His Holiness Swami Buaji Maharaj, New York: The sublime substance of Saiva Siddhanta was succinctly spread all over the world by this saint. How was this possible for somebody who was born and brought up in a totally different culture? It could not be anything other than an unbreakable bond from the previous birthÑpoorva janma bandham. He has done whatever was ordained by God and gone back now and merged with Him. The Kauai Aadheenam will continue his noble work. His books will speak for many, many more years. Iraivan Temple will reverberate with his words for many more centuries. The spiritual awareness brought about by him among the Hindus of Western countries is just amazing. Gurudeva’s unique method of explaining the most complex principles in the simplest way was astounding. The most complicated philosophies appeared as the simplest and easiest messages in his hands, but with the same power and essence.
S. Sivapalasingam, Colombo, Sri Lanka: During the last two decades with my satguru, His Holiness had been generous, caring, considerate, loving and compassionate. In March, 1983, at the Subramuniya Ashram in Alaveddy (Jaffna) while Sri Muthusamy Kurukkal performed homa rites and Natarajnathaswami chanted 1008 Sri Rudra Mantras, my satguru placed both palms on my head and uttered the holy mantra “Aum Namasivaya” into my right ear. It was a powerful diksha that changed my life.
S. Arunasalam, Alaveddy, Sri Lanka: There is nothing so distressing as Gurudeva’s departure. It is an inestimable loss to the whole of humanity. My heart is full of anguish at the thought that I will not be able to feel his physical presence and read his letters and writings. The only consolation is that he has left behind fourteen swamis in whom he will reside and guide them to continue his work unabated. He was born with a world mission and he has fulfilled it perfectly well.
Mary Earle Chase, Kauai: I last saw Gurudeva at a meeting of our Vision Kauai group which he attended on September 23rd. The group, which includes many of Kauai’s leaders, discussed the terrorist attacks-how they might affect us and what we should do. Calmly, Gurudeva urged us to take the opportunity to address the terrorism and chemical warfare in our own community. By this he meant the terrorism of domestic violence and chemical warfare of drug abuse. Peace begins at home, he reminded us, and where we can make the most difference is in our own community.
Swami Omkarananda Saraswati, Switzerland: Our powers of perception and presentation are inadequate to describe this Satguru, the glorious and inspiring embodiment of the invincible, indestructible, eternal all-comprehensive Light of Hinduism. Is it not so that if Lord Krishna who as Lord Rama worshipped Lord Siva at Rameshwaram, were here in a physical tenement, He would say that “of all satgurus, I am Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami”?
Ravi Duggirala, Memphis USA: I always respected Gurudeva for being forthright, concise, logical and absolute with his answers regarding anything. Whenever I was around him, I felt this energy. The best way I could describe it was the feeling of walking on the edge of a sword. I remember at the book signing in Memphis. I was standing right next to him. The energy was so intense, like being next to the Sun. I thought to not touch Gurudeva since some gurus did not like being touched without permission. At that exact moment, he leaned into me and put his arm around me. I still remember him smiling at me, and I promise that I could hear him laughing gently in my head. As I write this, emotions of love and happiness flow over me.
Aran Veylan, Edmonton, Canada: To the Lotus Feet of the Birthless and Deathless One, you have prepared us well for this moment. The mathavasis are strong, stainless and united. The grihasthas also stand as one. Centuries from now, when these bodies have all long passed, when the fragrance of the blossoming of Gurudeva’s mission is carried wherever the wind blows, children will wonder what it must have been like to have been alive at the same time as Gurudeva, to have walked and talked and laughed with him, to have asked questions, and to have received answers. What a wonderful, precious gift you have given to all of us. Thank you, Gurudeva, for your love and understanding. Thank you for guiding us through the ocean of karma for the past 30 years. Thank you for guiding our children into adulthood.
Prithviraj Putten, Member of Parliament, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mauritius: Our Gurudeva is closer to us all, nearer than breath. He is the sun. We are all blessed to work with him and be under his umbrella for future centuries. He is the life of my life, and I will always remain Eternal to my Gurudeva. Every morning I perform a special puja to Gurudeva, placing fresh water on the shrine table, lighting sandalwood, calling the Kailasa Parampara of the Nandi Natha Sampradaya. I then place a slightly opened white rose bud for Paramaguru Siva Yogaswami and another white rose flower for Gurudeva in front of his picture. I then offer sambrani, fruit, saffron honey and flower petals to Gurudeva’s feet and beard while singing. I finally meditate a bit and read Merging with Siva and Living with Siva. Gurudeva is the life of all the devotees. He is the Sun and is Effulgent Light. Aum.
