Gurukkals Visit Monks

Sivasri Shanmugam Sivacharyar -- son of late Sivasri Sambamurthy Sivacharyar of Kaaligambal Temple, Chennai -- and Sivasri Sundaramurthy Sivacharyar -- principal of the Saiva Agama Pathashala -- came to the monastery recently and paid their respects to the monks. Wonderful conversations were had that detailed future plans for the Iraivan mahakumbhabhishekam and spreading the culture and tradition of Sanskrit to the next generation. These two powerful priests are working with the digitized Agama project and moving that mission forward at their centers.

We thank them profusely for visiting and uplifting us all with their wonderful vibration.

A Belated Report: Travels in Boston

A few weeks ago Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Natyam Jayanatha had traveled to Boston, Massachusetts. The two had been there to attend the World History Association conference and to visit several local temples. At the conference, Acharya spoke on a panel which focused on the presentation of Hinduism and Indian history in modern academia, particularly in relation to what appears in student text books. A common theme at the conference was a trend in academia to give a narrative voice to people's and traditions that had previously been looked at through a Eurocentric or colonialist lens.

Following the conference our two traveling monks visited the Boston Sri Kalikambal Siva Temple. There are very few Hindu temples in the Boston area, but those that do exist are thriving. Just 6 months after opening its doors, this temple was bustling with educational and devotional activity. Acharya and the temple's head priest have known each other for over 20 years. Acharya gave a talk to the group and a short presentation about our work in Hindu education. It seemed as though nearly everyone there had some sort of prior association with Kauai Aadheenam, whether through visiting or reading our books or magazines. With so much prior knowledge and familiarity the group felt like instant family. It was a wonderful respite from the academic world just experienced. Our monks then made there way to the Lakshmi temple. There just happened to be a chariot parade for the Temple's Siva Nataraja and Shakti taking place. While this was a shorter visit, it was a powerful one, as the Temple's Lakshmi shrine was scintillating with light and energy. A good way to end the journey in Boston. The next day our travelers caught their flight back towards Kauai. Aum Namah Sivaya

Approaching a Hindu Temple Deity: A Primer for Beginners

A lot of meditators to Hindu temples are not coming from traditional Hindu, or Eastern, backgrounds. Many practitioners today are coming from the yoga culture that has permeated the world. These wonderful souls seeking to find the depths of yoga practice, and its origins, make their way into the holy temples of the Hindu faith seeking to stretch their new flexible wings. With a few pointers, anyone can feel right at home at any mandir, temple, math, mut, ashram or monastery/temple complex!

Graced by Gardens

Enjoy this on-your-own paced slideshow with inspirational quotes

Our Friendly Planets

In the Hindu view, the planets are not mere celestial bodies circling the Sun. They are also divine beings. Each is like a prism, conveying subtle energy from the far galaxies, thus impacting affairs on Earth according to its unique nature and location in the sky. The ancient science of space and time that understands and maps this influence is called jyotisha (literally science of light) or Hindu astrology.

Hindu Vedic astrology is based on the basic beliefs of karma and the reincarnation of the individual soul. It is a complete science of understanding ones past, present and future patterns of experiences, as well as personality traits and character. Your horoscope is an interpretation of the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of your birth, which form the unique karmic map of your birth chart.

Astrology is a part of Vedic self-understanding. We look to the stars to see ourselves better, to discover the mysteries that lie all about us and within us. In rita dharma, that heavenly cosmic orderliness, stars are more than massive conglomerates of molecules or fiery furnaces fleeting afar. They are entities, potent presences that affect us despite their distance. There are, of course, many Hindus today who pooh-pooh such notions. "Stuff and nonsense," they will cry, "What thoughtful person can accept that stars, so remote, influence life on Earth?"
But what thoughtful person, asks the astrologer, would deny the powerful tides dragged across our planet by a faraway moon, or gainsay the not-so-subtle solar forces that are the very stuff of life here? "Ah, but go out another few thousand light years and tell us what petty influences persist," our doubter might challenge. The jyotishi (Vedic astrologer), realizing the basic East/West difference in world views, attempts to help the skeptic understand the Hindu perspective. "In Eastern thought, particularly Hinduism, we conceive of all existence including the stars and planets not as being out there, but rather in here within the consciousness of each one of us. In other words, consciousness encompasses all of creation. The outside and inside are mirror images, and the essential nature of the cosmos is not that of multitudinous distinctions but rather the many-faceted expression of a one unified Reality. Thus we do not follow the mechanistic, externalized approach typical of Western thought."

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