Wow! My introduction to Shiva in Ganeshpuri was amazing!!! During morning abhishek (washing & adorning of Nityananda’s murti) when we “normally” go up for blessings, everyone was leaving the temple. Why?
I followed, not knowing what would happen next. We went back out the front door and around to the right and I see a murti (statue) of a bull, then a Ganesha. We must be going to the Shiva temple? I had heard about it by reading Kusuma’s post about all the chanting & bells ringing on a previous day, but I had not yet had a chance to visit.
Wow! It was like going back in time. The inside is only big enough to hold 15, maybe 20 people if you squished in. There was Karuna, Kusuma, Swami’s friend from Swami Muktananda’s days (Krishni), Bhavani, Kamala & a few others. Then the Brahmin came in & began to wash the Shiva Linga, chant & fill the room with incense. I recognized his voice from temple, such depth for a “young” man. Then a few Indian ladies dressed in their beautiful sarees & two men dressed in white collared shirts joined us.
We all joined in the chants to Shiva. The Brahmin adorned Shiva with flowers; both the bronze linga with the 5-headed cobra coiled 3½ times around the base, as well Bhairava (the Shiva bust) in the niche in the wall. Wow; they seemed to come to life!
We each received a dot on our forehead from the Brahmin to honor the Guru; Om Namah Shivaya was sounding through my head. And we all began to chant arati to Shiva, I was so excited that I got to ring the bell! The ritual ended with Krishni handing out prasad (blessed food). The temple filled with Indian women in sarees and more men in their very fine white-collared shirts. Krishni helped us to get out through the small passageway, so we could return for Nityananda’s arati.
As I excited (ah yes, I was), I mean exited the Shiva temple, there, on the ground was the murti of Vishnu in the form of a turtle, Kurma. Now I know why turtle has been with me. He provides nurturing, support, sustenance & protection.
You all need to visit Ganeshpuri to see this Shiva Sanctorum for yourselves!