Soma Sundaram, California, USA: Gurudeva, it has been such a privilege and a blessing to be on this Earth plane the same time as you. Thank you for introducing me to my Hindu Gods, my guardian devas and my wonderful Saivite religion. Thank you for giving me daily lessons for life, sutras for each day of the year, for Shum, Tyeif, for building Hindu temples, for taking me to India, for giving me Aum Namasivaya mantra and for the guidance you have given me and my children.
Radheyshyam Dwivedi, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Inc., USA: Gurudeva left a rich legacy of exemplary asceticism, compassion and spiritual philanthropy. He had a profound influence on countless individuals through his dedicated scholarship and charismatic teaching. We hold him in the highest esteem as the champion of Hindu renaissance in the Western world.
Arunasalam Sellathurai Swamikal, Sivathondan Society, Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was a spiritual whale of the Occident, a prize catch in the mystic net of Sage Yogaswamikal. It was a divine act, a divine ordination, beyond the ken of mortals, as subsequent events have proved, supremely great! Astounding! The life, mission and mandate of His Holiness Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami led him to the founding of Saiva Siddhanta Church and a monastic order in Hawaii a magnificent task! This will ever remain a monument to his spiritual fervor, proclaiming worldwide, East and West, in trumpet tones that the Swamikal was a trail blazer of Lord Siva’s choice to glorify the spiritual heritage and essence of Saiva SiddhantaÑthe universality of Lord Siva!
Maya Ma Tiwari, Candler, USA: I have felt the Great One’s presence in my life, guiding and encouraging me…. Now, more than ever, I feel his Eminent Presence strongly and I know beyond a shadow of doubt that his Light will forever guide my silence. As I sit in my middle years in contemplation of Gurudeva’s splendor on this glorious day, my heart aches. I shall miss Him. Like nature herself bringing tears to ancient eyes, here Blue Ridge mountains, Himalayas, speak his simple, pure meaning: Sadhaka SupremeÑin whom word and meaning, love and heart had no separation.
Ravichandran Krishnan, Johor, Malaysia: Though I have known Gurudeva since I was 18, and revered him, I wasn’t in tune with his Highness’s teachings. Then last year in June at Singapore’s Senbagavinayagar’s temple visit, I took a day off and waited patiently the whole day to see Gurudeva and touch his feet at all cost! Upon Gurudeva’s arrival, during the arati; my mind was transfixed and felt engulfed in rays of light. It was like magnetic force, and I lost total consciousness. I felt like I had merged into Gurudeva’s light. The feeling is incredible. Now I am a completely different person.
Lavina Melwani, New York USA: Gurudeva was always so loving, witty and cheerful that he brought a wonderful added dimension to religion, making it joyful and celebratory rather than somber. I can honestly say his writings have made my own religion more accessible to me and my children. He wrote with such clarity that I consult his works when I write about Hinduism. My son and daughter, brought up in America, run to check Dancing with Siva any time a question pertaining to rituals and religion comes up in their lives.
Swami Ghananandaji Saraswati, Hindu Monastery of Africa, Odorkor, Accra, Ghana: Ever since my first contact with His Holiness through the Hinduism Today magazine I have always had informed discourses and exchanges with him. He has always offered very useful advice to me regarding the path of sannyas, and I will forever remember him for this. May His soul have its deserved solace at the sojourn of the Great Souls.
Devant Maharaj, Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Inc. Trinidad and Tobago: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami graced the shores of Trinidad last year and visited the Maha Sabha Headquarters and held discussions with pundits and the general Hindu community here in Trinidad. He has to be considered among the ranks of the visionary Hindu leaders that the world has produced. Hinduism Today remains the only medium that unites Hindus globally. The Hindu universe is indeed a great deal poorer with the loss of such a great and visionary leader. The life and service of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami will no doubt be a shining beacon for all Hindus to aspire.
A. Vaithilingam, Malaysia Hindu Sangam: The vacuum left affects the whole Hindu world, and it can never be easily filled. Gurudeva brought Saivism to the world, especially to the Western world, and has also played a leading role in uniting the Hindus of the world. In fact, Gurudeva has put Hinduism on the map of the world.
