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Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with Subramanya). It is formed from subhra meaning, "light; intuition," and muni, "silent sage." Ya means "restraint; religious meditation." Thus Subramuniya means a self-restrained soul who remains silent, or when he speaks, speaks out from intuition.


1. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, World Hindu Leader, Passes Away at 74, Source: http://www.gurudeva.dynip.com/~htoday/press_releases/

KAUAI, HAWAII, USA, November 13, 2001: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, one of Hinduism's foremost and globally prominent spiritual teachers, a prolific author and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine, attained Maha Samadhi, "Great Union," today at age 74 at his ashram home on the tropical island of Kauai, Hawaii, USA. A spokesperson for the ashram said the Hindu master discovered on October 9, soon after he returned from a 30-day pilgrimage to Europe with 72 devotees, that he had advanced intestinal cancer. The disease was diagnosed when Subramuniyaswami was hospitalized for severe anemia. A battery of tests revealed the cancer and that it had metastasized to other parts of his body. Three medical teams of radiologists and oncologists in Hawaii, Washington State and California all concurred that even the most aggressive treatment regimens would prove ineffective, and estimated he had just a few months to live. The popular Satguru went into seclusion and after several days of meditation declared he would accept no treatment beyond palliative measures. He also made the decision to follow the Indian yogic practice, called Prayopavesa in Sanskrit scripture, to abstain from nourishment and take water only from that day on. His doctors endorsed and fully supported his decision. He died on the 32nd day of his self-declared fast, passing on quietly at 11:54 pm on November 12, 2001, surrounded by his 23 monastics.

News of his impending passage was first released to the Hindu world on October 16. Immediately temples, ashrams and devotees around the world began the "Mrityunjaya Yajna," a worship ceremony traditionally offered prior to the passing of a great saint. The yajna was performed across the USA, Europe, India, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. In the Hindu tradition, a saint's passing is considered an extremely auspicious and exalted event, signalling the completion of his mission on Earth and his return to the great inner heaven worlds whence he was sent by God and the Gods to help mankind. Nearly a hundred devotees from all over the world flew to the remote island of Kauai to be nearby during the passage. The suddenness of the events stunned the 2.5 million Tamils of Sri Lanka, for whom Subramuniyaswami, the successor of Lanka's great guru Yogaswami, is their hereditary spiritual leader.

An outpouring of appreciation came from the local Kauai island residents who, though not Hindus, had over the decades of his residence there developed a fondness and profound appreciation of Subramuniyaswami, whom they called "Gurudeva," the affectionate title he was most known by. They valued his spiritual presence and his generously given guidance and advice on local island matters.

Before his passing, Subramuniyaswami consoled his sorrowful monks, telling them, "Don't be sad, soon I will be with you 24 hours a day, working with you all from the inner planes." Bereaved devotees arriving at the island ashram heard the same message, and by the time of the Great Departure, a profound peace had descended upon the ashram and all connected with it.

At Subramuniyaswami's request, he was cremated the same day, at Borthwick Kauai Mortuary in Koloa, Kauai, where a simple memorial service was held. In accordance with his directions, his ashes will be ceremonially interred tomorrow morning in a meditation crypt behind the sanctum sanctorum of the ashram's Siva Nataraja temple. His designated successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, 59, was installed immediately as guru of the ashram, formally known as Kauai Aadheenam.

As is traditional, the passage of a saint is not accompanied by the Hindu rituals of mourning. The release from the mortal coils at the time of the saint's choosing is regarded as an auspicious event, one to be met with gratitude for his life and not sorrow for his passage.

When notified of the Satguru's passing, Sita Ram Goel, one of India's most influential Hindu writers and thinkers, wrote, "He has done great work for Hinduism, and the recent reawakening of the Hindu mind carries his stamp." Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for 2000, said, "For more than five decades, Subramuniyaswami, a highly enlightened soul of the West -- a Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva Himself -- has watered the roots of Hinduism with great zeal, faith, enthusiasm and whole-heartedness." Sri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj of India said, "By his life and by his teaching, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has helped make Hinduism an even greater gift to humanity." Swami Agnivesh of the Arya Samaj wrote, "Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, our Gurudev, is a great spiritual asset for humankind. I still carry with me the warmth of his affectionate hug and his very kind words."

The American Swami Few in the Hindu world would not recognize the tall, white-haired American who had gained prominence over the decades for his practical and clear-minded books replete with explanations of everything Hindu, from the most basic beliefs and daily practices to the loftiest refined philosophy and yoga techniques. He was equally famous as founder and publisher of Hinduism Today, which evolved over 21 years from a simple newsletter to an award-winning, international, full-color magazine, respected for its authoritative reporting on Hindu events, institutions, personalities, issues and controversies around the world. Among his innovative projects are the creation of Iraivan Temple on Kauai, the first all-stone, hand-carved granite Agamic temple ever built in the West, the founding of Hindu Heritage Endowment to perpetually fund worthy Hindu institutions and his participation in numerous international conferences on religion, peace and interfaith harmony.

