Northern California

Off we went to a little redwood forest in Soquel, California, to spend a few hours at the home of Thamby and Mala Kumaran, who live in a little Hobbit-grove. It was our first-ever visit after many decades, and we were thrilled to see their home surrounded by forest at the end of a long and winding road. It reminded us of the Italian ashram in its remoteness.

Mala prepared a delightful lunch using some of the heirloom tomatoes that Deva Rajan brought, a meal enjoyed also by Haran Sivadas and Hara, Thamby's son. The tomato chutney was so savory, swami asked for the recipe so it could be added to The Monks' Cookbook

Thamby took the swamis to a screen hooked to his Mac, to present his latest 3-D sketches of the future Swayambhulingam Mandapam, beautiful designs that are taken from the shape of the Golden Roof at Chidambaram. These drawings will be important when Sadasivanathaswami sits down with Selvanathan Sthapati on November 8th in Bengaluru to evolve the designs for this important nexus of Gurudeva's 1975 visions.

Then off to Rocket Science (of which a report is awaiting some photos) and then Quad Graphics. Bodhinatha had met with Shawn Pye months ago, and wanted the Ganapati Kulam to meet him and discuss app development. Rebecca Scales flew in from Southern California for the meeting in their San Francisco offices.

And a surprisingly useful meeting it was! There global team is fully capable of producing the app we have longed for these past few years, at a reasonable cost and with even more features than we had hoped for. It seemed at the end of the meeting our relationship is destined to go far into the future of futures.

Then off to our final meeting at the Museum of Performance and Design, where we met with the archivist to see if we could capture more of Gurudeva's early history for our archives. The 3.5 million piece museum was founded on the collection of Russell Hartley (1922-1983). A dancer and designer for San Francisco Ballet in its formative years, Hartley's burgeoning interest in the history of dance and the performing arts led him to collect materials on the subject, particularly as they related to the city. By 1947, his collection was large enough that he formally established the San Francisco Dance Archives--a private collection available to the public, housed in his home.

It turned out we did find some fascinating things there. Among them a little painting by Hartley of a dancer, yes, Robert Hansen. And a postcard dated 1952 from Gurudeva to Hartley, written from Chicago in beautiful handwriting. And a little biography of Gurudeva that Hartley kept up to about 1977, with an amazing (albeit short) description of Gurudeva's dancing skills. There was more, and we will post some of it in the days ahead.

By 3pm we were dropped at the airport by Easan Katir for our flight to our lovely island home and to tell Bodhinatha of our journey's many lights and layers.

Readying for Windbreak Planting

During the winter and spring, trade winds come in from the ocean and are funneled inland by the valley of the South Fork of the Wailua river. They burst out of the valley and sweep across the property where the monastery is planting hardwood trees. To protect our precious hardwoods that we will be planting in the next few years, we are focusing on planting windbreaks this fall and winter, about 6,000 feet in all.

Today we loaded up almost a thousand pots of areca palms and several hundred pots of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (spinach tree) on their way to be planted as components of our windbreaks. An equal amount will go over in a second load and then in five days the entire monastery will join together to plant trees, transplant small seedlings into larger pots and fill additional pots in preparation for seeding 3,000 mahogany trees. Stay tuned as the project evolves!

Our monastery’s first-ever webinar

Hawaii is far away, and Satguru Bodhinatha has been wanting to embrace online satsangs (webinars) and video conferencing for quite some time as a way to be in touch with our Saiva Siddhanta Church sishyas more frequently. He finally conducted his first webinar on Sept 27.v Here are some screenshots of this first trial run.

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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