Growing Green Gardens

Aum Namah Sivaya!

Recently work has begun on the landscaping immediately surrounding Iraivan Temple’s foundation. For the most part this means preparing the ground for the hardy grasses that will surround the temple. In other areas, the landscaping is growing in lush and full. Below we present to you some aerial footage of the plants and streams along Rishi Valley, to the west of the temple.

“God is with us always, even when we are unaware of that holy presence. He is His creation. It is an extension of Himself; and God is never apart from it nor limited by it.” – Gurudeva


Ganesha and Murugan Murtis Grace Our Front Entrance

Many years ago a family commissioned these black granite murtis for placing outside their home. Years later plans changed and they no longer needed the murtis, deciding to donate them to our monastery. In discussing where these murtis could call home--at least for the time being--we noted than many general visitors stop by during our closed hours, so enriching the experience at our very front entrance (outside the gate) was felt to be most appropriate. A granite Sivalingam is already there, so now Ganesha and Murugan join Siva. A couple weeks ago when SSC sishya Gaurav and Ripla Malhotra family was here on pilgrimage, they and two Pillaiyar Kulam construction crew, Raymond and Kawika, helped to installed the two Deities.

New Sign for Rudraksha Forest Gate

A new sign has been installed at the entrance to the Rudraksha Forest and Hanuman. It is an experiment with new technology--the art is printed directly on an aluminum plate that measures four feet high and nine feet long. The printing is beautiful, and we will now see how it weathers in the tropical climate. Sadasivanathaswami and Kumarnathaswami took it out three days back and permanently attached it between the entry and exit gates. Now visitors driving down the road will have a strong landmark to find the forest.

Volcanic Cinder

For years we have bought black cinder in 20# bags for our tropical propagation efforts. Our high rainfall (up to 122" a year) requires plants to have excellent drainage, lest they drown during weeks of daily rainfall. Black cinder is the ideal medium for this. Light and porous, it allows water to reach the roots but then keep moving down and away from the plant.

Recently a local soil expert offered to ship us 40 yards of black cinder from the Big Island, at a savings of 80% from our old Home Depot source. We said yes, only later discovering this container was meant for his business, and he rerouted it for the monastery and reordered for his own needs. Goodness is still alive and well in the Pacific Islands.

The slideshow explores the world of lava rock.

Bonsai Trees Closeup

For many years our local sishya Tandu Sivanathan has patiently, carefully nurtured various bonsai trees on the Aadheenam grounds. Here are closeup photos of some, revealing nuanced results of the art form. More photos to follow at a later time.

Landscaping Around Iraivan

It has been many years coming, but in the last few weeks we have finally begun to terraform the land right around the temple. All these years this area (see the red-dirt surrounding the temple in this photo) has been a storage and construction zone, with large trucks arriving to offload crates from India, giant cranes working to lift stones in place, all of which made it impossible to do much there. But wait! Now the wait is over and Dennis Wong is shaping the land. His primary goal is to make it even, so the abundant Kauai rain waters shed evenly away from the temple in all directions. Water is the mortal enemy of any building, and if we are to actually have a temple that lasts a thousand years, this water management plan is critical.

So Dennis (who has worked here for 40 years making the gardens and ponds) is out there morning to night in dozers, excavators, skidsteers, 12-ton compactors, cutting the earth to perfection. The slides tell the still-in-progress story.

New Rudraksha Malas

Here are some beautiful malas recently strung by local sishyas for selling in the Minimela giftshop. The malas move like hotcakes and we can barely keep up.

Shanmuga Banyan Offerings

Aloha everyone,

We hope this Sunday lived up to all of your greatest expectations! Our Sunday was not a retreat day so we were all working hard but thankfully a three-day retreat is coming up tomorrow. Anyways, on to our story... over the past few years visitors and pilgrims to the monastery have brought with them the very popular trend of leaving small offering to Kauai! It reminds us of Indian trees and temples where you will find thousands of notes, bells, pieces of colored cloth ties to a tree. Talk a walk under the Shanmuga banyan tree and you will see all sorts of small gifts people have left. Money is commonly left but it is not the only thing. Look closely and you will see bracelets, prayers and even small Ganesha murtis.

Banyan Branch Break

We're just sitting there on a recent morning at our computers in the Media Studio, minding our own business, when suddenly a loud "Crack, Crack, Whoosh!" We all rushed outside to find a sizable branch or two had partially detached from the Shanmuga Banyan tree nearby. Fortunately it fell just short of the Kadavul Temple water tank and didn't damage anything. We hired JP's tree trimmers to complete the detachment. Check it out.

The Last Day of Our Year

Aum Ganesha,

Today is the last day of our year of Plava Samvatsara. Tomorrow we move into Shubhakrita, which translates as the year of "auspicious actions," a time for doing good deeds.

Our wandering sadhus send us some photos from their early morning sadhanas. A peaceful end to a quiet day at Kauai Aadheenam.

"Even a great soul faces difficulties, but he does not take them personally. Generally people take problems too personally by identifying closely with them." - Gurudeva

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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