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This December was, festival-wise, extra auspicious in that the fifth and final day of Pancha Ganapati (December 25) coincided with Ardra Darshana—the major Nataraja festival of the year. Ardra Darshana is one of two yearly festivals where all the monastics assist in the puja in one capacity or another (the other festival being Mahasivaratri.) One of the features that devotees attending find impressive is the elaborateness of the abhishekam, especially the large amount of milk poured—organic and donated, by the way—and the offering of the water of many coconuts (137 this year), that are passed along a line of monastics up to and out of the sanctum. The vibration created by the lengthy abhishekam to Nataraja was powerful and uplifting to over 150 devotees. For the five-day festival of Pancha Ganapati, a special Ganesha shrine was created in Kadavul Temple for invoking His five shaktis of reconciliation and harmony, abundance, culture and giving and for receiving the many gifts from Aadheenam devotees. General contributions for December totaled $116,741, which is more than our minimum monthly goal of $65,000. Special project contributions totaled an additional $4,483. We are grateful to our global family of temple builders for your continued and generous support. Aum Namasivaya!
Natyam Nandinatha offers the five-tiered lamp to Lord Ganesha during the five-day Pancha Ganapati celebrations in late December.
Iraivan Temple as seen from our quadcopter. Landscaping around the temple is underway.
Top to bottom: Saravananathaswami conducts the pre-dawn homa to commence the annual Ardra Darshanam puja; Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami carries the water pot (blessed during the homa) around the Nandi Mandapam and back to the main sanctum in Kadavul Temple; arati is offered to Gurudeva during the pada puja on Chitra nakshatra; a swami meditates inside Iraivan one morning before dawn; Sadhaka Dayanatha and his parents from Singapore, Dohadeva and Nagavathy, share lunch with Sadasivanathaswami in the Media Studio conference room; monks of the Siddhidatta Kulam use their newest tool, a Genie Boom lift, to clean the 50-foot flagpole; a fresh set of bolsters adorns the simhasanam for the new ritau.
Iraivan Temple Progress
At the carving site in Bengaluru, the carving of the perimeter wall, which surrounds the temple is 45 percent complete. Here on Kauai, Adi Srikantha is helping with the landscaping project. He’s been moving topsoil, building a temporary sprinkler system, putting plants and trees into the ground and more. The sixth in the series of bronzes that memorialize the skills of the stone craftsmen who created Iraivan Temple is now being cast in Loveland, Colorado, by Bobby and Kathy Page. You can see a slideshow of this complex process on our website. Our thanks to everyone for helping in 2015 with financial donations and fundraising projects which are moving the temple project steadily forward!
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's Activities
The five youngest monks attended a class with Satguru in December on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The class is held every two months as they slowly work through each sutra, unfolding its inner depths. This time Bodhinatha commenced a formal comparison of the ancient aphorisms to Gurudeva’s teachings. Satguru has also been sharing this material with initiated members and advanced students in ten countries in a bimonthly webinar. The year-end holiday time brought a record flood of visitors to the monastery. Satguru devoted time every morning to meeting with pilgrims who requested his darshan.
Publications and Other Activities
The monastery held its annual “Digital Dharma” fundraiser during the last two months of 2015. It was a grand success that will allow our web team to make important progress on educational and spiritual resources in the months ahead and to access critical expertise for our projects. This year the digital team created special apps for phone and tablet, one for Hinduism Today magazine and one that accesses Gurudeva photos and quotes. The Hinduism Today site was also redesigned to make it mobile friendly. This is especially important in India, where 70 percent of the population accesses the web from their phones. The digital team also organized access to Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s writings, video and graphic presentations on one web page: http://www.bit.ly/BODHI. The monastery continues to participate in the developing draft narrative process of the state of California’s Instruction Quality Commission for updating the presentation of Hinduism in public school textbooks. During December, partnering with Professor Shiva Bajpai, the Ganapati Kulam submitted a final round of suggested edits to be considered by the Commission. On December 18, dancer Shivani Thakkur, narrator Raj Narayan and director Mainak Dhar spent a full day at the Malibu Hindu Temple filming an educational piece on the basics of Indian dance. This video will be aligned to the US Common Core teaching program as an informative cultural module for teachers presenting India and Hinduism to 11-year-old students. An excellent Bharatanatyam dancer, Shivani explains in the video how a story is told through the medium of dance. Also a ballet dancer, she demonstrates basic differences between ballet and Bharatanatyam. The video, now in post-production, will likely be ready in March. Also in December, we assisted a group of Kauai residents who are planning the creation of a bronze statue of Kauai’s last monarch, Kaumualili, by introducing them to our master bronze artisans in Colorado. Our Siddhidata Kulam spent the latter part of December installing custom-made Empire accordion aluminum shutters on the monastery’s windows for protection from hurricanes. The 1,500 Hawaiian Koa trees that we planted in December of 2014 as part of our forest grant initiative on Himalayan Acres are thriving. Some of the trees are now nine feet tall! Deva Rajan, on task force from California, thoroughly cleaned and refreshed the redwood kiosks near the Svayambhu Lingam that showcase nine masterpiece murals of Gurudeva’s visions of Siva that inspired the creation of Iraivan Temple. Having blackened in the years since he built them, the lovely kiosks now look as good as new! As an added bonus, Deva cleaned and re-oiled the redwood beams and roof planks of Kadavul Temple’s Nandi Mandapam.
