Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yoga among the Redwoods

The Pacific Ocean isn't very far from us here at Thousand Trails in Morgan Hill, just over the Santa Cruz mountains, so we decided to have a picnic at the beach. The beach wasn't far away, true, but it took us quite a long time to get there. State Highway 152, the Hecker Pass Highway, is largely two lanes twisting through agricultural land and up and over the coastal mountains between here and Watsonville, the Artichoke Capital of the World.

At the Hecker Pass Summit we found Mt. Madonna County Park, sitting on a former cattle baron's estate among open meadows and coast redwood forest. Always open to explore, we ventured into the park and found three campgrounds with many sites accessible to good-size RVs. As we moved deeper into the park there were group campgrounds, picnic sites and youth areas. Finding ourselves confused as to where we were and which way to go, but fortunately finding ourselves next to a park map, we chose to take Summit Road, to exit the park and find the top of Mount Madonna to see what were supposed to be splendid views.

Never found the views, but we saw a sign that announced a Buddhist Temple some distance ahead. Never found the Buddhist Temple, but we did find the Mount Madonna Center. The Center is a "residential private retreat and conference center" established by students of a particular monk from India, "a master yogi." "The Center offers a wide range of programs on self-development, health, and well-being, including the many disciplines of Yoga."

For us, the heart of the Center was this Hindu temple, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Tenple.
"Hanuman" is one of the three primary aspects of the Supreme Being - more into below.
The temple is a quiet peaceful place, yet, we were told, on weekends there are so many visitors that reservations have to be made to accommodate them all! Here is a pictorial tour of the temple and its grounds.

This small lake provides swimming opportunities for the Center's residents and registered guests.
Visiting the Lion Fountain
Because Suzy and I are woefully under informed about a lot of things, I began a Google search into Hinduism. I learned that Hindus worship a single Supreme Being, or Ultimate Reality, just as Christians (and others) do. That Supreme Being is recognized, however, as having three primary aspects (the Hindu Trinity): Lord Brahma, recognizing the creative principle; Lord Vishnu, who maintains and preserves the earth; and Lord Shiva, representing the principle of dissolution and re-creation.

On the topic of the many gods and goddesses of the Hindu religion:

A Hindu deity (god or goddess; note small g) represents a particular aspect of the Supreme Being. For example, Saraswati represents the learning and knowledge aspect of the Supreme Being. Thus, if a Hindu wants to pray for acquiring knowledge and understanding, he prays to Saraswati. Just as sunlight cannot have a separate and independent existence from the sun itself, a Hindu deity does not have a separate and independent existence from the Supreme Being. Thus, Hindu worship of deities is monotheistic polytheism and not simple polytheism

We are certainly not going to describe or identify any of those gods, but we'll show you sculptures from the temple area: 

We believe that some of these sculptures may represent Hanuman (remember, the Temple is in his name).

From our research: Hanuman, the great monkey hero, also called Maruti, assists Rama in his battle with Ravana to rescue Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana....Rama said, "There is nothing I can give you that would match the service you have rendered to me. All I can do is to give you my own self." Upon hearing these words, Hanuman stood by Rama, in all humility, with hands joined together in front of his (Hanuman's) mouth, and head slightly bent in the pose of service for Rama. To this day, this picture of Hanuman, as a humble devotee of the Lord, is the most popular among the admirers and worshippers of Hanuman.
The worship of Hanuman, therefore, symbolizes the worship of the Supreme Lord, for acquiring knowledge, physical and mental strength, truthfulness, sincerity, selflessness, humility, loyalty, and profound devotion to the Lord.

For more pictures of our visit, we invite you to visit our web album 2011 Hindu Temple. The main article we found on Google is here.

Finally, we mention our newest Follower, WestieWaggin'. Glad to have you with us -- we hope your tail will be waggin' as you follow us along on ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. What a fabulous find. I learned a whole lot from your blog today.

  2. I have never been there! It looks like you went to Thailand.

    (I'm afraid I won't be able to get over there to meet you. :( Now Craig's car has a bad tire and since he just got them a few months ago he only wants to replace one. They have to order it and so he has to use my van for the week!

    Stuck at home in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains!

  3. Were you just able to walk around the grounds? I went to their website and it shows classes and retreats. The spa looks good. I would like to go for a massage. The prices are about what other spas charge if not a bit lower.

    Hmmm. Something to think about doing one of these days.

  4. The 4 armed elephant man/god was certainly interesting.

  5. Very interesting, but did they have a gift shop? :))

  6. Hecker Pass Highway is a wonderful motorcycle road, and I rode it many times in a past life on my BMW. But I never visited the Mount Madonna Center. So, thanks for the enlightening report!

  7. I would have found that temple place visually interesting with it's architecture, colors & landscaped settings.

  8. How very interesting, I would have enjoyed touring the grounds and looking at everything with you. Learning about other cultures and their beliefs in “higher beings” has always fascinated me. I was happy to see Suzy in one of those pictures, for a minute I thought Jerry was pulling a fast one and had slipped some of his Asian travel pictures into the mix. After all the touring, did you ever find a place for your picnic?


  9. Wow what a great find! It does look as if you traveled to another country. GREAT photos!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  10. Great post, Jerry! Thanks for the colorful picture tour, it looks like a terrific place to visit and learn a bit about the Hindu culture. Another place to add to our long list of places still to visit.

  11. Watsonville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, count me in. I love artichokes! The Center looks AWESOME. We are getting up that way next year. I want to make that one of our stopping places!


Here's your chance to tell us what you think!