The last third of March was particularly busy, with an increase in visitors due to students being on Spring break. Many of the families visiting had a darshan session with me. We held our monthly Ardra puja to Siva Nataraja on the 24th and a special yearly guru puja to Paramaguru Yogaswami on Ashlesha nakshatra, March 27. Sannyasins Shanmuganathaswami and Siddhanathaswami and I left on March 28 for a trip to the East Coast of the USA. On Friday March 30, full moon in the month of Panguni, I gave a talk at Pundit Ramcharan’s temple, which is between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The topic was Lord Siva, with the theme that Siva is the God of love—Anbe Sivam. The publisher’s desk for the July issue of Hinduism Today was written and edited. It is titled “Achieving Affectionate Detachment.” The first step is removing unaffectionate attachment, which I describe as “a state of mind filled with bitterness, misunderstandings, bad memories and even grudges. Anyone can fall into this abyss. Some live there throughout life. On the spiritual path, our goal is to remain free of such burdens. So, if we become overwhelmed by past acrimonies, we need to learn how to extract ourself.” General contributions for March totaled $85,279, which exceeds our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $361. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya! — Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule. Bookmark the link and return for updates.
Founder of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva)
The three pillars of Saivism are the temples, the scriptures and the satgurus. These we revere, for they sustain and preserve the ancient wisdom. Siva temples, whether they be small village sanctuaries or towering citadels, are esteemed as God’s home and consecrated abode. In the Siva temple we draw close to God Siva and find a refuge from the world. His grace, permeating everywhere, is most easily known within the precincts of the Siva temple. It is in the purified milieu of the temple that the three worlds commune most perfectly, that devotees can establish harmony with inner-plane spiritual beings. When the spiritual energy, shakti, invoked by the puja permeates the sanctum sanctorum and floods out to the world, Saivites know they are in a most holy place where God and the Gods commune with them. Within most Siva temples are private rooms, sanctums, for Lord Ganesha and Lord Karttikeya, and shrines for the many Gods and saints. The Vedas explain, “Even as the radiance of the sun enlightens all regions, above, below, and slantwise, so that only God, glorious and worthy of worship, rules over all His creation.”
Explore Gurudeva's Wisdom
Top to bottom: Thurai and Swapna Rajasankara meet with Satguru Bodhinatha soon after their arrival from India; at an Innersearch dinner in Jaffna, Thondunathan and Dr. Aru Thirumurugan present Satguru with a special issue of Sivabhoomi; Yoginathaswami offers camphor to Yogaswami during the annual guru puja; Jnanideva Cevvel, Aditya Vinadhara and Jim Maderios serving in the wood shop in March; stones being organized at Iraivan in anticipation of the arrival of the silpis; visitors’ day; Dipanshu pressure washes the temple stones; Paramacharya and two of our yogis meet with His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji of Suttur Math, Karnataka. Our two new yogis, Yogi Mayuranatha at left and Yogi Jayanatha on the right, stand in the courtyard of the Siva temple in Tiruvannamalai, South India, on their first visit to the country.
Iraivan Temple Progress
On March 20th six silpi stone carvers arrived on Kauai from India. They were accompanied by Thuraisingam Rajasankara, the assistant manager of our carving site in Bengaluru, and his wife Swapna. It’s been nearly eight years since the last group of silpis returned to India from Kauai. Everyone here at the monastery is happy to see the work here beginning again. This group of silpis were chosen from the larger team in Bengaluru based on their skills and personal demeanor. Together they have 149 years of stone carving experience. All are natives of the Karaikuddi district, which is midway between Tiruchirapalli and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Their first objective after their orientation was to check where the previous carvers had left off and measure for critical markings on the Nandi Mandapam so they can establish accurate continuity. Their primary goal is to finish the Nandi Mandapam and construct the Perimeter Wall around the temple that sits at the edge of the foundation plinth. The weekly monastery tour was delighted to see the carvers at work once again and hear the charming “chip, chip, chip” of the chisels hitting the stone. The silpis demonstrated how they easily move huge stones using only metal rods while singing a traditional song to create a unified effort. Below are brief biographies of this group of carvers.
