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In the third week of November Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami and I departed for our yearly trip to Singapore and Malaysia, where we held half-day seminars. Shanmuganathaswami presented material on the twenty-seven nakshatras. My presentation was on the basics of the Vedic-Agamic Cosmology Chart that Gurudeva created, the nature of vasanas, the thirty-six tattvas and the keynote "What Is the Aim of Our Hindu Practices?" In Singapore a satsang was held, including a padapuja and a talk. In Malaysia an Aloha Dinner allowed members and advanced students to all come together with us informally. After a few inspiring short talks and an Iraivan Temple update video, the youth showed a video they had created for the dinner. Eight young adults took their Vidyashishya pledge during the event. Courtesy visits were paid to the Divine Life Society at Batu Caves and Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam in Bukit Rotan. General contributions for November totaled $82,540, which exceeded 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!
Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule. Bookmark the link and return for updates.
From the Home of Iraivan Temple
Bodhinatha shares recent news about Iraivan Temple at the Aloha Dinner in Malaysia
One of the super durable carbide-tipped chisels that have greatly enhanced the intricate carving work on the Nandi Mandapam
Top to bottom: Bodhinatha's seminar in Malaysia; the Dalai Lama joins India's Hindu elite to open the World Hindu Congress in New Delhi; our sadhakas worship Gurudeva's holy sandals at the monthly Chitra Puja; Selvanathan Sthapati makes drawings for the Iraivan Temple perimeter wall; the veggie garden team pauses for a portrait; in the woodshop, creating the parts for the Media Studio mango wood wainscotting; Sadasivanathaswami and Yoginathaswami stand with Jayendrapuri Swami and his students at Kailash Ashram in Bengaluru; inside the Media Studio after the installation of the mango wood wainscoting on the north wall.
Iraivan Temple Progress
One of the primary tasks included in Sadasivanathaswami's and Yoginathaswami's journey to India was to visit the Iraivan Temple carving site. While in Bengaluru, they met with Jiva Rajasankara, our project manager, Selvanathan, our master builder, and the silpis. Several hours were spent reviewing and discussing current projects, which include our perimeter wall (the most time-consuming part of the temple yet to be completed), the Hanuman base and smaller works. Details were discussed about the panels that will display the history of the temple, quotes from Gurudeva and verses from scriptures. Here on Kauai the rains stopped and the landscaping project proceeded in the final three weeks of November. More boulders were brought in from the quarry and many that were delivered in previous months were moved to locations specified by our landscape architect. An elevated area was created on the West side of the temple.
Bodhinatha travelled to Singapore and Malaysia, along with Shanmuganathswami, for the annual visit to be with Saiva Siddhanta Church members, students and devotees. He gave seminars in both countries, gave initiations to devotees and presided over the Malaysian book release of the History of Hindu India. Here on Kauai he continued to prepare a commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras based on Gurudeva's teachings. Two examples of this ongoing project can be seen and heard on the web: "Patanjali—Overcoming Obstacles with Concentration and Friendliness" and "God, Ishvara, in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras." (Search "Patanjali" on our website to see them.)
Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Yoginathaswami spent most of November in India. Their agenda was packed with meetings regarding future publication collaborations and visits to swamis with whom we have worked closely for many years. They visited the Siddhaganga Mutt, a 1,200-year-old monastery that today is a strong educational institution with 10,000 students and several colleges and technical schools. Our swamis personally presented the Hindu Renaissance Award to the head of the monastery, 107-year-old Siddhaganga Swami, Hinduism Today's 2013 Hindu of the Year. Also while in India, they took a ritual dip in the icy-cold Ganga River on behalf of all of Gurudeva's and Bodhinatha's devotees. Our swamis had been invited to participate in the Hindu Media Conference, one of seven parallel conferences held during the World Hindu Congress in New Delhi. On November 21 Sadasivanathaswami was given the privilege of giving the opening speech at the Media Conference. It was a 15-minute talk accompanied by a visually lavish presentation on the evolution of the US media's attitudes about Hinduism and yoga in the West in the last century. The room was filled with the best and brightest of Hindu journalists, newspaper owners, entertainment and film producers and directors, bloggers and more. Our swamis reported that the World Hindu Congress 2014 proved to be an amazing, perhaps historic, gathering, replete with calls for cooperation, good will and optimism for Hinduism's future.
Publications and Other activities
The January/February/March 2015 issue of Hinduism Today was sent off to the press and is now online. Arumuganathaswami engineered the production of a technical paper about teaching Indian history in America, which will be useful at the upcoming meeting of the Instructional Quality Commission, the next phase of the school textbook revision process, which will take place in mid-December in California. The script for a video of part two of "A History of Hindu India: 300 to 1100 ce" was completed. Production of the video is scheduled to start in December in Mumbai. The History of Hindu India (Part One) video has had over 150,000 views on YouTube in just 60 days. The Media Studio renovation, a part-time endeavor for most of the publications team, continued with wainscotting and faux lava rock added to interior walls. Progress has been made on the surrounding landscaping which replicates a rocky desert garden, complete with cacti, cycads, agave and other exotic arid specimens. Several karma yogis flew to Kauai to help the monastery with a wide range of tasks: Vel Mahalingum and Sivarathna Manick from Mauritius, Roshan Sivayogam from Malaysia, Adi Srikantha from Seattle and Dasan Mahadevan from San Diego. Thanks to them all! One significant project they completed is the double-digging soil preparation of our newest raised garden beds, which are important for the aadheenam's self-sufficiency.
