A New Phase Begins

Today begins the monastery's five-day phase. This phase is crunch time for the Ganapati Kulam's magazine work, as they near completion of the next issue. On Sun 3 Sadasivanathaswami and Arumuganathaswami will be leaving on a short trip to speak at a conference in San Jose, California. This phase the Siddhidata Kulam will be focusing on vehicle maintenance routines, in addition to there regular weekly garden day and daily vegetable and fruit harvest. They will also be doing some cleanup on the Siva Pannai land while the ground is dry. The SK will also be arranging the upcoming roof repair for Bodhinatha's and their office.

Following today's homa, Satguru Bodhinatha gave a wonderful upadesha. He discussed today's lesson from Merging with Siva and unfolded the subtleties related to dealing with our karmas and attachments.

From Lesson 11 from Living with Siva
Ahimsa: Noninjury
The first yama is ahimsa, non-injury. To practice ahimsa, one has to practice santosha, contentment. The sadhana is to seek joy and serenity in life, remaining content with what one has, knows, is doing and those with whom he associates. Bear your karma cheerfully. Live within your situation contentedly. Himsa, or injury, and the desire to harm, comes from discontent. 

The rishis who revealed the principles of dharma or divine law in Hindu scripture knew full well the potential for human suffering and the path which could avert it. To them a one spiritual power flowed in and through all things in this universe, animate and inanimate, conferring existence by its presence. To them life was a coherent process leading all souls without exception to enlightenment, and no violence could be carried to the higher reaches of that ascent. These rishis were mystics whose revelation disclosed a cosmos in which all beings exist in interlaced dependence. The whole is contained in the part, and the part in the whole. Based on this cognition, they taught a philosophy of nondifference of self and other, asserting that in the final analysis we are not separate from the world and its manifest forms, nor from the Divine which shines forth in all things, all beings, all peoples. From this understanding of oneness arose the philosophical basis for the practice of noninjury and Hinduism's ancient commitment to it. 

We all know that Hindus, who are one-sixth of the human race today, believe in the existence of God everywhere, as an all-pervasive, self-effulgent energy and consciousness. This basic belief creates the attitude of sublime tolerance and acceptance toward others. Even tolerance is insufficient to describe the compassion and reverence the Hindu holds for the intrinsic sacredness within all things. Therefore, the actions of all Hindus are rendered benign, or ahimsa. One would not want to hurt something which one revered. 

Silpi at the Forge

The bronze memorial of Iraivan Temple builders is being worked on in Hawaii and Colorado. In Hawaii, Holly Young is finishing the wax of two silpis on a pillar stone. And in Colorado Debbie Bakel is putting the patina on the Silpi at the Forge. As our slideshow proves, the creative process is dynamic, and the sketches we began with evolved. In particular, Holly made the entire forge! It so gives the authentic feel of the heating of the mild steel chisels over the hot coals. Debbie used special metallic mixes to get the color of fire. Here is the artisan's short notes sent with the photos.

The sculpture was patinaed using the same methods as the other sculptures. I used Acrylic paints and pastewax with oxide powders mixed in layers in to mimic the colors of the oven and fire.

This piece like all of Holly's pieces almost did itself. That means all the textures I needed to make a surface believable were already there, in the bronze.

I especially liked this figure. It must take strength and patience to do this job. Holly captures the strength in the figure's arms and shoulders without making it look like anything is forced. It makes me think the man has done this many times before and is one with the endeavor.

He has a peaceful confident face, another indication that the person is a Master. I love the way Holly finds the beauty in faces and especially eyes.

On April 23rd I will be applying the final wax coat to protect the bronze from your elements. It gives the last depth and I will take nice photos at that time for you.

Until then,

Debbie Bakel

Enjoy the slideshow as our fourth masterpiece nears completion

April 2014 News Video

Our April 2014 news video covers events in March 2014, including: Iraivan Temple landscaping project update, the visit by the Kawaikini Charter School students, the visit by David Steindle-Rast, a Benedictine Catholic monk and the arrival of our newest two cows.

Siva’s Sacred Garden

Some great little botanical gems blooming in the garden today. We particularly focus on the new family of plants recently brought in from a Kauai collector--the cycads. These are among the most ancient plant lineages on earth, dating back some 230 million years. When we got a few dozen of them a few months back, we thought it would be a couple of years before they recovered and bloomed. But no, last month it began right outside the new Media Studio.

The name is derived from the Greek articles "en", meaning "in", "cephale", meaning "head", and "artos", meaning "bread".

This Encepholartus whitlockii started sprouting three cones, which became giants within three weeks, then the fronds started to appear.

We just learned today that foods derived from this plant are common in India. here is the Wikipedia description:

Cycad meal known as Eenthu in Malayalam is a common food in Kerala. Traditionally, the seeds were sliced and kept in direct sunlight or near the hearth during rainy season to promote drying.

The drying process is carried out to reduce the toxin levels and as a means of preservation. The outer shell is subsequently removed and inner portion is ground into a flour. Properly dried cycad seed flour may be stored for several years without deterioration.

Food items like Puttu, Eenthu kanji, Eenthu payasam etc. are made out of cycad seed powder.These food items are particularly prepared in heavy rainy seasons in Kerala.

Enjoy the slideshow....

April 17 Homa

Recently the monastery observed its weekly homa. The sacred fire ceremony is a wonderful way to start off each new phase. The monks and any guests can write notes to the devas, which are burned during the ceremony. The paper then become visible in the inner Lokas for the devas to read and act upon. The act of prayer writing is a very important way to keep communications with the inner worlds strong, creating a smooth and successful flow of projects and personal growth throughout the monastery and in other people's lives. This phase is a short one, of just four days. On Sun 3 the monks have Ashram Sadhana Day, for which their time is spent cleaning the monastery. This coming retreat will be Iraivan Day, when the monks work to mail the aadheenam newsletter, write the next one, as well as create the monthly news video and a variety of other Iraivan, mail-related projects.

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

September 2014
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