The monthly Chitra pujas to Gurudeva were held on August 3, August 31 and September 27, and the monthly Ardra abhishekams to Nataraja occurred on August 22 and September 18. The annual festival for August was Ganesha Chaturthi, which we celebrated with a grand abhishekam and live-streamed on August 30. A special ceremony was held in Kadavul Temple on September 11 and 12 called Bala Alaya. In preparation for the silpis installing the ornate granite cladding on the Nandi pitham, kodimaram and balipitham, priests removed the spiritual power from those structures and installed it in a small replica of it in front of the crystal in Kadavul. Months from now, when the cladding work is done, a ceremony will be held to reverse the process. During a short trip to the mainland with Sannyasins Shanmuganathaswami and Siddhanathaswami, a satsang was held in Chicago with about thirty devotees. The weekly Zoom satsangs for August and September included presentations on karma based on the “Karma Management” chapter in What Is Hinduism? Answers to questions submitted by devotees enriched the digital gatherings. General contributions for August totaled $181,084.75, which is significantly more than our monthly goal of $75,000. Contributions for September totaled $72,471.46, which is less than our goal
- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
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Good interpersonal relationships help the meditator a great deal, and meditation helps keep those relations harmonious. When we get along nicely with others, meditation becomes easy. If we have problems with other people, if we argue or disagree mentally and verbally, we must work exceedingly diligently in order to regain the subtlety of meditation. Poor interpersonal relationships are one of the biggest barriers, for they antagonize awareness, causing it to flow through the instinctive and intellectual forces. This puts stress and strain on the nerve system and closes inner doors to superconsciousness....Obviously, we must conquer and harmonize all our relationships—not by working to change the other person, but by working with that other person within ourself, for we are only seeing in him what is in us. He becomes a mirror. We cannot allow the unraveling of the relationship by attempted outer manipulation, discussion or analysis to become a barrier to deeper meditation. Instead, we must internalize everything that needs change, work within ourselves and leave other people out of it. This helps to smooth interpersonal relationships; and as these relationships improve, so does our ability to meditate.
Kumar Gurukal conducts the first day’s pujas for the bala alaya murtis in Kadavul Temple
Madan Ganesha joins the Publisher’s Desk quarterly meeting for Hinduism Today in the Media Studio
Golden rudraksha beads are a new creation inspired by the gilding of the temple towers
Iraivan Temple Progress
The 23-karat golden rajagopuram seen through the surrounding foliage in the morning light
Work is continuing on the building of the two small lava rock pony walls, one on either side of the stairway that future pilgrims will climb. This set of stairs begins near the banks of the Wailua River, passes through a jungle of tropical plants and the three granite elephants and ends at Iraivan Temple’s front steps. The project of installing the rose colored granite tiles around the temple’s perimeter has begun, and is projected to take several months. Good progress is being made on the 35 bronze plaques that will be installed on the outer wall of the temple, to be read by future pilgrims as they circumnambulate the temple. The landscaping of the path that pilgrims will use to walk around the temple is nearing completion. It is comprised of black plastic “grass pavers,” a two-inch-thick lattice sheet filled with topsoil and planted with a special grass to create a firm surface which will be comfortable for bare feet and cool in the summer’s hot sun.
Special Bala Alaya Ceremony
When the silpis return from India, they will be renovating the Nandi mandapam, balipitham and kodimaram (golden flagpole) of Kadavul Temple, adding ornate granite cladding to the bases of each of these temple elements. This however, requires an important ritual, as is done before any construction takes place on an established temple. Beginning on September 11, priests Kumar Gurukkal and Arul Vishvanathan performed a powerful two-day rite which transfered the spiritual energy into a small shrine near the crystal inside the temple. This new miniature shrine mystically represents these structures for the duration of construction and repairs.
When souls pilgrimage to the Aadheenam, they pack, along with their great love of God and guru, their lifetime toolbox of skills and knowledge. Such was the case the case with Madan Ganesh Velayudham of Bengaluru, who visited the monastery for ten days in August. His first priority was sadhana and spiritual upliftment. He also used his skills in the digital universe to help the Ganapati Kulam, bringing specialized high-end expertise we seldom have access to. Before returning to India, he set forth plans to enhance the monastery websites, improve and promote our apps and more. Also, in mid-September Vatshalan Santhirapala arrived from the UK, taking two months off from his medical career to experience a little bit of living like a monk. He’s been learning the esoterics of the greenhouse operations as well as helping the gardening, construction and maintenance group of monks in their wide ranging daily tasks.
Swami Sarveshananda from the Chinmaya Mission center in Dallas, Texas, visited our monastery for the first time as part of touring the Hawaiian islands. After the Siva puja, he sat with Satguru to reminisce their previous interactions in Dallas/Fort Worth, and then explored Iraivan Temple.
