Our wandering swamis arrived in Orlando, Florida, for the three-day annual conference held by the Hindu Mandir Executives Council, a national body of the managers, owners and priests of temples in North America. This is the seventh year the monastery has attended.
About 200 leaders were present for an amazing array of presentations and sessions presented by women, youth, educators and more. In fact, the theme of the conference was "The Role of the Mandir in Hindu Education."
Sadasivanathaswami was asked to present our Hindu History movie in the inaugural session, and when it ended great applause filled the room. In the hours afterwards many came forward to get access to the movie for their teaching programs across America, and others told that they had already downloaded it and screened the film for 15 classes back home. Quite rewarding to see it being embraced so eagerly.
Sadasivanathaswami also offered a major Keynote presentation on the broader impact of HMEC in the evolution of the consciousness of Americans regarding Hindu thought, history and culture, offering ideas to the group on how they might move forward in the decades ahead now that there are more than 1,000 Hindu temples in North America.
Other presenters that night and the following day spoke of the many ways we convey our culture to the next generation, and some of the ways we are falling short in that effort.
The swamis were challenged to move through the crowds, since everyone wanted to stop them, say a few words about how important Hinduism Today is in their lives, how proud they are to have such a publication. Others offered ideas for articles, or books they have published for review in the magazine. One had just completed a peer-reviewed paper on Hindu Bio-Ethics and asked our monks to proof and critique it.
One Hindu chaplain shared from the stage how the Master Course has changed her life, guided her service, helped her find perspective on the difficult challenges of her work in the field. She told the audience she has torn out every page of Living with Siva, underlined passages, pasted the pages in reference binders and used Gurudeva's insights to help hundreds of men and women get through life, saying to us in the hall, "Swami, I am a living testimony to the work the monastery has been doing all these years and you should know it would be impossible to thank you enough for what your books have meant to me and to my work as a chaplain."
Before each of the meals, the chef called Senthilnathaswami and Sadasivanathaswami to the buffet and asked them to bless the meal with the Bhojana Mantram, while the staff of the Renaissance Hotel stood in amazement.
"There are three kinds of karma: the karma of all deeds done in our past lives; the karmas we bring into this birth to experience; and the karmas we are making by our actions now."
Karma is an automatic system of divine justice. Karma is self-created destiny; a consequence or fruit of action, karmaphala. By accepting not reacting, performing karma yoga, karma can be softened, mitigated. Seeking the grace of God and guru in the right spirit, the mind focused on the Deity and open to blessings, receiving the intense grace of the Deity in a powerful pilgrimage can actually eliminate karma.
Path to Siva, Lesson 31.
Tirukural, Section IV, Destiny, Commentary by Gurudeva.