Left: Satguru, assisted by Sadhaka Dayanatha, raises the coral colored flag of Moksha Ritau, the period of the year honoring Parasiva, Absolute Reality, beyond time, form and space; a rainbow shower tree in bloom in Siva’s Sacred Garden
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
The Soul's Relationship to God - January 11, 2016
Theism, Monism, Meditation, the Shumif Perspective - December 27, 2015
Resolve, Mitigate, Dissolve Karma - December 20, 2015
Hatha Yoga, Relaxation, Letting Go - November 12, 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)
History of Hindu India Parts Two & Three Now On-Line!
India's real history: (Top to bottom) Part Two covers 300 to 1100 ce; animated timeline; quadcopter shot of Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora; the route of Chinese 7th-century pilgrim Faxian; world population at 1000 ce
Nearly three years in the making, parts two (http://www.bit.ly/history-india-2) and three (http://www. bit.ly/history-india-3) of The History of Hindu India documentaries are complete, both funded by a grant from the Uberoi Foundation. Produced and directed by Sushma Parmar and narrated by Raj Narayan, each covers the political, religious and cultural history of India—Part Two from 300 ce to 1100 ce; and Part Three from 1100 ce to 1850. Part One, which was posted 18 months ago, is on the verge of passing one million hits on YouTube (including all subtitled versions). That makes it by far the most widely viewed video the monastery has ever produced.
Part Two was shot at the famed Kailasanatha Temple of Ellora, which was carved out of a solid rock hillside in the 8th century. (We believe our spectacular quadcopter shots to be the first ever taken at that temple.) It is amazing to note that in 300 ce, one third of the world’s population lived in India, an estimated 75 million people. In this documentary we cover the Gupta period, the Hun invasion, the narratives of two Chinese pilgrims, Faxian and Xuanzang, the Rashtrakutas and other dynasties of the period, including the Cholas, who spread Hinduism as far as Southeast Asia. We also present city and village life, including how each was self-sufficient and self-governing, as were the individual jatis, or clans, of society. The video concludes with an account of the great universities of the time, including Nalanda, and the beginning of the Bhakti Movement, a key element of Hinduism.
Part Three covers the difficult period of Indian history from the tenth-century invasion of Arab Muslims to the beginning of British rule in the 19th century. During this time frame the Muslims destroyed thousands of Hindu temples and made every attempt to convert the population. Unique among ancient societies, however, Hindu India did not convert, in part because of the jati system and in part because of the strong devotion instilled by the Bhakti Movement saints, including Jnaneshvara, Namdev and Kabir. We recount the success of the great Maratha warrior Shivaji, who gained independence from the Mughal rulers of the time. We then discuss the advent of Europeans into India, initially for trade, but later for political domination. A section on the Sikh religion is followed by an introduction to Indian music, including how it differs in concept and execution from Western music.
Pending new funding approval, parts four (1850 to 1947) and five (1947 to the present) will be shot in 2016 to complete the series. At the same time, we are working to create videos of Common Core-oriented classroom exercises for teachers.
Building Fund Donations
Thanks to Our September/October/November Temple Builders in 18 Countries
4-Month Summary: For the four months of September to December, 2015, our minimum monthly goal was $260,000. Excluding contributions directed toward special projects, we received actual contributions of $347,704.46.
Your support is deeply appreciated!
Donate To Iraivan, Become a Temple Builder Today!
Click Here to Donate Now!
Personal checks in certain currencies can be accepted by our bank (Euros, Pounds, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars.)
Ways of Giving that Don’t Tax your Finances
When the Hindu Heritage Endowment staged its first-ever estate planning seminar in August, 2008, in Walnut Creek, California, the fissures in the global economy were beginning to show in higher energy and food prices.
The seminar, however, focused on a strategy that works in good times and bad: protection from taxes, court costs and legal fees through sound estate planning.
With the economic meltdown, Hindu Heritage Endowment is following a similar tack by encouraging ways of giving that allow donors to remain generous while not further taxing their battered finances. Here are some examples.
A 45-year-old marketing executive saw his IRA take a big hit in 2008. Still, he said, “I’m in this for the long run. By including Hindu Heritage Endowment as a beneficiary of my IRA, I know that whatever the Endowment receives will be tax-free. My relatives will have to pay income tax on their share.”
He added that the IRA designation is easy to arrange and has left his current finances unaffected..... [more]
For more information on estate planning and planned giving, visit the Hindu Heritage Endowment website and click on Gift Planning. Or contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012 ext. 6, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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