On Sunday we had a small contingent of students led by Sarah Hadmack who is a Religious Studies Instructor from Windward Community College and University of Hawaii. Sarah believes coming to Kauai is a wonderful educational opportunity for her students and many more wanted to come.
After giving the group a basic introduction to our Natha Sampradaya we asked if Sivakatirswami could come join us at the Iraivan site and answer some of the more academic questions the students had.
Sivakatirswami has worked extensively with Himalayan Academy students in years past and has a vibrant and very connecting spirit with students. Among much joy and laughter were questons regarding the way in which “yoga” is being taught in studios all over the United States today with all the emphasis on “asana postures” with very little importance being prescribed for the real ancient core practices of yoga and internalized worship.
Other subjects included; the “intellectual misrepresentation” of claims that all religions are one while ignoring the unique differences in core beliefs and goals; how Saiva Siddhantans look at God, the Satguru; and how faith must eventually meet the litmus test of direct experience, and many more. Sivakatirswami came bearing gifts of the new edition of Hinduism Today for all those present and all those left behind in Oahu.
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"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta