On this special Subha Siva Loka Day, and a day Bodhinatha is flying off to the Very Big Island, Hanuman received a new concrete base. It will be His home for a thousand years, so we took time to make it just right. A team of eight worked on it today. Enjoy the slideshow that tells the tale...
Today our master sculptress, Holly young, sent photos of the stanchions (small posts) that will hold the three giant stone chains. As you may recall, these 10-foot-long chains will be a kind of handrail out at the Temple Builders' Pavilion, not far from Iraivan Temple. Holly is going to Colorado to fine tune the part that attaches to the chain, since that is mission critical. One more step toward perfection. Wait a minute! It's already perfect, and getting better.
Today the silpis prepare the next level of the nandi mandapam. Here they fit the stones while on the ground, making sure everything is correctly sized.
Every month our silpi stone carvers go about town with two of the monks, and sometimes with an island member, to stretch their legs, enjoy the sights and do some American shopping. Their most recent experience is today's featured slideshow.
Out at the Iraivan Temple site today the next layer of Nandi's stall moved from the ground up to the platform. As our first sketch shows, the next 12 stones will go right on tip of the capped pillars, forming a narrow detail that will later support the beams.
Yoginathaswami fired up the propane forklift to make the moves, ever so careful as the spaces are tight. Having just finished the three entry stairs, the silpis are feeling the wind in their sails.
These are photos Rajkumar Manickam took the day after our swami's returned to Kauai. In these images Hanuman is quite shiny due to the double lacquer finish to protect the patina. Once the wax is applied the jade will be more matte-stone (jade like finish) The temple has yet to receive its patina, and both these process will be done next week. The temple in Hanuman's hand will be done with a dark base, a white colored structure and golden capstones, much like the real Iraivan Temple.
Our seven tales of Hanuman have captured a small but historic event that unfolded at Kauai's Hindu Monastery and reverberated far and wide. We have seen how life, if responded to from a spiritual place, is full of blessings, not all of which are immediately obvious. In truth, it is all Siva's doing.
Today in this last chapter of our story we stop to reflect on other forms that Hanuman has taken around the world. Some are giant, some are elegant, all are heroic, for that is Lord Hanuman's spirit: courage, loyalty and service to the Divine. Our second photo today shows the hands of Barack Obama, holding among other things a small metal Hanuman he kept for strength and protection.
From there we travel to India and Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. Come along as we seek the blessings of Lord Hanuman that our life, like His, can be one of pure love of and service to God. Jai Hanuman!
On July 13 artisans, supporters and devotees assembled in Loveland for the Big Day, when Hanuman would be transformed from golden bronze to deep green jade. This is some, not all, of the group posing at the end of the day, after celebrating an amazing accomplishment.
As today's slideshow reveals, we all came to witness the magic of Patrick Kipper, America's foremost patineur, that community of experts who put the final finish, color and texture on bronze statues. Patrick, who basically wrote the journeyman's Bible for this craft, had agreed to personally apply the patina to Hanuman, and we were delighted.
What he does is suspiciously close to alchemy. Alchemy? Yes that medieval forerunner of chemistry which seeks to transform matter, particularly to convert base metals into gold, or in our case into the mineral jade.
As you will see, we had chosen a patina that looks exactly like deep green jade, one that Patrick invented and the monks had seen last year on a Cambodian Buddha he owns. Seeing that Buddha made the decision for Hanuman easy.
The day began early with a simple arati. Yoginathasweami placed a 9-foot-long garland made of Hanuman's favorites: red and yellow. After the arati we called Patrick forward to bless the work he will do today, gave him the traditional shawl and dakshina, and all applauded.
Patrick took Hanuman through a number of stages, working hard hour after hour to clean and polish the surface of the metal, spray on a sulfuric compound to turn the metal black, then rubbed that back to a deep cocoa brown with a Scotch pad, then layers of splattered green followed by 350 degrees of heat with a hand-held torch. This is hard work and hot.
At one point Bobby Page offered a blue ice pack for Patrick's head, which he soon abandoned. Clearly, he is accustomed to these extreme conditions. But we are not, so we retreat to a tent that Rajkumar had set up under the trees outside. Or we climbed a flight of stairs to a room that Kathy and Rajkumar had turned into a little conference space. Here Paramacharya Sadasivanatha shared Gurudeva's vision of Hanuman, spokes of His importance as a model of loyalty, strength and service to God. He also shared that this particular form is from the Chola empire, one of the reasons it is so graceful. That also makes it artistically similar to Iraivan Temple. Paramacharya played a few short videos and slideshows he had prepared to tell the amazing tale that has brought us all to Colorado and to Page Bronze's remote workshop--then mentioned that President Obama always carried a 2-inch bronze Hanuman in his pocket for strength and protection.
Lunchtime comes and we adjourn to the front foyer where Kathy and Rajkumar have laid out a catered feast which all enjoy. Then back to our favorite activity of the day, watching Patrick work his magic. Another layer and another. Each time the artisan has to cover the entire body of Hanuman, all the sides and shapes, all the nooks and crannies.
As we watched, the tones of Hanuman have gone from bright gold to black, then to brown and shades of splattered green. Now it all begins to melt and merge into the metal, so much so that the metal disappears before our eyes. In its place stands Hanuman seemingly carved from the world's largest jade. It is a marvel. But more layers are ahead. Patrick adds them with amazing focus and enthusiasm, then sprays the whole murthi with lacquer, and two layers of wax. The wax will protect from Kauai's tropical sun and rains, and will be refurbished each year or so. As he works, we all watch in wonder.
While we all go off to a dinner together, Patrick informs us that he cannot join, since the heat he has built us in the metal would dissipate and the colors would be less than perfect. We all drive to PF Changs for a veggie Chinese meal and talk of Hanuman and his big day. In the end Hanuman stands: imposing, artful, poised, His might mace ready to protect all devotees, His left hand holding Iraivan Temple, which He has carried all the way from India to the Garden Island. We leave full and overfull with blessings and appreciation to the 29 artisans in the USA and 25 more in India who made this possible. Next stop for Hanuman: Kauai island!
Once all of the 65 metal pieces are cast, they return to Page Bronze for welding together. It is the job of Bobby Page to do this so perfectly that no one can see where the seams once were.
But first he has to make an armature. This is a framework that will support the statue, which is as we know by now almost entirely empty inside. Bobby used 3" stainless steel pipe for this, making a super-strong structural frame to which the statue will be connected. In the slideshow we show some of this armature.
Piece by piece, Bobby welded the metal sections together, with Gurudeva's photo watching from his workbench just 25 feet away. Every week Bobby sent the monastery some visual updates showing the progress.
One of the questions the monks had was whether the 200-pound model of Iraivan could be held in Hanuman's left hand, or if it would be too heavy. So Bobby's apprentice, Chris, did a test, as the photos reveal.
Bobby completed the welding in early July, just in time for Chapter Seven of our Hanuman's Tail, we mean Tale.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.