A Vedic Temple in Our Mountains

We just attended a small portion of a five-day dedication of an authentic Vedic Temple in the mountains near our home. The Sri Somesvara Temple has just been completed in a retreat community named Mount Soma near the community of Upper Crabtree, a verdant series of coves held and stewarded by generations of farmers and mountaineers. (You can go to their link above and see a video from the temple.)

The Mount Soma Community has arisen around the work of Dr. Michael Mamas, founder of the Center of Rational Spirituality. An American, with a background in physics, veterinary medicine and wide ranging scholarly interests, he lived in India for some years absorbing the wisdom of religious teachers there and constructing his own modern interpretation suitable for our own world of relativity theory and quantum physics. He now conducts workshops and retreats here and in other locations to advance these perspectives and practices.

The temple itself is constructed of some 50 tons of granite cut and shaped near Madurai, India, site of the world-famous Meenakshi Temple, which we visited in 1988 with Thomas and Cecilia Thangaraj.

Skilled craftsmen from that region in Tamilnadu have been working on site since last October to put it together and complete the building, which is a Shiva Temple devoted to Shiva, his consort Parvati, and their sons Ganesha and Subramanya. We were very impressed that they had given up the heat of their homeland for the harsh winter we had just been through here!

We were welcomed by numerous cheerful volunteers who directed traffic, gave out information, and guided us through the process of leaving leather goods in the car, washing our feet, leaving our shoes in a rack, and walking across carpeting to the tents set up for the special ceremonies.

One of them gave us a tour of the small temple, about thirty feet square, perched on a hillside facing east, like all the other buildings there. The craftsmen were still scurrying around with levels, grout, and other tools to complete the embellishments before the closing of the dedication ceremonies on Monday.

According to our guide, a resident retreatant, the Center devotes itself to a life lived according to the underlying “unified field,” known at the depths of all world religions. While the ceremonies being carried out by Brahmanic priests according to ancient Vedic practices are central to Hinduism, he wanted us to know that they are not “Hindus” in any exclusive way, in spite of attention to the Brahmanic details of food, clothing, and decorum.

However, for us, upon seeing sari-clad women, robed men, and hearing the chants, smelling the fire’s aromas, it seemed very Hindu indeed — especially the delicious food, which they offered to us after a brief squall had driven us from the tents to the kitchen hall. People had gathered from as far away as California for this special time, including many ex-pat Indians, who seemed to feel right at home.

I know you must be wondering, How has this Vedic manifestation shown up in Haywood County, North Carolina? Well, these mountains bring people from all over the world to experience the peculiar beauty, peace, and spiritual resonance arising from these ancient hills — “the backbone of God,” as I have often called it. Maybe you’ll join them sometime, dear readers. Stop by on your way!

1 thought on “A Vedic Temple in Our Mountains”

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful report on the event. May this be a place where the ancient Hindu dream and dictum – Truth/Being is one; sages call it by many names (Rig Veda)- becomes true!

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