Our Satguru Bodhinatha is back home from his London travels and is greeted by all the monks and local church members.
Today Char Ravelo, founder of Inspiration magazine on Kauai and major force in the Leadership Kauai movement, brought 16 of the island's young leaders to the monastery today. They are the 2017 graduates of a year-long leadership training program, but already they are the movers and shakers of the island. Who are they? Directors of the Wilcox Hospital development program, aide to our community college chancellor, managers of programs at the Pacific Missile Range (five of them), supervisors of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (our electric company), educators, government/county council staff and more.
It was a rainy day, fully two inches during the morning, so all stayed in the Media Studio to "talk story" about how the monastery operates, how it is funded, what Gurudeva saw as the most effective leadership skills and, slowly, the conversation turned to the within, to meditation, to living in the eternal now, to millennials and the SBNR trend, to the difference between spiritual and religious and such. It was a sweet and amazingly open gathering. For all but Char, whom we have known for decades, this was the first visit to the monastery, though a few live just down the street.
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting Maryanne Kusaka, Kauai's ex-mayor and a long-time friend of the monastery. She brought with her a group of 11 close friends to meet with Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and to take a short tour of the grounds. They are all retired educators--women who spent their life teaching island children. For all but one, this was their first visit to the monastery. During the tour, our ex-mayor stopped to tell a few stories about Gurudeva and her experiences of him between 1996 and 2001. Sadasivanathaswami thanked her for her love and remembered that on the day Gurudeva was taken from the monastery to the funeral home for cremation, November 12, 2001, the mayor had the Kauai police stop traffic at every intersection so his car would not have to halt during the entire 15-mile ride.
The monastery recently enjoyed a visit from Kehaulani and her group of hula haumana (students). Many years ago it was Kehaulani who did the Hawaiian blessing for the building of Iraivan Temple. This group of students are her core pupils in the learning of Hawaiian hula, ceremonies and chants. They come from Kauai and other parts of Hawaii but mostly from Japan where hula has become quite popular in recent decades.
Upon arrival Kehaulani was gifted with a wooden bowl made by the monks from camphor wood. She and her troupe were then given a short introduction to the monastery, for many of them hadn't visited before. They were soon brought to Kadavul Temple where Kehaulani offered a beautiful Hawaiian chant to the Gods Lono, Ku and Kane (Ganesha Muruga and Siva respectively). They also performed a short hula as a group and offered a ti leaf garland for Nataraja. Next they were brought out to the flagpole area for their main hula. There is a specific Hawaiian chant dedicated to Pihanakalani ("where Heaven meets Earth") which they perform here along with chants to Mount Waialeale and the Wailua River.
Ardra Darshana is a festival honoring Lord Siva, the supreme God for Saivites and creator of all that was, is and will be. The monks, and grihasta devotees from all over the world, are gathering to watch Kadavul Nataraja receive abhishekam and blast darshan right back at them.
It is this great being that we seek, that we treasure with all our might. The formless, spaceless, timeless, limitless, un-restricted Mahadeva that dances from one plane to another will move rhythmically as he/she always does and we will be there to see it as we do every year around this time.
The sages have proclaimed that devotion to Ishvara brings samadhi. Saints have shouted His name with five letters and munis silently creep under the protection of this great God's breadth. They live for Siva's shakti, my shakti, your shakti, our shakti.
Siva is love and Siva is our destiny. From Him we came and out into the world we go, on a long path back to Him. A quote from an inner-plane being captures the essence of our journey and will make up the bulk of the slideshow captions.