The deed is done, literally and otherwise. Escrow has closed on the acquisition of 19 acres of land adjacent to Kauai's Hindu Monastery. We are calling it "Siva Pannai," Siva's Farm. This is such an historic event it deserves a short story...
Back in 1975 Gurudeva had just acquired the San Marga lands, extending the monastery by about 38 acres. At that time he looked across the fence to lands owned by a wonderful couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ware. Gurudeva somehow intuited that one day their parcel might come to the monastery, and he noted that our current property and this land used to be all one piece and had been broken up decades earlier and might be cobbled together one day. Still, there were never any discussions or real possibilities that this would happen.
Fast forward to 2012. Greg Smith, the Ware's grandson and current owner of the land reached out to the monastery to say he wanted to offer the property for sale, but only to the monks. Perhaps Greg, always an exemplary neighbor and annual visitor to Kauai from his home in Arkansas, recalled how the monks helped him get a tax break by planting a rare collection of palms on a few acres some seven years ago. Or maybe he remembered the private tours given to his family, wife Stephanie, daughters Cassie (a UCLA student) and Sienna (now age six), or the fresh yogurt, or the use of our water main over the years or the gift of palm trees for his 1994 landscaping project. Or it could have been his closeness to Kadavul temple where he loved to meditate. We were startled and honored that he would approach us first.
One thing was clear: this prized land would only be sold once in our life. The monks all knew how crucial it was to the protection of the monastery far into what Gurudeva loved to call the future of futures. After all, it shares a fenceline with the aadheenam that is 1,600 feet long! It lies within a few feet of some of the monks' guhas.
With Bodhinatha's blessings and administrative genuis, we set out to make the purchase possible. It was a double blessing that the seller needed this sale for other of his development projects to proceed, so everyone was benefitting.
Fortunately, the stewards had set aside a large bequest years ago, for just such a contingency. Plus we had some emergency funds we could temporarily employ. But even that was not sufficient, and so we reached out to a wonderful family in Asia who contributed the difference. And the rest is history.
The 19 additional acres means that the monastery has 70 acres on this side of the Wailua River. Added to our 312 acres across the river leased from the State, makes a new total of 382 acres.
There is a small house on the property, beautifully appointed. Since it is now part of the monastery, it will be used only by monastics and pre-monastics. Most of the land is in pasture, which is a boon for our dairy cows who are already enjoying the lush grass. Plus we have our wood milling, palms and some banana trees on the land that we planted to help Greg years back. There are some simple machine sheds and about 700 palms that Greg planted.
The monastery plans to use the land primarily for agricultural projects, hence it is called Siva Pannai.
We are ever grateful to Greg Smith for his kindnesses as our neighbor and his appreciation of the monastery's need for protection. Thank you, Greg, and best of luck with your Arkansas cultural amphitheater!