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December 2018 Newsletter
November began with the 17th annual Mahasamadhi observances to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Thirty-four pilgrims from the US, Canada, St. Lucia, UK and Malaysia joined with our local members and devotees to honor Gurudeva. Activities for the four-day event included classes by me and the acharyas. On the second afternoon the group paraded the stone tiruvadi from Gurudeva’s shrine around the property, stopping for a puja at the Umbrella Ganesha, Iraivan Temple, Swayambhu Lingam, Rishi Nandinatha, Rishi Tirumular, and finally Dakshinamurti. The event concluded with a six-hour homa and abhishekam to Gurudeva’s tiruvadi performed by Sivacharya Kumar Gurukkal. A week later, we celebrated Skanda Shasthi with an elaborate abhishekam to Lord Murugan. A few days after that, Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami and I flew to Singapore for satsang with members and devotees. The event included a guru puja, a talk, vrata sishya vow taking, vidyaramba samsaras and brahmacharya vratas. Next we flew to Malaysia where we visited the Malaysia branch of the Sri Narayani Foundation, the Court Hill Ganesha Temple, Dharma Shakti Ashram, an Artha Dharma seminar and a prize-giving ceremony at Shri Sai Vidyalaya. Our major event in Malaysia was a satsang in Klang for members and devotees with guru puja, talk, brahmacharya vratas and an Arul Shishya vow taking. In meetings with individuals we presented copies of our most recent book, Guru’s Wisdom, explaining how it can be used as a reference for those teaching classes on Path to Siva . General contributions for November totaled $85,685, which exceeded our minimum monthly goal of $70,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $336. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Om 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), 1927–2001
What is your goal in this life? Is your goal to sit and wallow in the emotions? Is it to memorize a lot of things that different people have said so you can quote from them? Or is your goal in life to find first your Infinite Being within yourself? If you could only once gain just a glimmer of your true Being—the spiritual Being flowing through the mind which you always thought was you. Instead, you have things that you have to do that you haven’t done, things that you will do, and things that you will not do, things that you haven’t made up your mind to do as yet and things you thought you would like to do but decided you wouldn’t do. All of this is going on as a process within yourself, and it keeps you nicely confused. A confused mind creates the form to which you give a name, and you become Mr. or Mrs. Somebody from Somewhere. You go along like that for years and years until all of a sudden you drop dead and give up the physical body. Then what happens? All of these various concepts that make up your personality, when you lay down your physical body and die, just what happens to them? Are you ready for that experience of death? You should always be ready, especially nowadays when the opportunities are so great. Always be ready, spiritually ready.
Explore Gurudeva's Wisdom
Morning greets Iraivan: Looking east where the dawn sky is on fire.
Elegant pillars: Rajkumar Manickam from Colorado captures this sepia-toned image of the main mandapam, looking toward the entrance.
Top to bottom: Satguru and Kumar Gurukkal preside over the six-hour final puja and abhishekam for Gurudeva’s 17th annual Mahasamadhi; the final moments of the Skanda Shashti puja; the 11,000-pound avudaiyar is slowly pulled by a team into the sanctum, one centimeter at a time (inset shows it moving past the doorway);
Iraivan Temple Progress
During Skanda Shashti, the 5,000-kg bronze avudaiyar, the base for the temple’s crystal Sivalingam, was transported from its storage area by crane operator Larry Conklin to Iraivan Temple. It was next placed on a heavy duty wooden ramp that the monks had constructed. The silpis then moved it into the inner sanctum on hardwood rollers—all by hand. Several devotees attending the Skanda Shashti pujas were on hand to grab the ropes and help the silpis ever so slowly pull the base into place. Larry then moved his crane and lifted into place the Nandi Mandapam’s kolungai (sun-shade stones), which make up the highly ornate eaves of the roof. Later in the month, the silpis finished laying the 4-inch thick stone floor tiles in the mukha mandapam. Beneath the stone tiles is a layer of sand which is added or subtracted to level each piece just right. In the second week of November, Lord Hanuman arrived on Kauai in all His green-jade-bronze glory after a long journey from Colorado. Our freight company brought him up to the Aadheenam and placed him next to the mound upon which He will stand long into the future.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s Activities
During November, Satguru gave classes to the pilgrims attending the 17th annual Mahasamadhi observance for the monastery’s founder, Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Satguru also conducted a webinar on the youth catechism, Path to Siva, for our worldwide sangam of devotees. On Divali he announced a revised version of the two-year-long supervised study program for Gurudeva’s Master Course. The goal was to format the course into daily lessons, rather than weekly, and to reduce students’ daily time commitment. Another goal was to structure it for use on a Learning Management Systems (LMS) website.
