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The first week of July, Sannyasin Shanmuganathaswami and I returned to the USA from London and first visited Raleigh, North Carolina, for two evening satsangs and a temple visit. We continued on to Maryland to participate in the Murugan Temple of North America’s ceremonious installation of the Rajagopuram. The event lasted four days and engaged twenty-six priests. The final event was powerful, with thousands of devotees enjoying the most auspicious moment. Then off to Pittsburgh, PA, where we held a satsang in a home. Shortly after returning to the Aadheenam, the annual Satguru Purnima festival was held. It began at 6am with the traditional chariot parade up the San Marga path to the Swayambhu Lingam. Next there was a pada puja to me accompanied by homa and Sri Rudram chanting. The Swaymbhu Lingam is the place God Siva was sitting in Gurudeva’s 1975 vision of Him. It is always uplifting to have a ceremony here, as the connection to the inner worlds is quite strong, particularly at sunrise and sunset. Sixteen ladies held a retreat at Guru Purnima time and special classes were given to them. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued generous support. General contributions for July totaled $87,211 which is more than our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $3,549. Aum Namasivaya!
Click here to see Bodhinatha's extended travel schedule. Bookmark the link and return for updates.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, bedecked with Hawaiian leis, blesses devotees following the dawn padapuja on Guru Purnima day.
A visiting photographer captures a unique image of Lord Shanmuga beneath the banyan tree, showing the green color of tiny moss growing on the black granite statue.
Top to bottom: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is pulled down San Marga in a new chariot during Guru Purnima celebrations; participants of the Ladies’ Retreat pose with Satguru; a hundred bhaktars performed a two-day Sahasrara Lingarchana on July 2 in the Banyan Mandapam; Dayanatha guides the unloading of the massive stone from India that will be part of the Temple Builders’ Memorial; in Bengaluru a silpi puts the final touches on one of the 45 perimeter wall stones; the Rajamanickam family from Florida visits the Pillaiyar Kulam; Kodiswara at work on Mini Mela items; Divyesh confronts a ripe noni fruit in the field.
Iraivan Temple Report
The big news this month is the arrival of four shipping containers of Iraivan stones from India. This recent shipment includes many of the stones for the four-foot-high wall that encircles the temple, as well as a few stone bases for the satguru statues and a large stone for the Temple Builders’ Memorial. Two of the 45 elegant, polished red granite pots that will sit atop the wall also arrived. In Bengaluru much progress is being made on the remaining pieces that make up the perimeter wall.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's Activities
Satguru was honored with an outpouring of love and appreciation by all the monks and devotees who gathered for padapuja on Guru Purnima day. A brand new chariot had been constructed. Though people power did most of the work, it was attached to an electric powered vehicle. On this day the eight sadhakas renewed their monastic vows for another two years in Satguru’s presence. Sadhaka Dayanatha was given the yellow natyam sash and special blessings in recognition that he has qualified himself as a candidate to become a yogi tapasvin in a few years time. A few days before this event, Satguru gave mantra diksha to Suselah Periasamy of Singapore and Toshadevi Nataraj from Saint Lucia. With their new daily sadhana of chanting the Panchakshara (Namasivaya) mantra, they look forward to exploring their innate divinity for themselves by themselves.
The monastery was honored to have Swami Ramana A nine-day Ladies’ Retreat, attended by 16 devotees from five nations, was held at Guru Purnima time. Every morning they came to the monastery for puja and classes with Satguru and the swamis. Also in July the monastery was honored to have a most sincere, disciplined group of nearly 100 Satya Sai Baba devotees visit to perform Sahasra Lingarchana. Siva-Shakti was invoked into 1,116 handmade clay Sivalingams through Vedic mantras and worshiped with great devotion—all to seek Siva’s blessings for health, wealth, prosperity, bliss and ultimate mukti. On July 30 the monastery hosted talented Odissi dancer Colleena Shakti and her troupe who performed for an impromptu gathering of one hundred temple devotees. On July 17th Shreya, 16, and her 11-year-old sister Akshaya from Arizona fulfilled a dream of dancing for Lord Ganesha and Lord Siva Nataraja in the Kadavul Temple mandapam. The sisters danced their hearts out, amazing temple visitors with their grace and discipline.
Publications and Other Happenings
The long-awaited Tamil-language version of Gurudeva’s Dancing with Siva (renamed Sivaperumanudan Oru Thirunadanam) has been published by Kannadhasan Pathippagam in Chennai. It can be ordered online from the publisher for Rs450 here: bit.ly/TamilDWS. Within India the shipping is free. International orders are sent by courier. Editorial work on the October/November/December issue of Hinduism Today magazine was completed and the files sent off to our printer. The Gurudeva App, celebrating Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s life in photos, quotes and audio can now be downloaded for free at Google Play and the iTunes store. At our Himalayan Acres farm, the monks hosted the board members of Hawaii’s sixteen Soil and Water Conservation Districts who had come to Kauai for their annual meeting. They were interested in seeing the monastery’s impressive planting of Acacia Koa trees that have been bred to resist a virus that has decimated the native Koa population.
Top to bottom: Satguru Bodhinatha presides as our eight postulants renew their two-year vows of purity, humility, obedience and confidence, and Sadhana Dayanatha takes the pledge of the postulant natyam; embers of the Siddhidata Kulam, assisted by our two task force brahmacharis, plant a new grove of papaya trees.
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
Accept the World, Take Responsibility - July 28, 2016
Awareness, Meditation, Work - July 21, 2016
Temples, Monasteries, Peace - June 22, 2016
Bondage: Anava, Karma, Maya - June 6, 2016
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)
California Adopts Historic History-Social Science Framework
The last pleas: (top to bottom) A Hindu student testifies before the board; speakers line up for their one minute at the podium (nearly 400 testified over four hours); Hindu Education Foundation youth demonstrate outside the Department of Education building; a post-meeting and late lunch for Hindu leaders.
