[Click to see the full newsletter on the web] December is definitely the month our monastery has the most ­visitors. This year I was able to meet personally with many of the visiting families during “darshan” sessions in the Guru ...

Kauai's Hindu Monastery

January 2017

[Click to see the full newsletter on the web]

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

December is definitely the month our monastery has the most ­visitors. This year I was able to meet personally with many of the visiting families during “darshan” sessions in the Guru Pitham—seeing as many as four families on some mornings. These sessions work best when thoughtful questions have been written down ahead of time by family members and that was definitely the case in many of December’s meetings with excellent questions being asked by children. Again this year we were able to utilize our renovated Media Studio to host those interested in Hinduism Today and our printed and digital publications’ initiatives. Lots of visitors where excited to learn about the three mobile apps we have produced and the new ones in progress. The five-day Pancha Ganapati festival was celebrated at the monastery by setting up in Kadavul Temple a special Ganesha shrine that received offerings and arati from December 21 to 25. Gurudeva encouraged devotees to utilize these days to grow close to family members, making amends for past misdeeds. Relatives and friends living nearby are presented gifts and offered apologies to clear up any ill-will that may exist. Relatives and friends in far-off places are written to or called, forgiveness sought, ­apologies made and tensions released. General contributions for December totaled $108,828, which exceeds our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an ­additional $2,231. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya!

Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule. Bookmark the link and return for updates.

01 Gurudeva cover Gurudeva's Wisdom

What men term sin, the wise call ignorance. Man’s true nature is not sullied by sin. Sin is related only to the lower, instinctive-intellectual nature as a transgression of dharma. Still, sin is real and to be avoided, for our wrongful actions return to us as sorrow through the law of karma. Sin is terminable, and its effects may be compensated for by penance, or prayashchitta, and good deeds which settle the karmic debt. The young soul, less in tune with his soul nature, is inclined toward sin; the old soul seldom transgresses divine law. Sins are the crippling distortions of intellect bound in emotion. When we sin, we take the energy and distort it to our instinctive favor. When we are unjust and mean, hateful and holding resentments year after year and no one but ourselves knows of our intrigue and corruption, we suffer. As the soul evolves, it eventually feels the great burden of faults and misdeeds and wishes to atone. Penance is performed, and the soul seeks absolution from society and beseeches God’s exonerating grace. The Vedas say, “Loose me from my sin as from a bond that binds me. May my life swell the stream of your river of Right.”

Explore Gurudeva's Wisdom


Recent Happenings


A panoramic sunrise photo taken on January 13 with a quadcopter hovering above Rishi Valley, with its ponds and waterfalls. Iraivan Temple greets the morning Sun with Mount Waialeale peeking over the Rudraksha trees in the background.


A desert agave blooms in Siva’s Sacred Garden.

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Top to bottom: Satguru and Shanmuganathaswami are guests of honor at the Ekadasa Rudra Homa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Bodhinatha stands at the flagpole in the early hours of the day as the flag is changed for the season; Brahmanathaswami and Andre Garcia in the Media Studio; Pancha Ganapati is decorated during His December festival; Bodhinatha gives a Keynote presentation in the Guru Pitham; Kadaitswami’s larger-than-life black granite statue is settled in place; giant excavator removes a full-grown palm from our grove, to be transplanted near Iraivan Temple.


Iraivan Temple Progress
At the Iraivan Temple carving site in Bengaluru, the stone carvers are focused on finishing the perimeter wall and the last two pieces of the Nandi Mandapam. This final step in the Iraivan Temple carving in India is predicted to be completed in July. Here on Kauai, the work on the landscaping on the south side entry of the temple was begun, preparing the hillside with heavy machinery for a future flight of steps, terraces, giant boulders and full-grown palm trees. Planning for the next in a series of bronzes showing the silpis working on Iraivan was begun in collaboration with master sculptress Holly Young.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s Activities
Satguru continued a series of classes for the younger monks with an in-depth study of the four stages of the eternal path to enlightenment that all monks, and, indeed, all spiritual seekers, must perfect. In Agamic scripture these four stages, called padas, are termed charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. The class material was drawn from Gurudeva’s Merging with Siva, and from other writings including the University of Madras Tamil Lexicon and the Tirumantiram. Everyone enjoyed this deeply meaningful presentation. In December, Satguru gave two wonderful talks following the weekly havana, commenting on lessons of our new publication, Path to Siva, A Catechism for Youth. He also recorded a video version of his Publisher’s Desk article in Hinduism Today magazine, titled “An Alternative to Happiness.” As they do each quarter, Satguru and the swamis of the editing team spent several days working on Shum, the language of meditation. This language, which was given to us by Gurudeva, embodies a perspective that enables our individual awareness to move freely in a focused way in meditation. (For more details, see the Twelve Shum Meditations book on our website.)