News From Sri Lanka
Rishi Thondunathan standing in front of the new structure
You may know that in 1948-49 Gurudeva stayed in the home of Kandiah Chettiar in Alaveddy, Sri Lanka, when he came to the island nation searching for his guru. Now, with Bodhinatha’s blessings, the local community is building a meditation mandapam on the parcel, with a Sivalinga at the center and four of our satgurus, one in each corner: Gurudeva, Yogaswami, Chellappaswami and Kadaitswami. Ganesha and Murugan shrines are situated at the front entrance.
Lion Sage is a child’s version of the metaphysical masterpiece Merging with Siva. It teaches children how to face life’s challenges, but most importantly informs them of their true identity.
Young ones are taught they are not the body which suffers now and then. They are not the emotions that well up in good times and not so good times. They are not the thinking mind. They are light and love; they are an immortal soul on a path of self-discovery. Knowing this one truth can alter a young life forever. As you take your children through these pages, you are providing a deep comprehension of life and values that few people have. You are teaching them to live in the now and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. You are giving them time-honored tools to create a happier, less stressful childhood.
Famed Indian artist Kailas Raj paints Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami in an idyllic forest with the Himalayas and a small Sivalingam shrine in the distance
“Dana, giving, is built into all aspects of Hindu life—giving to the holy man, giving to the astrologer, giving to the teacher, giving dakshina to a swami or a satguru for his support, over and above all giving to his institution, over and above tithing, over and above giving to the temple. If the satguru has satisfied you with the fullness of his presence, you must satisfy yourself in equal fullness in giving back. You can be happily fat as these two fullnesses merge within you. By giving to the satguru, you give him the satisfaction of giving to another, for he has no needs except the need to practice dana” (Living with Siva Lesson 41).
For those who have been touched spiritually by Gurudeva’s work, his books, his guidance, his inspired life and example, and his mission under the guidance of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, you may honor your sentiment with a donation to the Thank You Bodhinatha Fund. Gurudeva created this endowment, originally named the Thank You Gurudeva Fund, to provide additional resources he could utilize in fulfilling his mission, such as covering travel expenses to visit devotees or attend Hindu conferences, as well as providing items for his office or living quarters at the monastery. Upon Gurudeva’s mahasamadhi, the name of the fund was changed to reflect the new guru’s name. Thus the fund is now named the Thank You Bodhinatha Fund (see donation details below).
When we think of a guru and charity, we would generally think of making a gift to the guru. However, there are occasions on which the guru himself is the one making the gift. With that in mind, Gurudeva created the Kailasa Pitham Fund. (Kailasa Pitham is the name of the room in the monastery in which the guru sits on a pitham and conducts meditation and greets guests.) This endowment was created to provide funds for the aadheenam’s guru to give away religious items, such as publications, scholarships, rudraksha beads and more.
Among Gurudeva’s legendary uses of these funds was to provide Ganesha murtis to groups who were at the beginning stages of building a temple. He would encourage the group to conduct a puja in their homes every weekend and to regularly move the Ganesha to the homes of different families in the group. He explained that this would build a strong vibration of worship and devotion which would enable a temple to eventually manifest. This worked out well in many cities in the US that now have large and popular temples as a result of Ganesha worship.
Recent items given by Bodhinatha include gifts of our sacred home-grown rudrakshas—which are deeply appreciated—as well as grants for translations, such as selected texts from the Saiva Agamas and the complete Tirumantiram of Tirumular.
Donations can be made to the Thank you Bodhinatha Fund. Donations can also be made to the Kailasa Peedam Fund. These endowments allow the monastery to use your funds as an investment and draw on the grant income over time. This is a way to ensure that your gift lasts into perpetuity.
For information on establishing a fund at Hindu Heritage Endowment, contact Shanmuganathaswami at 808-822-3012, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here Is My Contribution to Help Finish Iraivan Temple
Sponsor Stone Chains & Flooring Stones
Stone Chains: Among the “wonderments” of Iraivan Temple are the stone chains, each carved from a single solid block of granite. In all, 24 such chains, three feet long, will adorn the spaces. Twelve will hang from the corners of the Nandi Mandapam and 12 within the main temple. Asked why these marvelous artifacts are created, the master builder said with a smile, “To show off the extraordinary skill and artistry of the carvers.” Of course, they also add an ornate and charming visual masterpiece at the corners, and provoke a sense of awe in pilgrims who encounter them for the first time. The process, which takes around 350 man hours per chain, is so difficult that few have been made in the past hundred years, we've been told. Sponsorship is $10,000 per chain.
Rose Granite Flooring Stones: One of the last remaining large projects for Iraivan Temple is the installation of one-inch thick rose granite flooring stones (sample of the reddish stone below) in the second prakaram, the 6,500 square-foot area surrounding the roofed area of the temple. The diagram at left is a detailed map of the project prepared for the tile supplier and the professional installers The colors indicate the various tile sizes. Sponsorship is $1,800 for each 25-square-foot section.
Last year’s fundraising goal (Sept 2021 through Aug 2022) was $840,000, or $70,000 a month. Thanks to the generous donations of our global family of temple builders, we received actual contributions of $1,460,382.25.