Satguru along with some Pillaiyar Kulam members are on a nine-day trip primarily to continue the process of closing down our publications warehouse space in Kansas City, Missouri. On the way, they stopped in Chicago to visit SSC sishya Malhotra family’s renovated home and held satsang there.
Now they are in Kansas City coordinating the shipment of all our books on pallets over to Kauai.
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.
The highlight of Satguru's recent trip the mainland was his attendance of the kumbha abhishakam at the Hindu Temple of St. Louis, which was built 36 years ago by Ganapati Sthapathi and Selvanathan Sthapathi. While there Satguru also gave two talks which were well received by attendees.
Here is the description of a Kumbha Abhishekam from the temple's website:
A Temple is a home of the Divine, meant for collective spiritual benefit and upliftment. The omnipotence of the supreme is manifested into Idols by Mantra Sakti at the time of consecration (PrathiSthapana) through a precise process ordained by the scriptures called Agamas, thereby making the Idols into Deities.
Kumbhabhishekam is derived from the Sanskrit words Kumbha (meaning metal or earthern vessel) and Abhishekam (sprinkling of holy water). Kumbhabhishekam literally means pouring of sacred water (from holy rivers or ritually purified) from the vessels over the Vigrahas (Deities) and the temple Gopurams (towers). Proir to this, the divine energy and spirit are invoked through religious rituals and homas, and transferred to the kumbhas containing the holy water.
At the start of Maha Kumbhabhishekam, the divine power of the main Deities (Moola Vigrahas) is temporarily transferred by the priests, following procedures of Agama, into holy water (Mantra Jalam) collected in Kalashas (Pots). These Kalashas are initially brought into a makeshift temple called Balalayam. Between May 11th and 15th, 2022, the Kalashas are relocated into Temples Yagashala, where offerings are made into the holy fire, and daily worship, rites, and other special ceremonies are undertaken. Until the final stages of Maha Kumbhabhishekam, the Deities are worshipped in the Kalashas. Upon completion of Temple renovations and replacement of Ashta Bandhana (to secure Idols to peetams), the divine power in the Kalashas is transferred back to the Moola Vigrahas by pouring the Mantra Jalam (holy water preserved in Kalashas) on Temple Vimanams and Gopurams, while chanting elaborate mantras. This process is called Maha Samprokshana and Ashtabandhana Jeernodharana - together, called as Maha Kumbhabhishekam.
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