At the beginning of August, Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami and I traveled to Maryland for the annual Ilankai Nallur and Kathirkamam Kanthan Festival at the Murugan Temple in Lanham. During this festival, a large chariot carrying an utsava murti is pulled around the temple by the men while many of the devotees, including children and youth, performed a traditional kavadi dance. I gave a short talk on “Temple as the Source of Culture.” The talk begins by mentioning, “For some twenty-five years, from about 1975 to 2001, my guru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was instrumental in helping temples get established. Gurudeva guided 37 temples in the United States, Canada, Guadeloupe, Denmark, England, Fiji, Germany, Mauritius, New Zealand, Reunion, Russia, Sweden, and Sri Lanka—giving each community or temple an icon of God, usually Lord Ganesha, and guidance when needed.” Why did Gurudeva devote so much energy to helping establish the temples of organizations with no formal ties to his? He did it because of a strong conviction that it is the temple that perpetuates the culture. General contributions for August totaled $43,526 which is less than our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions for the month totaled an additional $563. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya!
The weekly homa in Kadavul Temple is a profound part of the spiritual cycle of the monastery.
Dawn breaks on Kauai, the Sun’s golden light flooding the pillars of Iraivan Temple as one of the swamis faces East to meditate and to welcome another of Siva’s perfect days.
Top to bottom: Satguru with Sivacharya Kumar Gurukkal, who officiated at the event; parading Murugan around the Maryland Murugan Temple; Gurudeva’s shrine shining brightly during our monthly chitra pada puja; a new ritau flag goes up, hoisted by Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami; the 12-foot-tall Dakshinamurthi sits above one of the sages; Acharya Arumuganathaswami at a stall that distributed the monastery’s noni juice at the Farm Fair; Natyam Mayuranatha tends pizzas in the new wood oven.
Iraivan Temple Progress
Due to the generosity of supporters of the temple project, readers of this newsletter, the yearly fundraising goal for carving and construction was met. Thanks to you all! At the carving site in India, work continues on the temple’s perimeter wall and the 50 large red granite pots which decorate the top of the wall. Because these stones are not part of the main temple structure, the silpi carvers can utilize small electric tools which are greatly speeding up their masterful work. Here on Kauai the landscaping work on the east side of the temple continues, with an emphasis on putting new plants into the newly designed garden spaces. Two members of the Siddhidata Kulam, the monks involved with construction and maintenance, flew to Honolulu in August to purchase a second-hand Genie boom lift. This machine, which can reach a full fifty feet into the air, will be used to access the roof of the new temple to clear away debris, to remove the stain of Bengaluru’s red earth on some areas of the temple pillars and for other hard-to-reach maintenance projects.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami flew to the East Coast on August 3rd to attend the annual festival at the Murugan Temple of North America in the suburbs of our nation’s capitol. Satguru has been attending this festival since 2004. This year a greater number of youth were participating. Many of them were dancing with kavadi on their shoulders. Satguru met with the youth at their morning satsang to introduce our new book Life Skills for Hindu Teens and share news of his recent trip to Sri Lanka. While on the East Coast, Satguru and Shanmuganathaswami also visited Raleigh, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a temple visit and satsang. In Ohio, they visited the home of some long-time devotees. At a small gathering in Chicago, Satguru received Vrata Shishya pledges from Gaurav and Ripla Malhotra and gave Samaya Diksha to Hansa Patel. A keynote presentation called “Hinduism: A Multifaceted Religion” was shown at all of his satsangs. Back home in Hawaii, Satguru created a new YouTube video entitled “Journey to Liberation” (his recent Publisher’s Desk) in which he reminds us that “though moksha may seem remote, there is wisdom in keeping this ultimate goal in mind as we live our day-to-day life.”
Publications and Other Activities
Top to bottom: Raguram Murugesan visits the monastery, helping out in the monastic groups for a week and having darshan with Satguru; longan fruits are abundant this year.
