Our February 2019 news video covers events in January 2019, including: Our celebrations of Thai Pongal and Thai Pusam, recent progress on Iraivan Temple, and the installation of our 13-foot-tall, bronze statue of Lord Hanuman.
Anyone who's been to the monastery before will probably have noticed the large sign at our entrance mandapam. This sign gives a brief introduction to the monastery, our temples and our basic beliefs and practices. Thus, it plays a very important role for our many daily guests. The sign had been slightly outdated for sometime and in need of replacement. So recently our monks designed a new version to be printed on the mainland and shipped here. We've milled a redwood frame for it and it has all been installed. Now guests are able to enjoy it upon their arrival. Aum Namah Sivaya
From left to right: Daniel Barrows and Katherine Terrien, both talented musicians from Los Angeles California; Emily Iacobucci a veterinarian practicing in Kodiak, Alaska; Sitara Alahan, a lifelong SSC devotee and veterinarian practicing in Nanaimo, BC; the wonderful Sadasivanathaswami; Isani Alahan, mother to Sitara and Priya Alahan and dedicated karma yogini; Priya Alahan, talented photographer and full time child care professional from Seattle, WA; Sara Pakebush a veterinarian teaching and practicing at a technician school at a Navajo reservation in Crownpoint and her husband Ian Norland who teaches middle school in the same area; Laura Maillard a veterinarian practicing in Tucson, AZ. Sitara was blessed to have all of these wonderful, beautiful souls come from far away to celebrate Deva Veylan (not pictured here) and her wedding vow exchange.
Yesterday the gate by the Rudraksha Forest was left open and our five dairy cows saw an opportunity to worship Lord Hanuman. They were deeply interested in the bronze masterpiece, and were found licking His feet in adoration. Hanuman has caused one small problem: visitors are drawn to Him now, and ignore the cows who used to enjoy the undistracted attentions of visitors and now seem to feel a bit sidelined by the whole thing.
Recently more progress was made on cleaning the calcite that built up between Iraivan Temple's ceiling joints. This calcite has slowly seeped out of the mortar. Soda blasting seems to be the most effective method of removal. Natyam Dayanatha and Nirvani Tejadevanatha spent a day doing the cleaning. The spots they cleaned are a clear improvement.
For the last few weeks, Satya Palani has been helping in the woodshop while here on pilgrimage. He's building new wooden racks to be used for pressure washing rudrakshas. Rudraksha sales have been a large portion of the donations that have gone to the construction of Iraivan Temple and these rudraksha cleaning racks are a vital part of the process. Thank you Satya!
At 1:31pm on Friday, January 25th Lord Hanuman's feet touched down on a small mountain near the sacred Rudraksha Forest at Kauai Aadheenam, where they will remain firm for a thousand years. This brought to an end a more than decade long project set in motion by Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, who asked us to honor the God that brought us Iraivan Temple. After preparing the ground and spending several day's making sure Lord Hanuman's base and metal bolts were in alignment, we we're able to conclude with an effortless lowering of this 13-foot-tall bronze master piece, thanks to our skilled crane operator Larry Conklin. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, monks, members and a few spontaneous pilgrims arrived at the site to witness this rare event.
To support Hanuman, His concrete base is drilled with deep holes in which the large stainless steel bolts attached to Hanuman's frame are placed. Hanuman was carefully lowered into place over the base and lifted just enough for the monks to quickly add a fast-drying cementing compound. As this compound fills the holes and dries, it expands, creating a strong and lasting installment. After being set down, the crane harnesses were removed from Hanuman and He was draped with a shawl followed by offerings of incense, fruits, coconut, flowers and an arati.
Aum Anjaneyaya Namah!
Emails are already buzzing with word of the installation. Here follow several testimonials describing the grandeur and craftsmanship of this truly remarkable Hanuman murthi, one the monks regard as the most graceful and artistic in all the world:
"So glad that this next increment is being completed for the San Marga Sanctuary. When we were last there in November, we walked all around the finished bronze castings, marveling at the refined details of the workmanship. One cannot find any traces of the welded joints connecting the many, many pieces, all in perfect alignment with the decorative detailing chiseled into them. The patina work is beyond belief and description.
Much gratitude and appreciation to all of the team who created the vision, sponsored the work and then brought it to this pinnacle of craftsmanship and art manifestation. I have been to most of the great museums in the world and spent a year in Florence, Italy, where they say, you can find the greatest examples of bronze casting ever.....until now.
This Hanuman surpasses or equals any great work of art on the planet that one can name, in my opinion.
Deva Rajan (California member with a background in sculpting)
I want to thank you so much for the photos from the installation today... I have been most worried about the surface patina going such a long distance without damage... but from what I can see, Lord Hanuman looks great..... My heart was ecstatic when I saw the bronze upright and how good He looks in your tropical lighting. So thank you, thank you, thank you! I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I am so happy and honored that you chose me to apply the patina finish. And even happier you like how Hanuman looks.
You are in our hearts always,
Pat and Nancy Kipper
Good morning, Bobby (Bronze Artisan)
You asked about the challenges we faced with the Hanuman installation yesterday. The challenges were only to keep our feet from lifting off the ground as this 10-year project came to a profound conclusion.
The entire process was uncannily easy, due in large part to the precision placement of your large bolts at the base, and the template you sent me on the plastic sheet. I had transferred that to plywood for engineering the six 24" deep holes in the foundation that now solidly hold the rods. The Kauai concrete team, led by Jim Fain, was super precise, knowing what was at stake if the holes were not plumb (that would have been a nightmare). So credit them as well.
The six 18-inch-long stainless steel rods were in near-perfect alignment the first time I took the template and did a test run while Hanuman was lying down. Only one required a half inch nudge to have them all centered. I used a 6' long heavy pipe and bent it slowly, 1/16" at a time til it was perfectly aligned with its 2-inch wide hole.
I had cut the rods such that each was about an inch shorter than the next, so that we could deal with one rod at a time as they were lowered into the 2" diameter holes. But that proved unnecessary. When the crane operator lowered the 2,400-pound bronze Hanuman, all six rods slipped into place the first time, without a tweak of any kind! It happened so fast. The power of caring craftsmen and over preparation at work.
Or maybe we should credit Lord Hanuman for a good landing.