Amongst everything else, something very interesting and quite momentous has been happening quietly behind the scenes at the monastery the past few weeks. A devotee has come forward to inspire us to have an audiobook created for The Guru Chronicles.
There is something about hearing stories being read to you, hearing teachings being taught to you. We knew the book was important and would have a positive and important effect on the world, especially to the children and grandchildren of Yogaswami devotees worldwide who have struggled for the past half century to grasp who Yogaswami is, and now to the students coming forward seeking membership in Saiva Siddhanta Church and even to enter the renunciate life at Kauai Aadheenam, but who did not know Gurudeva in person. What we didn't know was that there was a missing piece, that an audiobook would make the circle complete. As the project has begun to develop, it has thoroughly inspired Bodhinatha and our publications kulam. Gurudeva's energy is clearly behind it.
When we initially put the call out through a few different channels to find just the right person to voice the text, we were skeptical that we would find someone who could fit the bill. It would, of course, have to be just the right person, with just the right voice and vocal capabilities. We wanted a male voice, raised if not born in America, but of Sri Lankan or Indian descent, with some accent, but not a lot, an approachable voice that is easy to listen to, having the ability to pronounce Sanskrit and Tamil words and names properly and with ease. It seemed a bit of a long-shot to us! We couldn't think of anyone amongst the folks we know, and we know a lot of folks.
Then we got an email back from a pandit who has done some writing for Hinduism Today in the past. He runs a philosophical mailing list. The pandit had received some useful advice from the monastery and sought to give back in some way. He helped by announcing our call on his mailing list. A recipient of the list forwarded the message to one Raj "Roger" Narayan, who immediately wrote to us expressing great interest in the project. We had no idea who he was. When we looked him up, we discovered that he is a Hollywood actor with quite a bit of experience in mainstream and independent TV and movies, and we even recognized him from a few of his roles. It was only after we initially got in touch with him that we then went back over his resumé and noticed something that was masked from our view initially: that his latest project was a lead role in "Clay," a beautiful short film by Sushma Khadepaun-Parmar, a gifted, award-winning indie writer-director who literally had just finished a project for us the same week. She did the new "Introduction to the Monastery" video on our site. What synchronicity?
Raj is young and so full of inspiration for this project. As we have gotten to know him, we have discovered that he is from a traditional Indian Tamil background, born in Sri Rangam and raised in Bangalore and the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, while working as an engineer in the Bay Area before pursuing his acting career, he occasionally visited our temple in Concord as well as singing and dancing arangetrams of some of our members' children. All this time, it turns out, he has known of the monastery from a distance. It seems that Ganesha and Gurudeva have been drawing him toward the monastery, perhaps for the divine work of voicing The Guru Chronicles audiobook, for many years.
Amazed and inspired by the book, he recorded an audition, reading a selection of pages that we proposed, so we could get a feel for what it would sound like. You can listen to his audition below. Can you imagine hearing the entire book read like that, with such professional skill? With a little guidance, his voice and storytelling abilities will let us all feel like we are sitting around a campfire with him as he tells us the stories, becoming each of the characters in the book, transitioning skillfully from one to the other. The impact that the audio edition of this book will have for generations to come is only something we can imagine as we embark on this project.
This week Raj, his wife Rama and four-month-old son Pratim came to Kauai to meet Bodhinatha and the monks in person, visit Gurudeva's temples, speak with the authors of the book, walk the land that is such an integral part of the book, meditate here and there and absorb the feelings of these real places and stories. It has been an intensive week of conversations, walks, more conversations, test recordings and feedback sessions, all to help him prepare to read the book in his professional home studio in Los Angeles over the next few months.
We hope you all enjoy his audition and look forward to the audiobook edition of The Guru Chronicles as much as we do. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Use the controller below to play the audio.
We are happy to announce that we have completed the migration of the Hindu Lexicon over to our new web site.
It took some time... because we ported all the data to a MySQL data base and we are presenting the information through a new modern web application which will be easily re-worked for use on mobile devices. As and additional plus the lexicon is dynamically tied to our web view of books. If you are on the simple web book page format for view, for example, this page in Dancing with Siva (click) you can select a word and if it can be found in the lexicon it will be opened to it's definition. (Note that some of the unicode diacritical words will not work in this environment, but you can copy and paste then into the lexicon search and then they will.)
Feel free to report any bugs with an email to email@example.com
We want to thank our Digital Dharma Donors as projects like this take many man hours of programming by skilled, and your donations are what enable us to move forward. Thank you!
The monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery have spent a lifetime crafting the tools and books, art and literature that convey the profundity of the Sanatana Dharma. Our magazine has reached into the White House, into virtually every major Hindu institution in the world. The resources produced by the monks have touched hundreds of thousands of people, from school kids learning Hindu history to Rotary Clubs seeking to understand their new neighbors.
In recent times our resource-building efforts have shifted toward the web, following the fast-evolving world of communications and publishing. Anyone who has marshaled such an information legacy knows that creating and sharing an articulate and graphically elegant repository of Hinduism is neither easy nor without costs. But we were set on this course by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, and we cannot, and will not, fail to fulfill his vision. We are driven forward by the knowledge that there has never been a greater need. Hindu youth are learning their spiritual ABCs online, and millions of seekers are discovering Hinduism digitally. What they encounter should be sensible, lucid, elegant and thoughtful. That's what our annual fundraising campaign is all about. It's a chance for you to help us to help explain and share Hinduism globally.
Those of us who create free content know the challenges. And one of the challenges, often the greatest, is funding. Most activities at Kauai's Hindu Monastery operate on a donation basis, and when we need money for a project, we raise funds for it. We are strict in the usage of those funds; contributions are only used for the projects for which they are given.
For many years, we have operated under the guiding principle that our many Hindu resources will all be available digitally for free. Yes, we could charge for them, but many who might find them inspiring or needed would simply not pay. But free to the world is not free to us. We have significant costs in running some of Hinduism's leading websites. Plus we want to keep our digital tools sharp and grow our toolbox. We want to engage professionals who know more than we ever will to move us forward in the rapidly advancing field of digital technology. These goals all come with a price tag. It's a modest one, but it is real.
In order to provide it all without charging for downloads, without showing advertisements on our sites, without commercializing our mission, we turn to you for help.
In 2010 we received $60,000 and last year we received $65,000. The goal for this year is $70,000. Our two-month-long Digital Dharma Drive ends on January 31. We hope you will join in helping us meet our goal. In the right hands, and leveraged by the unsalaried work of the monks, these funds will have a profound impact on the future of Hinduism around the world. Please make a donation today to keep our sites strong well into 2013.
Warm greetings this holiday season,
Kauai's Hindu Monastery
Himalayan Academy Publications
It is said that the history of Russia is inextricably tied to Saivism, and many of the youth there are rediscovering these connections. The result: Gurudeva's books are being aggressively translated and published in Russia. If you know a Russian-speaking person, you can share this web resource with them. http://300knig.ru/ezoterika/svitki-iz-lemurii-sadguru-shivajya-subramuniyasvami/
We had run behind with posting Bodhinatha's Upadesha's. We are almost caught up. Satguru Speaks fans can click here to go to this audio catalog page for recent postings.
Our archives are in the process of being migrated from the old site. Please check back later.