Last updated on: 6/5/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami Biography

Title:
Founder and former leader of the Saiva Siddhanta Church in Kauai, HI
Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
Reasoning:

“In their love, their wisdom of the meaning and purpose of life, the rishis, the divine lawmakers, provided an alternative for extraordinary human suffering. They knew that excruciating suffering with no possible end in view is not conducive to spiritual progress and that it is best to have a fully conscious death in a joyous, religious mood, meditating or listening to scripture and sacred songs to the Gods. So, the Vedic rishis gave, in rare circumstances, the anguished embodied soul a way to systematically, nobly and acceptably, even to loved ones, release itself from embodiment through fasting…

The seers did not want unrelenting pain and hopelessness to be the only possibilities facing a soul whose body was failing, whose only experience was pain without reprieve. So they prescribed a kindly way, a reasonable way, especially for the pain-riddled, disabled elderly and the terminally diseased, to choose a righteous release. What wonderful wisdom. No killer drugs. No violence. No involvement of another human being, with all the karmic entanglements that inevitably produces. No life-support systems. No loss of the family wealth for prolonged health care or into the hands of unscrupulous doctors. No lapsing into unconscious coma. No loss of dignity. No unbearable anguish. And no sudden or impulsive decision — instead, a quiet, slow, natural exit from the body, coupled with spiritual practices, with mantras and tantras, with scriptural readings, deep meditation, reflection and listening to favorite religious songs, with joyous release, with all affairs settled, with full self-awareness and with recognition and support from friends and relations.”

Living with Siva: Hinduism’s Contemporary Culture, 2001

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
    Experts
Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to end-of-life issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to end-of-life.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder and former leader, Saiva Siddhanta Church, Kauai, HI
  • Founder, Kauai Aadheenam, Hindu Monastery and headquarters of Saiva Siddhanta Church, Kauai, HI
  • Founder, Hinduism Today
  • Former Member, Vision Kauai 2020
  • Recipient, United Nations U Thant Peace Award, Aug. 25, 2000
  • Honored as the “Hindu Voice of the Century” by the Vishva Hindu Parishad of Kerala, 1998
  • Founder, Hindu Heritage Endowment, 1994
  • Elected one of three presidents by Parliament of the World’s Religions to represent Hinduism at the Presidents’ Assembly, 1993
  • Hindu representative, Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival, 1988 (England), 1990 (Russia), and 1992 (Brazil)
  • Founder, Himalayan Academy, 1965
Education:
  • None found
Other:
  • Known as Gurudeva by followers
  • The hereditary guru of 2.5 million Sri Lankan Hindus
  • Born in Oakland, CA on Jan. 5, 1927
  • Died on Nov. 13, 2001, the 32nd day of a fast he began after learning he had incurable intestinal cancer