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Dr. Devananda Tandavan's $2 Million Bequest to Iraivan Temple

two-men.jpgThe late Dr. Devananda Tandavan, author of more than 100 articles on health for Hinduism Today and among the earliest supporters of Kauai's Iraivan Temple, left close to $2 million through his estate to the temple after his passing in 2003 at age 83.

A total of $623,138 came as a bequest through Devananda's revocable living trust and $1,345,716 from his charitable remainder trust. (A charitable remainder trust provides the donor with tax and income benefits during life, with the principal going to good causes at death.) Paramacharya Sivanatha of Kauai's Hindu Monastery recalled that in 1982 Dr. Tandavan was at the first Iraivan Temple committee meeting with the monastery's founder, Gurudeva, in Chennai, India.

Through the years, Dr. Tandavan followed the progress of the temple closely. He was also present at the auspicious moment when Gurudeva chipped the first stone for the temple at a grand ceremony held by Sri Sri Sri Trichyswami at his ashram and temple in Bangalore in December of 1990. Paramacharya reminds us, "After the Innersearch, he stayed on with me and Kumarswami to help work out the details of the contract with Dr. Ganapati Sthapati and Kailas Ashram and for the final signing of the agreement."

Devananda served as an Iraivan Temple committee member for the remainder of his life. He often traveled to India to meet with the architects.

The son of Vaudeville performers, Dr. Tandavan was an accomplished pianist, a prolific reader and a gourmet cook. He was also a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Reiki Association and the International Center of Homeopathy.

"Dr. Tandavan was much more than a scholar and a philanthropist," remembered Nilima Srikantha, a close friend who first met him in Sri Lanka in 1982. "He was a totally loveable human, with an unquenchable joie de vivre. 'Dr. T,' as he was known affectionately by his readers, had a sharp, dry wit and superb taste in music, clothing, jewelry, wine and food. Each year, he purchased a season's pass to the Chicago Opera, and even when his health was failing, he managed to attend opening night."

Mrs. Srikantha said he first became involved with our teachings when he read Gurudeva's profound little book The Clear White Light and sought out the author. Before long, "He became one of Guru­deva's most devoted chelas and a member of Saiva Siddhanta Church. Because tithing was firmly part of his background, Dr. Tandavan gave generously to the Church and to other Hindu temples. However, he kept close watch on how his gifts were spent."

Ceyonswami narrated, "Dr. Tandavan's generosity to Kauai's Hindu Monastery was truly amazing. He fully believed in and experienced the law of giving: that you can't really give anything away, because it always returns to you twofold."

Dr. Tandavan used to joke that just the sound of Paramacharya's voice on the phone had him reaching for his checkbook. "It is a fact that whenever we really needed help for a project, we would call on Devananda," Paramacharya reminisced. "We knew he would be there for us."

The Hindu Heritage Endowment is honored to list the name of Devananda Tandavan, MD, as a member of its Legacy Sangha for his estate gifts to Iraivan Temple.

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