Over 25 years ago Gurudeva planted an entire forest of Rudraksha trees at Kauai Aadheenam. What some of us didn’t know then was: Would they grow as well here on Kauai as they do in the foothills of the Himalayas? Would we one day be able to create our own Rudraksha Malas which have adorned Hindu monks and been used for meditation for thousands of years. Would these trees one day help to build Iraivan?
The answer is yes, yes and yes! Another example (among countless others) that give testimony to Gurudeva’s grand visions, which extended far into the future. Gathering, soaking, cleaning, drilling, power-washing, oiling and creating a myriad of products from these sacred beads has become the crown jewel of Iraivan morning for the Wailua Mission. This is a time set aside to approximate “Iraivan day” that the monks observe for a time of total commitment to the building of Iraivan.
Most of our social time together as a mission is working together on our various karma yoga projects. We meet together to produce malas, earrings, necklaces, jewelry and other creations.
Here is Leila and Uma. One of the many steps in creating all of the items is sorting. Rudraksha come in a variety of sizes and need to be “categorized” for the various projects. It is a precise discipline that helps those further down the line work efficiently without having to stop and measure each bead.
Happy and busy with sacred creations is Kamala Guhan with Kulamata Valli Alahan and Brahmacharini Lila Devi.
Here is Oma, (Deva Seyon’s mother) on the left and Donna (Uma Sivanathan’s mother) on the right. The joy of having our seniors living with us and participating in our mission rudraksha project is a blessing. The light you see in their eyes tells of a lifetime lived in the service of others.
Here is our very busy hostess, Kulamata Isani Alahan. Making and serving chai tea, while coordinating all the work stations. Isani is a dynamo in the Wailua Mission. Along with her husband Kulapati Durvasa Alahan they are responsible for all the coordination of the Rudraksha project.
The “rack line” is extra powerful this morning with the addition of Kulapati Vel Alahan, who has recently moved permanently to Kauai, (far right) Shyamadeva Dandapani who is now spending winters on Kauai from Alaska (third from right) and Toshadeva Guhan who is preparing for membership and initiation.(Far left).
A lot of work has taken place before the sacred seeds get this far. These solid oak racks have withstood years of power washing.
When power washed these beads spin at an incredible speed as the water penetrates every crevice to yield a perfectly clean bead ready for oiling.
Beads which may be rejected for minor “off center” drilling or other small imperfections are never wasted. On a key chain they are “perfect”.
A single bead on a string is a big seller. Very reasonable pricing allows for a memorable keepsake for everyone who visits Kauai Aadheenam.
Black, red and yellow are the colors of choice depending on which part of India you come from.
Mala making is handmade with care and affection. When you hold a completed mala there is an unmistakable energy that radiates from them. Tandu Sivanathan is a master of all nature arts.
Colors range from earth to sky. Earth orange, greens and reds to etheric blues and purples the seeds are alternated with gemstone beads with matching tassels. Each one is a unique creation.
We heard through the coconut grapevine that some of our malas might find their way to the Kumbha Mela this year.
The sacred fruits of a productive morning.
Gurudeva’s vision keeps growing and giving . . . the forest is a place of great peace and power. The trees are now seeding themselves all the way up the San Marga path to Iraivan. It seems quite certain that for generations to come thousands will enjoy the sacred malas of Kauai Aadheenam.
"Stand strong for Saivism." The nature of life for Saivites is to turn work into worship, to turn the secular into the sacred. Each day give a little extra warmth, humanness and upliftment to others. Every day is a holy day, all day long. We want to follow our religion even in our dreams. If we help someone, we're worshiping. Wherever we are, that's a place of worship. "To the Saivite Hindu all of life is sacred. All of life is religion."