Our November 2012 news video covers events in October 2012, including: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami’s 70th jayanti; the land blessing for the Hindu Temple of Greater Fort Worth, Texas; an update about the casting and assembly of bronze statues of Gurudeva and Ganapati Sthapati; the Uberoi Foundation’s Experts Meeting discussions on correcting distortions of Indic faiths in US school textbooks; and the visit by Sushma Parmar to shoot an intro video for the monastery’s new website.
For the last two years we have sustained a remarkable ascent up the sometimes treacherous trails of our digital Himalayas. The monks were urged forward (in good weather and bad) by your unmistakable appreciation of our publications and websites and the generous responses to our Digital Dharma Drive. In 2010 the drive reached $59,600; and in 2011 it raised $64,600. These funds have made an enormous difference in the digital projects that we have undertaken these past 24 months. http://dev.himalayanacademy.com/donate/ddd/ddd-faq.shtml
During 2011 and 2012, a major focus of our team and the primary application of your contributions has been to redesign, re-engineer and renovate the monastery’s website and reformat publications for today’s multitude of digital devices. Last year we showed you a preview of the new, professional design. This year we have been working to move all our content into the modern, database-driven system and get all the new features up and running—those that will help visitors discover and make use of the resources on the site in easier, more organized, more intuitive ways.
We’re almost finished, and with Bodhinatha’s blessings, we will inaugurate this year’s Digital Dharma Drive on December 1, at the same time we bring the new site online for you all to experience. Following the Wikipedia model (an annual fund effort to provide information and resources for free, without ads), the drive will run for 60 days. We hope you will set aside part of your year-end giving to help the team in Hawaii keep this strategically important momentum going in 2013.
This year (and only this year) we will use the funds somewhat differently. As you may know, between December and May, we will be renovating the Media Studio, the humble facility in which the monks produce all of the books, magazine, art, websites and teachings. We last made major improvements to the space 28 years ago, setting it up as a print shop, with two printing presses, a folder, a phototypesetter, process camera and light tables. In the nineties, we converted the space into a digital publications center using salvaged goods from a defunct hotel sale. It is a quaint space, but weary and worn.
The Ganapati Kulam publications facility is just 100 feet from Kadavul Temple. Aside from being the nexus of the monastery’s world outreach activities, it is a key place for hosting visitors to the monastery. The time has come to bring it into the 21st century. The work will be done by the monks and a task force of volunteers, rather than by costly hired carpenters. We are even using our own lumber, milled from island trees, for the wooden elements. But it will still take a lot of work and money. To allow this improvement to happen, one half of each dollar from this year’s Digital Dharma Drive will go to the Media Studio renovation and one half to innovative web improvements, digital assets, ebooks and other projects. We hope you are inspired by all of this. We are!
Editor, Hinduism Today
Sushma Parmar of Cutting Chai Productions in Austin, Texas, has been hired to film a short video as an introduction to Kauai's Hindu Monastery for our new website, to be launched soon. With help from the monks she aquired a multitude of beautiful and professional shots which she will use to create the new video.
A hard-drive of the Saiva Agamas photographed from the archives of the French Pondicherry Institute, which was an arduous task, arrived in Toronto, with the blessings of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami. The time consuming (18 hours to copy the digitized photos) task of copying the files to this drive was kindly undertaken by Yoginathaswami of Kauai Aadheenam.
This gem containing over a million Saiva Agama photos, was made available for worship, by Rishi Thondunathan, at Sivayoga Swami poojas celebrated on october 13 at Thiruvadi Nilayam, and the next morning at Thooya Bakthar's Sangamam hall and later-on in the evening, presented to Dr.Lambotharan, at a celebration, in the presence of a large congregation of youth and elders, with a short talk by Dr. Shan Shanmugavadivel (president of world Saiva Council, Canada), Rishi Thondunathan and recital of Agama, by Sri Kanthaswami Kurukkal (who has conducted poojas at Kauai's Kadavul temple, and very close to Sri Pitchchai Kurukkal) and his assistant who studied Agamas.
The importance and value of the Agamas were explained by the speakers including another Kurukkal from Nallur, and Rishi spoke of the hurdles faced and difficulties in obtaining permission from the french govt, which task was successfully carried-out by Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, culminating in the digitalizing, with most modern equipment, the length of time consumed of over two years. Four hard working Indian youth were hired, to do the copying of the decaying and fragile ola leaves and other manuscripts
All the devotees were mesmerized, lined-up to touch the auspicious, sacred and secret, holy Saivite gem !!!
