Today on our weekly public tour we hosted Maureen Murphy of NTBG bringing a special group on the tour. Maureen is the president of The Kauai Outdoor Circle--the original environmental organization in Hawaii, started in 1912, and dedicated to keeping Hawaii clean, green and beautiful.
They are the ones who got billboards outlawed in 1926, and started the recycling projects in the ’70’s as well as anti-litter campaigns. They do lots of tree plantings; including the creation of the Exceptional Tree Protection program. They also participate in the annual Arbor Day tree giveaway; and offer several free tree care workshops. She wanted to bring members of the hard-working steering committee to show them how much they are appreciated.
It is easy to talk about all pervasive divinity and a few beliefs of Hinduism when standing in a jungle of flowers and trees.
Included in this weeks tour was a new stop overlooking Rishi Valley which has seen a complete transformation in the past several months with hundreds of new plantings and new irrigation system. This photo does not include the spectacular view of Iraivan Temple just above and across the water. This is the perfect place to introduce the idea of Parampara, the passing down, the lineage of teachers, and coronation in the Natha tradition.
Little Romesh waves hi, with his mother, and grandparents. Originally from North India, they now reside in San Diego.
Here we are at the foot of the flag pole hearing about the festive and celebratory way Hindus approach life. I am in desperate need of a wide angle lens -- this is probably 50% of the actual group. We know there were 60 cars checked in by the parking staff.
Inspired by the work of the Kauai Open Circle, we had a rare and special guest today when out of the jungle appeared Paramacharya Palaniswami. After hearing so many things about monks it was very uplifting for the group to actually see a swami. During public tour day, which is always a phase day, all the monks are busy at their work stations Once in a great while Yoginathaswami is out at Iraivan directing the silpis or Ceyonswami comes out briefly after the puja in Kadavul, but for the most part guests are lucky to even get a glimpse of a monk.
Palaniswami is asked about a number of palms and plants in the immediate vicinity by Maureen. The proper latin botanical names stream out effortlessly usually with a fascinating history of that particular palm and how it was acquired.
The initial reaction after being overwhelmed with a seemly endless variety of trees, palms, exotic bamboo, heliconia, ginger, Ti, medicinal plants, flowers and vines, is: how do they do it? How can a handful of monks with so many other duties keep all these acres of plants looking like a masterfully tended arboretum and botanical garden? It is a question that defies an answer.
The blessings of Lord Murugan awaken wisdom which resides in his chakra. "Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe." When we get emotional we lose touch with our wisdom. Murugan inspires penance to soften karmas and purify the mind, chitta-shuddhi. If you do kavadi in the right spirit, to get the full blessing, have in mind specific misdeeds, apologize to the deity, learn from it, promise to do your best. Visions are still happening. Feeling the energy of the deity is stronger during festivals such as Skanda Shashti.