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June 2018 Newsletter
Shanmuganathaswami and I flew to London at the beginning of May. Activities in London included two satsangs for members and devotees in homes, two temple visits and the major event, which was attending the 19th annual conference of The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples on Saturday and Sunday. Srilasri Sonasundara Swamigal (the Kartar of Nallai Aaddhenam of Jaffna, Sri Lanka) and I were the chief guests. I had the privilege of giving a talk on both days. Following the conference theme “Saivite Lifestyle,” I quoted Arumuga Navalar’s Saiva Vina Vidhai on common practices for Saivites. “In Saiva Vina Vidai II, he gives a number of important lifestyle suggestions, based on Saiva Siddhanta. The first is japa using the Siva Panchakshara mantra. He continues with iyamam, niyamam, santhiyaavanthanam, puja to Sivalingam, recital of Thevaaram and Thiruvaachakam, serving the Siva temple, worship at the Siva temple and Mahesvara Puja according to one’s ability.” Saturday’s talk described the yamas and shared Gurudeva’s unique insights into the Hindu temple. Sunday’s talk focused on the niyamas and the importance of the home shrine. Our trip ended with a two-night stay with eleven devotees at the Eranos Foundation in Ascona, Switzerland. We visited this historic retreat center to honor the 50th anniversary of Gurudeva’s bringing through the Shum language there during the 1968 Innersearch. General contributions for May totaled $52,563, which is less than our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $345. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya — Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
Innersearch Sri Lanka 2019
From March 14 to 29 we will travel with Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and his monks and an amazing band of seekers. Find all of the details and video compliations of this Himalayan Academy Travel-Study Program by clicking the link below, and reserve your place in history.
Click for more about our next program.
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)
We are immortal souls living and growing in the great school of earthly experience in which we have lived many lives. Vedic rishis have given us courage by uttering the simple truth, “God is the Life of our life.” A great sage carried it further by saying there is one thing God cannot do: God cannot separate Himself from us. This is because God is our life. God is the life in the birds. God is the life in the fish. God is the life in the animals. Becoming aware of this Life energy in all that lives is becoming aware of God’s loving presence within us. We are the undying consciousness and energy flowing through all things. Deep inside we are perfect this very moment, and we have only to discover and live up to this perfection to be whole. Our energy and God’s energy are the same, ever coming out of the void. We are all beautiful children of God. Each day we should try to see the life energy in trees, birds, animals and people. When we do, we are seeing God Siva in action. The Vedas affirm, “He who knows God as the Life of life, the Eye of the eye, the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind—he indeed comprehends fully the Cause of all causes.”
Explore Gurudeva's Wisdom
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami join the Kartar of Nallai Aadheenam from Sri Lanka at the recent conference held in London. Children sang devotional hymns during the two-day event.
Satguru begins his day at Casa Eranos on the shore of Lago Maggiore, the birthplace of the Shum language.
Top to bottom: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and the Nallai Aadheenam Kartar are paraded around the London Ganesha Temple; children in London pose with Satguru; during a satsang in Northern California pada puja is performed to welcome Satguru; Chinnu Perumal, joining our team of silpis, has just entered the US through the Honolulu immigration line and is greeted by Sadasivanathaswai and Yoginathaswami (the photographer); at Casa Eranos in Switzerland a group gathers to hear Satguru’s recounting of the birth of the Shum language in this very place; Bodhinatha Veylanswami celebrates the 50th anniversary of Gurudeva’s creation of Shum, the language of meditation; P. Sivam and his wife from Malaysia at the Narmada Lingam.
Iraivan Temple Progress
On March 20 a team of six silpi carvers from the worksite in Bengaluru arrived on Kauai. They were accompanied by the worksite’s assistant manager, Thuraisingam Rajasankara, and his wife Swapna. The Iraivan Temple architect, Selvanathan Sthapati, arrived in early April. Selvanathan, Thuraisingam, silpis and the monks of the Siddhidata Kulam worked together to take measurements to get an accurate overview of the remaining jointing work that needs to be done to finish the Nandi Mandapam. Sthapati also determined the final height of the kodimaram (temple “flag pole”), which will be installed in the center of the Nandi Mandapam in the months ahead. The entire team worked to lay out the 485-foot-long perimeter wall, marking where the stones will be placed on the edge of the four foot tall plinth upon which the temple is built. They also laid out the placement of the concrete footing on which the front steps will be placed. During April, the silpis focused on refining the embellishments at the base of the Nandi Mandapam. The next step is to set in place the 12 ornately carved pillars that support the Nandi Mandapam roof stones. The landscaping around the temple saw the addition of some huge concrete stepping stones. Designing the desert cactus garden at the northwest corner of the temple was begun as well.