In 1986, the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi honored him as one of the five Hindu spiritual leaders outside of India who had most dynamically promoted Hinduism in the past 25 years. Among his other honors are being named one of 25 "presidents" of religion at the 1996 Parliament of the World Religions held in Chicago, and receiving the U Thant Peace Award while attending the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in August, 2000. This award was previously given to the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa. On August 25, 2000, he addressed 1,200 spiritual leaders during the UN events in New York.

Subramuniyaswami was a study in elegance, grace and radiant spirituality. People would instinctively make way when he walked through a public area, immediately conscious that a saint was present. Total strangers who had no idea who he was would approach him with reverence, anxious to meet this unusual being with the silken white hair. He was a large man, six-foot two inches tall, with deep hazel eyes. He maintained throughout much of his life the chiseled body he had developed in his youth as an accomplished ballet dancer. Even in his seventies he would occasionally dance for devotees, who would be astounded by his strength and grace of movement. He had a keen yet unpretentious sense of presentation, and when moving about in public was always impeccably groomed and fashionably dressed. His devotees loved his sense of fun, maintained even upon his death bed, for when asked by a monk if they could get anything for him, he replied, "Well, yes, a new body."

A Mystic's Life, Decade by Decade Subramuniyaswami as born on January 5, 1927, in Oakland, California, and grew up near Lake Tahoe. He was orphaned by age 11 and raised by a family with deep connections to India. In his teenage years he was trained in classical Eastern and Western dance and in the disciplines of yoga, becoming the premier danseur of the San Francisco Ballet by age 19. Increasingly drawn to a spiritual life, he renounced his career at its height and sailed to India and Sri Lanka in 1947, on the first ship to sail to India following World War II. There he intensified his spiritual training under renowned yogis. In 1948, in the mountain caves of Jalani in central Sri Lanka, he fasted and meditated until he burst into enlightenment. Soon after that God Realization at just 21 years old, he met his satguru, Sage Yogaswami, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. This was the single most respected Saivite Hindu guru for the people of Sri Lanka. The 72-year-old sage gave him his Hindu name, Subramuniya, and initiated him into the holy orders of sannyasa, or renunciate monasticism. Yogaswami then ordained the young mystic into his lineage with a tremendous slap on the back, saying, "This will be heard in America! Now go 'round the world and roar like a lion. You will build palaces (e.g., temples) and feed thousands." While still in Sri Lanka, Gurudeva introduced the nation to the circular saw, worked with leading Buddhist elders and founded Saiva Siddhanta Church, the world's first Hindu church, now active in many nations, and the Sri Subramuniya Ashram in the township of Alaveddy, just north of Jaffna.

Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with Subramanya). It is formed from subhra meaning, "light; intuition," and muni, "silent sage." Ya means "restraint; religious meditation." Thus Subramuniya means a self-restrained soul who remains silent, or when he speaks, speaks out from intuition.

Gurudeva returned to America in 1950 where he went into a reclusive phase of deep contemplation and developed the spiritual techniques imparted to him in Sri Lanka, from which he wrote his first book, "Raja Yoga." This profound masterpiece remains the core of his teachings. Yogaswami had told him not to teach until he reached the age of 30, so it was in 1957 that he founded Himalayan Academy, now with thousands of students, and opened America's first Hindu temple, on Sacramento Street in San Francisco. In 1960 he initiated his first monastic disciples and opened centers in Reno and Virginia City, Nevada, and other areas of California. During this time he welcomed Hindu swamis coming for the first time to America, including Swami Chinmayananda, whom he extensively assisted in setting up his Chinmaya Mission in California.

Subramuniyaswami developed an effective method of teaching through "Innersearch" travel-study programs, which he conducted periodically to different parts of the world until two months before his passing. Among the most outstanding of these programs was his 1969 pilgrimage to India with 65 devotees, then the largest group from America ever to come to India. Similar spiritual journeys took him and hundreds of devotees to dozens of nations, where he would typically meet with political and spiritual leaders, master craftsmen, Zen and Hindu abbots and yogis. In recent years his Innersearch tours focused on connecting with the Tamil Saivite communities around the globe, which he nurtured from Kauai.