After returning from Sri Lanka, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami spent most of March in residence at the monastery. Nearly every day he met with guests and pilgrims. He continued his weekly commentary on the lessons of our newest book, Path to Siva. Hear his talk on “How Do We Use Affirmations?” here: bit.ly/BDAffirmationsPDesk; and his 2018 Mahasivaratri upadesha in Kadavul Temple here: bit.ly/BDMahasivaratri2018.
At the conclusion of the two-week-long Sri Lanka Innersearch program, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and our two new yogis, Mayuranatha and Jayanatha, travelled to Tamil Nadu for 12 days to visit the holy places of our tradition. They worshiped at many important spiritual destinations, including the holy Arunachala hill, Chidambaram, Madurai Meenakshi and Palani Hills. They were lovingly hosted by Amma at the Golden Temple in Vellore and by our brother monks, Sri Sri Jeyendrapuri Swami of Kailash Ashram in Bengaluru and Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji at the Suttur Math in Mysore. They visited the Iraivan Temple carving site in Bengaluru, and in Chennai they lunched with twenty of the artists and friends and pundits we work with all year long (for Hinduism Today and other projects) but seldom have a chance to be with in person. This was the yogis’ first visit to our Holy Land and we thank the people of Mother India for welcoming our monks with gracious smiles and open arms.
Meet Our New team of Silpis on Kauai
(left to right)
Karuppaiya, 58, has been working on Iraivan Temple for 16 years. Married with three children, he is a master sculptor with 42 years of experience.
Adaikalam, 38, has been working on Iraivan for 18 years. Married, father of two sons, he is skilled in marking and in carving ornamental sculpture work with 17 years of experience.
Manikandan, 45, has worked at our Bengaluru carving for 27 years. Married with three kids, his 31 years of experience make him a highly skilled carver, in fact, the chief stone marker at our carving site.
Murugesan, 40, has worked with us for 13 years. Married with two kids. In his 18 years of experience, he has become a highly skilled ornamental design carver and a team leader in stone joinery.
Murthi, 39, has been with us for 22 years. Married, with two kids, he is a senior ornamental carver with 22 years of experience.
Gnanavel, 45, has been with us for 16 years. Married with three children, he is a gifted ornamental design carver with 19 years experience. He is also proficient in several Indian languages.
Bodhinatha's Newest Teachings Online
Satguru Bodhinatha is now turning 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.
The weekly talks are also live streamed and then save on YouTube. Go to the Kauai Aadheenam channel and scroll down to recent talks (audio has some room echo)
Bodhinatha's weekly talks can be heard on our website: His recent commentaries on the chapters in our new book "The Path to Siva" are marvelous!
Click here for a complete index of both Bodhinatha's and Gurudeva's talks on line
Nartana Ritau - A Season For Planning
What Is Sadhana?
How Do We Use Affirmations
Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule. Bookmark the link and return for updates.
Follow our daily activities at Today at Kauai's Hindu Monastery (blog)
Preparations Begin on Iraivan’s Flagpole
Top to Bottom: Sthapati’s design drawing for the 45-foot-tall kodimaram; hewing the rough log into shape in 2006 with saws and adze (and bare feet!); trial fitting the copper cladding in Bengaluru
Now that a team of silpis have arrived on Kauai to resume work assembling Iraivan Temple, one of their most dramatic accomplishments in the months ahead will be the installation of the kodimaram, or temple flagpole. Though it will be a couple of months before we are ready to install it, the pieces are being assembled. In 4-6 months it will be added to the Nandi Mandapam. Initially, only the 45-foot-long teak pole will be embedded in the mandapam. Later the sculpted copper cladding pieces (which are here and waiting) will be added and then gold leafed by artisans flown in from New York.
The kodimaram—dhvajastambha in Sanskrit—is a tall cylindrical post that sits between Nandi (the vahana or mount of Siva) and the balipitham (offering place) in front of the temple, outside the entry. [See sketch below.] According to Dr. Sabharathnam, an expert in the Saiva Agamas, “The etymological meaning of dhvaja (flag) is that which cuts asunder the soul’s triple bonds (anava, karma and maya), raises the soul to the highest level of perfection and brings about oneness with Siva.”
