In June Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami and I attended the 6-day consecration ceremonies for the newly built Hindu Temple of Greater Fort Worth. In my talk I stressed the importance of Hindu temples lies in the fact that they perpetuate Hindu culture and gave a number of practical examples, such as how in following temple protocols the children learn about showing respect and the sacredness of certain objects. One of the priests, Dr. Udaya Bhaskar Deekshit Parasaram of the Redmond, Washington, temple, gave excellent explanations of what was happening during the ceremony, emphasizing that before installation the statue was just an idol but afterwards it had been transformed into a sacred murti and could no longer be referred to as an idol or statue. At the Kauai monastery, the Murugan festival of Vaikasi Visakam was celebrated, during which sannyas diksha was given. Our new sannyasin’s name is Kaivalyanathaswami. General contributions for June totaled $39,260.45, which is less than our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $208. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya!
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Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and the participants of the 2014 Mauritius Innersearch Travel-Study Program
A jigsaw puzzle featuring our beloved Gurudeva
Top to bottom: A local Sivacharyar performs arati to Lord Pancha Mukha Ganapati during the 2014 Innersearch; a grand homa at the Goodlands Temple in Mauritius; Basanti Mardemootoo of Mauritius during her Vidyasishya pledge ceremony in Kadavul Temple; Jiva Rajasankara displays the completed murti of Gurudeva prior to crating; the Ganapati Kulam enjoy their first daily meeting in the Media Studio since the start of the renovation; equipment operator Pradeep Chand takes advantage of the dry weather to do some clearing around Iraivan Temple grounds; our nine sadhakas pose for a photo with Bodhinatha after voicing their two-year vows.
Bodhinatha and six monks spent the first two weeks of July immersed in Innersearch Mauritius 2014. It was a time of intense classes combined with religious rituals. The daily classes were held at our scenic Spiritual Park on the east coast of the island nation. Pandit Narendra Ragoonanan from Trinidad did the inaugural puja to the eight-foot-tall Pancha Mukha Ganapati who presides over the park. For his first class, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami focused on guru bhakti. At one point he passed the microphone to innersearch participant Swami Parameshananda, who expressed the message “Let go of life’s burdens and allow God to enter your life!” Bodhinatha summarized the goal of his seminars during his opening remarks: “Hinduism is a path to higher consciousness. It is focused on our state of mind right now, what we are experiencing in the present moment, not on what happens after we die, not on some future event, not on tomorrow or later today. It is focused on living in as high a state of consciousness as possible in this moment, a state of consciousness free from negative emotions such as jealousy, anger and fear.” All of his classes were full of practical advice for achieving that state of mind in one’s own life. During the program, Bodhinatha and students participated in the installation of a Murugan murti at the Somnath temple and goshala near Ganga Talao lake, also known as Grand Bassin. They later paid a visit to His Excellency Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag, the president of Mauritius, at the Chateau de Reduit State House. Towards the end of the program, Sishyas Egambrum and Logavalli Sinsamy as well as Nuckiren Pyeneeandee received mantra diksha while Mrunal and Padmaja Patel received vishesha diksha. Tiviapragassen and Saroja Maureemootoo took arulsishya vows and several youth took their vidyasishya pledge. Back on Kauai, Basanti Mardemootoo of Mauritius signed her vidyasishya pledge in Bodhinatha’s presence, promising to follow the yamas and niyamas and perform a ten-minute vigil every morning.
Iraivan Temple Progress
In Bengaluru, the final stones for the Nandi Mandapam were loaded in shipping containers and are now on their way to Kauai. Only the smaller yeshtis of the front steps of the temple are left to complete. The primary focus of the stone carvers is the perimeter wall. On Kauai, heavy equipment was used to remove underbrush and prepare the ground for landscaping along the entry path to the temple. Bronze artisan Holly Young made good progress on the silpi stone carver memorial. She has completed wax models, almost life size, of two silpis cutting big blocks of stone using nothing but hammers and chisels. These forms now go to the metal foundry in Colorado for casting in bronze. Many thanks to all the generous donors who have helped meet our monthly fundraising goals this year. It is because of you that a magnificent place of religious pilgrimage, for this generation, the next and the next is steadily manifesting on this island paradise.
Welcome to Our New Sadhaka
The monastery’s eight sadhakas, monks in white robes, renewed their two-year vows following the elaborate monthly Ardra abhishekam of the Nataraja Deity of Kadavul Temple. At the same time, Sivanadiyar Girish Samugam, son of a family of Gurudeva’s devotees in Singapore, took the four sacred monastic vows of Humility, Purity, Obedience and Confidence for the first time. Bodhinatha blessed him with new robes, sandalwood beads and a new name—Sadhaka Dayanatha. With all of our love and blessings we welcome Sadhaka Dayanatha as the newest monk of the Kailasa Parampara.
