How to Become a Monk
There are a few unusual young men who have had enough of the materialistic world and choose to dedicate their life to the spiritual goal of Self Realization while serving as Hindu monks. Perhaps you are one of them.
There are one billion Hindus on the planet today, and by conservative estimate, there are three million swamis, sadhus and satgurus in India alone. The Swaminarayan order has over 800; Ramakrishna Mission over 700; the Bharat Sevashram Sangh has over 500. Other organized Hindu orders range into the thousands. Temples to the Gods of Sanatana Dharma are estimated at 500,000—with 1,000 in the USA. The priests serving in these temples outnumber those in several of the world's mainstream religions. While our order is small by comparison, its influence in the Hindu world is profound.
Guided by our satguru, Bodhinatha Veylanswami, successor to our founder, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, and headquartered at Kauai Aadheenam in Hawaii, our order ranks as Hinduism's foremost traditional monastic order in the West, accepting candidates from every nation on Earth. Young men considering life's renunciate path who believe they have found their spiritual life in Saiva Siddhanta are encouraged to e-mail Satguru Bodhinatha, sharing their spiritual aspirations.
We invite you, if you have chosen to follow an inner path of spiritual striving and religious service and are under age 24 (no exception to this age limit), to consider joining our order, the Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order, composed of men from several nations and cultural backgrounds. Knowing God Siva and serving others is our only goal in life. Following the monastic traditions of South India and Sri Lanka, we live in monasteries apart from the world to worship, meditate, serve and realize the truth of the Vedas and Agamas, uplifting the world by our example.
Entrance is slow. The first steps toward acceptance for visiting the monastery are to enroll in our Master Course Trilogy Supervised Study, read our Holy Orders of Sannyasa vows document, and read our Hinduism Today magazine. After Satguru Bodhinatha receives your email, one of the swami monastics will communicate further, to get to know you better. If you qualify, you'll be invited to come to the monastery on Kauai island on a noncommittal taskforce program for up to six months, then return home and think over the experience. Note, you may not make plans to come until approval is given.
After your first visit, simple premonastic pledges are given for six months at a time for the first year or two. Renewable two-year vows of celibacy, obedience, humility and confidence are given until final lifetime vows, Holy Orders of Sannyasa, including the vow of poverty, may be given after ten to twelve years of training.
You may be inclined now to also read the history of our great lineage in our book, The Guru Chronicles.
Since our small monastic order is men only, women interested in monastic life may google other orders or ashrams that are for or include women, such as Mata Amritanandamayi centers, Sarada Convent in southern California, and Svami Gitananda Ashram in Italy.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Helpful information about Hindu monastic life
- Song of the Sannyasin by Swami Vivekananda
- Holy Orders of Sannyasa, Excerpts from a Saiva Swami's Diksha and Lifetime Vows of Renunciation
- Biography of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
- Biography of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
- Meet the Monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery
About the above painting
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) and all the swamis, yogis and sadhakas have been captured in this Rajput-style painting by Vedasmriti Devi. The artist beautifully captured the monks at our Kauai monastery. We are all seated beneath the giant, 70-year-old banyan tree that stands just in front of our temple, listening attentively to the wisdom of our spiritual heritage. And, yes, we dress and work in Sri Lankan style handwoven cotton robes. Behind is the natural Nani Kaua pond and waterfall, among the most beautiful on the islands. Our cows and parrots, tropical plants, flowers and lotus ponds all share this special paradise. Aum Namasivaya!