With just a few day's notice, Sadasivanathaswami and Arumuganathaswami flew off to attend a two-day meeting of USA priests and pandits, the first-ever of its kind. They were there to lend support to the priests, following Gurudeva's decades of work to improve the living conditions of pujaris brought to America to guide the worship in hundreds of temples.
They were not always treated well, and Gurudeva's insistence that they be given the respect, acknowledgement and salary-lifestyle of their Christian counterparts made a difference. Today things are far better, but far from perfect. So the Kauai monks joined the noble event to speak our support of the noble Hindu pujaris, to share some expertise we have gained in fields like immigration, visas and such, and to bring some books and literature we have developed for educational needs the priests have.
During his presentation, Sadasivanathaswami called the local youth to the stage and presented them with 108 Rudraksha seeds from Kauai. Then he asked them to work with Kauai monks on a special project, to get Rudraksha trees planted in the temples of all those present. The boys enthusiastically agreed, and the priests all signed up with their addresses.
The conference ended with a wave of palpable energy, a shakti that seemed in the last hour to pour forth from all those wonderful servants of God, happy, it seemed, that they had come together, shared their concerns, listened to solutions to their shared problems and met new friends.
The priest of the Sri Venkateswara Temple then took the two Kauai monks on a tour of his temple, some 20 minutes away. It is a dynamic one, with an amazing array of activities, a full staff, and beautiful facilities. It was our first visit, and we were duly impressed.
Then back to Kauai to finish the current edition of Hinduism Today (a story of the conference will appear in the following issue.)