On our second day of the Digital Dharma Drive, we bring to you our statement on how the funds we raised last year are being used, and what are plans are for this year’s contributions.
How Your 2010 Donations Were Used
Ebooks: We hired a firm in Chennai to convert many of our renowned publications on contemporary Hinduism to PDF, ePub (for iPad, iPhone, Nook and other devices) and Amazon Kindle formats. Gurudeva’s entire trilogy (over 3,000 pages), our children’s story books, Gurudeva’s Toolbox for a Spiritual Life, our history lessons, Gurudeva’s Spiritual Visions, Hinduism Today magazine issues for the year and, importantly, our newest spiritual biography The Guru Chronicles—all these will soon be available for free on our website and for sale through the Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle Store.
Digital Dharma Library: Knowing that our current website doesn’t make finding our resources as easy and transparent as it should, we embarked upon a complete overhaul. First, a programmer in Brazil was hired to construct a database to hold all of our resources and write web applications that will facilitate organization and access. Second, one of the world’s best professional web design firms, Happy Cog, was contracted to craft a modern, more functional interface to the site that visitors will navigate easily through, accessing our thousands of resources: art, books, literature, audio and video files, and more. The aesthetic design and web page templates are complete. We are currently working hard to move all of the content into the new database and page templates, and by January we plan to go live with the new site. Here is a sample page from the newly redesigned website:
Social site: Another firm was hired to help us implement a private social networking site to connect our Saiva Siddhanta Church members and Himalayan Academy students around the world.
Hinduism Today: A web contractor was hired to update the website of our international magazine with each quarter’s new edition.
Miscellany: Funds were also used to purchase software and fonts that will be used on the new website, iPads for developing delivery systems to mobile units, domain registration fees, etc.
Our Plans for This Year’s Contributions
Ebooks: There are many more books to convert to PDF, ePub and Kindle formats to make them available for use on today’s variety of digital readers. By the end of 2012, we hope to have all our publications, big and small, available as ebooks.
Mobile Apps: 2012 is planned to be our Year of the App. We have waited long to embark on this important initiative, and with the main goals behind us, the way seems clear. Apps that bring our publications to life, apps that teach, apps that inspire and guide children. It’s a whole new world for us to plan for and design.
Mobile Website: Our new site is beautiful and functional, but what if you are trying to access it on your iPhone or Android phone? We hope to hire our web design firm to make the necessary enhancements behind the scenes to make the site fully functional and easy to use on devices with small screens.
Hinduism Today Website: The online presence of our international magazine was recently redesigned, but it’s still not perfect. We hope to hire a web designer to make needed adjustments.
Web Programming: As with any large web architecture project, especially for a site offering as many thousands of resources as ours, there will be ongoing maintenance and programming of new tools and features to keep the site up to date and functional for users. For this, we will need to continue to hire our Brazil-based programmer.
Members’ social site: Continued development of features to bring students and families together from far corners of the world.
Religion needs to be of the present. Mankind is evolving spiritually; mass consciousness is rising. When we go to the temple, in the right spirit, contributing devotion and prana, being open to the blessings of the Deity; it purifies the mind. The Hindu religion focuses on the mind; purifies it; controls it, subdues the ego, makes us more humble.