Tag Archives: himalayan academy

Point Counterpoin: Saivite Hinduism, The Church of England, and UK Unitarianism


The Nandinatha Sampradaya has a process of ethical conversion. Part of the process is to write a point and counterpoint comparison between Saivite Hinduism of the Nandinatha Sampradaya and previous religions or world-views that you have had. This ensures that you are converting with a full understanding of what this entails.

I have written a comparison with the Church of England, the Anglican Christian denomination I was brought up in, and with the UK Unitarians who I followed for a while. I have been given permission to publish it on my blog. Sannyasin Saravananathaswami has only given it a quick look so there may be further amendments.

I would also be interested in any comments or corrections from readers who are Unitarians or Church of England members.

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Second year of Master Course Completed


The Himalayan Academy master Course Books

I have recently finished the second year of the Himalayan Academy Master Course. I have found this very fulfilling, as well as the study there are saddanas  or spiritual practices, each one to be tried for a week. As I found with the level 1 master course, this was well worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone. However I have decide that I am going to repeat the stage two master course over the next year rather than go on to the stage three.

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My Hindu Name, Tandava


Having completed the first year of the Himalayan Academy Master Course, I have decided that the Nandinatha sampradaya is right for me spiritually. I asked Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami to choose a Hindu name for me. He gave me a choice of suitable names. I don’t feel it would be right to post about the names I did not choose, as they were all good names and for some people a different one would be the right choice. The name Tandava stood out though.

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Ethical Conversion


When is conversion Ethical?

To what extent should a religion welcome converts, and should a religion actively seek converts? There are many schools within Hinduism, and many different answers to this question.

I have previously written about Hinduism’s attitude towards newcomers, and how most typical Hindus don’t actively attempt to proselytise. This was illustrated in our mandir recently. We often have visits from school groups learning about religions practised in the city, and occasionally we have adult groups visiting. One day when I came to the mandir for arti there was a group from a nearby church. When the arti had finished some of the visitors came over and talked to us, and one of them asked if I was a convert. One of the other Hindus present said that he wanted the visitors to be clear that Hindus do not try to convert people. If people come and are interested they will welcome and help them, but they don’t actively seek converts. I have heard it said that Hinduism should be offered like sweets on a plate. If someone wants to take them then they are welcome, but they are equally welcome to decline the offer and move on. This is certainly far more restrained than the practice of religions which actively proselytise, but is it sufficient to ensure that people who convert have really accepted the faith and have positive reasons for joining? To answer this question I will take a side-step and look at the acceptance of converts in Judaism.

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Hinduism and the environment revisited.


A while a go I wrote about Hinduism’s attitude to the environment, suggesting that protection of the environment is a duty. I am pleased to say that other Hindus seem to think the same way. A declaration was posted at the Parliament of World Religions, in Melbourne, Australia which supported environmental protection. The declaration begins:

The Hindu tradition understands that man is not separate from nature, that we are linked by spiritual, psychological and physical bonds with the elements around us. Knowing that the Divine is present everywhere and in all things, Hindus strive to do no harm. We hold a deep reverence for life and an awareness that the great forces of nature—the earth, the water, the fire, the air and space—as well as all the various orders of life, including plants and trees, forests and animals, are bound to each other within life’s cosmic web.

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Himalayan Academy Master Course: First Year Nearly Competed


three_books_for_the_himalayan_academy_master_course

The Himalayan Academy master Course Books

Nearly a year ago I wrote about my initial impressions of the Master Course. I am now completing the last few weeks of the “stage one Master Course“. I have looked at the final worksheet and it contains an application for the second year “stage two Master Course”, which I fully intend to follow.

The course so far has greatly increased my knowledge of Hinduism in general and of the Shaivite Shiva Siddhanta Church in particular. The daily lessons from the three books have helped add a spiritual dimension to my life. Each day a reading from “Dancing With Shiva” gives a clear teaching of Hinduism with a detailed explanation. The lesson from “Living With Shiva” describes the Hindu way of life, and how to fit the lessons into your daily living. Finally, “Merging With Shiva” describes Saivite Hindu philosophy. The lessons from the last book can be esoteric, and I am sure that there is far more to them than I have understood in the “stage one” course. In a way it is a nice reminder that I still have much to understand.

