15 October 1942|
Berkeley, California, United States
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (born in California, 1942), a Hindu sannyasin monk and a religious leader, is the head of Kauai's Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine. He is known for his initiative of digitizing the Saiva Agamas, mystical scriptures of the Hindu Saivite religion and the basis for Hindu temple liturgy, making them freely available in digital format and encouraging their study. The Adi Saiva Sivachariyar priestly community honors him as "The Supreme Acharya who has uplifted and preserved the Agamas and the Agama tradition." Bodhinatha presides over three organizations: Saiva Siddhanta Church, Himalayan Academy publications and Hindu Heritage Endowment.
Bodhinatha is the appointed successor of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, an influential Hindu Saivite guru. Klaus Klostermaier, one of the world's leading specialists on Hindu studies, said in his A Survey of Hinduism: "Sivaya Subramuniyaswami ... did much to propagate a kind of reformed Saivism through his books. As founder-editor of Hinduism Today, an illustrated monthly, he became the single-most advocate of Hinduism outside India."  He ordained Bodhinatha as leader of Saiva Siddhanta Church and 163rd Guru Mahasannidhanam of the Kailasa Parampara lineage, a position of authority in Saivism.
Bodhinatha Veylanswami was a keynote speaker at Hindu Convocation of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia, an "assembly of a number of the most outstanding Hindu spiritual leaders of India." He mediated the seminal "Is Yoga Hindu?" session at the Parliament on December 2009, which sparked the Hindu American Foundation's "Take Back Yoga " campaign in 2010.
Bodhinatha is a popular speaker with Hindus, specially those of the Hindu diaspora living in the United States, Malaysia, Mauritius and Singapore. The "Indo-American News" wrote, "Bodhinatha is a formidable force in championing the cause of Hinduism. Soft-spoken yet imbued with immense knowledge and a keen wit, the satguru is a sought-after speaker the world over."
Bodhinatha began studying Vedanta and meditation in 1960, soon developing a deep interest in monastic life. In March, 1972, he received sannyas diksha from Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in Alaveddy, Sri Lanka. He received the name Veylanswami a few weeks later at the Murugan Temple in Palani Hills.
In 1988, in preparation for initiation as an acharya in the Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order, Bodhinatha spent six months on pilgrimage in India with a sadhaka, spending time worshiping and meditating at ashrams and temples from as far north as Rishikesh to Tiruchendur in the South. Upon returning to Kauai, he was ordained as the first acharya of the religious order.
From 1993 Bodhinatha managed the formation and development of Hindu Heritage Endowment, a tax-exempt endowment that provides income to several Hindu initiatives and institutions across the world. There are over 80 individual funds within Hindu Heritage Endowment, which together exceed $10 million.
On October 21, 2001, the tenth evening of Subramuniyaswami's 32-day prayopavesha fast, he asked Bodhinatha to come to his bedside which all the monks had gathered around. He sent for his aadheenakartar pendant, the symbol of the spiritual head of Kauai Aadheenam, then placed it on Bodhinatha's neck, declaring, "You are the guru now."
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
|163rd Satguru (Spiritual Preceptor)
November 12, 2001 to present
|Guru Mahasannidhanam, Kauai Aadheenam
November 12, 2001 to present
- A Survey of Hinduism, 3rd. edition, page 251
- "Hinduism does not have an organised hierarchy but to followers of the Saiva tradition of Hinduism Sri Bodhinatha is a pope-like figure." SMH News, Australia
- PROGRAM / Convocation of Spiritual Leaders of India | Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions Archived July 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- ABC Religion Blog Is yoga Hindu? Archived December 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- http://www.indoamerican-news.com/IndoAmericanNews/091109/091109A1-14-WEB.pdf[permanent dead link]
- Endowment Stories Archived February 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.