At the beginning of April, Satguru visited the Murugan Temple in Washington, DC. At the end of April he traveled with Yoginathaswami to the Maha Ganapati Temple of Arizona, 30 miles south of Phoenix, for the grand opening of the temple’s 54-foot-tall Maharajagopuram. They were happy to meet the priests on hand for the event, some well known to us, including Sundaramurthy Sivacharya, and nonagenarian Thanga Bhattar, perhaps the senior-most priest in the USA. It is interesting to note that our Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, gifted the original Ganesha murti to this temple. In Phoenix, Bodhinatha’s devotees and monastery friends were able to spend quality time with him. Returning to Kauai, Satguru continued his commentaries on Path to Siva, elucidating the lessons “What Is Yoga?” (bit.ly/P2SYoga) and “What Is Sadhana?” (bit.ly/P2S-Sadhana). Those talks can be heard on our website.
Publications and Other Activities
For the first time in eight years, a puja was held for a milestone in Iraivan temple’s construction progress. The stone carvers and monks gathered to celebrate the placement of the first stone of the perimeter wall. Satguru was there to bless the event. He placed gemstones in a little niche and spread the first trowel of mortar beneath the stone. This was followed by another blessing to set the Nandi Mandapam’s Gomukai into place. Truly a fantastic step in Iraivan’s progress.
At the beginning of May, Satguru and Shanmuganathaswami presided over activities in California and London. In California he held satsangs for his close devotees in San Francisco and San Diego. In London he was a chief guest at the 19th annual conference of The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples. This event brings together the priests and management of the 22 Sri Lankan temples in the greater London area. The theme of the conference was “Saivite Lifestyle” and for this Satguru gave two talks on traditional practices of families who are devoted to Lord Siva. He also suggested to the heads of the temples two innovations to improve the lives of Siva bhaktars in London—an annual summer camp for the children and a formal process by which temple members can receive mantra diksha initiation from the temple priests. From London Satguru flew to Ascona, Switzerland, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of Gurudeva’s Shum meditation language at Casa Eranos on the shore of beautiful Lago Maggiore. Back home on Kauai, Satguru continued his weekly commentaries on the lessons of Path to Siva—reading from Lesson 45 discussing “What Is Japa Yoga?” and from Lesson 46 discussing the fine art of meditation. He also recorded his editorial, “Achieving Affectionate Detachment,” for the upcoming July-August-September 2018 edition of Hinduism Today magazine. The goal, he says, is understanding more clearly, cognizing the nature of family, friends and acquaintances in an intuitive way, from the inside out, and therefore loving them more and being able to get along with them better. On May 26th Satguru presided over the Vaikasi Vishakham celebration puja and abhishekam for Lord Murugan. The next morning he and Shanmuganathaswami flew off to Malaysia to visit with devotees and launch the Tamil edition of Path to Siva (Saiva Neri).
Publications and Other Activities
We are delighted to announce the completion of our fivepart video documentary series, “The History of Hindu India,” based on the book of the same title. Parts four and five are available now on YouTube. Parts One (posted in 2014), Two and Three (both posted in 2015) have been surprisingly popular, receiving, respectively, 2.6 million hits, 1.3 million hits and 965,000 hits along with tens of thousands of “thumbs up” and hundreds of positive comments. “The History of Hindu India” series was developed by the editors of Hinduism Today magazine in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. It is intended to provide an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism for use in American middle and high school classes, as well as Hindu temple study groups and general presentations on the Hindu religion and history. Part Four is based on the fourth chapter of the textbook, “The History of Hindu India,” published in 2011. It covers Indian history from 1850 to 1947, from the outset of the British Crown’s direct control of India to the time of Independence. Under British Crown rule, economic exploitation of the subcontinent increased, resulting in frequent famine and deprivation across the once wealthy land. A determined and mostly nonviolent freedom movement emerged and finally succeeded, resulting in the formation of modern India and Muslim Pakistan in 1947. Part Five is based on the fifth chapter of the textbook. It covers Indian history from 1947 to the present day. Opening with Nehru’s famed speech on August 15, 1947, it describes the formation of the new government, development of the constitution, invasion of Kashmir by Pakistan, the horrors of Partition, formation of states along linguistic lines, and efforts to uplift the lower classes. It touches on the religions of India along with religious strife and its causes, Hindu pilgrimage, Ayurveda, the impact of Hinduism in the modern world and finally a nod to Bollywood films and Indian cuisine. For more information and class lesson plans based on the book, visit www.hinduismtoday.com/education/. This documentary was directed and produced by Sushma Khadepaun and narrated by Roger (Raj) Narayan. Post Production by Jalebi Khao, LA. Funded by the Uberoi Foundation, Institute for Curriculum Advancement.
Satguru meets with the Mahesh Mudigonda family and friends visiting from Oregon
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
What Is Yoga
The Meaning of Sivaratri and Nirvikalpa Samadhi
What Is Sadhana
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)
Saivite Bible Project Soon Going Digital
Sutra 287 of Gurudeva’s Nandinatha Sutras states: “All my devotees revere as scripture The Holy Bible of the Saivite Hindu Religion—which includes excerpts from the Vedas, the Agamas, Tirumantiram, Tirumurai and Tirukural—and guide their lives by its wisdom.” Our publication department, the Ganapati Kulam, is pleased to report that substantial progress is being made on the Bible’s preliminary web-based first edition.
