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An Interview with Dr. James George

In September of 2011 Paramacharya Sadasivanatha and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami flew to Toronto, Canada, for a rare meeting and interview with Dr. James George, who spent many moments with and was profoundly influenced by Yogaswami in the early 1960s when he was the Canadian High Commissioner to Ceylon. (A lifetime scholar and diplomat, he was at other times the High Commissioner to India and Iran as well.) Here is their tale:

We embarked in the morning and ended up in his apartment in a tightly-secured and upper-crust building in the city, an apartment filled with ten thousand artifacts, most of them of a spiritual nature: thankas (old ones) covering the walls, at least the walls not covered with his vast library of religious and spiritual books. We set up to interview him about his time with Yogaswami near a window in his dense office, amongst computers and printers and papers and files.

We thought the morning would be a journey into history, capturing his times with Yogaswami. It was that, but far more. At 93, Dr. George is a bright light, capable of imitating Yogaswami’s raucous laugh and powerful voice, inclined to take each question we asked and make it a reflection on life and truth and life’s search for truth. Our queries would stop him and for a full minute he would look off, not so much into the distance as into the inner sky, then finally he would return with a gem, some insight into consciousness, some delightful comparison of George Gurdjieff, the Russian mystic who stressed the now and the Great I Am. 

On and on it went, question after question, all captured on our camera for you to enjoy later. Mostly he was thoughtful and faithful to the task of describing his times with the Lion of Lanka (who did roar, he said), but now and again he exploded: his voice rising, his eyes gleaming, his body leaning forward to convey a moment when Yogaswami said something potent to him. It was so evident that those moments are still alive in this wonderful soul, that, as he told it, they changed his life and his family’s too.

Here is a man who can field the most sophisticated question on consciousness, who can set two spiritual traditions side by side and compare them, who can speak of presence with perfect presence, a kind of soft intensity you rarely encounter, who knows what not knowing is, who believes the universe is ultimately perfect and yet bemoans the “rise of negativity in all spheres.” Fun, gracious, “What would you like in your tea?” humble, “I hope your journey here from Hawaii has been worth these small remembrances” generous “Taxi? No, let me take you back to your hotel..”

Our interview with Jim, as he insisted we call him, turned out really to be a satsang of kindred souls, of those who explore consciousness and who strive as often as possible, as much as possible, to heed Yogaswami’s stern yet utterly simple instructions: “Summa iru. Just be.”

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What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Bodhinatha is receiving more and more invitations to join in various events. Many we cannot accept, so instead we are sending video’s and Keynote presentations bring his message, in absentia.

At the recent Hindu Mandir Executives Conference, two presentations were made. Here, Bodhinatha introduces the Hindu Heritage Endowment. The second presentation was on the Hindu History Lesson.

This press release will give you some context for the event:

Hindu Mandir Executives Conference Concludes in Michigan, US
Source: http://mandirsangam.vhp-america.org/

ROMULUS, MI, USA, September 30, 2008 (Press Release): Hindu Temple Executives representing 113 Temples and Hindu Organizations from more than 25 states of US and Canada and Caribbean converged in Romulus, MI to attend the Third Hindu Mandir Executives Conference (HMEC), from September 26, 2008 through September 28, 2008. They traveled from as far as British Columbia in Canada, Hawaii, California, Florida, and the heartland of America, with a mission to nourish, protect and sustain Hindu Dharma in America.

This successful HMEC-2008 follows the second HMEC held in Edison, NJ in August 2007 and the first held in Atlanta, GA, in 2006.

Over 225 temple representatives from different backgrounds attended. Addressing the temple executives from across the country, Swami Dayananda Saraswati of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, who was the keynote speaker, emphasized that the Hindu Mandirs should be halls of learning for the Hindu youth besides being the altars of worship.

At HMEC 2008, Hindu Mandir executives collectively deliberated on the evolving social, religious, cultural and spiritual needs of 2.5 million strong, confident, diverse and vibrant Hindu-American community.

In the concluding session of the Conference, the delegates agreed on a series of action items. Of Special interest to Hinduism Today readers is action item number 7, determining that 6,000 schools districts in the USA should receive the two chapters of the Hindu History lessons published by Hinduism Today. You can watch our presentations on YouTube below.


Shiva’s Light Upon Us

Nature brings us many magical moments and while we often have rainbows on Kauai, this one nearly seemed alive and moving during morning showers today. Here we are looking out the windows of our publications building.

Oh look! it’s advancing our way….

Unbelievable! It appears to be just ten feet outside!

The Art of S. Rajam

These are some of illustrations from S. Rajam that has been commission for some special publications. They have not yet been used.

They are being incorporated into special memorial item being prepared to give to all the sishya for Gurudeva’s Maha Samadhi

Blog Archives

What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Aloha from the Hawaiian islands!

It is Sun Two here at the monastery, an overcast day very conducive to focusing on our work.

Here is Bodhinatha during the last India Odyssey, living life joyously.

Today is October first. We begin the countdown to the seventh anniversary of Gurudeva’s Great Departure, culminating on October 27th with a grand homa and an abhishekam.

This photo was taken in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in 1981, as Gurudeva was being greeted by families there with as many flowers as they could offer.

Today is also an official Tour Day and we had Siva come in some of His manifold, ever-creative forms.

Deva and Amala Seyon were the hosts today, telling the story of Gurudeva’s life and mission and introducing our pilgrims to the noble Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, so full of heart and wisdom, love and knowing that lies beyond knowledge.


A Day at Kauai Aadheenam: the Movie

Another fresh release from the capital of Saivite video. This is a captivating short movie of the monastery’s activities that one of our swamis created recently to share with some members in Malaysia. It was taken on the day that our friend Swami Nirmalanandanatha, sucessor to Balagangadharanathaswami, was visiting the Aadheenam.