Publications and Other Activities
On November 5, the Aadheenam observed the 227th monthly Chitra nakshatra padapuja to Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. This occurred at the end of four days of morning pada pujas and classes for pilgrims. Sivacharya Kumar Gurukkal performed the elaborate homa and the following abhishekam to Gurudeva’s tiruvadi. The editorial work on the January/February/March 2019 edition of Hinduism Today magazine was completed. The first of three songs (for school kids) about the Hindu History of India has been released on the HinduismToday YouTube channel. It provides a lyrical summary of a slice of Indian history. (We discovered that teachers in California schools want the history material in educational music-video form, the kids’ text of choice!). Next in line is a song about Hindu beliefs and another on festivals and holidays. The monastery enjoyed the presence of several karma yogis this month. Roshan Sivayogam, arriving on November 5th from Malaysia, served in the Siddhidata Kulam, along with karma yogi Vel Mahalingam, helping with projects around the monastery. Aditya Vinadhara and Jnanideva Cevvel spent the month of November helping Kumarnathaswami with the renovation of the last unfinished area of the Media Studio. Ramesh Sivanathan continued with proofreading and correcting the Tamil translations of Gurudeva’s teachings done by Professor S. Ramaseshan in the 80s. Thanks to this well-oiled team for their wonderful spirit and great work. On November 19, 2018, a new calf was born. His name is Dev, the bull. His mother, a mostly Jersey cow, was gifted to the monastery some months back and (surprise) no one even knew she was pregnant.
Honoring the founder: In early November three taskforcers teamed up to do the annual maintenance of the ten life-size bronzes at the Temple Builders’ Pavilion, a project that took three days. Here (left to right), Ramesh Sivanathan, Rajkumar Manickam and Vel Mahalingam take a break while cleaning and waxing the Gurudeva bronze.
Welcoming Hanuman: At sunset in mid-November Ramai and Vatshalan Santhirapali greet the 13-foot-tall bronze. He awaits the official installation on December 31.
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.
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
How Do We Get Along with Others?
What Is the Hindu Way of Greeting?
What Is Good Conduct?
What Are Our Saiva Forehead Marks?
How Do We Use Our Home Shrine?
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)
Hinduism Today’s Latest Issue
The giant Siva Lingam of Ranbireshwar Temple in Jammu, Kashmir, graces the cover of our January/February/March 2019 issue. At the invitation of Dr. Karan Singh, son of the last Maharaja of Kashmir and friend of Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, our correspondent and photographer spent a week in the famed city of temples, many of them built by Dr. Singh’s royal ancestors.
Speaking of legacies, this issue marks the beginning of our 40th year of publication. Yes, Gurudeva launched Hinduism Today in 1979, and Bodhinatha and the monks have without fail seen it published on schedule ever since, all in fulfillment of his six original purposes: fostering Hindu solidarity, informing and inspiring Hindus worldwide, dispelling misinformation, protecting, preserving and promoting Hinduism, nurturing the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance, and serving as a resource for Hindu leaders.
In his Publisher’s Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gives practical advice on “How to separate your awareness from what you are aware of and enjoy a part of your mind that is always peaceful and all-pervasive,” starting with the great mystical question, “Who am I?” and explaining how to move awareness from one area of consciousness to another at will. A main article in this issue focuses on our small survey of Hindu youth conducted by Palak Malik, daughter of our Delhi correspondent, Rajiv Malik. Starting with an online questionnaire, we sought to detail the thinking of Indian youth about religion. By no means a random survey, it polled urban, educated, articulate youngsters willing to put their name and photo beside their views. The questionnaire was followed up with phone calls to suss out their thinking. The result is an insightful ten-page article profiling eight young, representative men and women grappling with their innermost beliefs.
