A Representation of the Homepage
|Vedanta Society of Southern California -Homepage http://www.vedanta.org/|
|" In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and elevating as that of the upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of my death."|
Vedanta teaches that our real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers, and sons of God, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.
The Vedanta Society of Southern California was founded in 1930 and incorporated as a non-profit religious corporation in 1934. It maintains a temple, convent, and monastery in Hollywood; a temple, convent, and monastery in San Diego; and a Swami Vivekananda Memorial House in South Pasadena. There are sixteen other Vedanta Societies in the United States, Europe and South America. Although the societies are under the spiritual guidance often Ramakrishna Order of India, each is an independent, self-supporting unit.
The first thing you notice when you click open the Web site is the Seal of the Ramakrishna Order: radiantly beautiful, the white swan rests upon variegated blue waters backed by an azure horizon and a rising, deep-orange sun. But the Seal is more than just a pretty face: it is hyperlinked. The word sounds worse than what it is. We've seen the word 'hypertext' earlier: it's a distinguishing characteristic of the Web. Hypertext is a word or words which appear in a Web site and are connected-'linked '-to other texts, thus allowing the reader to roam through various pans of the text and read in a non linear way. Hypertext is generally underlined so you can distinguish it from the rest of the text. The Seal of the Order is hyperlinked: this means that when you click the mouse on the Seal's icon, a whole new page of material pops up on the screen. This page is entitled 'Seal of the Ramakrishna Order' and it explains the Seal's imagery and meaning.
Welcome to the Vedanta Society of Southern California's Web Site' the home page announces; it is followed by a quotation from Schopenhauer: In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of mydeath. By the time this article is printed [the January 1998 issue, that quote will be gone and another introductory quotation will be displayed.
Why so. much emphasis on change? A Web site may appear interesting the first few times you visit it, but after repeated viewings the site will begin to feel stale. If it is boring, people will stop looking at it. To counterbalance cyber-tedium, the material is continually updated. The lecture schedules posted by the Vedanta Society of Southern California [ /www.vedanta.org ] are changed every month and the site itself is continually reassessed for effectiveness: new links' (more on that later) are assessed and the text is continually re+examined for accuracy and general appeal.
Thwarting cyber-boredom is but one reason why sites need frequent refreshing. Another significant point is that if a site remains static for months on end, you get the distinct impression that no living human being is on the other side of the computer line. Part of the Web's attraction lies in the fact that you're contacting not only different people's interests and philosophies, you're also contacting the people themselves. Nearly every Web site is interactive: it usually has an e-mail address for reader input with other features to allow readers a direct and personalized response.
Brevity, Shakespeare said, is the soul of wit. It is also the soul of a home page since the Web site's raison d'etra should be stated there as succinctly as possible. 'Vedanta,' says the Vedanta Society of Southern California's home page, 'teaches that our real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers, and sons of Cod, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.' This Vedanta-in-a nutshell hopefully sparks enough interest to keep the viewer reading further. This brief introduction is followed by an equally brief paragraph on the Vedanta Society of Southern California.
What surely will catch the reader's at tention is an elegant vertical line of blue boxes located directly beneath the Seal of the Order.