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Songs of Kabir


Kabir

Kabir

Last week the Pandit in our mandir told me of a poem by Kabir, a 15th century Indian saint. I later found the poem online (in both Hindi and an English Translation). The poems of Kabir are symbolic, using the imagery of a lover to represent God. A similar type of symbolism is used in the Song of Songs in the Jewish Tanakh/Christian Old Testament.

Our Pandit drew my attention to the last two lines of the following verse:

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Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami Visiting the UK


Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

The Guru of the Nandinatha Sampradaya, Satguru   Bodhinatha Veylanswami due to visit London soon. The Nandinatha Sampradaya run the Master course, which I am currently studying, and my family and I will be able to meet him during his visit.

I do not have a Guru, at least one present in the physical world, though I do feel that I am being guided. I don’t really know how I will feel meeting Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami. Through reading the Master Course books, I have come to know the author, Bodhinatha’s predecessor Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. The books speak on a spiritual level. I know that since Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami selected his successor, Satguru Bodhinatha must be a true Guru, a holy and wise man. Is he my Guru though? The Master course advises:

Don’t be too hasty in picking your guru. That is the best advice. Maybe it’s not for you in this life to have a guru. Maybe next life or the life after that. There’s no hurry, and yet there is a great sense of urgency on the spiritual path, a great sense of urgency. Don’t go hunting for a guru. Just be alert enough to know when you encounter him.

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Affectionate Detachment


Recently students of the Himalayan Academy Master Course discussed affectionate detachment, or loving detachment. This describes God’s love to us, and the true love to which we should aspire. At first the “detachment” part may sound negative, like not really caring – but this is not what it means, it is love without any expectations, needs, or fears. Often our love comes with an expectation of things in return. Affectionate detachment is unconditional love, with no expectation or desire for anything in return.

Very few people can completely realise affectionate detachment in this life. Those on the householder or family path have duties and responsibilities that come before this. However sometimes people do exhibit something close to affectionate detachment in everyday lives. The examples of loving detachment that people came up with were the love for a small child who has a tantrum and hits his mother or father. The parent loves the child unconditionally, and because the child is small has no fear. Continue reading

How I became a Hindu – part three


Continued from How I became a Hindu – part two which follows How I became a Hindu – part one.

Lord Shiva

Nataraja, Shiva the cosmic dancer.

Nataraja, Shiva the cosmic dancer.

One day, when surfing the Internet I came across a Nataraja, the image of Shiva as the cosmic dancer on eBay. Almost on impulse I purchased it. I found myself impelled to read up on the symbolism. The symbolism of the dance of creation, preservation and destruction struck a chord with me and immediately felt right.

I found that whenever I passed the Nataraja I could see that this image represented God, and I felt compelled to thank God for all that exists.

I live near to a Hindu temple, and I decided to visit. At first I was very nervous about just turning up, but I was made very welcome and the Pandit explained many things to me. I also bought and studied many books on Hinduism, as I knew that I had been called to this path. One of the books I bought was “How to become a Hindu”, which is published by the Himalayan Academy and available online. Continue reading

Himalayan Academy Master Course, Initial Impressions


The Himalayan Academy master Course Books

The Himalayan Academy master Course Books

I previously wrote that after completing the Chinmaya International Foundation’s “Foundation Level” e-vedanta course”, I was not going to continue with their advanced course but take the Himalayan Academy’s Master Course. I thought it might be useful to give some first impressions of the course, though I have been following it for just over two weeks, so it is a very early impression. I have not even completed my first self-assessment yet!

I ordered the books and the self-assessment PDFs, which are sent via email. When I ordered the books I had thought that they seemed rather expensive, but when they arrived the size, weight and sheer quality Continue reading