TONIGHT IS THE FIFTH OF FEBRUARY - AN APPROPRIATE day on which to inaugurate our new periodical, The New Saivite World. It was exactly nine years ago on this day that we moved the headquarters of Saiva Siddhanta Church to Kauai after searching in 32 countries for the proper site, only to find it in our own front yard. The intervening years have seen the growth of Hinduism in the West as never before in history, partly due to more immigrants from India and Sri Lanka and largely to the deep understanding of Hinduism - and yoga, meditation and Hindu metaphysics - that has blossomed within the hearts and minds of souls in the West. With this growth has come the need for our modest paper.
The New Saivite World will be a small periodical, easy to read, simple to produce, mail and handle. It will be a people-oriented paper, not so much devoted to philosophy or teaching for which our Master course is designed. So it will communicate more of the human side of Hinduism in the West. To this end it may have a section on the various missions of the Saiva Siddhanta Church. Daily we receive lovely letters of the fine work being done by Dr. S. Sanmugasundaran in Colombo, Ma Ratna Navaratnam in Jaffna, Dr. B. Natarajan in Madras and others. It will share the experiences of Saivites in other parts of the world such as George David in Trinidad and Tobago, Sman and Pat Ngamsnit in Bangkok and others who will assist as correspondents for The New Saivite World. One of the important reasons that the paper evolved is to combine all our friends. By incorporating all of the various happenings in a single publication we allow the knowledge to be equally shared by one and all, something that was impossible under the previous system in which newsletters were designated for certain groups only.
The New Saivite World will be a bridge then between the East and the West, a forum where they meet and the overview perceived. There are many Hindu groups emerging in Canada and the United States. They are building or planning temples in New York, Pennsylvania, Houston, Los Angeles, in Connecticut, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and elsewhere. Thus, we observe that the fullness of Hinduism is being brought to the West for the first time. Of course, yoga and the higher philosophies have always been in the West, within the minds of the high-minded and the hearts of the compassionate souls. Now we see the richness of temple worship and custom added, and we are very happy about this. The New Saivite World will help to coordinate these efforts and keep all activities harmonious as the Saiva Siddhanta Church expands more internationally. To give the overview the paper will occasionally reprint articles from other sources, or portions of articles. There will be no outside advertising in the paper, but Comstock House and other departments of the Church will advertise, and we will announce matters or events that directly relate to the friends and members of the Church such as the recent publication of the Aum Ganesha book and Sivaneri journal. Perhaps too we will offer excerpts from some of the letters we receive from religious leaders around the world for all to enjoy.
Being people-oriented, The New Saivite World will have many interesting sections. One will be a section called "Amma's Cookbook" which will give recipes from our South Indian vegetarian menus. Another will be "Keiki's Korner: A Special Place for Our Children" in which we can share with the next generation the stories of their religion and the creative efforts of their peers. More need to be done for our children - much more. Then there will be a major section called "The Academy Forum" in which all the news and activities of the Himalayan Academy will be assembled in one place along with San Marga news. There will be excerpts from our scriptures, from the Tirukural and from the Tirumantiram and others. There will also just be general news about the Church and about Saivism in the East and the West.
I have observed all the other newspapers and publication that come to us from Hindu groups throughout the world. They are very fine, but for the most part they are teaching more than informing. We have our teaching courses too, The Master Course. We want the paper to be for the people who comprise what I call the New Saivite World. The main accent, therefore, will be how Surya is growing up and the new arrival of Sara Sunjar's infant, Adi, to the planet. It will be what's happening among the families, who has moved to where, who has gone on a pilgrimage and articles of that nature.
Just what is The New Saivite World? It is the New World, which generally means the North and South American continents, as experienced by the influx of Saivite immigrants and by those Western men and women who have self-converted to Hinduism through belief in its basic doctrines of karma, reincarnation, yoga, mysticism, meditation and the ultimate goal of life, Self-realization. The Western hemisphere is a New World for these souls, whose beliefs and sensibilities are grounded in the ways of the East, and yet whose experience and training have been broadly influenced by the West. Through The New Saivite World an broadly influenced by the West. Through The New Saivite World an effort will be made to preserve and encourage "the best of the East and the best of the West." The successful implementation of this will result in a culture that is inwardly and outwardly implementation of this will result in a culture that is inwardly and outwardly balanced, in an environment which is conducive to progress on the Eternal Path, the Sanatana Dharma.
Through The New Saivite World we will be able to inform those who are interested of the mission of the Church and the activities of its members. This includes the families of the monastics. Our monastics have chosen to be very disciplined about communications with friends and family, but the paper will be able to let the families know about the activities of the monastery in which their son may be serving. And we want to share with each family the visits and letters and gifts from other families so there is once again an equal knowledge. We will keep the paper a versatile instrument and change will not be unheard of in its production. We look at it as the voice of Saivism in the West, speaking of the Saivites in the New World, of their lives, their gatherings, their problems and how they got together to solve their problems. The inner workings of our New World are just being created in this decade. With the stone temples to Ganesha, to Shakti, to Vishnu, to Siva and the other deities being erected the everyday form of Hinduism has arrived in the West for the first time. This is bound to create difficulties for those who are the pioneers. Their problems should be documented along with their solutions for all Saivites to read and learn from. Of course, our paper will not be sold. It will be given freely. However, we also want it to thrive and serve its purpose well and donations will not be turned away. It will need a lot of input from everyone. We will encourage all members to send in short articles and photographs. The children will be asked to send in their drawings and their poems and whatever they would like to see printed. Correspondents will write about the activities in their part of the world, about their Satsang gatherings, their weddings and birthings, their pujas and more.
It is important for everyone to realize that The New Saivite World is a house organ for Saiva Siddhanta Church and not a public newspaper. With the exception of special editions which will be published once or twice a year and which will be more widely distributed, The New Saivite World will be strictly limited to currently enrolled Himalayan Academy students members of the Church. The articles will be of little interest to people outside of the Church., and we must all feel free to express ourselves within its pages, knowing that it will go discriminately to those who are interested in its message. The only way we can keep from having to limit and edit the materials it contains is to confine its dissemination to our own membership who we know are interested in its message and will joyously receive it.
The new Saivite World is a periodical, but we are not saying whether it will be a monthly or a weekly or come out on any particular schedule. Rather it will be published as it is needed, which we hope will be quite often. We all have invoked the special darshan and blessing of our Lord Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles and Divine Patron of the Arts, to bless The New Saivite World as it begins on this auspicious day.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.