes that he is learning to surrender to a divine force that exists within and without. Consistency helps the seeker to shed all the negativity within until he understands that ‘pure’ is not what he has to become. ‘Pure’ is who he is!”
These thoughts are most apt to proliferate. Even when they are not applied immediately, the listener has nonetheless heard them, and the philosophy is kept alive deep within him. That is perhaps the ultimate effect swamis have had thru the millennia: keeping the philosophy and the religion alive—at times perhaps in seed form, awaiting the right time and circumstance to bloom and be the answer to devotees’ prayers.
Help your magazine continue to preserve that blessed tradition by helping it to remain financially strong and secure.
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