In the 1970s he brought his followers and organization entirely into Hinduism, and established Kauai Aadheenam, a monastery-temple complex in the South Indian tradition on Kauai, Hawaii, USA. His was the first major Saivite Hindu theological center outside the Indian subcontinent. In 1975 he founded the San Marga Iraivan Temple, and in 1979 he began publishing his famed Hinduism Today magazine. He developed a large printing facility in Virginia City, Nevada, and produced tens of thousands of his books and courses for the general market, writing about Indian spiritual practices long before they became popular.

It was during this decade that large numbers of Hindus began to emigrate from India to the United States and Europe, encouraged by new immigration laws passed by President John F. Kennedy. Once here, they often found themselves cut off from the guidance of Hindu leaders in India. Subramuniyaswami sought to fill the gap by inspiring dozens of groups to build temples and perpetuate Hinduism in their new countries. Often he would gift the temple founders an icon of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God invoked at the start of any project, with instructions to immediately begin His worship. He made himself available to the founders when they encountered difficulties, and counseled them on how to integrate with the local American community. He helped major institutions like the Chinmaya Mission and Sringeri Peetham to put roots down in America, and lent his monks and legal staff to the Hindu cause. In many cases, he would assign one of his own devotees to work closely with the temple until it was firmly established. Thus were dozens of temples built under his direct guidance or indirect influence in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, England, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and elsewhere.

In the 80s, often as part of his Innersearch programs, he conducted Hindu renaissance tours, meeting hundreds of thousands of Hindus in India and Sri Lanka, to whom he spread a message of courage, regenerating pride of heritage. In 1983 he traveled throughout Sri Lanka with a few of his monastics, visiting hundreds of villages, giving powerful talks in all parts of the country, even the remote tea plantations of central Lanka. Over 300,000 Hindus came to his discourses, which called for Hindus to have pride in their heritage and to cling to their faith despite efforts of other religions to make inroads and converts. During that Innersearch, Gurudeva was paraded through towns and villages in the ancient way, seldom seen today. White hand-woven cloth was laid before him to form a path on which he would walk to each meeting, each temple rite, each lecture. Sometimes these would go for miles, with devotees crowded on both sides of the roadway, chanting and offering flower petals beneath his long-striding feet. In Tuticorin, deep in the south of India, city elder and staunch Saiva Siddhantin, A. P. C. Veerabhagu, lead Gurudeva and his 50-plus devotees from the West through the streets in a marvelous procession of chariots and horse-drawn carriages that could have happened a thousand years ago. Hundreds of thousands of Saivites turned out that morning to welcome the sage from America, and he was led for miles through the city streets with hundreds of women with baskets full of flowers standing on the tops of each building raining tons of flowers on the great guru below who had given Saivite Hinduism back its pride of place among the religions of the world. During this same journey, he was given awards from all the major spiritual centers in South India, which he visited in person. He also arranged for India's greatest Bharata Natyam dancer, Kumari Swarnamukhi, to dance in the 1,000-pillared hall at Chidambaram Temple in Tamil Nadu. Her performance was the first in hundreds of years and marked the return of the sacred dancers to the temples from which they had been banned for so long.

Also in the 1980s Gurudeva founded a branch monastery in Mauritius, whose government had invited him to revive a languishing Hindu faith. "Please come to our country," wrote one Mauritian at the time, "but do not just feed us rice. Teach us how to grow rice. Teach us our ancient heritage."

Always an accomplished publisher, Subramuniyaswami came in on the ground floor with desktop publishing, adopting the Apple computer in 1985, then in its infancy, and instructing his monks to create a state-of-the-art system. Engineers from Apple came to Kauai to marvel at the setup. Apple even sent a team of documentary filmmakers to the monastery to show their employees the world's first functional publishing network, amazingly created by Gurudeva's monastics. He enjoyed the technology and proficiently used it for his work. This super-efficient system supercharged his prolific outreach through scriptures, books, pamphlets, art, lessons and later through CDs and the world's foremost Hindu websites.

Subramuniyaswami had come by this time to be well-known throughout the world as an articulate, insightful and forceful exponent of the Hindu faith. In the late 1980s and the 1990s, in historic gatherings of spiritual and parliamentary leaders, he represented Hinduism to discuss mankind's future at the seminal Global Forum of Political and Spiritual Leaders‹at Oxford in 1988, Moscow in 1990, and Brazil in 1992. In 1986, the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi honored him as one of the five Hindu spiritual leaders outside of India who had most dynamically promoted Hinduism in the past 25 years. In 1993 he was elected one of three Presidents of Hinduism at the 100th anniversary of the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. It was in 1994 that he founded Hindu Heritage Endowment to provide permanent income for Hindu swamis, temples and orphanages worldwide and created a stunning 3,000-page illustrated trilogy of sourcebooks on Saivism. The last volume, titled Living with Siva, Hinduism's Contemporary Culture, arrived from the printers in Malaysia shortly before his passing.

