Himalayan Academy, one of the teaching arms of Saiva Siddhanta Church, was founded in 1965 in San Francisco, California to handle the growing needs of Church members for regular and systematic training in Hindu metaphysics and philosophy. The basic textbook of the Academy since its founding has been The Master Course, which had its first edition in 1958, seven years before the Academy was incorporated. Saiva Siddhanta Church taught and trained its members in the early years through lectures, classes and pilgrimages centered around the San Francisco Temple. The first regular lessons given to students were for the most part handed out individually at the Temple. Gurudeva's weekly inspired talk in the Temple was transcribed by one of the Church members during the week and a number of copies made for those who wished to study more closely. The cost of preparing the lessons was well covered by the donations of the students receiving them. In time, as more and more people asked for these regular lessons on the basics of Hinduism and as Church families and members would occasionally move further away from the San Francisco area the talks began to be mailed to various people every week. This set a new pattern of correspondence lessons that grew steadily with every passing month. Finally the material presented in Gurudeva's Inspired Talks was edited into an orderly series of lessons entitled the World Fellowship of Yoga. These lessons were mailed to students all over the world even then and were the first edition of The Master Course. There have been seven revised editions of The Master Course since 1958 and an eighth edition, the San Marga Master Course, is being prepared and issued to students during 1980. The correspondence lessons program of Himalayan Academy has been known over the years as the School of Extension Studies and remains today the core of the Academy's services to Saivite souls around the globe.
In 1967 the Academy moved its offices to the Church mission in Virginia City, Nevada and for twelve years, until October of 1979, mailed from there the lessons of the Master course to hundreds of students. In October, 1979, the Academy's headquarters moved again, this time to the home offices of Saiva Siddhanta Church at Sivashram on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It was brought to Kauai to make the preparation and issuing of the eighth edition, the San Marga Master Course, as efficient as possible, and the plan had been to streamline the administration of the Academy at the same time as the new Master Course edition was being prepared. That goal has been fulfilled, but with a twist - Himalayan Academy has now received its permanent address and offices in the same building in which it was founded fifteen years ago. San Francisco is its new home and the property of the San Francisco Mission has been fully dedicated to the various programs and uses of the Academy. Since the late 1950's, however, the San Francisco Temple property has been added to again and again and today four large buildings adjoin the original Temple building. All four are accessed from the sidewalk but each one merges in the interior of the city block onto a beautiful garden courtyard private to these buildings only. It is a beautiful and abundant facility in the heart of the city, large enough to handle a full schedule of student activities. The lessons of the San Marga Master Course will in the future be issued from the Himalayan Academy Office in San Francisco.
April 2nd marked the Himalayan Academy's fifteenth anniversary and Gurudeva, who was in San Francisco for the occasion, was treated to a play in Tirumular Hall of the new Academy building, staged by the children of the local Church families.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.