Kauai Aadheenam became a secluded powerhouse where Gurudeva kept his monks together doing intense Raja yoga, worship of Lord Siva in the temple and teamed up on his mission work during the day. Out of this mix of Natha Kundalini meditation sadhana, daily chanting and worship of our beloved Siva Nataraja flows a bee-hive of dedicated activity that has manifested many remarkable publications.
Gurudeva started publishing in San Francisco. He himself ran a small Gestetner printing machine that produced the early copies of his “Master Course.” In 1979 he started his first international news publication effort which was to become one day the famous magazine we all know and love: Hinduism Today. This year, 2009, marks its 30th anniversary.
This humble “newspaper” was only letter sized. It was sent to Friends and Members of Saiva Siddhanta Church and called “The New Saivite World.”
In two years the publication advanced to a full-sized broadsheet tabloid.
The editorial team worked nearly full time. It was a monthly then and began to bring in major feature stories with an editorial mission of international scope. It was dedicated to serve “300 Million members of the Saivite Hindu Religion.” Worldwide.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Gurudeva made a whirlwind of trips to many countries on invitation from leaders in England, Europe, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Mauritius, the Caribbean and of course across USA and Canada.
He returned to Kauai Aadheenam with a new vision. He said that Hindu communities all over the world had no idea what their brethern were doing in other countries. Hindus in Fiji had no clue about the large Hindu presence in South Africa. Hindus in Malaysia were unaware of the dynamic Hindu presence in Trinidad and Tobago. He boldly commissioned the monks to create an instrument which would bring to all the world over a new vision of global Hindu solidarity, based on a unity in diversity. He told the monks that this would be a public service to all Hindus, of all colors, of all nationalities and all traditions. The new publication would promote all lineages, all Hindu sampradayas and especially be focused on honoring and highlighting Hindu leaders and the work of Hindu sevaks the world over. He also mandated the magazine to serve as a Hindu front which would tackle the issues facing the transition of Sanatana Dharma from the past to today and on to tomorrow’s children.
In September of 1985, the publication received a new title, Hinduism Today, and added a single color to the black. Wow! Well, that’s what we thought back then when we were doing the printing. The lead article on Sri Lanka was a fateful one, still relevant today.
By 1987 the publication was gaining recognition, readership and support by advertisers throughout the world. Financially it has always paid its own way. Never made money, never lost it either. Other journals have come and gone. Other journals reach only the small group of followers of a specific institution. Hinduism Today is not about us. It is about the rest of the Hindu world. When Gurudeva set these principles in motion, he told the monks, “Don’t beat your own chest. Make others strong, and see how strong you get in the process.” He was so right.
In January, 1986, after considerable discussions over the added expense, the publication goes full color.
With a growing international distribution, the newspaper format was no longer a viable medium. It was logistically difficult to pack and ship. The editorial content was “crying out” for a more elegant, sophisticated vehicle.
In December of 1996 we tackled what was then referred to in-house as “Project Quantum Leap!” Hinduism Today became a full-color glossy magazine and was to be distributed through all the mainstream distribution channels. The monks worked hard for 3 months, changing over the format, finding a new printer and opening up new business relationships with the mainstream publications industry in the US while reaching out to international distributors. Hinduism Today, the magazine, was re-born again.
And here we are today, 30 years later, going strong! Hinduism Today and Forever!