The Story of Iraivan’s Avudaiyar

Our monks heard this miraculous story during their travels in India in November, and thought to share it on this day, as we approach Maha Ardra

You all know about the 11,000-pound Avudaiyar that was made for Iraivan, the five-metal base that will ultimately hold the crystal Sivalingam in the sanctum, the one that arrived on Kauai two months back. It seems to have some magical and mystical powers.

The masterpiece was made in Swamimalai, South India, by the great artisan Kubera Sthapati. He and his wife had remained childless, to their great dismay. But as soon as he began to work on the massive peedam, his wife, who was 48 years old at the time, became pregnant.

The avudaiyar took nine months to design, cast, carve and finish. On the day it left his workshop for Kauai, his wife delivered a baby boy. Sthapati regards this as his blessing for working on one of the most sacred parts of Siva's Citadel in Hawaii. He said his life was forever changed in that moment.

Click here to see a video of the Avudaiyar's creation

The Five Powers of Siva

We unpacked the five bronzes of God Siva yesterday, revealing their astonishing detail. No wonder it took years for the craftsmen in South India to makes these murthis. Five forms each in five metals, to be placed in five niches on the outisee of the Iraivan garbhagriham.

Meantime, we thought you would love to see them, to enjoy the high level of sculpting that was achieved and a few words about this traditional depiction of divinity.

Most Saivites understand that Siva has five powers: creation, preservation, dissolution and the dual graces, concealing and revealing. Those who read our philosophically rich July, 2012, Insight Section, "Five Powers of Siva, Sadasiva in the Agama Scriptures," will have encountered the profundity of this understanding of God (bit.ly/Panchasiva). In Iraivan Temple, these five powers are enshrined as five forms of Siva in bronze, two-foot-tall statues installed in niches around the outside of the central sanctum: Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana. 

Sadyojata, "quickly birthing" is Brahma, element earth, color white and denoted by Na in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya. Vamadeva, "pleasing," is Vishnu, element water, color saffron and letter Ma. Aghora, "non-terrifying," is Rudra, element fire, color blue-black and letter Si. Tatpurusha, "supreme soul," is Maheshvara, element air, color gold and letter Va. Ishana, "ruler," is Sadasiva, element akasha, color crystal and letter Ya.

These bronzes were commissioned from Ganapati Sthapati's Mahabalipuram worksite and took several years to complete under his careful direction. They finally and somewhat magically arrived on Kauai in November, 2014, right at the conclusion of the Mahasamadhi observances for Gurudeva. 

A Mahasamadhi Gift From Gurudeva

On the final day of Mahasamadhi, during the final afternoon homa, Iraivan's long-awaited, priceless pieces finally arrived at the temple. Both parts of Iraivan's central Deity are now at the Aadheenam: The Spatika Lingam and now the Avudaiyar. Iraivan's Siva-Shakti.

For those who don't know, this shipment of containers has seen every form of delay and obstacle imaginable, including spending a few days run aground on a reef in the Saipan Channel, sitting atop undetonated World War II mines! Upon being freed and rerouted, the shipping containers saw delay after delay at each point they reached. Knowing when the containers would arrive was anybody's (probably wrong) guess. The fact that the shipment reached Kauai Aadheenam exactly when it did is absolutely extraordinary. Jai Gurudeva!

The two 40-foot containers brought us many precious items for Iraivan Temple, including the five-ton metal auvudaiyar, the four-foot Nandi and important sculptures for the Nandi Mandapam, the five metal Sadasiva bronzes that will be installed on three sides of the vimanam, the black granite statues of Rishi Nandinatha, Gurudeva, Bodhinatha and many other items.

"As I look into the future, I see Iraivan, fully completed, as a center where devotees will come to find the center of themselves. We will preserve it and maintain it so that it is the way Rishikesh used to be, a proper, pure, quiet place where devotees can go within themselves through the practice of yoga. There are very few such places left on the Earth now. Kauai's Hindu Monastery is one of them. I see Iraivan as a yoga citadel, a place of pilgrimage for the devout, sincere and dedicated. I see Iraivan as India's message to the world on visitors' day, when Hindus and non-Hindus alike come to admire the great artistry of the silpi stone carving tradition. I see Iraivan as a fulfillment of our lineage, our scriptures and our monastery. This is a place where you do not have to invoke God, for God is here, for this is where heaven meets the Earth." - Gurudeva

Containers Bound for Kauai Aadheenam Saved by Wind and Tide

Yesterday this ship, carrying containers bound for Kauai, ran aground in Saipan, an island in the Northern Marianas 120 miles north of Guam and loosely under American jurisdiction. The ship had been trapped on a reef in the Saipan channel.

The "Paul Russ,"  500 feet long and weighing 16,000 tons was saved in part by the weather. Captain Pruett said, "The weather helped us a lot with the wind driving in one direction, the tide in another. With heavy weather and larger waves moving in, we were able to pull the vessel off the reef." None of the 17 crew members was injured and no oil leaks occurred. 

There are two 40-foot containers aboard that hold precious items for Iraivan Temple, including the five-ton metal auvudaiyar, the four-foot Nandi and important sculptures for the Nandi Mandapam, plus the five metal Sadasiva bronzes that will be installed on three sides of the vimanam and the black granite statues of Gurudeva and Bodhinatha.

The ship will be carefully inspected before it continues its voyage toward Hawaii.

Loading the Containers in Bangaluru

These photos show the work that is being done to load and ship one of the containers, now on its way to Kauai. Everyone at the carving site has worked very carefully to lift these giant and sacred objects into the container. As you can see, this containers holds the precious Aavudaiyar for Iriavan temple's crystal Lingam. Just a few weeks and it will be landing on Kauai. This is truly an exciting moment to witness.

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