Friday, December 3, 2010

The Monks of Kauai's Hindu Monastery

Kauai Aadheenam is the spiritual home and theological seminary for 21 monks from five nations. They are the ministers of Saiva Siddhanta Church overseeing an international religious mission, while living a strict lifestyle of daily religious worship, meditation, yoga and service. Morning worship begins before dawn in the temple with rites to Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and then Lord Siva. Young, single men under 25 years of age who are interested in traditional Hindu monastic life can explore our How to Become a Monk page.

Following the daily worship, at 6:00am the monks sit together for a one-hour guided meditation followed by singing and guidance from the abbot. This daily spiritual activity is the anchor for the coming day of service to dedicated spiritual seekers and the Hindu world at large.

The monks are involved daily with the Hindu temple that is the center of their life, performing three-hour vigils 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the sacred precincts. Classes, seminars and training take place throughout the week as they study together the philosophical and metaphysical teachings of the founder, chant Sanskrit mantras, sing traditional devotional hymns and celebrate the festivals of their lineage.

Self-sufficiency is a prime principle for Hindu monastics, and thus each monk is called upon to help with the daily chores of the monastery, whether in the kitchen, the gardens, the temple or the offices.

Now we introduce ever so briefly the founder of Kauai's Hindu Monastery and the 20 monks whom he initiated and who now carry on the spiritual work of his lineage.

For over five decades Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, affectionately known as Gurudeva, taught Hinduism to Hindus and seekers from all faiths. In the line of successorship, he was the 162nd Jagadacharya of the Nandinatha Sampradaya's Kailasa Parampara and the founding Guru Mahasannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam (also known as Kauai's Hindu Monastery), a 458-acre temple-monastery complex on Hawaii's Garden Island. Gurudeva's mission, received from his satguru, Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, was to protect, preserve and promote the Saivite Hindu religion as expressed through its three pillars: temples, satgurus and scripture. That mission is now carried forward by his monastic and family communities.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is Gurudeva's designated successor, having spent 37 years training and serving at Gurudeva's side. On November 13, 2001, he was installed as Guru Mahasannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam and the 163rd preceptor of the Kailasa Parampara. Bodhinatha is the spiritual head of Saiva Siddhanta Church, Himalayan Academy and Hindu Heritage Endowment. As publisher of Hinduism Today magazine, he carries forward Gurudeva's vision to inform, strengthen and connect Hindus around the world. Read a more thorough biography here.

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