Monastery Twitter Updates for 2011-02-27

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Sun Two

[Photo: Bodhinatha being greeted at the airport in Malaysia]

Today the Pillaiyar Kulam gave their news. Shanmuganathswami told tales of all the shipping scenarios that go on in his world: many of them quite unusual, such as a shipment of rudraksha beads ending up in one part of the country while a shipment bound for Honolulu arrived at the destination meant for the beads in Atlanta!

The Stewards had their quarterly Hindu Heritage Endowment meeting. To get ready for this Siddhanathaswami did a lot of accounting in advance. Also the books and summaries for 2010 finances are closed and one amazing fact surfaced.

Who do you think was the second largest contributor to Iraivan Building fund in 2010?

The Wailua Mission! They clean and string the Rudraksha beads from our own forest, and the sales were abundant in the MiniMela. The entire proceeds to to Iraivan. Amazing! More on this later.

Yamas and Niyamas Card Games and Books

During the last innersearch we had classes with Aarti and Mayuresh on the Yamas and Niyamas. Sivakatirswami asked Aarti and Mayuresh to help design some games. We started with “memory cards”.

There are 40 cards, 20 for the Yamas and 20 for the Niyamas. For each Yama and Niyama there is a Title card and a Meaning card, that match. It’s been some time in development and we finally got to producing a prototype which we printed and played together today.

This was an important meeting, without these two high class game designers and consultants we would be lost!

Aarti and Mayuresh also created three additional games using the cards: Go Fish-Yama! and “My Yama Niyama Life” (You draw a card and then you share some personal experience related to that yama or Niyama) and also “Make a Story” (You draw a card and then you create a story related to that card and then next person draws card, repeats the story from the first person and adds and additional piece to the story, but related to the card he drew.)

One mission critical change was made by our team today: orientation of the cards needs to be vertical in order to encompass the game play for more than just the Memory Game.

Aarti and Mayuresh also participated in the development of the two new books. On Skype they read aloud to Arumugaswami all the twenty stories and commented on the vocabulary and concepts. This was an important contribution. Today they get to see the final product.

Stay tuned for more Yama and Niyama fun in the future.

The Ebook versions will soon be available and they include audio readings of the stories.

Yamas and Niyamas Story eBooks Tested in Midland

Today in Midland, Texas, pre-release ebook versions of our upcoming storybooks on the yamas and niyamas, "Ten Tales About Self-Control" and "Ten Tales About Religious Life," were tested on an iPad at a Bal Vikas class at the Hindu Association of West Texas. The books, which will be released in print later this year, are geared toward the 10-to-12 age group. Each of these two books in our new Modern Hindu Children's Stories series has ten stories, one for each yama (ethical restraint) and niyama (religious observance), respectively. The ebook versions, which have just been completed, will be released soon on Apple iBookstore (for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch), Amazon (for their Kindle e-reader) and Barnes and Noble (for their Nook e-reader). This will be the first time that the monastery will release digital versions of a publication prior to the printed edition.

At the request of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the stories were written by Anuradha Murali of Karnataka and illustrated by Rajeev N.T. of Kerala and then carefully edited by the swamis of Kauai's Hindu Monastery over the last couple of years. Book 1, "Ten Tales About Self-Control," includes stories such as "How Our Family Became Vegetarians Again," "Caught In a Friend's Lie," "How a Puppy Taught Chandran Patience" and "Honesty: the Best Policy." Book 2, "Ten Tales About Religious Life," includes stories such as "Be Satisfied with What You Have," "The Milk Miracle," "Treating Guests as God" and "Penance at a Cave in Malaysia."

A special feature of the ebook edition for Apple's iOS devices is the inclusion of the audiobook version of each story. The monastery hired a professional voice actress in Florida to record the stories, and devotees assisted with training her in how to pronounce the Hindu names and terms throughout the books. A link to listen to a story is included right on the first page of that story. While a child listens, she can read along or just look at the beautiful illustrations. The printed books, now being printed in Kuala Lumpur, each include an MP3 CD with the recordings. The books will also be released as standalone audiobooks.

Thanks go to Dr. Padmaja Patel (standing second from right), who has been using the monastery's teaching materials in her Bal Vikas for a few years and had the idea recently to try using an iPad in her classes, an idea that has been working out really well. She shared about the new ebooks on the iPad, "I noticed that the kids were very engrossed in the story because of the audio which kept their attention. They indicated that they would like to read other stories during our next session. Comments we gathered from them included: interesting, good pictures, easy to understand, would like to read other stories next time. They liked the fact that they can read them on their iPad and the stories seemed real to them." Stay tuned for excerpts, including audio, and information about how to acquire these exciting new books!

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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