After years of writing text that would last a thousand years (no pressure, right?) and sculpting and casting, nine of the 35 panels are being shipped today from Loveland, Colorado, to be installed on the perimeter wall.
The shipper sent some (not so great) photos. The actual panels are works of art. As CyberCadets know, they give the history, philosophy and beliefs of monistic Saiva Siddhanta. Pilgrims of the future will use them like a bronze illustrated library to understand the temple, how and by whom it was built, and of course lots about its founder, Gurudeva. Stay tuned for the installation in the weeks ahead.
Today we received project update photos from the two teams in Honolulu who are working to gild the five Panchabrahma murtis. The transformation is awesome as you will see in the slideshow below. But the work has been arduous and far more complex and time-consuming than we thought. This is due to the unusual mix of metals in the original casting in India. But with days and days of light sand blasting, filling of pits, removal of corrosion, priming and sanding, the masterful sculptures, just 36" tall, are ready for the gilder's mastery. Thor Minnick is is Hawaii's foremost gilder, working with his equally competent wife, Diane. They are spending late night hours struggling with weather/humidity issues, but it is coming together marvelously. The gold they are applying is 23 karat, super pure.
Ready for some interesting facts about gold?
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79, it is the only metal that is yellow.
Gold is one of the most ductile and malleable elements, making it easy to shape and work with.
Gold is a good conductor of electricity and does not corrode, providing a sustainable store of value and a material for coinage and jewelry for thousands of years. India is the world's largest user of gold.
The total amount of gold ever mined is estimated to be around 165,000 tons, with the largest gold producing country being China. That is said to be the volume of a cube just over sixty feet on a side, not that much for millennia of human effort.
The first few photos below show some of the preparations in the days before events began.
After that, are photos of the Bhumi Puja under the bilva tree, during which Mother Earth was honored for providing abundance.
The rest of the photos show the process of transferring the shakti from the wood replica of Nandi, Bali Peedam and Dhvajasthambha back into kumbhas and bring the kumbhas to the yagasala for multiple homas to energize them.
For those new to our story, years back, around 1984, we installed a 9-foot-long black granite Nandi in front of Kadavul Temple. Gurudeva loved the sculpture, but was disappointed in the rough unfinished stones they provided for the base. He called it "A pile of rocks." That sentence lived in our minds all these years and finally we set about to make it right. New cladding was designed in Chola empire style and carved in India and the silpis spent all of November and December and part of January installing and refining it. Here we present some historic photos along with a BEFORE and AFTER slider that tells its own story.
It's the second day of our major consecration of the Nandi Mandapam, Bali Pitham and Kodimaram, full of intense spiritual power. Three priests working and chanting together have empowered the yagasala and drawn us close to the inner worlds as only the Sivacharyas can.
Pujas go from morning to night, as the powers of the sun and moon and earth and devas and deities are invoked. One sweet puja was held under the holy Bilva tree next to Kadavul, a tree planted around the time (1984) when Nandi was installed. It has grown large and strong over the years and had its first Sivacharya blessing yesterday afternoon. Today it was full time in the Banyan Mandapam, as our slideshow describes. Tomorrow we are live-streaming the morning events which are the culmination of these three days. One of the charming little things that the priests mentioned is that here,at the Aadheenam, they have access to all the things needed for puja that must be imported when they perform puja elsewhere: bilva leaves, coconuts, durva grass, cow dung and more.
Aum Namah Sivaya
Last summer, work began on the installation of the red granite tile which surrounds Iraivan Temple's main structure. Today, much of the work has been completed around the back and the two sides of the temple. The team is now focusing on the front area around the Nandi Mandapam. Projections are that after another month this tile project will be near completion. Aum.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.