It is sometimes said that a temple’s flag is “hoisted” on the kodimaram during festivals, but more accurately it is wrapped around the pole, starting from just under the three horizontal top bars. One can tell from the images engraved on a kodimaram what Deity is enshrined in the temple. Worshipers seek blessings by touching the flagpole and then Nandi as they enter. It is also traditional to prostrate here when departing, with the body perpendicular to the centerline of the temple. One mystical explanation is that the flagpole is an opposite polarity to the Deity in the sanctum, serving like one pole of a magnet. Magnets must have two poles to create and sustain a force field. The flagpole is required to capture the force field of the Deity, creating a psychic bubble of grace and protection.
A more mundane explanation of the kodimaram refers to it as a lightening arrestor (being the highest point of the temple and metallic). It also allows pilgrims to spot a temple from a distance—a function also served by the rajagopuram.
It was no easy matter to find a teak tree from which a 45-foot long straight pole could be fashioned. When Jiva Rajasankara and team in Bengaluru finally located one back in 2006, it was so deep in the forest that it was rather expensive to fell it, drag it to the nearest road and carve it by hand—us$7,400. First the pole was carved to specifications; some sections are round, others four sided, some 12. Then copper cladding was custom made for it and trial assembled at the worksite. It was a logistical nightmare to transport this long pole 90 miles to the worksite, then again to ship it across the ocean—seagoing containers normally are a maximum of 40 feet long—then to finally deliver it to the Iraivan Temple site. Once fully installed and gold leafed, the kodimaram with be a spectacular sight!
Hindu Heritage Endowment
Default Estate Plans May Not Please Survivors
When the Hindu Heritage Endowment staged its first-ever estate planning seminar in August, 2008, in Walnut Creek, California, the fissures in the global economy were beginning to show in higher energy and food prices.
The seminar, however, focused on a strategy that works in good times and bad: protection from taxes, court costs and legal fees through sound estate planning.
With the economic meltdown, Hindu Heritage Endowment is following a similar tack by encouraging ways of giving that allow donors to remain generous while not further taxing their battered finances. Here are some examples.
A 45-year-old marketing executive saw his IRA take a big hit in 2008. Still, he said, “I’m in this for the long run. By including Hindu Heritage Endowment as a beneficiary of my IRA, I know that whatever the Endowment receives will be tax-free. My relatives will have to pay income tax on their share.”
He added that the IRA designation is easy to arrange and has left his current finances unaffected.
A physician in her fifties used a similar strategy with a life insurance policy. “Many people think that life insurance proceeds are not vulnerable to estate tax,” she cautioned. “True, they do not go through probate or get hit by income tax, but if you own the policy, it may be subject to estate tax.” She knows that any portion of her life insurance proceeds that goes to Hindu Heritage Endowment will be free of any tax.
“Besides, it was very easy to do,” she explained. “I just filled out a beneficiary designation form naming Hindu Heritage Endowment for a percentage and mailed it to my insurance company.”
The parents of three adult children have a living trust. “We wanted most of our estate to go to our children,” the father explained. “We used a residual bequest to accomplish this. It states that whatever remains after our children receive their distributions passes to Hindu Heritage Endowment.”
The three strategies above have common traits: they are tax-free, simple to do and revocable.
Phil Murphy, HHE’s planned giving consultant at the time, emphasized the virtues of revocability in dicey economic times: “Bequests to good causes, whether through IRAs, life insurance, living trust or wills, can always be changed. We remain in control.”
Murphy thinks of estate planning as one way to recover from a shaken loss of personal power. “Most of us feel a loss of control when the value of what we own suddenly changes for the worse. But we can channel that anxiety into useful action by reviewing our estate plan. That way we can make sure that those we care about will not face avoidable taxes, fees and court costs. That’s always a good idea, but especially when every penny counts.”
The Hindu Heritage Endowment wants you to succeed in your estate planning efforts and, through them, both care for your family and remember good causes like the Iraivan Temple Endowment. (For additional information contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012, ext. 6, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about planned giving options to provide immediate tax and income benefits to you and your family, while also providing a future gift to HHE, please visit www.hheonline.org.
To learn about this and other tools for spiritual living, study The Master Course trilogy
Building Fund Donations
Seven-Month Summary:For the seven months of September to March, our minimum monthly goal was $455,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $612,973.59.
Thanks to Our March Temple Builders in 15 different countries
Your support is deeply appreciated!
Donate To Iraivan, Become a Temple Builder Today!
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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 19 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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