A New Shrine to Gurudeva has been created so that monks and pilgrims may come and prostrate. Poipu Rotary Club had a meeting to honor Gurudeva. The Mayor gave a speech and there was a brief video of Gurudeva.
I would like to welcome our guests this morning. Namaskaram. You may have noticed that we have set up a shrine for Gurudeva, due to many requests of, "Where can we prostrate to Gurudeva? Where can we offer Gurudeva a flower?" So, we set up a shrine temporarily, on Gurudeva's seat there, so we can all do that. It is not permanent but till we come up with a permanent location for a nice shrine to Gurudeva that we can all use, we are going to use the chair there. You are welcome to bring flowers and prostrate to Gurudeva at that seat for the time being.
Speaking of Gurudeva, he was recently honored, a few days ago, on November 20th, at the Poipu Rotary Club. Some of you may know DQ Jackson. He is the President for the year for the Poipu Rotary Club. A very talkative, outgoing person, who is excellent in video. He, as you may recall, took video shots during our 'Open House' in July and edited the video into a ten-minute presentation. So that was the feature event for all the business and professional people at the Poipu Rotary Club, which included our staunchest island supporters, outside of our members. Caroline and Marty Kahn were there. Every event which involves Gurudeva on the island, they are there. Almost omnipresent in that regard!
It was wonderful. The video focused on three parts of the presentation of that 'Open House' day. It first introduced the Temple. Then, it introduced the beautiful granite signs, the large signs as well as the two small ones, that were given to the Mayor, 'Aloha - It's Kauai's Spirit' and 'One Island, Many Peoples, All Kauaians'. The third point, the Kauai Aloha Endowment, was also introduced.
Following the video, I gave a short talk which gave some background on the monastery for those who had not been up here. Quite a few of the members from the Poipu Rotary Club were up here a while ago for a breakfast meeting. They were quite familiar with us but others were not, plus there were a lot of guests from other Rotary Clubs as well as from the mainland. I gave some background on the monastery and talked about all the community projects we were involved in. The Aloha-cards printing and distribution, the Drug Free CD and posters and the Kauai Aloha Endowment. How we were helping in those areas and that we were going to continue to do that, that it was an important part of the monastery's activities. Though most of our activities are religious, these are secular community activities which were important to us and which we planned to continue. Then, I introduced the Temple project a little bit and in doing so I had a realization which I included in the notes. The Sanctum is scheduled to be finished in May of 2003 with God, Gods and Guru's blessings. That is the schedule we hope to maintain and that is only a year and a half away. At that point, the scaffolding will come down around the Sanctum and we will be able to see it from then on. So though it will take a number of more years to finish the complete Temple, but in a year and a half, the main Sanctum will be visible to all of us, as well as to all of our visitors and be quite an attraction. We don't have that long to wait if blessings continue as they have come.
After my short five-minute talk, the Mayor gave her presentation on Gurudeva. She is Gurudeva's best promoter on the island, for sure. She speaks so convincingly and so sincerely about Gurudeva and how her interaction with Gurudeva has meant so much to her and done so much to benefit the island. She went through the brief history of the 'Vision Kauai' group meeting and developing with Gurudeva's help, the idea of 'Aloha' as the focus, 'Aloha - It's Kauai's Spirit', as an island-wide focus and how that lead to printing of cards and producing of posters. The posters were not only going into the classrooms but were actually changing some of the students' behavior in the classrooms, it was getting down to that level. Teachers would say, "Now, is that Aloha?" and the kids would back off. "Well, that is now Aloha." "No, I guess I can't do it ... It is not Aloha." She said it in such a simple way, it showed how this vision came into print and then went into the classrooms and was actually influencing behavior of people on the island.
Then she brought in the 'One Island, Many Peoples, All Kauaians' idea quite nicely. When all of that was in place, Gurudeva had asked her, "Well, what is the biggest problem on the island?" and her quick answer, as she presented it was "Drugs, that is our biggest problem, drugs." She went on to explain how Gurudeva went out, did the research and with Arumugaswami's excellent help, produced a CD with interviews from prisoners and students and people in the correctional system that really gave a fine picture of what drug-taking leads to. These are the consequences - it is that kind of CD. It does not say taking drugs is wrong. No, it doesn't say that. It says, "If you take drugs, these are the likely consequences. You lose your family, you end up in jail, you lose respect, you lose your job, you go broke, become a criminal." All the consequences of starting to drugs are beautifully illustrated through the stories on the CD. The Mayor went on to explain how that CD is in use in various places.
Then, she concluded with the Kauai Aloha Endowment and was actually doing a soft-sell fundraising for it. "Now, give money to this Endowment", is almost what she was saying. She put a lot of thought into how to present it and talked about the Board of Advisors, which contain a number of business men. They all know the business men on the Board of Advisors, so that gives it creditability. She explained how it would benefit the island into the future and how venture capitalist, Larry Bowen was involved and gave the biggest donation, $25,000.00 and what it was going to do with the money. How it could help abused children and wives. In the future when it had enough money, even provide public art, which is something the Mayor is very keen on adding to the island. She says the island does not have enough public art.
Afterwards, lots of people came up and congratulated us for all the wonderful work Gurudeva was doing. Some of them asked to come up and so forth. So it was very nice presentation of Gurudeva's work as it relates to the island and how much impact it has had over the last few years. I think everyone in general didn't realize that and didn't realize how closely the Mayor and Gurudeva had been working together. So it was very valuable in those terms.