The History of Hindu India videos Part Two and Three, meant for sixth-grade classrooms, are nearing completion. Revision (under Dr. Shiva G. Bajpai’s direction) of the maps which illustrate the kingdoms and dynasties of India’s past was done. The History of Hindu India, Part One video has attracted nearly 600,000 views on YouTube so far. It comes up on the top of the list when searching Hindu or Hinduism key words. The Kindle edition of the German language Merging with Siva (Vershmelzung mit Siva) can now be purchased on Amazon. Other ePub versions of the book can be downloaded (for free) at the Other Languages page of the Read & Learn section of our website. Erleben! We received news that a group in the Czech Republic has translated several editions of Hinduism Today into their language and put them online. Now the Earth’s 11 million Czech speakers have access to the worldwide Hindu community through the magazine. Czech speakers can explore the magazine here: http://www.hinduismtoday.cz/. It’s hurricane season in Hawaii. Our Siddhidata Kulam monks developed a system of hurricane protection for the monastery’s 125 windows. Every year the Kauai County Farm Bureau puts on a farm fair which is the island’s biggest event, and each year the monastery participates in a small way. This year the monks were asked to give the opening blessing for the three-day event. Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Sannyasin Yoginathaswami chanted Sanskrit slokas and read quotes from the Tirukkural about the importance of farming. Our organic Wailua River Noni Juice was on display at the “Kauai Grown” booth, which only carries locally produced products.
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
Bhakti, Devotion, the Key to Meditation - September 6, 2015
Challenges Bring Progress - July 25, 2015
Stay in the Now, Create Your Future - July 17, 2015
Sadhana: Establish Daily Practice - July 10, 2015
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 Mobile App Blasts Off!
For many months now the monks have been working among themselves and with experts to create an Internet mobile application for both iPhone and Android platforms worthy of Hinduism’s flagship magazine. That app is now a reality. And it’s free!
A recent poll claims that 70% of India’s digitally-connected population have only a mobile device, with no computer at home. This app is designed to give our rich resources to them as well as to students in Fiji, housewives in Mauritius, yogis in Rishikesh, seekers in Kuala Lumpur and Indophiles everywhere, providing a mobile-friendly reading experience of the magazine’s one-of-a-kind stories and elegant graphics each quarter.
Click here for the iPhone and iPad versions, and here for Android devices. Once you register, you go to the welcome page which links you to the editions available for download (and to those you have downloaded). As we write, only the July, 2015, issue is available. New issues will be added as they go up on our website (about four weeks before the cover date).
Click “my editions,” then click on the issue and you will open to the cover (at far right) and from there you can page through the magazine, access the clickable table of contents, enlarge any part of a page with your fingers, notate articles, scroll through the pages, not to mention share everything by email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The pages are PDF files, which makes for a bit of a large download, but also superb screen display that is easily readable and allows you to experience the full impact of the magazine’s quality photos. There is also a navigation page (see screen shot above) to take you to our other website resources: Hinduism Today, Hindu Press International, TAKA and YouTube videos, including all of Bodhinatha’s Publisher’s Desks. You will find a short visual tutorial here: http://www.bit.ly/HT-app-intro.
New Issue Features Nepal Quake; London’s Saivite Hindus & More
Hinduism Today’s October/November/December 2015 Issue is now online. Our feature story is on the aftermath of the April 25, 2015, Nepal earthquake, deemed the single largest loss to a nation’s religious and cultural heritage in history. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Nepal for 50 long seconds, devastating homes, temples and monasteries alike. Now reporting months later on the impact, our Kathmandu-based team of photographer Thomas Kelly and reporter Sally Acharya, whose families survived the quake unharmed, provided in-depth coverage of the extent of the damage and the prospects for long-term recovery.
Our second main story is one that has never been told outside of London itself. Our intrepid team of Ramai and Vatshalan Santhirapala conducted myriad interviews, scoured the history of Hinduism in the UK and came up with a fascinating story of how 23 Saivite temples were built in London, almost exclusively by the immigrant Sri Lankan community. See how an ethnic war resulted in new life in England, and how easily you can reach the temples following our London Tube map!
Third: Not often in one’s life do the spiritual heads of major monasteries change, and so this story by Choodie Sivaram provides a rare look into the traditional process by which a new successor is chosen, prepared and initiated. Join us for the ceremonies at Sringeri Math, one of India’s great monastic institutions.
And there’s much more: Satguru Bodhinatha’s advice on keeping the ultimate goal of life, moksha, relevant in our life; the unexpected worldwide success of International Yoga Day; and an illustrated 16-page Educational Insight on astrology.
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 HHE website at HHEonline.org.
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our July Temple Builders in 17 Countries
SUMMARY: For the eleven months of September to July, 2015, our minimum combined goal was $715,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $764,716.11.
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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