What He Taught Subramuniyaswami taught the traditional Saivite Hindu path to enlightenment, a path that leads the soul from simple service to worshipful devotion to God, from the disciplines of meditation and yoga to the direct knowing of Divinity within. His insights into the nature of consciousness provide a key for quieting the external mind and revealing to aspirants their deeper states of being, which are eternally perfect, full of light, love, serenity and wisdom. He urges all seekers to live a life of ahimsa, nonhurtfulness towards nature, people and creatures, an ethic which includes vegetarianism. From his ashram in Hawaii, Subramuniyaswami continued to follow his own guru's instruction to bring Saivism to the Western world by teaching others to "know thy Self by thyself" and thus "see God Siva everywhere."

His Monastic Order and the Future Foundational to all of his work is the Kauai Aadheenam and its resident Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order. This group of 14 initiated swamis with lifetime vows and ten brahmachari, celibate monks in training, come from six countries and include both men born into the Hindu religion and those who converted or adopted Hinduism, Asians and Westerners. Made strong by decades of Subramuniyaswami's strict and hands-on personal guidance, all of his work will be carried forward and flourish in the future under the guidance of his senior-most swami and designated successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, age 59, a disciple for 35 years.

This is an advaitic (non-dualist) Saiva Siddhanta order, a living stream of the ancient Nandinatha Sampradaya. This lineage is bound by certain common elements of philosophy including a belief in both the transcendent and immanent nature of God, the value of temple worship and the need to work through all karmas before liberation from rebirth may be obtained. It teaches the principle philosophical doctrines of the Hindu religion, including reincarnation, karma and dharma, vegetarianism, noninjury toward all beings, the importance of the yamas and niyamas, the need for purity and personal encounter with the Divine, gained through the several yogas and through penance, pilgrimage and daily worship. Natha gurus refuse to recognize caste distinctions in spiritual pursuits and initiate from the lowest to the highest, according to spiritual worthiness. Swamis of the Nandinatha lineage are often known as "market-place swamis," for they have historically lived among the people, rather than in remote areas, and interacted freely with all regardless of social status.

Publications Throughout his life, Subramuniyaswami sought to establish, stabilize and advance Hinduism throughout the world. Leading swamis of India marveled at his ability to explain the most complex principles in a uniquely lucid and straightforward English, perhaps the central part of his written legacy, for until him the English representations of Hinduism were mostly Victorian in style or academic and awkward. Swami Chidananda Saraswati, President of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, said, "All the Hindus of our global Hindu brotherhood are verily indebted to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami for his super compendium of books on Hinduism so carefully compiled, classified, carefully arranged, edited and published. Today it can be unhesitatingly proclaimed that he is a genius of Hinduism. He has put millions under a deep debt of gratitude by his unprecedented literary work."

His trilogy, "Dancing with Siva," "Living with Siva" and "Merging with Siva" are his foremost books. Each has been through several printings. All three are popular around the world for their easy readability, and are used in American universities for Hindu courses of study and comparative religion classes. "Dancing with Siva" is a modern Hindu catechism and resource book in question and answer format on the basics of Hinduism. Central to "Living with Siva" are his lengthy explanations of the traditional restraints and observances of Hinduism and his 365 guidelines for Hindu living, of which 115-year-old Swami Bua of New York recently commented, "These guidelines unfold one after the other with stunning simplicity. There are instructions for everybody, for every situation -- for men, women, parents, husbands, wives, businessmen, politicians, scientists -- none is forgotten or left out."

In the 365 sutras, Subramuniyaswami addressed many controversial issues of our day, one of which came into play at the end of his own life. Hindu tradition has always provided for fasting under strict community regulation as a means of accelerating one's departure from the body in the case of terminal illness. Upon hearing his medical prognosis, he meditated upon the path ahead and considering the severity of his condition decided to fast to death, a practice called prayopavesa in Sanskrit. He explained this tradition in his final book, printed just days before his Mahasamadhi, Living with Siva: "To leave the body in the right frame of mind, in the right consciousness, through the highest possible chakra, is a key to spiritual progress. The seers did not want unrelenting pain and hopelessness to be the only possibilities facing a soul whose body was failing, whose only experience was pain without reprieve. So they prescribed a kindly way, a reasonable way, especially for the pain-riddled, disabled elderly and the terminally diseased, to choose a righteous release. What wonderful wisdom. No killer drugs. No violence. No involvement of another human being, with all the karmic entanglements that inevitably produces. No life-support systems. No loss of the family wealth for prolonged health care or into the hands of unscrupulous doctors. No lapsing into unconscious coma. No loss of dignity. No unbearable anguish. And no sudden or impulsive decision‹instead, a quiet, slow, natural exit from the body, coupled with spiritual practices, with mantras and tantras, with scriptural readings, deep meditation, reflection and listening to favorite religious songs, with joyous release, with all affairs settled, with full self-awareness and with recognition and support from friends and relations."

