Founder and History of Movement
Occasionally such an individual is born who, by following his tradition correctly and completely, approaches perfection and becomes a symbol to the world. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was such a man, a living example of awakening and wisdom, a leader recognized worldwide as one of Hinduism's foremost ministers. Gurudeva Suvaya Subramuniyaswami was the foremost exponent and teacher of Saiva Siddhanta in the West, a self-realized Western spiritual master of an age-old Saivite tradition. The name Subramuniya is from Sanskrit and 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. Saiva Siddhanta, the name of the Gurudeva's Church is from the Sanskrit language as well and could be roughly rendered in English as The Church of God Siva's Revealed Truth.
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 dancer 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 (teacher), Yogaswami, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The 72-year-old sage gave him his Hindu name, Subramuniya, and initiated him into the holy order.
Yogaswami, his teacher lived in Jaffna, Sri Lanka during the first part of this century, making his transition to the inner worlds in 1963. During his life Yogaswami gave out his wisdom spontaneously in songs and sayings. He also carefully edited his journal called The Sivathondan (The Servant of God) which was published by his devotees. People of all ages and all walks of life, irrespective of creed, caste or race, went to Yogaswami. They sought solace and spiritual guidance, and none went away empty-handed. He influenced their lives profoundly. Many realized how blessed they were only after years had passed. Yogaswami's infinite compassion never ceased to impress.
For over five decades Subramuniyaswami, the loyal student of Yogaswami and affectionately known as Gurudeva, has taught Hinduism to Hindus and seekers from all faiths as his teacher had before him. In the line of succession, he was the 162nd Jagadacharya (world teacher) of the Nandinatha Sampradaya's Kailasa Parampara (lineage of teachers) and Guru Mahasannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam (also known as Kauai's Hindu Monastery), a 458-acre temple-monastery complex on Hawaii's Garden Island.. The monks of Kauai Aadheenam live their cherished vision, following a contemplative and joyous existence, building a jewel-like white granite Siva temple, meditating together in the hours before dawn, then working, while rainbows fill the sky.
Two traditional Saivite Hindu temples are located on the monastery's 458 acres, Kadavul Temple and the new San Marga Iraivan Temple, a massive white granite Chola-style temple currently being carved in Bangalore, India, and whose stones are now being shipped to Hawaii and are now being assembled here on Kauai. Right in the midst of the monastery complex is the renowned Kadavul Nataraja Temple where an exquisite six-foot tall, 250-year-old bronze image of Lord Nataraja is enshrined. Hindu pilgrims have been coming to the temple from around the world for over 30 years, to worship and seek audience and worship with the Guru Mahasannidhanam...
Cited: Central Gurudeva Site. http://www.gurdeva.org (11/16/04)
Magazine Site. http://www.hinduismtoday.com (11/15/04)
Biography Site. http://www.carnatic.com/karmasaya/ 11/17/04)
Hawaiian Island Site. http://www.kauai.hawaii.gov/ (11/17/04)
Endowment Fund Site. http://www.hheonline.org/ (11/16/04)
Academy Site. http://www.himalayanacademy.com/academy/ (11/16/04)
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