Aum Namah Sivaya
Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Sannyasin Tillainathaswami just concluded a five-day trip to LA. The initial purpose for their visit was to attend a small conference for the Uberoi foundation. The foundation's aim is to help support Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism in the United States through education and scholarly support. Over the years the foundation has funded several of the monastery's educational videos which are intended to supplement the material available to American classrooms for teaching about these traditions. Following the conference, our monks traveled to a Hindu Temple, Buddhist Temple, Sikh Gurudwara and Jain Temple with the eventual goal of creating more educational videos, showcasing temple tours as their basis. There was also the opportunity to have satsang with Southern California members and devotees. Aum.
Recently, Satguru and our two other traveling sannyasins enjoyed some time in California as a final stop on their short mainland trip. While there they visited the Concord Temple construction site in the Bay Area, and also enjoyed a hike in Mount Tamalpais state park. They then made a short drive to visit the home of Easan and Sundari Katir. Next they headed south to LA where they had a group meal with Southern California members. Tomorrow Satguru returns to Kauai. Aum Namah Sivaya
Portland, Oregon, is our last stop before flying back to Kauai. At breakfast, the Kondapi family hosted a breakfast feast at their home. Afterwards, the Regade family took us (and other guests) to a small garden with massive Douglas Fir trees. That night was the satsang at the Regade home, with 23 participants who listened to our talks on the Seven Dimensions of the Mind and Karma Management. Indivar Sivanathan filmed it and so it may be available in the days ahead.
Our day in Loveland included two visits to key artisans. First was Kathy Page, shown below with Holly Young. Kathy showed us through the renovations she has undertaken, preparing her shop for a new era. She is making an apartment for artists.
Then off to Patrick and Nancy Kipper's amazing home (he is the patineur who did such magic on Hanuman). Their home is truly museum-like, filled with sacred images of Buddha, Siva, Ganesha and more.
You all know Gurudeva's genius idea to honor the silpis and sthapatis, which seeded the unique creation of the Temple Builders' Pavilion near Iraivan. In a meaningful continuation of the concept, Paramacharya honored the artisans who made that pavilion (reminding us of "the servants of the servants of Lord Siva").
These are among the best of the best in American bronze work, and they joined the monks at Biaggio's restaurant for dinner and a presentation of the past work they accomplished for the monastery. In the private room were our sculptress, wax chasers, metal casters, welders and more. Paramacharya gave a talk recounting their amazing work, with dozens of informative images, many taken by Rajkumar Manikam who also arranged the evening event.
Paramacharya called on Kathy Page to say a few words about her husband, Bobby, who passed last year and who was something of a legend among this group. Kathy's tears provoked more from those in the room who loved and now miss Bobby. Bryan Bukima and wife Amber were introduced as Bobby's successor. The new chain he made for the Stone Bell Tower was displayed for the first time.
Interestingly, though these different shops have worked together for decades on bronze creations, some had never met in person, and we delighted to see the faces behind their many conversations. The next day the monks flew to Portland, Oregon.
Our traveling swamis visited the somewhat remote workshop of Bryan Buikema, called C8. Bryan was an apprentice to Bobby Page who crafted all of our bronzes over the years: the amazing silpi statues, Hanuman and more. When Bobby decided to take the Great Journey last year, his wife Kathy introduced us to his successor Bryan, and this was our first meeting with him.
He took us through his shop in rural Colorado where he is working on two projects for the monastery: the 35 bronze panels for Iraivan Temple and a custom-crafted chain for our new Bell Tower.
It proved to be a creative meeting during which the details of the chain were brainstormed and additional refinements revealed. Such oneness of mind is a key to successful creative projects.
Bryan's assistant, Tim, shared with us the technical process of making the chain, a bit too convoluted for this story but fascinating. You will see more of Bryan's metal craftsmanship in the years ahead.
The Golden Gate Mission arrange a special visit to the Shiva-Murugan Temple in Concord, California. The new temple is moving quickly as a team of silpis, both plaster and granite, make the shrines. After a wonderful puja and visit to Gurudeva's shrine downstairs, we were taken on what is said to be the very first tour for visitors. We met the silpis, toured the cultural center and spent some time with Mr. Patel, the project supervisor. The temple will take another 18-24 months to complete, and when it is finished will be one of the city's most rich cultural and architectural gems.
Golden Gate Mission members arranged a sweet picnic on a reservoir in Layaffette, under the only shade trees, for which they had to get up at dawn to reserve since it was Labor Day! One of our monastic candidates, Alex, flew in from Washington state to meet the monks for the first time. Lots of "talk-story" ensued. Then a satsang at the home of Janaka and Bhavani Param, with singing and inspired talks by Paramacharya and Tillainathaswami.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.