Today We Celebrate Our Mobile-Friendly Hinduism Today Website Upgrade

On this final day of the Gregorian year, we are setting off silent fireworks to mark the end of a successful 2015 Digital Dharma Drive. Our goal was $70,000 this year, and as of this morning we have a little over $84,000. This is great. It will allow our little team to make important progress on our educational and spiritual resources in the months ahead and to access critical expertise we don't have.

In celebration, our team would like to present each of you with an upgrade to our heretofore stodgy (and, yes, non-responsive on mobile devices) Hinduism Today website! After many years, the HT website was in drastic need of an update, especially considering how many readers of the magazine are accessing it on their phones. This upgrade is mainly to the look and feel of the site. Being fully responsive, it scales itself to the size of the screen you're using, allowing for readability in any circumstance. All of our content is still there and now easier to find, with quick links to important content and our HPI news feed right on our homepage. For those who speak the language of the interwebs, we'd like to give thanks to the open-source bootstrap framework and to our trusty Xoops database for helping to make this upgrade a success. But most of all, a big thank you to the readers who inspire and support our work. Let the New Year begin! See HinduismToday.com

Gurudeva Leads Us in Twelve Beliefs of Saivism

Siva with Village and Gurudeva As promised, here is Side B of the 1977 cassette that Gurudeva requested be prepared and distributed to all his devotees. In this short piece he briefly describes the purpose of Saiva Siddhanta Church and then leads us in the repetition of the Twelve Beliefs of Saivism. Join him as he requests us to affirm the great truths of our ancient religion.
The Twelve Beliefs of Saivism

Three Worlds: Awesome Discovery in Gurudeva Archives

bhajan-devas-gods-gurudeva Magical divine synchronicity happened these past few days. We have been meditating on key knowledge that is missing in the mind of youth today. One of these is the understanding of the Three Worlds. Background discussions with our team on creating short digital illustrated educational modules on this subject have been in progress for weeks. Out of the blue Vayudeva writes: "I found this old cassette of Gurudeva, from 1977. Side A is - 'This is Religion' and Side B is 'Beliefs of Saivism.' " Side A is actually all about the Three Worlds. We looked into our archives and there it was! Gurudeva gave these two talks in 1977 and then he commissioned a professional to edit them, add vina music, reproduce on cassettes and distributed them to all his devotees. We did not have the software or tools to do this ourselves in those days, so he must have felt it was very important to get this message out. We are happy to bring you this new treasure from Gurudeva's audio archives -- a vision dear to his heart that he hoped to pass on to all. His message is renewed and will live on. Stay tuned for Side B tomorrow.

Three Worlds - This Is Religion

The Fifth annual Interfaith Event held at the First Baptist Church.

Jayanatha gives his report on the ground: "Our trip has been busy so far. We landed in LA at 9:30pm and waited until 10:20pm for the bus service to our nearby hotel. There we checked in and slept for a few hours, waking up at 3:00am to catch our next flight to Denver. Flying east, we soon reached the sunrise. The cloud layer was thick below us and above the only visible sights through the upper atmosphere were the moon and Venus (?). Then a breathtaking sunrise. After landing at the Denver airport we made our way to our next gate. The closer we got, the smaller the airport became. The ceiling lowered, the walls closed in and the cowboy hat density increased. We were in the right place! We boarded a tiny plane which flew us a sleep-deprived, semi-conscious hour southeast to Midland, Texas. We then checked into our hotel and fell fast asleep for three hours before waking up to go to the Interfaith event. It went well and people really liked Acharya's well-prepared material."

The Secret of Chidambaram

Yesterday's TAKA post on the special puja at Chidambaram Temple inspires us to offer some background for the event that provoked asking Siva Nataraja for His Profound Grace to fall upon Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami on his nakshatra day, Purvashada. So here we go….
 
Chidambaram. The very word sends subtle shockwaves down the spine!
 
Ananda Nataraja Rajamurthy and Sivakamasundari preside over the innermost shrine, Ponnambalam or Golden Dome. And, yet the main deity here is Siva as Space, formless, unbounded, immeasurable. Symbolically, He who abides here as Space, is represented by strings of golden bilva leaves. And, that is the Chidambara Rahasyam or the Secret of Chidambaram. 

So, picture yourself standing before the main shrine. In the center is Nataraja at the end of His Ananda Tandavam, where His locks fall to His shoulders, not flying around as found in most murthis, His glance pours out love, His smile so compassionate, His raised foot offers everything your heart desires and much that you don't even have knowledge enough to desire, His right hand showers blessings .... He is unbelievable! To his right, are the bilva strands and to His left stands Sivakamasundari. The Sphatika Lingam, Ratna Sabapathy ruby Lingam and Swarna Akarashana Bhairavar, all are present here. Patanjali and Vyagrapada stand worshipfully at His Feet. 
 
The temple, spread over 51 acres, has surely seen better days. The four gopurams or towers at the 4 entrances really do tower over this quiet town. It appears that all the activity is centered around the Temple, along the four Veedhis or streets. It is along these lanes that Nataraja comes out in procession twice a year and hence these are called North Car Street, East Car Street and so on. After 28 years, repair, renovation and reconsecration of the main towers and the numerous smaller shrines in the Temple concluded with Mahakumbhabhishekam on May 1, 2015. The ceremonies started 10 days prior and will conclude one mandalam or 48 days later. Various pujas and homas are conducted each day, invoking, restoring and amplifying the energies of this sacred space.
 The Diksithar community, comprising 366 priests now, conduct these proceedings as one body, decisions taken after meetings every afternoon. All expenses are born by individuals or organizations that step up and bear costs. They do not advertise or ask for donations. They send out invitations, on receiving which, one may be prompted to ask, "How may I participate?" Options are then presented and you may choose what stirs your heart and fits your pocket!
 
Forty-five of the Mandala Puja days, starting May 4, were open to individual sponsorship of Rs.400,000 per day (that's about $6,300). A small group of Satguru Bodhinatha's devotees contributed and chose Day 5 to dedicate the Mandala Puja to Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, because his janma nakshatra Poorvashada prevails on that day, with the prayer that Nataraja of the East and Nataraja of the West pour forth blessings on him, so he may fulfill the sacred, massive mission he has dedicated his life to. What you saw in the photos yesterday are scenes from this puja. 

May all who helped make this happen be blessed again and again, and then again! As Yogaswami said, "Eppavo mundintha kariyam!" Yes, those present said it did feel like witnessing an event that had happened long ago.

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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