Iraivan Temple's Five Bronze Murtis Have Arrived
Sadasiva: (above) The five Deities ready for installation in Iraivan temple, left to right: Tatpurusha, Sadyojata, Isana, Vamadeva and Aghora;
Most Saivites understand that Siva has five powers: creation, preservation, dissolution and the dual graces, concealing and revealing. Those who read our philosophically rich July, 2012, insight section, "Five Powers of Siva, Sadasiva in the Agama Scriptures," will have encountered the profundity of this understanding of God (bit.ly/Panchasiva). In Iraivan Temple, these five powers are enshrined as five forms of Siva in bronze, two-foot-tall statues installed in niches around the outside of the central sanctum: Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana.
Sadyojata, "quickly birthing" is Brahma, element earth, color white and denoted by Na in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya. Vamadeva, "pleasing," is Vishnu, element water, color saffron and letter Ma. Aghora, "non-terrifying," is Rudra, element fire, color blue-black and letter Si. Tatpurusha, "supreme soul," is Maheshvara, element air, color gold and letter Va. Ishana, "ruler," is Sadasiva, element akasha, color crystal and letter Ya.
Location of the Deities around Iraivan's main sanctum:
These bronzes were commissioned from Ganapati Sthapati's Mahabalipuram worksite and took several years to complete under his careful direction. They finally arrived on Kauai in November, 2014, right at the conclusion of the Mahasamadhi observances for Gurudeva. Presently in storage, they will be installed during the Kumbhabhishekam of Iraivan Temple.
A closeup of the the back of one sculpture,
showing the exquisite detail
They are invoked through the Panchabrahma Mantra, the five famed verses found in the Krishna Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.17-21, each directed at one of the forms of Siva.
The fifth is to Sadyojata: "I submit my mind, speech and body totally and repeatedly to Lord Sadyojata, who manifests Himself and who instantaneously creates bodies and worlds, who has a retinue of Deities formed of millions of mantras. May He make my form as of His own form."
Digital Dharma Endowment Helps Sustain Monastery Websites
With so much misinformation, even disinformation, on Hinduism abounding, it is deeply important to have accurate online resources on Hinduism—as many as possible," explains Gayatri Rajan of California, a regular visitor to the monastery websites.
It is well known there is an over abundance of wide-ranging topics on the Internet, including Hinduism, but much of the information is disorganized, and it lacks depth and authenticity.
The Digital Dharma Endowment was created for the Kauai's Hindu Monastery websites to provide a source of funding to support an up-to-date and accurate arena for the online dissemination of well-documented resources on Hinduism. Such a repository helps guide contemporary Hinduism around the world, empowers institutions following the Hindu tradition, and clarifies Hinduism to lay people, academics, journalists and politicians.
Gaurav Malhotra of Chicago shares, "We can't think of a richer, more accurate resource to enhance and expand knowledge and understanding of our religion. Being parents of a young child, we find this extremely important to us."
Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, editor of Hinduism Today, explains, "We are reaching out each year for donations that will help support the website, and we follow the Wikipedia model for fund raising. Our first four annual drives brought in a total of $230,715. Our drive that runs from December 2014 through January 2015 will fund projects in 2015 and a portion will help cover the costs of renovating the Media Studio—the monastery offices where our publications, videos and websites are produced."
This program, called the Digital Dharma Drive, gives 10 percent of its donations received each year to the Digital Dharma Endowment (fund #85), which currently has a principal of $29,443 and currently grants $830 per year to fund the monastery's digital initiatives. The fund was co-created by A.D. and K.D. Williams of Costa Mesa, California, who shared, "We realized the funding of the Digital Dharma Endowment is the equivalent of sustaining the online electronic keys that unlock the portal of freedom, namely from samsara." Contributions to this and all HHE endowments are managed by Halbert Hargrove, the eminent investment firm in Long Beach, California.
The principal goal of the endowment is to keep free web resources online, develop and share new assets on the ever-growing number of platforms, enhance and update our websites, and to continue providing this treasure of human knowledge without charging fees or cluttering the site with distracting advertising.
The monastery's website advocates, promotes and perpetuates the Hindu heritage and the vision of its founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), affectionately known as Gurudeva. By being well-funded, the endowment can provide a steady income for generations to come. According to Gurudeva's vision, endowments also provide the means to contribute to the overall financial stability of an organization, thus protecting the future of Hinduism on the Earth.
All donations to the endowment are tax deductible, and while tax deductibility may provide a business impetus to contribute, the more compelling reason to give is that the website provides information on Hinduism which is complete, accessible and articulated without bias.
This sentiment was shared by Nandikesh Chandrashekharan of Oregon: "This website explains Hinduism the way I need to see it—direct, authoritative and full of love."
The monks describe the Digital Dharma Drive and its endowment as a game-changing boon. "For years we struggled," confides Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, "as many publication-oriented teams have lately, with how to keep the website growing and improving while continuing to hold to our ideal of giving everything we produce for free online. Wikipedia gave us the fund-raising model, and now we have the funds, for the first time, to bring outside expertise into our plans and designs. It has been amazingly empowering for us."
For information on establishing a fund at the Hindu Heritage Endowment, contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012 x 244 or email email@example.com
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our December Temple Builders in 15 Countries
SUMMARY: For the two months of October to November, our minimum monthly goal was $130,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $162,344.77.
Your support is deeply appreciated!
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