The third book, "Merging with Siva," is on mystical Hinduism, Subramuniyaswami's speciality. It is a summation of his yogic and metaphysical insights gained through over 50 years of meditation and inner practices. This master work, which is a kind of handbook for seekers of light and serious aspirants wishing to follow the path toward illumination and spiritual liberation, covers a wide range of subjects including karma, the aura, the fourteen chakras or psychic force centers of the body, understanding and transcending the various states of mind and the methods to attain samadhi, or God Realization.

In addition to the trilogy, Subramuniyaswami produced "Loving Ganesha," a work on Hinduism's favorite God; "Lemurian Scrolls," which explores the origins of mankind on Earth; "Weaver's Wisdom," the best English translation of the ancient Tamil ethical scripture, "Tirukural;" "Saiva Dharma Sastras," an administrative manual on his organization which has served to guide other Hindu organizations in their efforts to transplant Hinduism on Western soil; as well as dozens of pamphlets, posters and handouts. In response to a request from the Hindus of Fiji, he prepared a children's course, Saivite Hindu Religion, now taught to thousands of children around the world.

One book in particular, "How to Become a Hindu," published in 2000, encapsulated one entire aspect of Subramuniyaswami's mission: clear and ethical religious conversion. Unlike many other Hindu teachers in America, he was adverse to hiding or minimizing the Hindu origins of his teachings. He insisted that his devotees be boldly and proudly Hindus, and if they were not born into the faith, that they sincerely convert to Hinduism if they wanted to follow him, including legally changing their name to a Hindu name. The book was well received in India, where people referred to it as "How to Become a Better Hindu." The Shankaracharya of Puri, one of Hinduism's foremost leaders, said it "will provide immense help to those who wish to enter the Hindu fold, and also to the younger generation of Hindus." The book also has greatly assisted with intermarriage of Hindus with those outside their faith.

Subramuniyaswami enjoyed promoting his books, and in the course of his travels for other events he would take time out to have book signings at local book stores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. These were always wonderfully entertaining and informal events which allowed people genuinely interested in his teachings an opportunity for a personal encounter with the famed guru. The store would turn into a temporary temple as devotees and readers piled flowers at Gurudeva's feet. His helpers quickly learned that bookstores rarely stocked enough books for the relatively large numbers who would come, and compensated by bringing dozens of extra copies. At the end of the evening, Subramuniyaswami would joke with the store's staff, "Well, do I get the job?"

Subramuniyaswami founded Hinduism Today magazine in 1979 to fulfill six purposes: 1) To foster Hindu solidarity as a unity in diversity among all sects and lineages; 2) To inform and inspire Hindus worldwide and people interested in Hinduism; 3) To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation about Hinduism; 4) To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the Hindu religion; 5) To nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu renaissance; 6) To publish a resource for Hindu leaders and educators who promote Sanatana Dharma. The magazine is supplemented with a daily e-mailed summary of Hindu news appearing in the world press called Hindu Press International. The magazine is by far the most sophisticated Hindu periodical and the only one which deals with all denominations of Hinduism and all countries in which Hindus live. With a studied aversion to politics, the magazine has successfully kept Hindus and non-Hindus alike appraised of a wide range of issues, people and institutions. Its website, along with that for Subramuniyaswami's teachings and a section for general Hindu information, is by far the largest resource on Hinduism on the Internet (start at www.himalayanacademy.com). A unique part of his website is "A Daily Chronicle of Kauai's Hindu Monstery," at which his answers to questions sent in by e-mail were posted in both audio and transcriptions. Hundreds of such sessions are archived there (see http://www.gurudeva.org/)

Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for 2000, said, "We are very proud of Hinduism Today. For more than three decades, Subramuniyaswami, a highly enlightened soul of the West -- a Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva Himself -- has watered the roots of Hinduism with great zeal, faith, enthusiasm and whole-heartedness." Sri Chinmoy, famed for his peace efforts worldwide, said, "a uniquely powerful and beautiful international magazine. Gurudeva has energized, inspired and united Hindus throughout the world with his dynamic approach to an ancient faith." Ram Swarup, perhaps India's most outstanding Hindu thinker, wrote, "Hinduism Today presents Hinduism's new global face. It takes a strategic lead in the effort to overcome the problem of self-alienation and growing illiteracy among the Hindus of their heritage. It is easily the best magazine Hindus have."