Today’s youth might not expect it, but they possibly could find some kindred spirits in our Insight section on South India’s Bhakti Saints. First presented are the 12 Vaishnava Alvars, including Andal and Nammalvar, who wrote of his beloved Lord Krishna, “Great one, wondrous one, you are in all things, as butter lies hidden in fresh milk; you stand in all things and yet transcend them. Where can I see you?” The Insight includes sections on the Saiva Nalvars, saints Karaikkal Ammaiyar and Akka Mahadevi, Shri Basavanna of the Virasaiva movement, and Poonthanam of Kerala, who sang, “May the guru bless us to have the holy names of God on the tip of our tongue forever, and to chant those auspicious names always, so as to make this human life meaningful.”
Learn in this issue how Hawaii and Goa became sister states, about the historic World Hindu Congress held in Chicago last September, whether humans are natural herbivores, and discover the sacred groves of Kerala. Lastly, read a review of our newest app, HAMSA (Himalayan Academy Museum of Spiritual Art), a gateway to the thousands of pieces of art we have commissioned and collected over the decades.
Making history: (above) All of the covers of the magazine from December, 1996, to today; (above) the cover of our most recent issue and the opening page of the youth opinion feature.
Hindu Heritage Endowment
How a Marital Bypass Trust May Save Thousands in Taxes
Dhaval and Radha’s attorney warned them to protect their $5 million estate with a marital bypass trust. “What’s a marital bypass trust?” Radha asked during their first visit to his office.
“It’s the same as a credit shelter trust or an A-B Trust.”
“Yes, but what is it and what does it do?”
“Look at Dhaval,” the attorney said gesturing toward her husband. “Imagine him carrying a sack marked ‘$2 million’ over his shoulder. Dhaval dies. Not only he passes from this life, but so does that $2 million, unless you have a marital bypass trust.”
“But I thought on the death of the first spouse the surviving spouse got everything,” Dhaval said. “That’s true,” the attorney answered. “And if the surviving spouse is a US citizen, he or she gets everything free of federal estate tax. But that $2 million is not $2 million in cash or property; it’s a $2 million exclusion from estate tax.”
“But why do we need estate tax protection if everything passes to the surviving spouse tax-free?” Radha asked, wondering now why all this was so complicated.
“Because the day of reckoning has only been postponed, not eliminated,” the attorney explained.
“On the death of the second spouse, the estate becomes vulnerable to estate tax. Without a marital bypass trust, you will have lost one-half of the estate tax protection you have as a married couple.”
“So what should we do?” Dhaval asked. He had begun to tally in his mind the tax on $2 million of their estate that could be transferred tax-free.
“Here’s what I propose,” the attorney offered, looking up from his yellow legal pad where he had roughed out the $800,000-plus tax savings a marital bypass trust would provide. “I’ll write your estate plan so that the surviving spouse may either take the entire estate directly or choose to place part of the estate into a marital bypass trust. The choice will be yours, and you can make it depending on the size of your estate at that time and the current laws.”
“Since I have coronary artery disease, the bypass trust will be well named,” Dhaval quipped.
“Yes,” the attorney mumbled with a weak smile.
“Puns aside, the bypass trust will eventually pass to your children, but in the meantime the trust assets are invested exclusively for the surviving spouse, who receives all the income and can invade principal if his or her health, education or welfare is at stake.”
Leaning toward the couple for emphasis, he added: “The fact that the surviving spouse does not directly own what’s in the marital bypass trust preserves the decedent’s $2-million exclusion from estate tax, or whatever that exclusion is at time of death.”
“But what if the trust grows beyond exclusion amount?” Dhaval asked.
“It doesn’t matter. The full amount in the trust, whatever it ends up being, is completely protected.”
Leaving the attorney’s office, Dhaval and Radha felt slightly woozy. Why, they wondered, did so much of their children’s inheritance depend on such obscure points of law? Still, it was helpful to have such sophisticated options.
Visit the website below 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 the Temple.
For information on establishing a fund at Hindu Heritage Endowment, contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012 ext. 6 or e-mail email@example.com.
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. Get the tool-kit (pdf)
Help Finish Iraivan Forward
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
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our November Temple Builders in 18
For the three months of September to November, our minimum monthly goal was $210,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $218,006.99
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.)
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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