Recently Sannyasin Siddhanathaswami, Natyam Mayuranatha and Natyam Jayanatha organized a small trip to the other side of our garden island for our resident taskforcers. Everyone left from the Aadheenam at 7:30am and made there way south around to the dry side of the island. In full, auspicious form a huge rainbow followed them the whole way, ever-present out front the car. Following an all-important stop for some coffee and cocoa, the team drove up the back slope of the mountain. After many twists and turns they arrived at the Waimea Canyon lookout for a spectacular view.
"When we look at the beautiful creations of nature, we see how lovely the mind can be. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami"
Some of our monks recently took a journey to the other side of the island and up into the mountains to Koke'e State Park. One of the unique things about the Hawaiian Islands is their temperate diversity. Drive a few hours and you can find a totally different climate. Up atop the mountain, instead of heavy, humid jungles, you'll find yourself in a climate much akin to Northern California or Oregon on a perfectly cool, sunny summer day.
One of our favorite hikes is called the Berry Flat trail. As you may have guessed, it isn't too strenuous, but it does offer berries and bountiful beauty. This unique trail boasts thousands of 40-150 year old redwood trees—an unexpected site on our island. This happened to be the perfect time of year too. Nearly the entire area was full of blooming ginger flowers, called Kahili Ginger. For those that have never experienced them, they smell kind of like tulips. So if you can imagine being submerged in the scents of tulips and redwoods, then you can get a pretty good idea of the experience.
The Interfaith Roundtable on Kauai recently held their small gathering at the Aadheenam in our outdoor Banyan Mandapam. Vel Alahan is the usual Hindu representitive for the group, but he was busy today so Deva Seyon filled in. He met with the group and took them on a tour of the grounds. Deva writes:
Today I was filling in for Vel who usually attends the monthly meeting. The IROK exists as a forum of local representatives from different spiritual, religious, and spiritual educational organizations on Kauai who gather to share their faiths and explore their diversity while focusing on similarities. They work to promote understanding, respect and harmony across different spiritual, religious and cultural groups in our shared community of Kaua'i. Gurudeva and Bodhinatha helped them and actually attended their meetings in their early formative years when their numbers were small and they were just getting organized. Now Vel attends the regular monthly meetings as our Hindu representative but the group still invites Satguru to special events. IROK stands for Interfaith Roundtable Of Kauai. This month they requested to visit the monastery and view Iraivan Temple, Kadavul Temple and meet with Satguru to ask questions. They had a wonderful time with Satguru.
Recently we arranged to reprint 1000, 16 x 20 inch Aloha poster for all of the island’s 700 school classrooms. You may recall that Gurudeva, in collaboration with then Mayor Marianne Kusaka, designed a poster in 1998 for use in the local schools as a way of passing on the meaning of the Aloha Spirit to the children of Kauai. It features five Hawaiian words that begin with the the five letters of the word Aloha and the quote “Aloha, It’s Kauai’s Spirit.” The five words, popularized by a respected Hawaiian elder, Auntie Pilahi Paki, are: Akahai – meaning kindness (grace), to be expressed with tenderness; Lokahi – meaning unity (unbroken), to be expressed with harmony; ‘Olu‘olu – meaning agreeable (gentle), to be expressed with pleasantness; Ha‘aha‘a – meaning humility (empty), to be expressed with modesty; and Ahonui – meaning patience (waiting for the moment), to be expressed with perseverance.
As our CyberCadets know, the Iraivan Temple Builders' Memorial is proceeding this summer. Above is the latest work, three pieces that arrived from Loveland, Colorado. In the captions we tell the happenings of the last few days.
Our Satguru Bodhinatha is back home from his London travels and is greeted by all the monks and local church members.
Today Char Ravelo, founder of Inspiration magazine on Kauai and major force in the Leadership Kauai movement, brought 16 of the island's young leaders to the monastery today. They are the 2017 graduates of a year-long leadership training program, but already they are the movers and shakers of the island. Who are they? Directors of the Wilcox Hospital development program, aide to our community college chancellor, managers of programs at the Pacific Missile Range (five of them), supervisors of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (our electric company), educators, government/county council staff and more.
It was a rainy day, fully two inches during the morning, so all stayed in the Media Studio to "talk story" about how the monastery operates, how it is funded, what Gurudeva saw as the most effective leadership skills and, slowly, the conversation turned to the within, to meditation, to living in the eternal now, to millennials and the SBNR trend, to the difference between spiritual and religious and such. It was a sweet and amazingly open gathering. For all but Char, whom we have known for decades, this was the first visit to the monastery, though a few live just down the street.
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting Maryanne Kusaka, Kauai's ex-mayor and a long-time friend of the monastery. She brought with her a group of 11 close friends to meet with Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and to take a short tour of the grounds. They are all retired educators--women who spent their life teaching island children. For all but one, this was their first visit to the monastery. During the tour, our ex-mayor stopped to tell a few stories about Gurudeva and her experiences of him between 1996 and 2001. Sadasivanathaswami thanked her for her love and remembered that on the day Gurudeva was taken from the monastery to the funeral home for cremation, November 12, 2001, the mayor had the Kauai police stop traffic at every intersection so his car would not have to halt during the entire 15-mile ride.
The monastery recently enjoyed a visit from Kehaulani and her group of hula haumana (students). Many years ago it was Kehaulani who did the Hawaiian blessing for the building of Iraivan Temple. This group of students are her core pupils in the learning of Hawaiian hula, ceremonies and chants. They come from Kauai and other parts of Hawaii but mostly from Japan where hula has become quite popular in recent decades.
Upon arrival Kehaulani was gifted with a wooden bowl made by the monks from camphor wood. She and her troupe were then given a short introduction to the monastery, for many of them hadn't visited before. They were soon brought to Kadavul Temple where Kehaulani offered a beautiful Hawaiian chant to the Gods Lono, Ku and Kane (Ganesha Muruga and Siva respectively). They also performed a short hula as a group and offered a ti leaf garland for Nataraja. Next they were brought out to the flagpole area for their main hula. There is a specific Hawaiian chant dedicated to Pihanakalani ("where Heaven meets Earth") which they perform here along with chants to Mount Waialeale and the Wailua River.
Ardra Darshana is a festival honoring Lord Siva, the supreme God for Saivites and creator of all that was, is and will be. The monks, and grihasta devotees from all over the world, are gathering to watch Kadavul Nataraja receive abhishekam and blast darshan right back at them.
It is this great being that we seek, that we treasure with all our might. The formless, spaceless, timeless, limitless, un-restricted Mahadeva that dances from one plane to another will move rhythmically as he/she always does and we will be there to see it as we do every year around this time.
The sages have proclaimed that devotion to Ishvara brings samadhi. Saints have shouted His name with five letters and munis silently creep under the protection of this great God's breadth. They live for Siva's shakti, my shakti, your shakti, our shakti.
Siva is love and Siva is our destiny. From Him we came and out into the world we go, on a long path back to Him. A quote from an inner-plane being captures the essence of our journey and will make up the bulk of the slideshow captions.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.