Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's third stop in Texas was the greater Austin area. Our first activity here was meeting with Sushma Khadepaun-Parmar of Cutting Chai Productions, who made the monastery's introductory video for this website. She shot an interview with Bodhinatha for a future introductory video on the Hindu Heritage Endowment.
Next, Bodhinatha spoke at the Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of Austin in the suburb of Cedar Park, delivering his three-part Keynote presentation on character, the four yogas and the four progressive stages of life to an audience of about 50. The temple has a beautiful new auditorium facility, and Bodhinatha was the first swami to give a discourse there.
The main activity during our visit to Austin was the Hindu Students Association's Senior Leadership Spiritual Weekend. We have conducted this retreat with the organization's national officers and members of their board of directors twice before. It is a much-needed time of personal knowledge development in Hinduism for these young leaders and an opportunity for them to get their many questions answered by Bodhinatha and his accompanying swami. Some still in college and some in the first years of their professional lives, they come from diverse backgrounds, a few with a lot but many with very little knowledge of their faith imparted by their parents when they were growing up. The organization itself is only three years old, and Bodhinatha and the monastery have been supporting it with guidance and leadership retreats like this, support that the leaders genuinely need and sincerely appreciate.
The last activity on the way out of town was a talk at the Hindu Temple of Central Texas in a town called Temple. People throughout the state affectionately refer to this beautiful, powerful Ganapati temple simply as "Temple Texas." The families that started this temple are predominantly from Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Andhra Pradesha and Kerala.
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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.