Lambotharan and his wife who are practicing physicians, are dedicated Saivites, conducting weekly classes for both young and not so young, take time to ensure and direct the youth, on the true Saivite path of non-violence, obedience, respect and service.
Dr. Lambotharan has written many books, including a book on the resurgence of Agamas.
He has made many religious trips to india, having met and blessed by yogis, and now ready to take the task of studying and transmitting the sacred Agamas, to enable the average devotee, to understand and appreciate our religion.
We are humbled by the foresight of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, in saving the Agamas,
This review appeared in the Hum Magazine in Texas
The Making of the First American Satguru
From the Lofty Himalayas to the Breathtaking Peaks of Kauai
The sheer heft of The Guru Chronicles - The Making of the First American Satguru is the first indicator that this is no ordinary book. I page through and am riveted by the storytelling illustrations and an image gallery replete with historical photographs dating as far back as 1891. The narrative describes in exquisite detail a young American man's yearning for self-realization and the mystical and spiritually uplifting journey that shaped his future as America's first Hindu Satguru or Perfect Master. Forty years in the making, The Guru Chronicles describes the life and times of Robert Walter Hansen, who was born in Oakland, California, and would go on to become Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001).
The sweeping saga of faith traverses the lofty Himalayas to the breathtaking peaks of Kauai. Through anecdotal accounts and carefully archived words of saints and sages (and others that were blessed enough to have known them during their lifetimes), The Guru Chronicles, compiled, edited, and designed by the Swamis of Kauai's Hindu Monastery, is a labor of enduring devotion. Forty years in the making, the 832-page treatise traces the young Robert's 1947 voyage via steamship to India and Sri Lanka in pursuit of a guru who would guide him on the path to self-realization. Vignettes of his personal odyssey are documented in his own voice as told to his disciples over the years; he speaks of the intense soul recognition that occurred when he met his guru, Siva Yogaswami, an enlightened master. After years of rigorous training, and upon his guru's directive, the Satguru returned to America to claim his rightful place as the American heir to the hoary lineage of Saivite mystics that started over 2,200 years ago in the Himalaya mountains. The Guru Chronicles delineates the roots of that lineage of siddhas, or perfected beings; the Satguru's guru Yogaswami and his guru's guru Chellappaswami, and earlier to sage Kadaitswami, and other nameless rishis, and way back to Rishi Tirumular and his guru, Maharishi Nandinatha.
Tall and charismatic, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, known affectionately as Gurudeva, was determined to promulgate Saiva dharma and bring Siva worship into the 21st century. He founded the Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order and established America's first South Indian Hindu Monastery in Kauai, Hawaii. He also brilliantly conceived Hinduism Today, the first international Hindu magazine, a legacy that is formidably perpetuated by his disciples. He earned the respect and friendship of Hindu spiritual leaders and seekers alike, and at public gatherings the world over, he exhorted Hindus to take pride in the "most profound religion on the planet." Gurudeva was the latest guru in Saiva parampara; the next inheritor of the mantle is his successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the current head of the Kauai Adheenam.
What makes The Guru Chronicles so exceptional is that it is an astonishingly intimate window into the lives of the sages of yesteryear who were the very embodiment of truth and divinity. One is privy to their words and demeanors as they walk among us through the pages of the book. Scribed with gentle humor, simplicity, compassion, and humility by the Swamis of Kauai, the book shimmers with utmost love. It travels and lingers at the heart of Hinduism and God and self-realization, and educates the reader about the significance of the guru, worship, meditation, service, and Hindu dharma. The traditional style of paintings by the late artist S. Rajam adds eloquence and enchantment to the South Indian Tamil ethos of the book.
The Guru Chronicles was released last year on the 10th anniversary of Gurudeva's departure from the world. Recently, his disciples Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami visited Houston and other cities to create more awareness of the book. Sadasivanatha worked on the book for 39 years and accompanied Gurudeva to Sri Lanka after Yogaswami had passed.
"In 1972, we interviewed all the villagers and recorded their stories. The power of the book is that it's a series of true stories," said Sadasivanatha. "For artist S. Rajam, painting was his religion, less about technique but more about consciousness."
The book, priced at $59,95, is available at www.minimela.com and at Amazon.com.
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