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.”

Blog Archives

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!

Arati

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.

Satguru

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
--

Patrick Harrigan

Executive Director

Sri Lanka Children’s Trust

www.slctrust.org


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.

Blog Archives

What Happened Today at the Monastery?

Bodhinatha is back and resting after a long journey. He will be leaving again for Singapore in 2 weeks.



~~~~~~~~~~~

END OF PHASE

Today is the last day of our short 4-day phase.

This edition of TAKA will remain posted

over our coming two-day retreat,

until Prathama Tithi, Sun One, Sunday, August 31st.

The big news of the day is the arrival of three new men on the Iraivan Temple Team. After a two-year delay in the visa process, they were finally issued and their entry yesterday into USA was very smooth.



Yoginathaswami writes:



“Chidambaram Sthapati, (Center), Silpi Kannan and Silpi Lokesh as they just arrived at the Lihue airport yesterday.



“All three of them joined the Bangalore Iraivan Temple work site late 1993 and now arrived Kauai together. They’ve been with us nearly 15 years!”

Today’s Pilgrims and Visitors

Iraivan shines in the morning sunlight of a truly beautiful day.



Our visitors today from L/R, Ricardo Morano from upstate New York who is visiting Kauai for a few weeks. Next to him are Olga and Ray Barenchi from Lakewood, CA. Also a family from Chennai, (now residing on Kaneohe, Oahu) Muthukumar and Anupana with their two children, Karishma (age 8) and hanging from his father’s back and giving a “shaka” sign is 4 year old Pratyush. Muthukumar and his wife were here just one year ago and are making this temple their pilgrimage site.

Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji Visits the Wood Shop

We found a few photos on one of our iphones from Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji’s visit.

He was very interested in everything the monks do here. We took him to the carpentry shop which is master minded by Acharya Kumarswami, who is here showing him some Japanese planes.

The guests try their hand at planing.

Swamiji tries this Japanese saw.

Johor Bahru Events Continued

Bodhinatha said at lunch today at the Aadheenam that one of the highlights of this trip was the temple visit to Johor. Even the temple trustees were surprised that 800 people came and they had to order more food at the last minute. Bodhinatha says the interest has changed from just the novelty of a event. People are seriously interested in the teachings. Young children who normally run out, were glued to the screen during Bodhinatha’s presentation.



Much of the success is due to the hard work of our sishya there and here is a behind the scenes report from Ravichandran.



“Last minute preparations, a day before the event. Gowri “akka”, Dr Dharma, Nathan drove down from Klang. Madhu’s home was turned into our “opearation center”!

Iraivan’s information note handouts -- contact numbers

Dr Dharma and Nathan prepares a beautiful banner!

Dr Dharma with Mr Manimaran discuss events minutes.

With Yoginathaswami at Doorsett Hotel.

Nityasankaran helping at the books sale booth.

Banners at Iraivan booth

Mr and Mrs Mogan with Nityasankaran at book sales booth

A series of conceptual drawings from TAKA were displayed to show how Gurudeva visioned Iraivan Temple as part of floor-tile sponsor promotion.

Young temple priest from India was looking for an old Hinduism magazine and proudly pointed out his picture at “Pillayarpatti” -- priest training “kulam” -- 2003 issue.

Ganapathi taalam CD release. Mr Manimaran a prominent devotional song producer released a CD in conjunction with this event. Satguru launched his CD. He had offered his help to do a similar CD on Yogaswami’s Natchinthanai songs. He said that it was a miracle to have Satguru to launch his CD and felt blessed indeed!

Satguru with Arulmigu Sithivinayagar temple trustees. They’d given 100% support, a united and wonderful team.

Aum Sivaya! Satguru with Singapore sishyas!

Great to have our Singapore sishyas attending this event. Thank You soo much!

Great banner, beautiful and eye catching. It enhances Satguru’s presence greatly!

Temple’s ladies wing having a group picture with Satguru. Stunning in orange silky sarees. They’re a united team with single mind and focus in assisting temple management providing able “seva”.

Mrs Uma (Thanam) with Yoginathaswami. Drove all the way from Singapore, braving the usual causeway traffic jam. Manage to locate the temple, albeit a slight detour!!

Amazing ! Can you see Gurudeva here?

Yoginathaswami beside banner.

Bodhinatha sits quietly after the event next to a wonderful marble statue of Lord Ganesha

Our Natha’s Pada

Mr Paramsivam of Melaka, a recent devotee of Satguru presented a granite-tile frame with Satguru’s picture on it.

“Here’s my autograph and blessing” Satguru signing What is Hinduism Book? to a devotee who bought the book earlier.

Kids presented Satguru “Ganapathi Taalam” CD to Satguru for launching.

“Golden shawl for Satguru”

Temple committee receiving “CD” from Satguru.

Mr Paramsivam with Satguru

Dato’ S. Balakrishnan, Temple Chairman -- We thanked him for his great support and gesture of goodwill.

Satguru listening while the kids danced to “Ganapathi Taalam” song tune.

Cute little Bharatha Natyam dancer and her sister (daughters of Mr Manimaran)

Satguru delivers part/section of What is Hinduism? to an attentive audience.

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