Conservation Recognition

In 1947 a bill was passed creating 16 conservation districts in Hawaii and outlining their powers and duties. to administer and conduct soil and water conservation activities within the State of Hawaii. These are legally constituted self-governing sub-units of the Hawaii state government and are controlled by a board consisting of a board of five directors, three elected by agricultural land-users or land-owners and two appointed by the SWCD directors.  

At their annual meeting of all the districts in the state, this year held on Kauai, they visited and were visibly impressed by the monastery's Koa plantation on our land across the river. Because of our efforts to develop a conservation plan to change degraded cane land into rich forests of mahogany and Koa and to use cover crops and other methods to enhance our plantings, Saiva Siddhanta Church was selected as the "Conservationist of the Year" for the second time.

An Evening Dance of Light

Aum Namah Sivaya

A few nights ago, we witnessed one of our most beautiful sunsets this year. The sky's high-flying wispy clouds were brightly lit by the setting sun in waves of oranges, purples, pinks and violets. Venus could be seen glowing brightly as the sun dipped behind the sacred Mount Waialeale. It truly felt like a sunset on another planet.

"Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!

Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.

The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.

The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven's river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad."
 
--Rabindranath Tagore

Tropical Fruit Growers Conference

The monks recently attended a day-long meeting of the Tropical Fruit Growers Association which was held on Kauai. Highlights of the day included a lecture on avocado cultivation by an expert from Japan. A quality avocado sells for $10 a piece in Tokyo! He had developed sophisticated pruning and support methods based on the guideline that the tree should be no taller than the owner. One such tree was producing 300 fruits a year. At the back of the room was a table with 75 different tropical fruits grown in Hawaii--the monastery has about 50 of them, and there were at least a dozen we had never seen before.

Satguru Gives Mantra Diksha

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.

Hawaiian Conservation District Visit

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.

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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