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Our monthly Ardra puja to Siva Nataraja and Chitra puja to Gurudeva were held with a few off-island guests in attendance. Spring break from school occurred in March and contributed to a increase in visitors throughout the month. Our March 29th phasely visitors’ tour, in fact, was the largest group ever! I conducted the final webinar on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras on March 18. The session presented a summary of the sutras’ important teachings and provided comparable statements from Gurudeva’s Master Course Trilogy. The editing of my Publisher’s Desk on self-surrender was completed for the July 2017 issue of Hinduism Today. It begins: “Individuals who are not religious make progress toward achieving their goals in life by self-effort. Whatever they accomplish is, from their perspective, solely the result of what they do to achieve it. People who are religious have another factor in their life—the help of divine forces. Even in Buddhism, which does not recognize a Supreme Being, the idea of surrendering to a higher power is present, as followers take refuge in the Buddha, the teachings and the brotherhood. Religious individuals invite blessings into their lives by practicing self-surrender, which is also termed humble submission or taking refuge in the Divine.” General contributions for March totaled $108,677, which exceeds our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $522. 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.
For Hindus, death is nobly referred to as mahaprasthana, “the great journey.” When the lessons of this life have been learned and karmas reach a point of intensity, the soul leaves the physical body, which then returns its elements to the earth. The awareness, will, memory and intelligence which we think of as ourselves continue to exist in the soul body. Death is a most natural experience, not to be feared. It is a quick transition from the physical world to the astral plane, like walking through a door, leaving one room and entering another. Knowing this, we approach death as a sadhana, as a spiritual opportunity, bringing a level of detachment which is difficult to achieve in the tumult of life and an urgency to strive more than ever in our search for the Divine Self. To be near a realized soul at the time he or she gives up the body yields blessings surpassing those of a thousand and eight visits to holy persons at other times. The Vedas explain, “As a caterpillar coming to the end of a blade of grass draws itself together in taking the next step, so does the soul in the process of transition strike down this body and dispel its ignorance.”
Explore Gurudeva's Wisdom
The weekly walking tour through the gardens to Iraivan Temple stops for a photo near the northern gopuram.
The moods of Mount Waialeale are many. Here the morning sun paints the sky, the mile-high mountain and the Wailua River, with the temple peeking in on the right.
Top to bottom: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami approaches the palm grove during his morning walk; moving the massive stone into place for the Temple Builders’ Memorial; former mayor Maryanne Kusaka, in yellow, brought a group of women educators for a garden tour; the Anand Ramanathan and Sangita Rangala family from Chicago meets with Satguru in the Guru Pitham (Sangita danced in Kadavul Temple); Balu and Vishalam Balachandran from Canada perform karma yoga at the Mini Mela; the 3-foot-tall, five-hooded silver naga arrived from India, destined to be installed over the swayambhu Sivalingam. Bronze Tara pillar sits in Colorado workshop; cleaning the rose granite floor; Acharya Arumuganathaswami during the blessing ceremony for the new John Deere tractor.
Iraivan Temple Progress
At the Iraivan Temple carving site in India, the carvers remain focused on finishing the stonework for the temple’s perimeter wall. Here on Kauai work began on the foundation of the Temple Builders’ Memorial on the north side of the temple. Five bronze statues will show the craftsmen working on the various stages of the temple; from quarrying to rough shaping, marking, fine sculpting and chisel sharpening. These five will surround the statues of Gurudeva and the temple’s chief architect, Ganapati Sthapati, which are to be placed atop a massive central stone. This stone, weighing in at 18,500 pounds, is uncut and unfinished, showing what a raw stone looks and feels like when it is fresh from the quarry. With operator Larry Conklin lifting with his big crane, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, Acharya Kumarnathaswami,Yogi Rajanatha and our hired worker Doug all spent several hours moving the stone into place. All but one of the bronze statues in the series has been cast and are here on Kauai. During March, we received photos of the progress on the final sculpture from Colorado-based master metalworkers Bobby and Kathy Page. This piece shows Selvanathan Sthapati marking designs on one of the temple’s Tara pillars while the opposite side of the pillar is being carved by Chinnaiya, a marvelous sculptor, who served for several years at the temple site on Kauai. As you may remember, sculptress Holly Young, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, first made a casting of an actual pillar in Iraivan Temple. In March we were blessed to receive the Iraivan Sivalingam’s silver naga from Bengaluru. The silver naga is in the shape of a snake which wraps itself around the base of the sphatika lingam and rises up behind the lingam to enfold the crown of the lingam with five cobra heads. It’s an exquisite work of art that’s three feet tall and weighs 30 pounds. Hundreds of emails back and forth between the sponsors and the monks about details, shipping, design and whether it could be shipped under a religious object status all had to be worked out over the past several months.
