Our traveling monks report:
Years ago we looked at an empty piece of land and contemplated the inconceivable task of constructing a temple that would be hand carved from granite in India, then shipped and constructed in Hawaii. Now we look ahead a short distance into the future and we can see the day when the last chisel will have been sharpened, the last stone placed, and the last scaffolding removed. It is such a rare opportunity and blessing to participate in the carving of a Siva Temple and especially one established by a Parampara of Satgurus with the impetus of the centuries behind it.
In about 1990, Gangadharanathaswami, the spiritual leader for a large population in Karnataka state, visited the Palaniswami Temple in San Francisco. At Gurudeva's request, several monks showed him the plans for our Iraivan Temple and asked for his assistance. Without hesitation or even discussion he offered his assistance.
He made available a large piece of land outside of Bangalore, the carving site was set up and carving commenced. We were desperate for a qualified person that we could trust to run the carving site. Gurudeva asked Jiva Rajasankara, a long time devotee living in Malaysia if he would take on this task. Jiva agreed without reservation. In January 1994 he packed up his family and belongings and left for India.
For more than twenty years this family has supervised the carving and shipping of each stone in the temple, a monumental task. Jiva's two young sons, Senthil and Thurai, grew up, found wives in India and became experts in the many aspects of managing a carving site. They have participated in a number of temples in India and their company, Artha Enterprises, has become the "go to" firm for anyone in India who wants exquisite custom carved granite signs, works of art or decorative blocks for their home, garden or office.
Almost all of Iraivan's final carving has been completed and the next step is to bring a team of carvers, silpis, to Hawaii to do the final fitting and installation of the stones. Yoginathaswami is visiting the Rajasankara family in Bangalore to discuss all the details of bringing over the next team of silpis and coordinating the final construction.
Another unequivocal supporter of Iraivan has been Mahaswamigal Tiruchiswami, an important and popular Swami in Bangalore and throughout the Hindu world. Upon his Mahasamadhi, his successor Sri Jayendrapuriswami has been equally supportive so one of our first stops in Bangelore is Kailas Ashram to visit Swami.