History of Hindu India (Part One) Video Released Today!

Acharya Arumuganathaswami and the Ganapati Kulam have been working with our long-time friend Dr. Shiva Bajai for over a decade on books for Hindu education. This collective initiative to produce the book, the “History of Hindu India,” has been Himalayan Academy’s/Hinduism Today’s response to the problem of negative portrayal of Hinduism and India in school text books. While school boards and courts and publishers wrangle over making changes, we went ahead and produced the content that really should be in those books. After the printed lessons and book by that title were so well received, the initiative took on a new development when a video was proposed and the Uberoi Foundation agree to fund this effort. We are proud to announce today the official release of The History of Hindu India (Part One) on YouTube. Versions with sub-titles in other languages will be coming on line in the weeks ahead. Special mentioned goes first, of course, to Shivaji, who is Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge as he was instrumental in guiding the content development. We also thank video producer Sushma Khadepaun for her infinite patience and long hours she put in both here and in India to get this done on a shoestring budget. Kudos also to narrator Raj Narayan for his collaboration and drive to produce the best audio track we could. This video is intended to provide an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism for use in American 6th grade social study classes, as well as Hindu temple study groups and general presentations on the Hindu religion and history. The documentary is based on the first chapter of the textbook, The History of Hindu India, published in 2011. For more information and for class lesson plans based on the book visit http://www.hinduismtoday.com/education/. Funded by the Uberoi Foundation, Institute for Curriculum Advancement. May be freely distributed for educational purposes. Directed and Produced by Sushma Khadepaun; Produced and Narrated by Roger (Raj) Narayan

Publisher’s Desk Video Shoot

Recently, Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami and Sadhaka Jayanatha set up for their quarterly shoot of Bodhinatha's Publisher's Desk video. This quarter's Publisher's Desk Article is entitled "Noninjury: the Foremost Virtue," and can be found in the July/August/September issue of Hinduism Today.

Until the Media Studio construction is complete, the videos are being filmed in the guru peedam. The team sets up the lights, microphone and camera before Bodhinatha arrives. Following the shoot, the video is edited and finalized. It will be posted to youtube and our Hinduism Today website in mid June.

Swamis Visit San Jose & Fremont

A few weeks back the organizers of a Hindu History Conference reached out to bring two of our swamis to a conference in San Jose, California, near San Francisco. Since we have been involved in the US history textbooks for sixth grade, and since we had just finished a movie on those lessons, Bodhinatha felt it was useful to respond.

Off flew Sadasivanathaswami and Arumuganathaswami, who has been the pointman for these projects and was eager to show the 22-minute film to an audience who could understand its merits.

The two-day event focused on a dual agenda: Hindu historiography, with scholars from India, Canada, Europe and the US present. It had the potential to be less than scintillating, but in fact turned out to be amazingly informative for the swamis.

Sadasivanathaswami gave a 10-minute Keynote introducing the main event, an annual lecture in honor of the life and writings of Indian scholar Sita Ram Goel, whom Gurudeva knew well and visited often in India. Sita Ram came to the monastery in 1986. He also blessed two book releases with Rudraksha malas from Kauai.

Acharya Arumuganathaswami gave the most fascinating and graphically-rich of all presentations, the movie preceded by a history of the California textbook controversy. Both got high praise and abundant applause.

Then the swamis were taken to Freemont to the home of Sivaram and Devika Eswaran for a delightful satsang with members and a gourmet (15-course) dinner.

A traditional welcoming arathi at the doorway, was followed by pradakshina of the home and the Gods within. An arati was followed by Natchintanai singing lead by Amma Bhavani Param and Yatrika. The home's pure and perfectly clear Siva Linga was passed to Paramacharya to carry and place it on the special shrine set in the living room for the Siva puja. Sivaram and his son, Arunesh, then conducted a splendid, Deity-invoking Siva puja. After more singing to the Gods and a short "Ganesha sloka" by Arunesh, a Carnatic song "Devathi Deva SadaSiva – composition of Sage Thyagaraja" by Devika & Yatrika, all joined to sing the famed "Money Bags Song."
 
Paramacharya's was asked to speak and he talked of the conference, of the science of rituals and the new science of consciousness, then expounded on Gurudeva's teaching that everything is energy, and that even negative energies, if responded to with wisdom and trust, can turn out to be a blessing in life. "We are not in full control of all that comes our way in life, but we are in control of how we react and respond to what comes." He gave some great stories about how Gurudeva taught this lesson to the monks when real challenges came to the monastery over the years.

Acharya then spoke of the conference and the movie and the work he has been doing with the textbook controversy. He shared that the conference was in part about the Hindu-Christion nexus, and how that went.

Paramacharya offered vibuthi prasadam to all present. A grand confluence of perfect souls, reminding us of the days when devotees gathered in the evening at Yogaswami's humble hut, to sing, to hear Swami's words of wisdom, to sit in silence and enjoy Siva's presence in all things. Aum Namasivaya!
 

A Journey to San Jose

Today, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Acharya Arumuganathaswami boarded a flight for San Francisco. The two are taking a short quick 3-day trip to San Jose, to participate as guest speakers at the Global Hindu Conference 2014.

A Gift for Malaysian Seekers

They have done it again. The Malaysian members have pushed through a strategic project that would warm Gurudeva's heart and is dear to Bodhinatha's educational outreach initiatives.

They designed and printed the famous Four Facts of Hinduism in Tamil and Malay. Today a small package with several dozen of each reached Kauai's shore and were offered to Bodhinatha for his blessings. They printed 15,000 of each of the pamphlets, under the guidance of Maruthu Dharmilingam.

The plan is to distribute them around the nation, to educate the public about the shared beliefs of all Hindu lineages and traditions: karma, reincarnation, all-pervasive divinity and dharma. The sweet paintings of S. Rajam sit like little gems on the pages, and a Vedic quote is offered to show the original scriptural source.

Great job, everyone!

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