Kauai's Hindu Monastery has as a principal mission bringing seekers onto the Great Path, guiding them as they unfold and providing the tools for continuing evolution as life looms, to be faced.
The website is the instrumental cause of this mission, and its reach is significant. We Googled the single word Hinduism this morning, to find our site #2 in the world, just behind Wikipedia. Not bad, especially with such giant challengers!
In New Delhi last year we learned that india is one of the world's most active online communities, more than a million on Facebook and 20 million tweeting. Since that nation has one of the youngest populations (average age is 29), there is immense potential for young Hindus to begin discovering their faith and their traditions online. It's already happening.
With that, today we take joy in announcing the beginning of our 2016 Digital Dharma Drive, which will last for 60 days. Wish us luck! Or better yet.....
Here is the editors' appeal in full that all may understand the need and the goal.
For nearly thirty years Gurudeva and a small team of monks met each day between 3 and 6 or 7pm. He called it "the editing team" and loved to work near the ocean with the whales and green turtles just offshore. They would drive down each afternoon, park a little Rialto recreational vehicle (specially outfitted for editing with computers) near the water's edge and work on what was to become his life's legacy of writings. It was a self-imposed appointment he rarely missed, and one he gave full focus to, going over every word, every phrase of every publication himself, often dozens of times before he would say to the monks. "That's good."
Though raised in an era of chemically processed film, hand-set type and sheet-fed presses, Gurudeva easily embraced technological changes. One afternoon in 1984, though he had never seen or even heard of a Macintosh, he encountered one in a small Apple store in Kapaa. After playing with MacPaint and MacWrite for fifteen minutes, he walked out with a Macintosh 128K under his arm. Later, when the Internet swept up on Kauai's shores in 1997, he urged the monks to begin a daily blog of monastery events, and "Today at Kauai Aadheenam" was born (issued almost daily since that day).
Gurudeva would love where we have come today. He would love the ease with which the books are available, at no cost, to everyone who owns a mobile device anywhere in the world. He would love the lack of massive investment costs that were traditionally required for major books to be put on the presses, tens of thousands of dollars. Then there are the inventory costs, the shipping, the returns. All of that has been rendered unnecessary in the age of digital publishing. In our case, we are doing both, printed editions of the magazine, for instance, and then digital editions based on the elegantly designed PDF pages. The best of both worlds. And he would often say, with smile, "Get the best and forget the rest."
Gurudeva would love that we don't have to charge struggling Hindu students for the spiritual teachings, but can make them available for free. In the last decade our resource-building efforts have shifted massively toward the web, following the fast-evolving world of communications and publishing. It takes a deft team to gather and sculpt the needed tools and stories for Hinduism Today and our Web resources. Creating and sharing an articulate and graphically elegant repository of Hinduism is neither easy nor without costs. Hindu youth are learning their spiritual ABCs online, and millions of seekers are discovering Hinduism digitally. What they encounter should be thoughtful, lucid, elegant and authentic. That's what compels our annual fundraising campaign. It's a chance for you to help us to help explain and share Hinduism globally.
Yes, we could meet our costs by charging for the online books and magazine, but we are determined not to do that. We ourselves are seldom motivated to pay for online information. We like it when needed information is available without cost. But free to the world is not free to us. We have significant costs in running our websites. The needs are modest, but they are real.
Among those needs has been a work space conducive to creative thinking and collaboration. For four decades the publishing team worked in a dim space, not exactly a hovel, but not much to inspire, either. The marvelous renovation of the Media Studio has changed the team's environment dramatically, and part of this year's contributions will help pay for this costly transformation into a "temple of the mind" worthy to be the headquarters of Hinduism Today and Himalayan Academy Publications.
In order to provide information without charging for downloads, without showing advertisements on our sites, without commercializing our mission, we turn to you for help.
The goal for this year is the same as last: $70,000. Our two-month-long Digital Dharma Drive will end with the year, at midnight on December 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.
With much aloha and warm greetings during the holiday season,
Kauai's Hindu Monastery
Himalayan Academy Publications
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