Kadavul Temple scenes

This is a traditional thombai at Kadavul Temple’s entry.

Just recently a Gujarati lady, a grandma pilgrim, told the monks,

“I love the holiness of temples and I’ve seen a thousand in India and around the world. Of them all, this little temple on a miniature island stands out. It is the most beautiful. It is the most pure. It is actually divine. I can hardly believe it exists.”

Outside resides a precious carving of our mighty Lord Ganesha, to greet and bless all who venture nigh.

In His left hand the noose, to hold us close and harness our karmas, protecting us, now and again, even from ourselves.

In His right hand the goad, to prod our slothful instinctive minds along the path.

At His feet is the humble Mushika, making an offering.

This marvelous sculpture in wood was designed by the monks and carved in North India.

Above two parrots eat berries and talk about all they see.

A mountaintop perspective of Kaua’i

A dear guest recently visited our Kaua’i island and took a helicopter ride. It is a great experience, when we can hold the perspective from up above in consciouness, observing the river of life.

Gurudeva wrote in The River of Life,

“Meditate on a river. Follow it as from its source to the end where it merges into the sea.

You can now clearly see where you have been clinging to the bank of life’s river. You will plainly see just how long you have been clinging to various attachments by holding on to fears, worries, doubts of the future and regrets about the past. Looking at attachment, we see how it holds the mind down, how it submerges personality. Attachment is a stationary thing.”

“As the river flows to meet the sea, it drops off many disturbances, just as our life absorbs many of its hindrances. The rapids smooth out, the waterfalls become smaller, the mouth of the river broadens, and as the river flows into the ocean we can see this esoteric symbol of life ending its manifest physical form.”

Such is the beauty waiting at the end of the journey.

Blog Archives

What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Sun One begins a six-day phase with home and a talk by Bodhinatha.

Bodhinatha commented on the daily Master Course lesson section from Merging with Siva about the importance of bhakti in our lives.

Bodhinatha in Johor, Malaysia

We continue with the photo documentary of Bodhinatha’s stay in malaysia, continuing with events on the even ing Monday the 25th at the Ganesha temple.

Ravichandran with the story:

Here are some Gold Ganesha Kacham ready to be placed on an auspicious day!

Nitysankaran double acts as well -- at registration booth!

“Ganesa kacham” -- Brilliant gold!!

Crowd overflowed, no space in the temple! But listened attentively from outside!


Another section of devotee outside temple hall.

Listening and viewing Iraivan VCD presentation!

Everyone rushed forward to get “vibuthi blessings” from Satguru! None missed!!

“Vibuthi blessing”

Happy to listen and witness a great Jagadacharya deliver “upadesa” on the greatness of Hinduism!

Bharatha Natyam dance.

The next morning we hosted Bodhinatha for breakfast at the Johor branch of Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), which always has an Annalakshmi restaurant.

The Annalakshi “sevakars” preparing breakfast.

We had a simple but wonderful breakfast at Annalakshmi(TFA) restaurant, Johor Bahru.(26th August, 2008)

Meantime, Satguru and Yoginathaswami meet Sivaprabhananda Swamiji -- resident Sannyasin Temple Of Fine Arts (JB). He was initiated by Shantanand Saraswathi Swamiji, founder of the society.

Leaving Annalakshmi to “Hutan Bandar” -- recreation mini jungle park.

Thanking Swamiji before leaving.

Brief discussion before breakfast.

Satguru waits for Siva’s car to arrive in Annalakshmi restaurant.


Mr. Radha Krishan receives a small gift from Satguru for his contribution to Iraivan floor-tile while Madhu looks on.

Saying “good-bye” and farewell.

Thank You Satguru for coming and showering everyone in Johor Bahru with abundance of blessings! Please come again!

Lunch at a Chinese vegetarian restaurant at Taman Gaya, Johor

Yoginathaswami having a conversation with Mr Radhakrishnan.

Mmm! spicy and delicious!

We brought Satguru to a prominent local Chinese vegetarian restaurant on 26th August and gave a small farewell gift to Satguru -- Kashmiri shawl.

Thanks to TFA(JB),’s Swamij and members for arranging breakfast to Satguru and Swami. Usually they open at 11.00am for lunch. This is a special arrangement for us in the morning at 9.30am!

Yogaswami Girls Home, Sri Lanka

Some good news from Sri Lanka. Nulifer Clubwala sent a donation to the orphanage and Patrick Harrigan who took care of the give write back from Sri Lanka:

“Yesterday Helen Downham and I spent the morning shopping for sporting goods that Helen thought the girls of Yogaswami Hindu Girls Home could use. We bought two good quality volleyballs (they had been using some heavy duty ball unsuited for girls), tennis balls, a set of four badminton rackets with net and shuttlecocks, as well as some puzzles and English books, and drove to Sittandy where we presented the children with the sporting items.”

The donation you sent was put to good use refurbishing all the toilets that were badly in need of repair, plus the small amount spent for sporting goods, books and puzzles, the rest was used for food.

Rather more interesting, perhaps, are the photos taken yesterday of the girls while working in their computer room (they now have 5 computers), at lunch, and with Helen displaying the sports items and books and puzzles.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Yogaswami Hindu Girls Home.

Thanking you once again and looking forward to hearing from you soon,

as ever,

Patrick Harrigan
Executive Director
Sri Lanka Children’s Trust

To find out more about this orphanage and to make a donation to help endow the Yogaswami Hindu Girls’ Home in perpetuity you please visit the Hindu Heritage Endowment web site.

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