Dr. Pepper Star Center, Frisco ~ 17 July 2011
Dhvaja Vandana is another custom. Dhvaja is very important in a temple. It is in front of a temple. Dhwaja means our backbone. You know the backbone? That is the Dhvaja. The kalasha, at the top of the temple is the head. The pillars are the two legs and the two hands. The hall is the stomach. The shrine of the God or Goddess is the heart. The invisible God is the Jeeva, our soul. The temple is big but God is invisible. In front of God there is an oil lamp, not an electric lamp. It represents the buddhi or intellect or Atman. Air is Prana. The lamp dances with prana, the life energy. The body is a temple. Vishnu, Rama, and Krishna temples have a dhvaja. Swamiji is giving this advice, 'Deho devaalaya'. It means the body itself is a temple. We are doing Dhvaja Puja today on Guru Day. It is for our Hanuman Temple. The temple may be ready in six months, one year, two years, three years, or six years. It is His wish.
We did the Bhoogarbha Puja. The drawings for the temple construction are being prepared. Everything is progressing slowly. It is His sankalpa, God's resolve. Join the dhvaja membership. Later on you will know the meaning. It is a permanent family membership. You may take membership in the names of family members also. You may take membership next year also. No problem. We will do Dhvaja Puja. I want the first Dhwaja to be placed in Swamiji's name. Raman will perform the first Dhvaja Puja in my place. Every year any time you have to come and perform the Dhvaja Puja. We will begin with a worship of Lord Ganapati offering the 16 services, with mantras. Then in the name of Anjaneya, Vayu, Shiva, we will do sankalpa and perform the puja.
His sankalpa is very powerful. Swamiji said that 108 dhvajas should be installed. There is a big story behind this. In our tradition there is a huge significance for this Dhvaja Puja. Usually it is only done at the time of the temple consecration. Here we are doing it now itself, in Swamiji's presence on Guru Purnima Day.
My amma (mother, an elderly devotee from Arizona) described to me her dream, when we met in Las Vegas. She said she wanted to do a Dhvaja Puja like the one she saw in her dream. I then referred to some books and called India for confirmation. In olden such a puja used to be performed.
Sri Guru Datta
Addressing SDHS Volunteers
You have served Swamiji in India. After coming here, without giving up your service, you are still continuing. Some of you have permanent positions here. Some of you still do not have a permanent status. Even if the situation is such that you have to go back to India, even if you are faced with problems, you do not get discouraged and stop your seva. In spite of Swamiji giving you tests, you have not stopped your seva. Some of you may have left for some time. But you have come back to serve as much as you can. In Dallas there are five of six very strong volunteers who have been working very hard. Dallas has now earned the status of Andhra Pradesh in America. You all have helped also in programs which have been conducted at Datta Retreat Center and in New Jersey. At DRC it is mostly American devotees who do all the volunteer work. New Jersey and Chicago devotees also help. Baton Rouge Temple has programs mostly on weekends only because on weekdays there is difficulty for parking spaces.
Bala Datta classes are continuing in spite of challenges. By Swamiji's grace in Dallas they have their own class rooms that have been built at the Temple. It is something to be proud of. Not to feel jealous or arrogant. Volunteers come from faraway places, wherever programs are conducted. Here physical services are very much needed. Some important people come. They render financial help. You cannot ask everyone to do physical service. Jayaraman uncle is an old man. Yet, like a child he runs around doing seva in Chennai, out of love for Swamiji. Swamiji's attraction for such devotees is great. No matter what other people say, even if Swamiji himself scolds, such devotees do not care. They continue to work. Swamiji usually does not say anything. Even if he says, they simply ignore and carry on with their seva. Swamiji likes such volunteers. He especially asks for such people. When Swamiji scolds, he is removing their ego, their laziness, and their doubt. Some people vacillate in their minds, whether they should do or should not do, whether they have the capacity or not to do the job. The very next moment Swamiji forgets that he has scolded, and asks with surprise if he really spoke harshly.
New Jersey and Chicago devotees ran forward when they were offered the chance to celebrate Swamiji's Birthday. The New Jersey Guru Purnima was conducted very well when Chundu got a group together to help. Not everybody can be a leader. You should be willing to obey instructions and follow according to plan. You may give your suggestions, but you cannot act independently. Swamiji did not give them a chance this time. Instead, he gave Dallas the chance to celebrate Guru Purnima. Now see, we have all even forgotten the previous plan.
But for the coming birthday, Swamiji will give a list of activities as to what to do. Everyone must join. Everybody give their plan. If you cannot be physically present, participate through Skype. Keep it small, simple, and conservative. Give more for progress and improvements. There will be titles, annadanam, and cultural programs. Go ahead and invite renowned artists. All the volunteers should share the responsibility. Prepare ahead. Don't worry about materials. Donations of rice, clothes and other materials will arrive by lorries. There are anonymous donors who will simply send the materials. For any expenses over and above, please be ready and prepared. All of you know what to expect. You are familiar with the situation. It will not be difficult. There will not be any problems. Within your comfortable limits, you all should participate and give help. You should not take loans for this upcoming birthday. Do not go for any lavish expenses. You have a whole year to save and gather up the required resources.
The more you give, the more Swamiji will give you. Divine blessings are infinite and limitless. Swamiji has a silver vessel in the ashram that he puts in a basket and covers with a cloth. Old devotees are familiar with it. He brings out of the vibhooti any number of articles, all different items from it. It is inexhaustible. Vishal was worried and hesitant when I told him to give a grand saree to give to a devotee. He said there are only two. I insisted that he give me. When I gave away the two, I got four more new ones. He witnessed it with his own eyes. Now he knows.
Jnana Deva was thrown out by all the priests. They boycotted his pujas. When Jnana Deva began his puja, there were two buffaloes standing by. They began chanting the mantras for the puja. Datta can extract work even out of donkeys. They will also serve.
Sri Guru Datta