For the last few days, female sishya and students of Saiva Siddhanta Church have been attending what is simply called their "Ladies' Retreat." Some years ago, a few of our women sishya asked Satguru if they could, amongst themselves, organize such an annual event. Upon approval, they began their yearly visit to the Aadheenam, at which they receive various classes from Satguru and our swamis on subjects such as self inquiry, meditation, jyotisha, devotional singing, hatha yoga, etc.
During the midst of this year's Ladies' Retreat, Suselah Periasamy and Toshadevi Nataraj received Mantra Diksha from Satguru today. Initiated into the daily sadhana of chanting Panchakshara, they move from this day on inward and upward to further reveal their innate divinity for themselves by themselves. Panchakshara means "five letters" in Sanskrit, and is used as a name for Namah Sivaya. Na, Ma, Si, Va, Ya.
The Hawaiian Islands have been divided into conservation districts, each with a local board comprised of farmers, ranchers, other agriculturalists and state and federal agricultural officials.
Each year all the boards come to one island for their annual meeting and then visit some of the interesting conservation oriented projects on that island. This year the first site they visited was the Hindu Monastery Koa grove. To understand the significance of this one must understand that the Hawaiian Islands were once covered with rich forests containing large amounts of Koa, sandalwood and other hardwoods. Much of this has disappeared over to time, to be replaced with pastures and tangled jungles of imported species.
Koa, often associated with Hawaiian royalty, was especially treasured for its beautiful dense wood and was used for canoes and many other purposes. The trees served as a home to a rich variety of birds and other creatures and are close to the hearts of native Hawaiians and of many who have come to the islands. But the trees have not only been cut by man for many uses, but a virus has come to the islands which sickens and at least partially destroys about 80% of the Koa living at low elevations.
Nick Dudley, a local forester, spent many years developing virus resistant strains of Koa but was unable to find any tree farmer willing to risk the planting of medium to large scale production plantings of low altitude Koa until Jan 2015 when the Hindu Monastery planted 5 acres. It will take 10 to 15 years to find out how successfully resistant these trees are, but for the present time they are flourishing. Also, just in time for the visiting conservationists, a beautiful cover crop of annual rye grass and white flowered buckwheat was planted between the trees.
Over this past retreat, Sannyasin Siddhanathaswami and Natyam Mayuranatha took our two current resident task forcers, Dean and Kodiswara, on an outing to Kaua`i's north shore. Our jaunters visited famed Anini beach and then ventured to Hanalei to enjoy the beauty of its valley. Anini means "dwarfish" or "inhibited growth" in Hawaiian. Hanalei literally means "lei making," and also means "crescent bay," likely an indicator of its shape. The beach is sort of divided into two main parts where people visit, where one is known to have strong currents, commonly accommodating wind surfers there. The other, towards which the monks generally tend to gravitate, is totally placid and serene. The water is shallow for many meters out, and the waters are warm and crystal clear.
One Sunday each month, various Saiva Siddhanta Church missions around the world gather to help further manifest Iraivan Temple in some practical way. For the Wailua Mission here on Kaua`i, the focus is on rudraksha processing. The proceeds of all rudraksha sales go to building Iraivan Temple. It's a time of togetherness, bonding, sharing of ideas, hopes, and aspirations for the future of the temple and how to most effectively and joyously continue to make Gurudeva's vision a physical reality. But, you can't do that on an empty stomach. Everyone knows that. So, food is also a part of this valuable family time together. The annamaya kosha must be functioning properly in order for the others to, as well. We offer some images of said gathering as well as a few shots from the subsequent weekly aadheenam tour.
Photos from recent visit of Charlie Baker and his friends from the island. Charlie has taken the monks on great hikes around the island, and into Kalalau Valley. In fact, he has visited the famed valley for some 40 years, including spending his 75th birthday there recently.
Snehan, a Kauai yoga instructor, took the photos during their visit to the Media Studio and the grounds. Snehan brought a marvelous glass-encased orchid for the monastery.
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