Kauai’s Hindu Monastery or the Iraivan Temple: The Amazing Hindu Temple in Hawaii
I have started a five set series of posts on being tagged by my beautiful and very talented wife, Archana, to write picture posts. This series is about the 5 spiritual places that I would like to visit with Archana. This is the fifth and the last one on Kauai’s Hindu Monastery in Hawaii.
Robert Hansen, a trained dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company decided at age 20 to find the Truth. Inspired by the life of Swami Vivekananda and his amazing poem “The Song of the Sannyasin”, Hansen left for India. From India he moved to Sri Lanka. There he meditated and took on different teachers until he finally met his guru, Satguru Sage Yogaswami. The Yogi initiated Hansen, as Sivaya Subramuniyaswami into his lineage with a “slap on his back”. Sivaya was now initiated into sanyasa.
The “order” of his guru was “This sound will be heard in America! Now go ‘round the world and roar like a lion. You will build palaces (temples) and feed thousands.”
He moved back to California, US. In 1950 he founded the Himalayan Academy and opened the first Hindu Temple in the US at 3575 Sacramento Street, near Presidio Park. In 1970 he moved to Kauai, Hawaii and established Kauai Aadheenam, a temple-monastery!
Also called Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, Kauai Aadheenam is spread over a 458-acre right next to the beautiful Wailua River and just 5 miles (8 km) from Mount Waialeale. The temple is known as the San Marga Iraivan Temple after the Tamil name for God..
Sri Trichy Mahaswamigal, also known as the Tiruchi Swami founder of the Kailash Ashram, Bangalore was so impressed by what had been established on the banks of Wailua that he declared:
“The Iraivan Temple is going to be to America what the temples of Chidambaram, Madurai, Rameshwaram, and other great Siva temples are to India.”
Those temples represent the Panch Bhutas in India. To compare this one temple to them is a very important compliment!
The temple built entirely in white granite has been sculpted in India before being constructed on the Kauai island of Hawaii. It follows the ancient Hindu way of constructing temples, which is used in all the major ancient temples as well. Here are three main features –
- follow traditional design according to the Saiva Agamas
- designed to last 1,000 years
- entirely carved by hand, without the use of any machinery.
It has some amazing architectural wonders inside.
- There are two sets of “musical pillars” with tall rods, which when struck with a mallet, resonate exact musical tones.
- Six granite stone lions carved into the pillars each with a stone ball freely rotatable in its mouth, which cannot be removed, a large stone bell, and 10-foot-long (3.0 m) stone chains with loose links.
The main murti is a consecrated Spathika Shivalinga. Its a six faced 700 lbs clear quartz crystal. It was found in this perfect state buried in mud – not cut out from any rock! A local crystal shop owner Almitra Zion, had gone all the way to Arkansas following a dream to get it.
This land, where the temple is built is the place where Gurudeva Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami had a vision of Shiva walking.
This 3.2 million lbs temple, which is being assembled by trained team of Shilpis will complete by 2017. The carving of the granite rocks started near Bangalore in 1990 and the first shipments were started in 2001!
The current head of the monastery is Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, who is the successor to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami had also started Hinduism Today, the premier magazine on Hinduism in 1979. The main aim was to bring together Hindus of all sects and educate various seekers. The magazine covers topical issues and explores traditional Hindu values. It covers extensively researched and well written articles on yoga, vegetarianism, meditation, nonviolence, environmental ethics, and family life. It also gives news from all over the world on Hindu communities.
Image source: vishnu under banyan tree, elephant bell, Vishnu closeup, Lion Pillars, forest-hawaii, Ganesha-mural, monastery pond, Ganesha Statue, Statue with garland, Vishnu statue, monastery view, Crystal in a pot, Vishnu featured, Shiva and Sapta-rishis, Vishnu statue in a pond, temple dome, Inside the temple, the temple,