Chaitanya Christensen, USA: Although Vaishnavas don’t usually praise other gurus, I feel this is appropriate, since His Holiness was not an ordinary being. He was born a white American and still demonstrated the universal nature and application of Sanatana Dharma to millions of people all over the planet. He helped bring our ancient traditions into the 21st century, revitalizing them without threatening their integrity in any way. Although hisschool of Saiva Siddhanta is very orthodox, he skillfully addressed every last contemporary issue from abortion, abuse of women, aging, to media control, consumerism, genocide, genetic engineering, to deforestation and environmentalism.
Kailash Dhaksinamurthi, Minneapolis, USA: Thank you for so many things in this life. First, your teachings and support have guided me to find my true religion Sanatana Dharma when other leaders discouraged this path, insisting one has to be born a Hindu. You gave me the tools to practice Hinduism: I learned how to do puja, how to worship in a temple, how to feel the darshan of a Deity, how to participate in the great festivals. Without these tools I would still be a wanderer and seeker. Your teachings echoed the old motto, “Keep it simple, stupid,” reminding me to work first on yamas and niyamas, to learn to be a better husband, for instance, before grappling with existential ontologies.
Maryanne Kusaka, Honorable Mayor of Kauai: Gurudeva was a shining example of goodness in a world sorely in need of one. He was a wise mentor to many. He was a kind and attentive father to Kauai’s children and families of all faiths. He will be ever hovering in our collective soulÑa white doveÑa vision of beauty and purity. He will continue to show himself in all that is good as we who loved him follow in his radiant light.
Puvaneswary Roberts, Netherlands: He helped me to understand the purpose of my life. I am able to see dharma, and have the courage to face my karmas. Before, I too asked the question “Why me? What have I done to deserve the loss of my father at age five?” But, now it is my karma, and all of life is a challenge, but I know I have God Siva’s presence with me to cope with and overcome the challenges.
Linda Masterson, Kauai, USA: I cherish the things I have learned from you, Gurudeva: 1) that oneness with God is the supreme human endeavor and that it is an endeavor that the simplest ordinary human can embrace; 2) that a path to God can honor all paths to God; 3) that being devoted to a life of religious service includes being joyful and vibrant and humorous and delighted with life and people; 4) that peace is always in my heart, that my heart is a place of worship and that worship can be constant, with each breath; 5) what it is to be good neighbors, to share celebration and bounty and kinship with our circle of neighbors; 6) to honor public officials, whether I agreed with their policies or not, for the office they were holding was sacred and deserved my respect and 7) that holding a grand vision is not foolish when it is held on behalf of the community interest, that temples to last a thousand years and endowments of $5 billion are possible when a pure heart and a clear intent is focused on these goals.
Benjamin J. Cayetano, Governor, State of Hawaii: Subramuniyaswami leaves an impressive legacy, including his efforts to reduce violence and his commitment to the future of Hinduism around the globe. He will be sorely missed by his followers and by the residents of Kauai, who affectionately referred to him as Gurudeva.
Mihir Meghani, Hindu Students Council, USA: For years, Hindu Students Council members have read Hinduism Today for news and information about Hindu religious systems, philosophies and issues affecting Hindus. Guruji’s books and editorials have guided many Hindu students in their lives. Our association with the swamis under him has helped our organization grow and has reaffirmed our dedication to Hindu dharma.
S. Perampalam, Malaysian Ceylon Saivites Assoc.: Swamiji was the greatest jnani, the Lion of Dharma and leader of the modern day Saivite renaissance. He was a wise, revered mentor and a radiant light who defended Hindu Dharma. Swamiji’s multifarious accomplishments and his profound leadership inspired intense love and loyalty in his followers.
Hari Bansh Jha, Kathmandu, Nepal: I always looked at him as my guide, master or Guru. He impressed me most in Rishikesh when he said, “Don’t feel that you are alone!” This one sentence had a great impact on my life. I don’t know how the possible vacuum to be created in his absence will help us in pursuit of our spiritual journey. I feel bereaved.
Dee See Mana, California, USA: Love is all there is and this is what he gave the Hopi Peoples. He was also a protector of my very small projects. And, without all the monks, I would have been defeated so long ago. He has meant much to us, the Hopi, and others in need.