Publications and Other Activities
The end of December was a busy time, with dozens of devotees coming to worship every morning at Kadavul Temple. The visitor parking facilities and landscaping were upgraded for this. Bodhinatha’s devotees, living on the island, stepped in to host our guests with impromptu daily tours. This included one for the staff of the Kauai county’s Department of Child and Family Services, who were enjoying a holiday outing. On Krittika Dipam, December 11, the monks honored God Siva as the infinite pillar of light by lighting little oil lamps throughout the temple and performing a special arati. The five-day festival of Pancha Ganapati, from December 21 - 25, was joyously celebrated as well. Coinciding with the Western holiday season, it was created by Gurudeva in 1985 to serve the needs of Hindu families living outside India. This year it was featured in more than a dozen newspaper articles in many countries, including Mexico and Poland! The year-end Digital Dharma fund-raising drive that was begun during November to fund the further development of the monastery website and digital apps in 2017 was more than successful. Thanks to the Digital Dharma Drive donors, the monks are making progress on several digital tools and resources, most importantly a comprehensive new app called SivaSiva. In December, Andre Garzia, a software developer from Brazil, flew to Kauai for a month, working with the publishing team to move several projects forward. An indispensable tech partner since 2004, working remotely from his home in Rio de Janeiro, he came daily to the Media Studio to do his code warrior work. This month the monastery was featured in a short piece titled “Soul Searching” in Flux Hawaii, a magazine that focuses on Hawaii’s arts and culture. A photo of our monks appeared on the cover of its “The Good Life” issue.

Iraivan Temple at Night

Rajkumar Manickam spent hours in the darkness of night during his recent visit, creating this amazing Starry Night timelapse of the temple.

Bodhinatha's Newest Teachings Online

Bodhinatha's weekly talks can be heard on our website. He has been giving weekly commentaries on our new book 'Path to Siva'.

Recent Talks:
How Can We See God? January 21, 2017
What Are Siva's Three Perfections? January 14, 2017
God Siva - the Supreme Being January 7, 2017 The Monistic Theism of Saiva Siddhanta, December 30, 2016

Click here for a complete index of both Bodhinatha's and Gurudeva's talks on line

Satguru Bodhinatha has also now turned his 15-minute Keynote presentations into movies which can be used for our personal benefit or shared at a satsang of friends. See them here. Thanks to a vibrant team of transcribers we can hear Bodhinatha's recent talks and read the transcriptions here. Read the transcriptions on line. Click here for all of Bodhinatha's talks.


Follow our daily activities at Today at Kauai's Hindu Monastery (blog)


Latest Hinduism Today On-Line

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With the January/February/March 2017 issue, Hinduism Today enters its 38th year of publication! By the late 1990s, when the magazine went quarterly and attained a high quality of reporting, photography and graphic design every issue, Gurudeva declared it a “finished product.” He instructed his editorial team to maintain that standard year after year—a direction we like to think we’ve fulfilled. The latest issue has been printed and is available online free of charge at source www.hinduismtoday.com. Or you can download our free Hinduism Today app and get the full magazine on your mobile device at bit.ly/HT-APP.

This issue’s feature story takes you to the holy city of Mathura, where you can walk in history’s footsteps, visit the temples you have heard about and witness spectacular Holi celebrations, with their wild colors and festive observances, all vividly reported by our India correspondent, Rajiv Malik. It’s brought to life by Arun Mishra’s amazing photography.

Our 16-page Insight section is a kid-friendly spiritual catechism, excerpted from Himalayan Academy’s latest book: The Path to Siva, A Catechism for Youth, which was described in last issue’s newsletter. For those who missed it, this fully illustrated catechism presents basic questions about the Saivite Hindu path, and answers them in language meant for 12- to 15-year olds. It is a great resource for parents seeking to pass tradition on to the next generation. (And it is also great for seekers of any age.)

Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, talks about what makes us happy—not just the ephemeral happiness of a sale at the mall, but a deeper bliss that lasts a lifetime and endures through our most challenging moments. Enjoy his practical wisdom and tools for keeping consciousness in the higher chakras.

Culture is big in this issue. Two sisters share their love of dance, we look in on a clan that tattoos their entire body with the name of Lord Rama, a teenage girl writes about her guru’s visit to London, and journalist Choodie Shivaram interviews families whose sons and daughters have renounced the world to ascertain reactions to this age-old life choice that is seldom seen in the West. We cover the environment from the Hindu perspective in Mat McDermott’s assessment of the impact of the meat industry on Earth’s climate. Prepare yourself to be unprepared for the discoveries he shares.

Our Hindu of the Year is honored, too. It is Morari Bapu, one of India’s greatest Ram Katha preachers. He has conducted not just a few, but over 750 of these marathon song and storytelling events to uplift devotees around the globe. As if that were impressive, consider that these events last all day and into the night, for nine days!

There’s even more in this issue, including our fun Quotes & Quips with cartoon, an excerpt from recently translated Agama verses, an update on the California textbook issue, and one woman’s editorial on how we can all be better ambassadors for our faith.