It is a challenging project to be sure. For the Vedas, we are starting with those included in The Vedic Experience by Raimundo Pannikar, a brilliant Catholic scholar of half Indian descent who spent ten years in Banaras working with Sanskrit pundits to create an anthology of Hindu scripture called The Vedic Experience. We found both his selection of songs and his deft English renderings to be the best, and he had personally visited Kauai to give us full republication rights. For the Upanishads, we turned to Dr. S. Radhakrishna’s famed The Principal Upanishads, published in the 1950s, arguably still the best translation around.
For the Agamas, we are breaking new ground with Dr. S. Sabharathnam’s never-before-published translations. We include extensive excerpts from Kamika Agama and shorter sections of the Raurava, Mrgendra and the deeply mystical Sarvajnanottara. We are also including section five of the Tirumantiram, again as translated by Dr. Sabharathnam. Tirumurai translations vary in quality, so we drew from several sources. For the Tirukural, we have the our own modern English rendering.
The most ancient of the scriptures mentioned so far date back thousands of years; the most recent—the 12th book of the Tirumurai—to the 12th century. One section of the Bible will encompass saints since that time, including Tayumanavar, Yogaswami and Gurudeva.
The guiding principle is to select inspiring, informative and clear verses to form a book of 500 to 700 pages. At first, it will be only on-line, as we refine our selection and add or subtract as necessary. Through the magic of the Internet, we will be able to link to the original Sanskrit or Tamil for parts of the material.
One question we are asked is, “Why use the term Bible; isn’t that Christian?” First of all, the word bible just means “book,” and its root is found in such secular words as bibliography. Secondly, when we put this question to those most orthodox of Saivites, the Sivacharyar priests of Tamil Nadu, they said they find the concern unwarranted and pointed out that Christians in South India refer to the Bible as their Veda Agama. They said if we make it clear this is a “Saivite Bible,” there should be no confusion.
Time’s toll: (right) One shelf of the French Institute of Pondicherry’s palm leaf collection, which includes many Agamas; (below) a tattered and rare copy of the profound Sarvajanottara Agama, now newly translated by Dr. Sabharathanam and put online.
Hindu Heritage Endowment
Durable Power of Attorney: When You Do
Need to Give Others Control of Your Property?
Are you out of your mind?” So thought Aditya—a well-traveled engineer in his forties with an international client base—when his attorney first suggested he name someone to control his bank accounts, make his mortgage payments and complete and sign his taxes.
Too polite to speak his misgivings, Aditya revealed them in his face. “No, no. I’m not asking you to give away the store,” the attorney assured with a smile. “These powers would spring to life only when you need them.”
“Let’s say you had a serious accident on one of your trips. Doctors confirm you can’t manage your finances for a while. If you have completed a durable power of attorney for property management and finance, someone you have chosen could immediately pay your medical bills and mortgage.”
“And if I haven’t done this, what would happen?” Aditya queried.
“Without it, the court would have to appoint a conservator for you,” the attorney said with a grimace. “That’s called, logically enough, a court conservatorship. In some cases it’s the only solution, but, believe me, you want to avoid it if you can. It’s expensive and unpleasant. After all, they have to discuss your mental competence in public, and in the end they may appoint someone you would not want.”
“‘Power of attorney’ does not imply an actual attorney, does it?”
“No. Attorney is used in the broad sense to mean someone acting in your place and on your behalf, not an attorney-at-law, like me.”
“How important is this document?”
“Well, once after I had given an estate-planning seminar and reviewed the tools of the trade, an emergency-room nurse in the audience spoke up. ‘Accidents happen. Everyone should have a durable power of attorney for property management, no matter what your age, if you own property and have bills’.”
“Is it a long document?”
“It can be, depending on what you want your representative to do,” the attorney said. “But this is typical,” he added, handing Aditya something that looked like an accountant’s to-do list. It read:
• Make deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts
• Sign tax returns and appoint qualified individuals to represent the principal with the IRS in order to make investment decisions
• Deal with retirement plans, including IRAs
• Have access to the principal’s safe-deposit box
• Create a living trust and fund a previously created living trust
• Revoke or change beneficiary designations
• Vote the principal’s stock
• Forgive or collect the principal’s debts
• Enter into contracts on behalf of the principal
• Make gifts on behalf of the principal
• Disclaim gifts or bequests made to the principal
• Deal with life insurance on the life of the principal
There were a few people, very few, to whom Aditya would give these powers. He did not relish a judge he did not know making that choice for him.
“Let’s get it drafted,” he declared firmly.
For more information on durable powers of attorney for property management and finance, visit the HHE Web site, www.hheonline.org, and click on Gift Planning, then Estate Planning, and then Your Power of Attorney.
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)
To learn about this and other tools for spiritual living, study The Master Course trilogy
Building Fund Donations
Nine-Month Summary:For the nine months of September, 2017, to May, 2018, our minimum monthly goal was $585,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $721,300.43.
Thanks to Our May Temple Builders in 17 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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