On day three everyone rose early and we had a meditation outside the hotel by the sea and then everyone piled into the bus to travel western, stopping for lunch in Kalaheo and then on up the mountain road to Kokee to finally settle in at Camp Sloggett in Kokee.
Here is our dining room and class space if it rained. The mountain air was crisp and cold and many of our innersearch switched to sweaters and jackets.
In the afternoon Bodhinatha began in in-depth classes on Vedanta and Siddhanta, diving deep into the finer points of these philosophies.
It was a remarkable scene, as innersearchers testified later, “Having Bodhinatha there under the trees in the mountain scenery was something rare and felt like we were with Rishi giving Upanishads.”
In the background our, caterers from Gaylords had taken on the difficult task of catering meals for over 60 people. Here is Gaylords’ head chef, Andy Althouse who has come up to Kokee to supervise the preparation of vegetarian fare.
Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami had been coordinating with Gaylord staff for over two months prior to innersearch. They all did a fabulous job in Kokee and serving breakfast and lunches at the Aadheenam.
While Bodhinatha conducted his classes, Sivakatirswami held a special held class for our two youth participants. Acharya Arumugaswami joined to watch and observe and take notes to refine our teaching materials development. It is a rare chance for the monks to directly interact in an edu context with young people.
For the class we prepared a special study book for young people including learning modules for Ganesha and Muruga Bija mantras, pranayama for children, color meditation, several Vedic slokas, bhajans and a simple Yamas and Niyamas study.
Mayuresh is 8 1/2 years old and Aarti is 10 years old. We had them read the new, yet-to-be published Yama and Niyama story books that Acharya Arumugaswami has been developing. Aarti was a great help, point out words that she did not understand like “croissant”!
Mayuresh is a bright student and he could recount the details of the story and moral therein in amazing detail after his sister finished the reading. He is also a fun lad and kept us in stitches with his youthful humor.
Happy faces everywhere. Pooja Patel with Kailash Sivam Dhaksinamurthi.
Pooja, at age 13, is our youngest, formally enrolled Master Course Student in the whole world! She has completed Level 1 with her parents and will be moving on to Level Two. The Patel family try to read their master course together every night.
Kailash is our indefatigable, every bright amazing tour master for this and previous innersearches. He manages all the travel, hotels, fees, excursions, transport from one events to another and deals with the each participant with such care and loving attention. He’s always running here and there taking care of many small details. Thank you Kailash! He said Innersearch is easy compared to his professional work which is arranging for tours for disabled and special needs people.
We had three toddlers with us. Here is Lyla Tanzi.
And Aran Malhotra with his father Gaurav.
Having little ones with us on innersearches makes it feel like a real extended family with an age group extending all the way from 2 years old to over 70. Little children elicit gentleness, sensitivity and a lot of love and joy from the group, adding a sweet element to the whole program.
At just 2 years of age, Aran can talk more than any one we know. Sometimes we have no clue what he is talking about, but he will hold entire conversations with himself and then quite unexpectedly come out with whole complete sentences “Good morning Swamiji, nice to see you!”
Thanks for coming Aran!
We were blessed with a light shower in the afternoon. Paramacharya Palaniswami held a Question and Answer Katha… in between each question and answer, Kulamata Selvon Mardemootoo led the group in a rousing bhajan.
Our evening brought the first cultural event. A very special and rare performance by an all male Hula Halau. Hula Halaus consist of a leader, who may after been the lead chanter, several musicians and dancers.
The sun had set and our lights were low. The dancers had prepared for several hours, fetching the traditional plants from the forest to hand make-prepare their headdresses and leis.
It was a powerful performance.
We all felt as if the halau had magically invoked the presence of their Hawaiian ancestors and devas, turning our little mountain plateau into a temple in nature.
Afterwards we talked with the young male dancers. Mayuresh gifted them with our “All About Kauai’s Hindu Monastery” booklet. The young men were curious, asking if we believed that Kauai was once a special, sacred mountain in ancient Lemuria. We chanted Sanskrit for them before they left and felt a kinship with these our Hawaiian brothers.
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta