It was Gurudeva's play, a two-day drama in San Jose, well-written and executed by a seasoned cast. Our two swamis from Hawaii each gave a presentation. Sadasivanathaswami spoke on Visiting a Hindu Temple and presented to the group the 16-page Beginner's Guide that had been specially designed and printed for this annual event. Senthilnathaswami spoke on how managers and leaders can spiritualize their work and keep a dharmic attitude and energy in all the temples do. He spoke of Gurudeva's tools for harmony and one-mindedness.
Both of these presentations kept the group on the edge of their seat as they were alive and creative and engaging. Each year at this event our swamis from Hawaii are much appreciated. After the presentations everyone came forward with comments on the talks that then moved immediately to a common theme: "We were just on Kauai last month (fill in the date), we love the ashram. More, we love Hinduism Today and read every issue, every word of every article. No one is doing this but you in Hawaii. The magazine is my absolute favorite, it's so (fill in the highest accolades, strung in sets of two or three)."
Sadasivanathaswami writes: "We would have to plan fifteen minutes to move through the crowd, cards, sweet words, lots of feet touching and prostrations, lots of "Here's my new book, swami. Can you read it? Can you bless it? Can you publish it?"
"We brought the main organizers (Abhaya Ashtana and Sant Gupta) together and presented a gift from all the monks in Hawaii for their strategic work. They took it, looked at each other and asked if we could present it on stage during the final closing plenary. We were called to the front and presented the envelop, explaining how all the monks admire what HMEC is accomplishing, and that these were "monk dollars," worth more than regular dollars as monks have so little. Then we invited others to help the cause, and in the minutes afterwards notes kept going to the podium to be announced:
Kalya Sharma pledges $1000. Nikil Krishnadas pledges $1000" Definitely they made the right choice having us to do it publically!"
"Our Hinduism Today interviews went unexpectedly well. We interviewed four of the spiritual men and women there, each for about 20 minutes and each one is a gem. We asked four questions, about mixed marriages, elderly neglect in the Indian community, avoidance of the H-word and the biggest challenge facing Hindus in North America. Sadhvi Bhagavati of Parmath Niketan was one of the interviewees, along with Swami Mukundananda and Swami Parameshananda of BSS. Swamini Svatmavidyananda gave a most precious set of responses. Terse, apt, understanding of human nature and dharma. What a bright mind and gifted voice that soul has. She shared something I did not know. "You must know I am one of the Hawaii ashram's biggest fans. Everything you do or touch is golden and the monks are always so kind, so humble, so (I need to stop here with the humble.)"
"The booth was run masterfully by the Golden Gate Mission families and lots of traffic went through there. Again, comments on our books, our magazine, our history lessons and all were common. The head of the SV Temple in Pittsburgh met me there and mentioned he wants to get the new Visiting a Hindu Temple in bulk (they have 3000 visitors a day!) He also wants us to take the 16 pages and distill it down to two pages, front and back of one sheet."
"In all, a great two days. The monastery definitely brings an energy and style and technical savvy to this annual event and is so appreciated. Gurudeva was masterful in setting up our work in the way he did. Jai to you, Gurudeva! Texas radio interview coming in. More later."
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.