With great enthusiasm, the monastery welcomed the two-day visit of Swami Aksharananda of Guyana. Swami has mixed with us at the annual HMEC meetings in the US and recently at the World Hindu Congress in New Delhi.
Swami came with a mission, to help the 500 students in his school. He is eager to engage them more in Hindu studies and finds the Himalayan Academy books and resources the best out there for this work. Swami also has formally invited Bodhinatha to come to Guyana, meet his teachers and students, give talks and uplift the 300,000 Hindus in the nation.
Swami told the monks during lunch that they probably do not know how deeply their work and life here affects the wider world. He said Gurudeva’s ashram is unique in all the world, both for keeping the H-word in its vocabulary and for genuinely embracing and supporting all of the sampradayas in a truly universal spirit. We could add that Swami’s own heart is of that same spirit.
Swami Aksharananda is a key figure in the Hindu community of Guyana. As a Hindu scholar and Prinicipal of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) High School, he was honored by Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra and Keshav-Srishti on Friday January 4, 2008 during a ceremony at the Alkesh Mody Auditorium, Kalina Campus, Mumbai. Swami was honored for his work in the areas of education and social service in Guyana. He has an MA in Sanskrit from Banaras Hindu University and PhD in Hindu Studies from the University of Madison, Wisconsin.
Over the three day retreat, Senthilnathaswami and Nilakanthanatha took our three taskforcers Adi, Vel and Roshan, and our upakurvana, Sivarathna, on an outing to the other side of Kauai. While the east side of the island is lush and green, the west side is much dryer. The group traveled to the town of Waimea, where they took the road up the mountain to see Waimea Canyon. They enjoyed lunch together in Kokee park, visited the Kalalau lookout--which was unfortunately cloudy--and then went for a hike through the mountain forests.
Yesterday, three of the monks made a short visit to Kauai's annual farm fair. It is one of the largest events held on the island each year. The fair draws thousands of people from around the island to enjoy the food, carnival rides, animals, crafts, booths and the vegetable, orchid and bonsai competitions.
Recently the monastery was visited by the Kawakini kindergarden class. Just a few months ago a Kawakini middle school class also visited. It is a unique school in that until 5th grade, the only language used is Hawaiian.
The class offered a chant to Ganesha at the entrance, had a short tour, posed for a photo at the flagpole and met Kashi, our new bull calf.
Yesterday, Satguru Bodhinatha was invited as a Guest to the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay. Rotary International is a service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Bodhinatha gave a light-hearted, 25 minute talk and spoke about the various ways the monastery gives to the local community, most of which are unknown to many Kauai residents. Bodhinatha also discussed the progress of Iraivan Temple and our agricultural land, Himalayan Acres. The group had very good questions about Hinduism and the charitable works of the Monastery.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.