Today is Sun three at the Aadheenam. Spring casts pollen in the air as flowers flourish, and myriad colors greet our eyes.
Today is also the day when guests come for the almost-weekly tour. We don’t have photos of the guests yet, but our TAKA photographer decided to try to see the world through their eyes and imagine what it is like to be visiting Siva’s home on Kauai.
This is where people gather for the beginning of the tour. By 9am, the small pavilion is full of people and even more full of questions. What is it like inside? Can a monastery really be worth visiting? What are Hindus like? What do you believe? Do monks sleep?
An exquisite and smiling Nepalese murti of Lord Ganesha greets all. Along the pathways guests spy a monk or two, their very traditional garments silently speaking of the monastery’s orthodox ways. There’s one on the right.
The path is beautiful, but does not give away any secrets. A banner offers more insights, celebrating our 60th year of spiritual work.
An order of Swamis, a Satguru and six decades of selfless service.
The more-than-a-hundred guests follow the path quietly, most of them unsure of what to expect. A giant banyan tree majestically guards the way and Kadavul Temple can be seen in the distance.
Few guests know that when they come to Kauai Aadheenam, they also go a different place inside of themselves. They find inspiring beauty and peace.
A reverence for all living beings, so central to Hindus, arises naturally in them. How could one not honor such a perfect Creation?
Here the devas are everywhere. They color the leaves, they make the flowers grow. They clean the aura of the guests and bestow blessings according to one’s karma and free will.
Gurudeva once mentioned that when an electrician works on Kadavul Temple he might think he is just fixing some wires. But he might be receiving blessings and changing his future, for lives and lives to come.
Lord Ganesha guides every person’s karma, whether they know it or not.
Inside Kadavul, He waits for them — patiently, subtly — until they come to Him.
The gleaming Tandava dance of Siva inside Kadavul.
Gurudeva wrote in the Saiva Dharma Shastras,
“I explain to my monastics that everyone who visits Kauai Aadheenam comes to hear our teachings, whether they realize it or not.”
“It is up to the hosts to bring the guests’ minds into the highest advaitic philosophy, to remind them of the goal of life on earth--Self Realization leading to moksha--to make their first visit to Kauai one that changes them completely, after which their life improves in wonderful ways. Many think they are coming to see the large crystal, others to walk the San Marga path, others to visit the editorial offices of HINDUISM TODAY, but we must assume that all are coming to be uplifted by the teachings of the Self.”
“They should depart filled and thrilled with a new perspective on life and a new self-image from hearing about our teachings. All the mathavasis should speak boldly of our lofty philosophy on our own lands. We want each one who comes to carry away the teachings of the untarnished perfection of the soul on its path toward moksha. All visitors are regarded as Gurudeva’s guests.”
The guests might for the first time in many lives hear about the truth that lies within themselves. It is a small seed, but in time it will grow and bear fruit, maybe tomorrow or maybe in a thousand years. To the monks, it does not matter.
Paramacharya Ceyonswami is the pujari of our public 9am worship on most days, bringing forth the blessings and invoking Lord Siva and His devonic helpers.
Here he talks to Adyan Hara, visiting from Colorado.
Kauai Aadheenam is a place of wonders. Gurudeva wrote, “We will preserve it and maintain it so that it is the way Rishikesh used to be, a proper, pure, quiet place where devotees can go within themselves through the practice of raja yoga. There are very few such places left on the Earth now. Kauai’s Hindu monastery is one of them.”
“It is a place to which people will be drawn who have made themselves pure by self effort through sadhana.”
On the path, a crab spider effortlessly weaves her impossible architecture.
By the time the tour day guests walk past Kadavul they already know, this is a beautiful place. Walking toward the drinking fountain, they cannot even imagine how much more there is.
Looking at Iraivan from a distance, the group usually goes silent save for some astonished words uttered under their breath. This is where their jaws drop and their hearts open. From here, they go see the temple realizing they walk on holy ground.
Jai Gurudeva! You alone make this all possible.
Aum Namah Sivaya.