New Kauai Map

It took a full day but this Kauai Map and pedestal now grace the Living Garden near the flagpole where pilgrims gather for darshan of the Holy Siva Shrine.

The map arrived last year, but the base just came in the last shipment. It is a testament to the craftsmanship of our team in India. They are capable of the finest granite stone art in the world, and this is proof. It took several years to complete following my designs which were nothing more than pencil scratches on paper. From that, they created this!

Both the map and the base are of rose granite, some of course highly polished to give the powerful contrast of forms. The circular map was tremendously challenging, as the silpis worked from a USGS plastic extruded map we sent them which was topographically accurate. But we did not want simple accuracy. To further challenge them, we asked for the height to be exaggerated 500%.

Why? At this scale, which is 32 inches in diameter, the mountains at the center would only be one inch high, and that seemed a little pitiable. We wanted to show the island in full relief, as we see it in our mind's eye, not in reality. So, they had to extrude each cliff and valley and volcano.

The edge of the map is, of course, water. Reminding us of Gurudeva's oft-told joke when he was explaining to people where he lived. Without breaking a smile, he would say, "I live on a Pacific Ocean island, a beautiful island that's completely surrounded by water." He loved the subtle moment (often delayed several seconds) when people got the point, that all islands are surrounded by water.

The map has water flowing at its edges and sea creatures swimming in the tides. The base picks up this theme and celebrates the island's living species: whales, dolphins, turtles and tropical fishes navigating the coral reefs. And the whale is singing aloha to three tropical birds in the sky.

Krittika Deepam

Several days ago, the monastery held a humble observance of Krittika Deepam. It is a day when God Siva is worshipped as an infinite pillar of light. Many Murugan temples also celebrate this festival as it is tied to the Krittika nakshatra. In many cases, bonfires are a lit to represent the divine and all permeating light of Parashakti. Just after sunset, several of the monks decorated Kadavul and Iraivan temple with hundreds of small candles. Instead of lighting a bonfire, a large camphor lamp was lit in front of Kadavul Temple's kodimaram.

My God is the melter of my heart of love. Let all adore my God, the Lord of primal love, first of beings, my Siva, who again and again melts my heart. May He render me His love in foremost measure! Praise Him but once, the Pure and Holy One, and He will be your escort to heaven. He, Lord Siva, decked in honeyed Konrai blooms, sits enthroned in my love, steadfast and free.
Tirumantiram 274-275

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