About Dandapani

Dandapani is a Hindu priest, entrepreneur and a former monk of 10 years. After graduating university with a degree in Electrical Engineering he left it all behind to become a Hindu monk under the guidance of one of Hinduism’s foremost spiritual leaders of our time, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. For 10 years he lived a life of serious personal discipline and training at his guru’s cloistered Hindu monastery in Hawaii.

When his vows expired, he chose to venture out into the world making New York City his home. His mission is to help people live a life of purpose and joy by empowering them with tools and teachings that have been used by Hindu monks of his tradition for thousands of years. He works with entrepreneurs globally and companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Nike, Trivago, Fortress Investment Group, Xero in cultivating focus and managing energy. His TEDx talk has over 2.9 million views and both his GoalCast videos garnered over a total of 75 million views in just five months.

He and his wife are also passionately creating a 33-acre Hindu spiritual sanctuary and botanical garden in Costa Rica to further their mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people call you a monk?

Dandapani is formerly a monk, now a Hindu priest.

Why do you dress like a monk if you are not one any longer?

Dandapani wears the traditional garb of a Saivite Hindu priest. The dress of Hindu monks and priests is very similar and it is not easy to tell them apart.

Can Hindu priests get married?

Yes. In Hinduism there are two paths. One is of the monastic and the other of a householder. The monastic path is for monks who live a celibate life. Priests fall under the category of householders and can get married. Dandapani is married and lives with his wife and daughter in the United States.

Are Hindu priests allowed to earn money?

Yes, in fact, they are encouraged to do so. Since Hindu priests are householders they follow the guidelines that have been outlined for householders in the Hindu scriptures. The four goals of a householder, called purushartas in the Sanskrit language, are artha (wealth), kama (love), dharma (righteous action) and moksha (liberation or Self-realization). Householders should amass wealth in a righteous way and make a positive difference in this world with this wealth.

What do the three lines on your forehead symbolize?

The lines are a symbol of Saivism and represent anava (ego), karma (law of cause and affect) and maya (illusion).

What are those beads that you are wearing?

The beads are called Rudrakshas which literally translates to “Rudra’s eyes” or “Siva eyes.” They form a mala (necklace) that is often worn by Hindus.

The Rudraksha is a bead that comes from the Elaeocarpus ganitrus tree commonly and often known as the Blue Marble tree. The tree produces a blue fruit which is edible but has an acquired taste. When you clean off the meat of the fruit you will find one of these beads within.

What sect of Hinduism do you belong to and what philosophy do you subscribe to?

There are four sects within Hinduism and Dandapani belongs to the Saivite sect. Followers of Saivism worship Siva as Supreme God. The philosophy is firmly based on the Vedas and Saiva Agamas – the core scriptures of Hinduism.

Dandapani subscribes to the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy (Monistic Theism) also known as Advaita Isvaravada in Sanskrit. Here’s an excerpt from his guru’s book, Merging with Siva, that explains the philosophy perfectly.

“Monism is the doctrine that reality is a one whole or existence without independent parts. Theism is the belief that God exists as a real, conscious, personal Supreme Being. Monistic theism is the dipolar doctrine, also called panentheism, that embraces both monism and theism, two perspectives ordinarily considered contradictory or mutually exclusive, since theism implies dualism. Monistic theism simultaneously accepts that God has a personal form, that He creates, pervades and is all that exists–and that He ultimately transcends all existence and that the soul is, in essence, one with God.” – Subramuniyaswami, S. S. (2002). Merging with Siva. Kauai, HI: Himalayan Academy Publications.

Are you a guru?