About Dandapani

Dandapani is a Hindu priest, speaker on self development and an entrepreneur. Of Sri Lankan ancestry, he grew up in Australia and 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 monastery in Hawaii.

When his vows expired seven years ago he chose to venture out into the world on his own. He made New York City his new home, determined to live and practice himself everything he teaches in the most invigorating and challenging city in the world. He works with a variety of individuals, companies and organizations around the world conducting training through workshops, retreats and exclusive coaching circles.

Approachable, practical and funny, he has a unique ability to simplify the understanding of the mind, make spiritual tools practically applicable in every day life, create systematic approaches to self development that allows for sustainable change and relate what he teaches to every day life. All this and more make him a much sought after speaker and coach on self development.


Frequently Asked Questions

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

The dress of Hindu monks and priests are very similar and it is not easy to tell them apart. What I am wearing is a traditional wear of a Saivite Hindu priest.

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. I am married and live with my wife in New York City.

Are Hindu priests allowed to earn money?

Yes they are. Since Hindu priests are householder they follow the guidelines that have been outlined for householders in our scripture. 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 are encouraged to amass wealth in a righteous way and to do good with this wealth and make a positive difference in this world.

What do the 3 lines on your forehead symbolize?

It is a symbol of Saivism and it represents anava (ego), karma (law of cause and affect) and maya (illusion).

What are those cool looking beads you are wearing?

The cool beads you are referring to are called Rudrakshas which literally translates to “Rudra’s eyes” or “Siva eyes”. They form a mala (necklace) that are 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 them..


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

There are four sects within Hinduism and I belong 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.

I subscribe to the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy. Monistic Theism also known as Advaita Isvaravada in Sanskrit. Here’s an excerpt from my 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.

Why do people call you a monk or refer to you as a monk?

I have absolutely no idea. They must not have read my bio above. But if you do ever find out please let me know.

Are you a guru?


Talks by Dandapani