This morning we discovered a patch of mushrooms, type unknown, happily growing in the midst of our new avocado orchard.
Hawaii State Senator Gabbard visited the monastery December 9th for a short tour and lunch while on a tour of the local water system and other agricultural projects on Kauai. Sen. Gabbard is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's father, the first Hindu in the US Congress. The senator met first with Jerry Ornellas, president of the East Kauai Water Users Cooperative (which operates the ditch that goes through the monastery) at Upper Kapahi Reservoir, then traveled to Wailua Reservoir, both recently renovated by the state, and then to the monastery.
Recently a local journalist interviewed several of our monks for a short piece in Flux Hawaii, a local magazine that focuses on our islands' arts and culture. To the authors surprise, a photo of our monks was chosen for the cover. Follow this link to read the short but sweet article:
Recently several of our monks visited the site of a rediscovered ancient Hawaiian village known as Kanei‘olouma. This 13 acre complex contains numerous habitation, cultivation, sporting, assembly, and religious structures dating to at least the mid-1400's. The name, Kanei‘olouma (Kane-i- ‘olo-uma), can be understood to be ‘Kane', the God of fresh water and ‘awa (kava) inside an ‘awa serving bowl. ‘Olo (or kanoa) is a serving bowl for ‘awa, a traditional ceremonial drink. Uma is concave like the floor of the arena of Kanei‘olouma heiau.
The four principle Gods in Hawaiian tradition are Kane (God of creation and freshwater), Kanaloa (God of the ocean and the underworld), Lono (God of agriculture and fertility), and Ka (God of the forests and war). These Gods can be represented as wooden or stone figures or in other ways. The Gods Kane, Kanaloa, and Lono all were honored at the Kanei‘olouma Heiau, while the nearest Heiau for the God Ka was located in Koloa town. At times we have compared these four to Siva, Shakti, Ganesha and Muruga.
The monks were given a short tour by Kaeo, one of the primary members of the restoration project. He was quite knowledgeable about the site and had many interesting details to share. We discussed some of the similarities of Hindu and Hawaiian beliefs. One interesting item he shared was that the Hawaiian's believed we have three ways the soul can leave the body at death. Either through the top of the head, through the center between the eyes, or through the feet which is not ideal. He said even today, if someone is having a heart attack for instance, you might see older Hawaiians rush and grab their toes so that their soul doesn't exit there.
This project will be an important cultural center and resource for years to come. If you want to learn more or donate to the cause, see their website:
In 1947 a bill was passed creating 16 conservation districts in Hawaii and outlining their powers and duties. to administer and conduct soil and water conservation activities within the State of Hawaii. These are legally constituted self-governing sub-units of the Hawaii state government and are controlled by a board consisting of a board of five directors, three elected by agricultural land-users or land-owners and two appointed by the SWCD directors.
At their annual meeting of all the districts in the state, this year held on Kauai, they visited and were visibly impressed by the monastery's Koa plantation on our land across the river. Because of our efforts to develop a conservation plan to change degraded cane land into rich forests of mahogany and Koa and to use cover crops and other methods to enhance our plantings, Saiva Siddhanta Church was selected as the "Conservationist of the Year" for the second time.