Vijaya Dasami, the conclusion of the Navaratri festival honoring the various Sakti aspects of Siva, was celebrated October 19th at Kadavul Hindu Temple on Kauai. This is considered a most auspicious day for commencing new studies, new arts and crafts, new jobs, new undertakings or any sort of new venture. Books are brought to the temple and blessed on this day.
In an auspicious stroke of good timing, "A Catechism for Saivite Hinduism" entered its final editing on that day. The Saiva Swami Sangam of Saiva Siddhanta Church sat with Gurudeva, Master Subramuniya, in the Kadavul Hindu Temple for eight hours and listened to a reading of the newly created catechism. Unanimous accord was sought for each area as each swami offered his comments and suggestions for improvement. Each comment was tape recorded and then reviewed in a committee of swamis for consideration. The final wording will then be resubmitted to the swamis for a final, unanimous nod of approval as to theological accuracy and timing for its printing.
"A Catechism for Saivite Hinduism" is a definitive statement on Saivite Hinduism in the form of questions, answers and commentaries on each of sixteen major areas of religion. The sixteen topics include God Siva, the soul, the world, dharma, good conduct, temple worship, puja, scripture, holy men, symbols of Saivism, holy days and festivals, marriage, children and family life, monastic life, Saivism in a contemporary world, and a final section on Saiva Siddhanta Church. It is not an attempt to present and prove a particular philosophy or religious outlook. It is an attempt to summarize in one place the matters of concern for one seeking to live a Saivite life. It is not innovative, but rather seeks to restate the age-old beliefs, traditions, and customs in modern terms. It is not a "modernizing" of the religion in the sense of compromise to supposedly superior values of western thought, rather it is a forceful reassertion of the eternal validity of the Saivite faith.
The introduction to the catechism states its purpose quite nicely, "Saivism never has had a catechism or a creed that we know of. There never was a need, for its treasures were locked in verbal tradition, passed to the next generation in an organic way within the context of the Saivite community. Today, as Saivites spread throughout the world, the need arises to codify, to record, to assemble the tradition that it may be preserved in unbroken continuity. In some parts of the world, Saivism is openly criticized and attacked, its lofty truths abused and misrepresented. We hope this catechism will strengthen Saivites and better enable them to explain and clarify their faith to others and themselves better follow the known, but unspoken, dharma."
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.