Publications and Other Activities
The monks of the Ganapati Kulam spent the latter part of July pulling together the articles for the October/November/December issue of Hinduism Today. At the same time they made steady progress on the renovation of their Media Studio office space. The Siddhidata Kulam, our landscape and gardening group of monks, took delivery of four new Polaris Ranger electric utility vehicles, replacing an aging fleet of gas-and deisel-powered counterparts, to facilitate maintenance of the monastery grounds and buildings. July was a busy time for visitors, bringing Siva in many of His forms to the monastery. Among them were bharata natyam instructors Anusha Tharmarajah from Sydney, Australia, and Sudha Krishnan from San Ramon, California. While here Sudha was able to fulfill her dream of dancing for Lord Nataraja inside Kadavul Temple.
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:
Click here for a complete index of both Bodhinatha's and Gurudeva's talks on line
Bodhinatha Speaks at Goodlands Temple (July 4, 2014)
Mauritius Innersearch Class 2014-07-04 (July 4, 2014)
Mauritius Innersearch Class 2014-07-03 (July 3, 2014)
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)
Left: Visitors enjoy the grounds on a weekly tour day..
With over 19,000 hits on YouTube after just a few weeks posted, The History of Hindu India, part one , is off to a quick start. Its inaugural showing at the June 28 “Meet the Publisher and Editors” event in Mauritius was a great success. One young lady in the audience said afterwards, “Wow! I have to tell you this is the first time I have ever seen my religion presented in a way that touched me so deeply. Tonight I feel proud to be a Hindu!” Other comments we have received are “Incredibly well done” from Mihir Meghani; “Great work! Kudos to the Kauai Hindu Monastery!” from R. Unnikrishnan; and “Great job, this will help dispel many misgivings in the mainstream communities and school boards,” from Akkaraju Sarma.
We did learn in the process that while you can watch a movie on YouTube, it is rather difficult to download, even if the publisher allows it—requiring a program that basically hacks the YouTube restrictions. Consequently, we set up a “landing page” for the movie: http://www.himalayanacademy.com/readlearn/hindu-history , or bit.ly/history-hindu-india . This solved the download issue and made it easy to find all the six subtitled versions: Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, French, Indonesian and English, each available in 1080p, 720p and 480p resolution. We would advise, however, that the subtitles—particularly for Tamil and Hindi—are difficult to read in 480p. So it is not practical to view the subtitled version on your smartphone.
YouTube Links to The Hindu History of India Video
Note: Narration is in English in all versions
The History of Hindu India, Part One (without subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (Bahasa Indonesia subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (English subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (French subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (Hindi subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (Spanish subtitles)
The History of Hindu India, Part One (Tamil subtitles)
Our feature story for October, 2014, explores the little-known story of one million Hindus living on Java, Indonesia’s main island. They trace their origins back to Hindu kingdoms that ruled the island up to the 15th century. Now long separated from India, and even from the Hindus of Bali, they have yet managed to maintain their unique heritage.
Our Insight Section this issue is “Humanity’s Diverse Faiths: a presentation of religious beliefs, goals, paths of attainment and ideological comparisons” for the world’s major religions. In his Publisher’s Desk, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, explains how Hindu principles can help develop the refined character needed to move from the lower consciousness of anger and fear to the lofty states of mind which are our soul’s birthright.
The issue has a rich collection of smaller stories, beginning with the unusual photography project of Manjari Sharma. By divine inspiration, she is motivated to professionally dress up human models in the image of the Gods—Hanuman, Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati—each in an appropriate setting. Shiva, for example, is dancing in a ring of fire; Hanuman landing with Dronagiri Mountain held aloft in His left hand. The gallery-circuit results do indeed bring the Deities to life.
Next is a seven-page review by Koenraad Elst of the recently released Encyclopedia of Hinduism. With his keen insight, expertise, humor and a dash of attitude, the Belgium scholar ultimately pronounces the 25-year effort a success.
“Thirteen Days of Mourning and Release” by Kathmandu-based Sally Acharya and photographer Thomas Kelly is a poignant and educational look into the rituals of death followed at a mourning site at Pashupatinath temple. Two youth articles round out the issue. The first covers the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha youth convention of 2013, which had nearly 10,000 participants. The second explores the programs and challenges of the nascent Hindu Students Association.
Each year the Katir family in California creates hundreds of clay Ganeshas for Ganesha Visarjana, with proceeds going to Iraivan temple. They started this in 2005, taking over and expanding upon the work of Satya Palani who for 20 years made clay Ganeshas for the local Church members.
The molds are made from bronze Deities and cast with biodegradable clay in two sizes. It is a slow process, taking two months to make 450 of the small statues. The large ones sell for $10 the small ones are $5. The family organizes creative and fun painting parties for local Hindu children, which are always a big hit. The unpainted Ganeshas are also sold online here , in bulk to temples and through direct personal orders.