An eight-year process to revise how history is taught in California schools came to a close on July 14, 2016, with a meeting of the state’s Board of Education (attended by Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Natyam Jayanatha) approving a greatly expanded “Framework for History-Social Science” for grades K-12. Now 1,000 pages long, this document outlines the curriculum grade by grade. Of critical interest to Hindus has been the material presented in 6th grade, covering ancient times to 300ce, and 7th grade, covering 300ce to about 1750, eras in which India held 25 percent of the world’s population and was rivaled only by China as the most advanced region of the world. The revision process began in 2008, then was suspended for budgetary reasons a year later. The Hindu community of California took a strong interest in the process when it resumed in 2014, partly as a result of presentations to Hindu organizations such as the Chinmaya Mission and BAPS Swaminarayan by Hinduism Today’s editors. The final document reflects thousands of pages of input and personal testimony from the Hindu community—including nearly a hundred children. The result is a massive improvement—with major exceptions—to how India and Hinduism is taught.
When the process resumed in 2014, there were just 994 words on India and Hinduism in the Framework’s 6th grade section and almost nothing in the 7th grade. Now the 6th grade section has 2,118 words, with inclusion of a comprehensive explanation of Hindu philosophy (including “a profound acceptance of religious diversity”), practices (e.g. festivals and pilgrimages), Gods (with, for the first time, a capital “G”) and the Ramayana. Suggestions to include India in 7th grade classrooms were accepted, and a new 1,366 word section was created covering the Gupta and Chola empires, the Bhakti Movement, art, dance, music and the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism outside India. Improvements were made to the sections on Buddhism and Jainism; and the origins and teachings of Sikhism were added.
Unfortunately, the newly adopted narrative contains a negative and inaccurate 400-word section on caste. Even though social structure is supposed to be discussed for each religion, only Hinduism is singled out for condemnation. There is no mention, for example, in the Framework’s extensive coverage of Christianity and Islam of the practice and theological justification of slavery by those religions.
Hinduism had also been singled out for being patriarchal, despite every other society of the time being equally or more so. To give students a more balanced view of this subject across religions, Hindus proposed and the Board added entries describing patriarchy in Christianity and Judaism.
The “Aryan Invasion” theory in its current form of a “migration,” is still present, but in muted form. The word Aryan and the related term Brahmanism are not used at all, and there is no mention of outsiders imposing a caste system.
As a result of these changes, the revised California textbooks should contain more extensive and accurate descriptions of Hinduism and its actual practice. Unfortunately they will likely retain an unfair and Orientalist presentation of caste. It now falls upon Hindu organizations, parents and youth to ameliorate this by: 1) seeing that the most balanced textbooks are adopted; 2) organizing teacher-training sessions; 3) providing supplemental material for classrooms; 4) making in-person presentations to classes and 5) preparing their children for what they will face in classes.
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our July Temple Builders in 16 Countries
Eleven Month Summary:
For the eleven months of September to July, our minimum monthly goal was $715,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special expenses, we received actual contributions of $742,597.27.
Your support is deeply appreciated!
Donate To Iraivan, Become a Temple Builder Today!
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Why You Need to Understand Revocable Living Trusts
Hindu Heritage Endowment (HHE) wants you to have a good estate plan to protect yourself and your family. It can also help you make a lasting difference to worthy causes like the Iraivan Temple.
“Dying intestate” is the ugly legal phrase used to describe an adult passing away with no estate plan, a condition that sets up family and friends for confusion, dissension, delay and conflict at a time of great stress. Many adults die intestate. According to a recent survey by legal publishers LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 58% of American adults don’t have a will, much less a complete estate plan.
HHE encourages all families to have complete estate plans. Nowadays, that means having a will, a revocable living trust, power of attorney for property management and an advance health care directive.
At death, a will becomes a set of legally binding instructions that govern the distribution of your assets. Some people mistakenly think that a will avoids probate. On the contrary, a will is a ticket to probate court; but probate has the advantage of making sure your assets get distributed as your will directs. It has the disadvantage of being expensive, time-consuming and public. So, are you doing yourself and your heirs a disservice if all you have is a will?
A revocable living trust does avoid probate, but what exactly is it? Think of a revocable living trust as a mini-corporation that holds title to your most important possessions: your home, your investment portfolio and your cash reserves. Though you still have complete control over these possessions, you no longer hold them in your name. They are held by your revocable living trust. And just as a corporation does not go through probate when the CEO dies, your living trust avoids probate at your death. Your successor trustee simply steps in and follows the rules and instructions of the trust.
Living trusts are useful during life as well. If, for example, you become unable to manage your real estate or finances through illness or accident, your successor trustee can take charge. There’s no costly and embarrassing public conservatorship hearing.
Revocable living trusts do have some disadvantages. They are more detailed than most wills, and so the cost of writing them is usually more than a will. Also, you must remember to transfer assets to your trust. If you do not, your living trust will remain an elaborate but empty shell, like a safe deposit box with nothing in it.
A living trust needs to be managed and its assets distributed according to its terms. Your successor trustee is supposed to take care of these important and sometimes complex tasks promptly, so choose your trustee with care.
A well-managed living trust is a solace to your family and a boon to good causes. Naming the Iraivan Temple Endowment as a beneficiary of a living trust for a percentage of your estate, a specific amount, or a specific property can usually result in a timely distribution at minimum cost. You can use your living trust to create a future endowment fund at the Temple in your name or the name of a loved one. Like the gardens that surround the Temple, your living trust will produce blossoms for a thousand years in the form of harvested income from your fund’s principal.
Visit the HHE website at HHEonline.org.
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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