Behind Every Temple was founded after witnessing first-hand the sad plight of so many ancient temples in India.
The Founder, Ananda, was born on the day of Krishna Janmashtami in 1982 but he was not re-awakened to the spiritual path until his freshman year in college. Ananda is also a certified Dharma Ambassador through the Hindu American Foundation. Below, he tells his story below, including how he met his Tamil Wife Sugi, who inspired him deeper and who would also become a Co-Founder.
“While I was born and raised in the USA, it was during college when my life changed after reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda. Reading that book was an intense initiation where the wisdom of every page penetrated my being. I was re-awoken to the timeless treasures of India. That started my spiritual journey in this life and led me on many pilgrimages to visit countless sacred temples all over India over the next 10 years.
As fate would have it, I ended up meeting my wife Sugi in Los Angeles and our passion for Vedic wisdom, Sanatana Dharma, and temples ignited our love. We have since undertaken many such pilgrimages over India together but it was during one pilgrimage in her home state of Tamil Nadu that our lives would be forever changed. During that trip, we witnessed first-hand the various threats many ancient temples face. We ended up visiting a powerful Chola-era temple that had just been renovated and we met a beautiful soul by the name of Kannan. As we talked with Kannan we were inspired to hear his story of how he dedicated his life to rebuilding ancient temples in Tamil Nadu after having a very successful job in Singapore. My wife and I knew then and there that we would do everything in our power to assist in this wonderful mission. Upon returning to the USA, we realized the best way we could assist is by helping raise awareness and funds within the USA. We had Kannan join our board of directors and applied for IRS exempt 501c3 Status which was successfully granted at the very end of 2019.
We understand the pain to see such amazing historical, spiritual, and architectural wonders being torn down, looted, or totally neglected. Temples represent an integral part of dharma and the upliftment of society as a whole so we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to help save and protect them while ensuring the ancient science of India is not lost to future generations.”
Sugi says “I was born and raised in South India and had the wonderful blessings of visiting many temples and I was always deeply excited to visit them. I was fascinated by the architectural, sculptural and spiritual aspects. I also watched local shilpis sculpting the deities from huge boulders and only later in my life did I learn more about the science behind the temples and rituals.”
100% of all donations to Behind Every Temple go directly to helping renovate these ancient temples.
All monthly overhead costs and marketing expenses are paid for 100% out of pocket by the board of directors with their own money as an act of seva. Unlike the majority of non-profits, we do not allocate any money raised to administrative duties either. 100% of donations go directly to the dharmic activities of temple renovation.
Kannan is one of the most inspirational people on our team. With the Grace of His Guru, He has personally been involved in renovating more than 50 temples over the past 20 years. Being born in Kumbakonam, one of his first projects was a very ancient KalaBhairava Temple. He saw this temple dilapidated for long time and was yearning to renovate it.
With the blessings of his Guru, they formed a small team and started renovating it. They worked for 8 years little by little to complete the whole restoration. He had to take the Indian govt to court in order to get approval to renovate the temple. Once they were finally granted permission, it took about 8 years total because they did not have enough money to renovate it.
Kannan feels grateful to His Guru who gave him blessings to proceed in thirupani and put him on the path of temple renovation. Today, Kannan sits on our Board of Directors and is a vital part of Behind Every Temple.