Today in Midland, Texas, pre-release ebook versions of our upcoming storybooks on the yamas and niyamas, "Ten Tales About Self-Control" and "Ten Tales About Religious Life," were tested on an iPad at a Bal Vikas class at the Hindu Association of West Texas. The books, which will be released in print later this year, are geared toward the 10-to-12 age group. Each of these two books in our new Modern Hindu Children's Stories series has ten stories, one for each yama (ethical restraint) and niyama (religious observance), respectively. The ebook versions, which have just been completed, will be released soon on Apple iBookstore (for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch), Amazon (for their Kindle e-reader) and Barnes and Noble (for their Nook e-reader). This will be the first time that the monastery will release digital versions of a publication prior to the printed edition.
At the request of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the stories were written by Anuradha Murali of Karnataka and illustrated by Rajeev N.T. of Kerala and then carefully edited by the swamis of Kauai's Hindu Monastery over the last couple of years. Book 1, "Ten Tales About Self-Control," includes stories such as "How Our Family Became Vegetarians Again," "Caught In a Friend's Lie," "How a Puppy Taught Chandran Patience" and "Honesty: the Best Policy." Book 2, "Ten Tales About Religious Life," includes stories such as "Be Satisfied with What You Have," "The Milk Miracle," "Treating Guests as God" and "Penance at a Cave in Malaysia."
A special feature of the ebook edition for Apple's iOS devices is the inclusion of the audiobook version of each story. The monastery hired a professional voice actress in Florida to record the stories, and devotees assisted with training her in how to pronounce the Hindu names and terms throughout the books. A link to listen to a story is included right on the first page of that story. While a child listens, she can read along or just look at the beautiful illustrations. The printed books, now being printed in Kuala Lumpur, each include an MP3 CD with the recordings. The books will also be released as standalone audiobooks.
Thanks go to Dr. Padmaja Patel (standing second from right), who has been using the monastery's teaching materials in her Bal Vikas for a few years and had the idea recently to try using an iPad in her classes, an idea that has been working out really well. She shared about the new ebooks on the iPad, "I noticed that the kids were very engrossed in the story because of the audio which kept their attention. They indicated that they would like to read other stories during our next session. Comments we gathered from them included: interesting, good pictures, easy to understand, would like to read other stories next time. They liked the fact that they can read them on their iPad and the stories seemed real to them."
Stay tuned for excerpts, including audio, and information about how to acquire these exciting new books!
Very novel of teaching, but in current technologically orianted children this is just the right way to get them curious and interested. Keep up this good work. Kudos to all teachers, children and their parent.
Friends who are fine, positive and good Hindus will help you most of all. It's important for parents of teenagers to know their teenager's friends. Our strength comes from mixing and interacting with others who are practicing sadhana. "The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group."
Pray to Lord Ganesha before beginning work. Turn everything you do into selfless service, seva, karma yoga. Work becomes worship. Hold the perspective of Sivanadiyar that you are the devoted servant of God Siva. "Do everything you do as Sivathondu. Give up this 'I' and mine."
"As you approach God's home, you can feel the spiritual energy, and as you go inside you are engulfed in peace." Trust in and open up to the deity. God is a very subtle presence. The temple and the murti within it are set up so that anyone can feel God's presence once they have enough devotion. Go to the temple and through the sanctified murti see God. Kumbabishekam purifies the temple, infuses divine energy into the murti. The deity, during puja, resides in the murti. Continuous daily worship perpetuates and over the years strengthens the power of the temple.
Be close to God by going to the temple. By shifting our minds to our religion the flow of positive karma is intensified. Being open and receptive receive the blessings of the deity. Bask in the divine energy radiating out from the murti. Creating a strong tie to the temple, perform a sacred act when you return home. Light a lamp in your home shrine; bring the vibration and summon the devas from the temple.