Iraivan Temple The Iraivan Temple, now under construction at Kauai Aadheenam, was conceived shortly after Subramuniyaswami had a powerful vision of God Siva walking on the Aadheenam land in 1975. To permanently capture the power of this great vision, he commissioned the construction of a large temple to be entirely made of hand-carved granite. The land was prepared for fifteen years, money raised, and India's greatest living architect, V. Ganapathi Sthapati, was hired to design the edifice in the thousand-year-old Chola style. The actual carving commenced in 1990 at a work site in Bangalore, India, a ceremony blessed by the presence of Sri Sri Sri Trichyswami and Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharanathaswami, the two foremost spiritual gurus of Karnataka State, who so loved Gurudeva's vision of a temple carved in India and erected in America that they gave him 11 acres of land and supported every phase of the work as though it was their own temple being built. On the arid desert lands, Gurudeva founded an entire village for the project. Homes were erected for the 75 carvers and their families, wells were dug, kitchens assembled, blacksmith facilities were built along with enormous sheds to protect the stone sculptors from the Indian sun. A Malaysian family, devotees of Gurudeva, Jiva Rajasankara, with his wife and sons, were brought to Bangalore to supervise the workers. The family oversees even today the stones which are quarried, carved and trial-fitted, then shipped to Kauai where starting in May, 2001, a team of seven master stone carvers from India arrived to begin assembly. They are presently on the sixth course of the temple; the work is expected to take several more years to complete. At the time of Gurudeva's passing, they had just completed the floor of the inner sanctum. This is the first all-stone temple ever built in the Western Hemisphere, and one for which Subramuniyaswami has insisted upon the most careful craftsmanship. He directed the carvers to do everything by hand, and even when efficiency experts urged him to permit hydraulic tools to speed up the time-consuming and expensive project, he said no, telling them that by having it done in the old way we would be passing along the ancient, hands-only craft to one more generation. The entire temple, which is taking hundreds of man years to complete, is being produced in the same way that great carvers like Michelangelo and Rubin did their masterpieces, with a simple hammer and an array of chisels. Enshrined in the temple will be a 700-pound single-pointed quartz crystal, possibly the largest in the world, to represent God Siva in His transcendent state.

Special Issues Subramuniyaswami actively opposed deceptive and coercive proselytization methods by other religions in India and other parts of the world. He put his concerns directly before leaders of other faiths in public forums and in private. He also raised these controversies at various international conferences and demanded standards be established for "ethical conversion." At the moment when Nepal changed from a monarchy to a democracy in 1990, his influence was instrumental in countering veiled threats to foreign aid that would be held back from this needy nation should Nepal declare itself "Hindu." As a result, Nepal remains the only officially Hindu nation in the world.

In the 1990s Subramuniyaswami became aware of the pervasive use of corporal punishment in the homes and schools of Hindus. He immediately began a campaign to "Stop the War in the Home" (see source for this talk at end) and to change the policies of schools. He directed his own followers in many nations to stop hitting or abusing, even verbally, their children under any circumstances, and instructed them to begin teaching nonviolent methods of positive discipline within their local community. For this, he partnered with Dr. Jane Nelsen, one of the great voices of enlightened discipline for children. She visited him on Kauai and together they worked out programs in Hindu communities around the world. This campaign, which is paralleled in other parts of the world among people of other faiths, is bearing fruit, with dozens of schools in India now forbidding corporal punishment, and thousands of Hindu parents reconsidering their own methods of child rearing.

When he addressed the 1,200 delegates to the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations in August, 2000, he said in part, "To stop the wars in the world, our best long-term solution is to stop the war in the home. It is here that hatred begins, that animosities with those who are different from us are nurtured, that battered children learn to solve their problems with violence. This is true of every religious community."

Within his own tradition of Saiva Siddhanta, Subramuniyaswami worked throughout his life to create "pure Saivites," as he said shortly before his passing. He accomplished this both through his publications and through his personal teaching. Relying upon his own intuition and profound mystical powers, he clarified and purified all of the Saivite teachings of his tradition, discarding that which could not be substantiated through his own inner experience. His staff researched thousands of topics and consulted regularly with hundreds of scholars, linguists, historians, theologians and other experts, all of whom enthusiastically assisted this great spiritual leader. He never engaged in theological dispute with other sects of Hinduism, but rather encouraged each to be true to their own traditions and philosophy. For decades he worked to create a Hindu solidarity by encouraging all shared beliefs and practices, rather than emphasizing areas of disagreement. As a result, spiritual leaders of all traditions embraced him and counted him a friend and ally. There has never been a guru so beloved by other gurus, nor one so fond of a brother swami. Over the years hundreds were either visited by him in their ashrams or found their way to his ashram in the Pacific Ocean.

