On the left, is the priest Venkatachalapathi Samudrala who was trained in Tirupati, and is now serving in Bakersfield, California. He is here on Kauai to perform a wedding and is delighted to come to the Aadheenam with members of the wedding party who are sponsoring his trip.
Venkatachalapathi has the unique distinction of being the first Hindu priest to say a prayer in the US Congress, in September, 2000. At that time he was serving in the Shiva-Vishnu temple in Parma Ohio. He opened a session of the U.S. House of Representatives with a prayer. Representative Sherrod Brown, (D- OH) had invited Mr. Samudrala as a guest chaplain.
Venkatachalapathi has been a long time reader of Hinduism Today magazine which he says is a great inspiration for him, and the felt it was God’s grace that brought him today to visit the Aadheenam and see Iraivan temple
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Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.