(top to bottom) Our January issue: Morari Bapu is Hindu of the Year; Holi celebrations at Mathura’s Dwarkadheesh Temple; dancing in bliss at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana, India

See Your Generosity in Action
Through an IRA Charitable Rollover Gift


If you are 70½ years old or older and live in the USA, you can take advantage of a simple way to benefit Hindu Heritage Endowment and receive tax benefits in return. You can give up to $100,000 from your individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a qualified charity such as HHE without having to pay income taxes on the money.

This law no longer has an expiration date, so you are free to make annual gifts to HHE this year and well into the future.

Why Consider This form of giving?

Your gift will be put to use today, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making.

You pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.

If you have not yet taken your required minimum distribution for the year, your IRA charitable rollover gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I have already named Hindu Heritage Endowment as the beneficiary of my IRA. What are the benefits if I make a gift now instead of after my lifetime?

A. By making a gift this year of up to $100,000 from your IRA, you can see your philanthropic dollars at work. You are jump-starting the legacy you would like to leave and giving yourself the joy of watching your philanthropy take shape. Moreover, you can fulfill any outstanding pledge you may have made by transferring that amount from your IRA as long as it is $100,000 or less for the year.

Q. I’m turning age 70½ in a few months. Can I make this gift now?

A. No, you cannot. The legislation requires you to reach age 70½ by the date you make the gift.

Q. I have several retirement accounts—some are pensions and some are IRAs. Does it matter which retirement account I use?

A. Yes. Direct rollovers to a qualified charity can be made only from an IRA. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be able to roll assets from a pension, profit sharing, a 401(k) or a 403(b) plan into an IRA and then make the transfer from the IRA directly to Hindu Heritage Endowment. To determine if a rollover to an IRA is available for your plan, speak with your plan administrator.

Q. Can my gift be used as my required minimum distribution under the law?

A. Yes, absolutely. If you have not yet taken your required minimum distribution, the IRA charitable rollover gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement. Contact your IRA custodian to complete the gift.

Q. Do I need to give my entire IRA to be eligible for the tax benefits?

A. No. You can give any amount under this provision, as long as it is $100,000 or less per year. If your IRA is valued at more than $100,000, you can transfer a portion of it to fund a charitable gift.

Q. I have two charities I want to support. Can I give $100,000 from my IRA to each?

A. No. Under the law, you can give a maximum of $100,000. For example, you can give each organization $50,000 this year or any other combination that totals $100,000 or less. Any amount above $100,000 in one year must be reported as taxable income.

Q. My spouse and I would like to give more than $100,000. How can we do that?

A. If you have a spouse (as defined by the IRS) who is 70½ or older and has an IRA, he or she can also give up to $100,000 from his or her IRA.

It is wise to consult with your tax professionals if you are contemplating a charitable gift under the extended law.



For information on establishing a fund at Hindu Heritage Endowment, contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012 ext. 6 or e-mail hhe@hindu.org.

Visit the HHE website at HHEonline.org.



To learn about this and other tools for spiritual living, study The Master Course trilogy

Help Move Iraivan Forward

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You Can Help Sponsor the Perimeter Wall

The second prakaram wall is 3.5 feet tall, two feet thick and 475 feet long. It comprises 45 short pillars (the section with the pot on top) and 44 panels (the long section between the pillars). Each pillar and panel pair require 544 man-days to carve, even with the massive granite slabs being sawn to size by machine. Each panel will be inscribed (inside the ornate border shown in the photo at right) with verses from scripture and the philosophy and history of the temple.


❏ One pillar section: $15,000

❏ One panel section: $30,000

Donate here!

Donor Listing

Building Fund Donations


Thanks to Our December Temple Builders in 16 Countries

Four-Month Summary: For the four months of September to December, 2016, our minimum monthly goal was $260,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $317,260.32.


Your support is deeply appreciated!

Donate To Iraivan, Become a Temple Builder Today!


Click Here to Donate Now!
Personal checks in certain currencies can be accepted by our bank (Euros, Pounds, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars.)

  • Satguru’s 2017 Travels
  • April 7-10: Malaysia, Singapore
  • May 27-June 4: London
  • July 13-14: New York City
  • July 16-17: Chicago
  • July 18-19: Kansas City, Missouri
  • August 9–28: Maryland, Mauritius, India, Sri Lanka

Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule.

Pilgrimage to Iraivan

Iraivan Temple is a punya tirtha, a sacred destination for devout pilgrims. The vision of Lord Siva on San Marga that Gurudeva was blessed with in 1975 is sustained and made manifest by the daily sadhanas of 21 resident monastics from five nations. Kadavul Hindu Temple and the many sacred areas of San Marga are available to Hindus for worship, meditation, japa and quiet reflection. It is best, if you are planning to come to visit us, to email us in advance to make sure the days of your visit coincide with our open times. And, if you want to have darshan with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, to check if he is in residence and to make the necessary appointment. Please see our visitor information pages for more details.

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