Publications and Other Activities
We are beginning a new project called Digital Dancing with Siva. Each sloka of Gurudeva’s book will be made into a short video, around 1.5 minutes. Let us know what you think of the first few in the playlist. See them at the Kauai’s Hindu Monastery YouTube channel. The Hinduism Today app for mobile devices will alert you that the latest edition, April 2017, is now available for download. The monastery was featured in the island’s newspaper, the Garden Island, in March. The article highlighted our work in agriculture and water management, two areas of great interest to our local community. Also in March Hawaii’s Department of Forestry and Wildlife asked the monks to help host a “Landowners Workshop.” It attracted a broad cross section of Kauai residents involved with agriculture. Professional nurserymen, seasoned organic growers, neophyte land owners and representatives of several federal and state agencies attended and shared their knowledge. They visited our organic noni orchard and our first Koa tree planting. It turns out that our Koa planting has become well known among local forestry and wildlife experts as the first production orchard for Koa bred specially to be resistant to a disease called Koa Wilt, which kills most Koa growing at low altitudes. This breeding program holds great promise for future reforestation of the islands. At the end of the workshop, Sadasivanathaswami took this enthusiastic group on a tour of the temple and temple gardens for a perfect end to a long day.
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.
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 the Nature of Life for Saivites?
Our Holy Scriptures; the Greatness of the Tirukural
The Three Worlds; Surrender the Ego Through Devotion
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)
Build Core Strength with Our Spiritual Workout App Get spiritual: (top to bottom) home screen; options for a customized workout
Today nearly everyone appreciates the need for daily exercise to stay fit and healthy, but many don’t realize the need to maintain a balanced spiritual life through daily practices. Our Spiritual Workout app is designed primarily for Hindus who would like to maintain a daily spiritual practice, but don’t have much time for sadhana. The app was inspired by Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s Publisher’s Desk article on the subject, which you can read here: bit.ly/PublishersDesk. The app’s standard spiritual
The app’s standard spiritual workout is called the “10-minute sadhana” which takes you through two minutes of chanting “Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah” (with an option to hear the mantra pronounced by an expert), two minutes of repeating silently or aloud the mantra “Aum,” one minute of a positive affirmation, such as “I am all right, right now,” and five minutes of reading from What Is Hinduism? such as chapter 16 on the chakras. If you chant silently, the workout is discrete enough to do on public transport or at your desk.
If you are inclined to devise your own workout, a vast set of resources are available. The Worship section takes you to popular mantras (your choice of Ganesha, Skanda or Siva) and a detailed Ganesha puja with instructions for each step, along with the Sanskrit mantras, written and audio. The Introspection section presents chants, breathing exercises and a guided meditation. The fourth section, Study, gives access to the complete text of Dancing with Siva, Merging with Siva and other publications from Himalayan Academy. A section especially for Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s shishyas includes the 108 names of Gurudeva and Bodhinatha, as well as the recently composed “Guruparampara Vandana,” a hymn in praise of our guru lineage beginning with Lord Siva and the sages Nandinatha and Tirumular.
To download: iPhone and iPad: bit.ly/iPhoneWorkout; Android devices: bit.ly/AndroidWorkout
Hindu Heritage Endowment
Community Property or Joint Tenancy:
Why the Way You and Your Spouse Hold Property Matters
Q. My wife contends that she can inherit my retirement plan assets tax-free upon my passing. I’m not so sure. Who’s right?
A. For the purposes of harmony in your home, you are both right. Your wife is correct in that she has the ability to defer taxes on your retirement-plan assets through, for example, a spousal rollover IRA. You are also right, in that whenever your wife makes a withdrawal from the spousal rollover, she will pay income tax on the amount.
Q. I plan to leave my 401(k) to my children after my lifetime. How much will they pay in taxes?
A. It depends. Because this type of inheritance is treated as ordinary income, the taxes your children owe will depend on the marginal tax rate in which they fall. One of the downsides of leaving a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan asset to your children is that they may likely receive it during their peak wage-earning years—when they will lose the greatest percentage to taxes. If they don’t want it all in a lump sum, they can, in most cases, stretch out their distributions (and hence some taxation) over their lifetimes, beginning the year after your passing.
Q. I would like to make a charitable donation from an IRA. What’s the first step?
A. You can designate a beneficiary, such as Hindu Heritage Endowment, to receive a percentage of your IRA assets. The full value of the funds given to us will then go to support our mission (income taxes will not erode their value). To make your gift, you simply need to complete a beneficiary designation form naming Hindu Heritage Endowment as beneficiary and specifying the percentage to go to it. This designation is completely revocable during your lifetime. Your estate will receive an estate tax charitable deduction for the HHE share.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the HHE website at HHEonline.org.
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our March Temple Builders in 16 Countries
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 596,275.77.
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 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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