In the years ahead a special mandapam will be built over the Swayambhu Lingam on San Marga with paintings of Gurudeva’s visions on the ceiling. Until then, the vision art and the story will be displayed on an outdoor display. Kulapati Deva Rajan has been working on this project about a year while we have been waiting for the artwork from India.
It is all being made with clear redwood. Here Deva is cutting the end of a stopped notch on the three frames that will hold digital copies of the mural art being created in Kerala. The long stretcher pieces are on the bench in the background. Deva comes to Kauai two or three times each year to work on the project with Acharya Kumarswami. The monastery woodworking shop is a contemporary blend of power tools and hand tools, including superb Japanese and Western planes, chisels and saws.
Deva Rajan stops for a moment at the front entry of the wood shop, having just cleaned up a special, fine-tooth blade we used for a critical cut, before putting the blade away for safe keeping. You can see the water stone sharpening station on the right, the place where all plane and chisel blades are brought to a razor edge.
Deva and Acharya Kumarswami assembled the structures over the recent three-day retreat. Here the tenoned beams are being slid into the mortises, making an H-shaped structure that will hold the art frames.
The building material is all old-growth redwood that was salvaged by Deva’s construction crew about ten years ago from a retired water tower in northern California. The tank was 50 feet in diameter, made of clear 3″x8″ x 20-foot pieces. Here Deva is tapping in the wedges that will secure the tenons. Notice the come-along the team used to pull the posts together to make a joint so snug that it can be a home for elementals. The wedges are made from Monterey Cyprus wood harvested in Kokee and milled at the monastery.
Some fancy joinery here! The mortise is splayed to accommodate the wedges. There is no turning back at this point.
The artwork will be mounted inside these frames, three canvasses in each display, nine in all.
Become an accomplished human being; soar into the fourth dimension. Artists experience mountaintop consciousness. Having their source in humble devotion to the Lord, Saiva cultural arts: singing, drama, dance, playing musical instruments and creative skills strengthen concentration and are a form of worship. Religious art is an expression of the soul nature, bringing the beauty of the within into manifestation.
How Can We Be Strong Saivite Hindus?
Gurudeva: "The time has come for Hindus of all races, all nations, of all cultures, of all sects to stand up and let the peoples of the world know of the great religion of which they are one of the staunch adherents." The first way of learning religion is to memorize its tenants. The challenge of living with Siva means bringing religion into the home, into the family, into our interactions with all other people. Kshama-forbearance and patience. Everything we experience we set in motion. Everything is just the next thing to do. Treat everyone in a friendly and inspiring way. Learn our religion and then live by it.
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