Influence In addition to his work within the global Hinduism, Subramuniyaswami also had special relations with a number of communities including the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Saivites of Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji and his fellow Kauaians.

In South India, these theological centers, known as aadheenams, perform many functions. They found and manage temples, hold endowment investments and land, train swamis and priests, maintain libraries, support pundits, arbitrate theological issues, give spiritual counseling and teach. They have the authority to clarify and reinterpret scripture and to revise customary practices of their communities. They also deal with worldly matters and are called upon to settle disputes in the community, to advise politicians, even to help arrange marriages. Subramuniyaswami was called upon to perform all these functions in these various communities.

By far his greatest efforts and most focused energy went toward the 2.5 million Sri Lankan Tamils, especially after a disastrous civil war struck the country in 1983. Just prior to its onset he toured the country, addressing hundreds of thousands of Tamils. After 1983, Tamil refugees poured out of Sri Lanka and made their way to Canada, America, Germany, England, Australia and dozens of other countries. He founded the first Refugee Relief Fund for Sri Lankans in 1985, collecting money in the West and sending it to the war-torn region of Jaffna. He established and maintained contact with each of these communities, advised them on how to adjust to their circumstances and to remain staunch Saivite Hindus. In his last Innersearch travel-study program, he visited many of these communities in Europe, and celebrated with them their successful adaptation to their new homes. In Denmark in August of 2001 he laid the foundation stone for an Amman temple and visited other temple communities in Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK.

No group of Hindus counted Gurudeva their champion more than the noble Saivite temple priests. Most especially he encouraged and defended the Sivacharya priests of South India, who are traditionally attached to the aadheenams. He helped restore the dignity of this priesthood and encouraged young men born in the priest families to follow in the profession of their fathers instead of opting for higher-paying but totally secular jobs. He instructed the trustees of these temples outside of India he helped get started to treat their priests with respect, pay them decent wages and provide proper living facilities. He encouraged priests to start their own temples, which a few have done in Canada and Europe. He has always considered the status and well-being of the Hindu priesthood to be the most accurate measure of the well-being of Hinduism in general, and his successor and monks will continue to champion the cause of Hindu priests around the world. The priests in turn assisted Subramuniyaswami's mission at every turn, for example, by sending young Sivachariya priests to train his monks in temple worship, a training heretofore never imparted to anyone outside their caste.

Subramuniyaswami first visited Malaysia in June of 1980 with two of his swamis, and then again in January, 1981, traveling with 33 devotees for an Innersearch program which included India and Sri Lanka. Over the next few years, Hindus attracted to Subramuniyaswami's teachings started the country's very first classes in Hinduism, held after-hours at public schools. These classes and the widespread distribution of Hinduism Today magazine had a huge impact on Hindus in Malaysia, a Muslim nation where Hindus are just 10% of the population. Gurudeva's dedicated members in this country disseminated clear Hindu teachings to the youth and instilled a pride in Hindu religion as a result. He sent one of his monastics to teach classes all over the country. In 1986 the first Hindu youth camps in Malaysia were conducted by his devotees, which inspired all the other Hindu organizations to also hold youth camps. More recently, he's advocated abolishing corporal punishment in the homes and schools, directing his devotees to teach classes for other Hindu parents in nonviolent means of parenting and to change school policies regarding corporal punishment of students. At a national level, the cumulative impact of his work has been a dramatic increase in the pride of Hindus. One person said, "He has breathed new life into Hinduism for the Hindus of Malaysia." Today three of Gurudeva's swamis are from Malaysia.

Manon Mardemootoo, a long-standing devotee of Subramuniyaswami and a prominent attorney, offered this summary of Subramuniyaswami's work in the island nation of Mauritius:

"Subramuniyaswami came to Mauritius in the 1980s at the request of Hindu elders who were worried about the high rate of conversion from the Hindu fold. In January, 1982, he spent an entire month there traveling from village to village with one of his swamis. Then Gurudeva sent a French-speaking monk who at one time was holding 25 classes around the island. He conveyed Subramuniyaswami's teachings on the three worlds, the story of our soul, our great God and Gods, the pillars of Hinduism, karma, dharma, etc., all of which gave us a glimpse of our incomparable heritage, the greatness of Hinduism and the oneness of mankind. He removed misconceptions in the Tamil Saivite community. Many of us came to understand that Sivaratri was not a festival of our Hindi-speaking brothers only, nor was Ganesha Chaturti a purely Maurati festival, but rather both were major festivals for all Hindus.

"The establishment of Subramuniyaswami's mission was made official by the Saiva Siddhanta Church Act passed in Parliament in July, 1988. He instituted the printing of a local edition of Hinduism Today in 1986 on the island and set up a monastery on a 12-acre parcel at Riviere du Rempart. Hundreds of people would come for the weekly homas held at that time. Today the major part of this land has been dedicated to a spiritual park, a present of Subramuniyaswami to the people of Mauritius and the only one of its nature in the country. It is now regularly visited by pilgrims from the world over. The Spiritual Park was created at a cost of several million rupees, all donated by local Hindus. The most elaborate part of it is the Ganesha Mandapam, with its nine-foot tall Pancha Mukha Ganapati. As well, equally large granite icons of Lord Murugan, in His form as the six-faced Arumugam, and Lord Siva, in the form of Dakshinamurthi, the silent teacher, also grace the spiritual park.

"We have had a regular flow of monastics from our headquarters in Hawaii, Kauai Aadheenam, to the monastery. They created the Spiritual Park and held retreats and seminars for thousands of youth around the island. Subramuniyaswami advised his family members to use ayurvedic medicine and adopt a healthy diet, including raw sugar, brown rice and brown bread. As well he encouraged the wearing of Hindu dress at home, temples and during festivals. Several Mauritians have completed a six-month training at our headquarters in Kauai, where we presently have a Mauritian monk, Sadhaka Tyaganatha, hailing from the same village of Rempart, who is one of the Aadheenam's foremost priests.

"Since 1999, Subramuniyaswami has been training our members in positive discipline, the concept of education without violence at home and school and the only way to completely eradicate violence from our society. Gurudeva will be remembered for the sense of discipline in spiritual life and excellence at work which he instilled among his members and the need to pursue daily sadhanas for spiritual progress and peaceful living in the spirit of ahimsa in all aspects of life. This is the present sadhana of members, to take these teachings into the public and make it a living reality. Subramuniyaswami succeeded in creating a sense of self-respect and a new-found identity among the Hindus of Mauritius.

"He will also be remembered for two meetings to promote community harmony. The first was with Hindu leaders to strengthen the ties within the Hindu community. Then in 1995, under the auspices of the municipal Council of Port Louis, he met with religious leaders of all faiths to strengthen the bonds of friendship, respect and harmony among the people of Mauritius. Today, in significant part because of Subramuniyaswami's contribution, Mauritius is cited everywhere, including on the floor of the United Nations, as an example of peaceful coexistence in a multi-racial, multi-religious nation."

Over his 52 years of ministry, Subramuniyaswami has helped the Hindus of England, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Trinidad, Guyana, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Singapore, and many more countries. Indeed, there is probably not a corner of the Hindu world which has not been impacted by his work.

Even though Subramuniyaswami's Kauai Aadheenam is located outside of India and in a largely non-Hindu community, still he found himself performing the traditional functions of an aadheenam for the local community. He was a key member of "Vision Kauai," a group of community leaders including politicians, business people and spiritual individuals wanting to create a positive future for the island's community. He worked monthly with the mayor of Kauai, with county council members, the university provost, the superintendent of schools, business and agricultural leaders, to bring a unity to the ethnically diverse island of 55,000 and to offer his vision for a secure, drug-free future for the children. It was a message he carried forward on local TV and radio programs, at Rotary Club breakfasts to which he was invited to speak, and in person. He would from time to time be sought out for advice by community leaders on the important issues facing the island. Hundreds of residents, well-to-do and not so well-to-do alike, counted him as their easily approachable friend and counselor, remaining only remotely aware of his stature in the Hindu world. He was, in fact, Kauai's most renowned citizen, the only one with an extensive global impact. This was recognized in formal ways by the governor of the state, the mayor and county council. Indeed, the outpouring of gratitude and appreciation from island residents upon his passing was at times as deep and as heartfelt as for those of his close disciples.

"Just before his passing," said the monastery spokesperson, "He asked devotees worldwide to carry his work and institutions forward with unstinting vigor, to keep one another strong on the spiritual path, to work diligently on their personal spiritual disciplines and to live every moment in harmony and love for all peoples. His monks, forged in the fires of his wisdom and love, are well-prepared to keep his mission potent and effective. Equally, his family devotees are pure, one-minded and deeply committed. These two communities will continue the work together: building the Iraivan Temple, managing the Spiritual Park in Mauritius, shepherding souls on the Saivite path of enlightenment, continuing the many publications, teaching children their Saivite Hindu religion, preserving traditional culture and art, protecting Hindu priests and the indigenous faiths of the world, contributing to our local Kauai community, guiding the future of Hinduism around the globe and working to reduce violence, child-beating and spouse abuse."

Website for extensive further information and high-resolution photos suitable for publication: http://www.gurudeva.dynip.com/~htoday/press_releases/

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