The Unfolding Story of Hawaii’s San Marga Iraivan Temple,
America’s Only All-Granite, Hand-Carved Hindu Sanctuary
Southern Entrance to Iraivan Temple
Annual Fund-Raising Appeal
Goal for September 2018 to August 2019
The amount needed to keep this sacred project funded in both India and Hawaii is $70,000 per month, or $840,000 for the year.
Bodhinatha on the cover of the new books "Guru's Wisdom"
Namaste and Aloha!
March 2018 began a new phase for the Iraivan Temple with the arrival on Kauai of a group of six silpis and a temple cook. This seven-man team will be here for two-years. It is inspiring to all of us to again have the temple site come alive with stone jointing activity. Listening to the music of their chisels on stone is an amazing delight. The steady sound of progress! The visible changes the silpis have completed in just a few months are impressive.
Last year’s fund raising goal (September 2017 through August 2018) was $65,000 a month, which for the twelve-month period totals $780,000. Thanks to the generous donations of our global family of temple builders we received $841,168 which exceeded our annual goal by $61,168. This was possible because a large core group of dedicated temple builders have been donating regularly for decades, plus new donors are joining the group after visiting the Aadheenam and temple and becoming inspired with the idea of creating a traditional Chola-style, hand-carved granite temple in Hawaii.
To cover the additional expenses of having the team of silpis on Kauai, we have raised the monthly fund raising goal to $70,000 for the coming twelve-month period. Additionally, the three major “extra” projects of the Temple Builders’ Pavilion, landscaping around the temple and the remarkable 13-foot-tall bronze Hanuman installation will continue to be funded separately by donors who are dedicated to those creative projects.
Gurudeva stressed many times that Iraivan will be a proper, pure, quiet place devotees can go within themselves through the practice of raja yoga and daily sadhanas—the way Rishikesh once was. Each year a few new individuals step forward to come on pilgrimage for the first time to personally experience the sanctity that is already present on San Marga and at Iraivan Temple. And repeat pilgrims come on a regular basis.
With blessings for a bountifully rewarding family life and personal spiritual progress,
—Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Gurudeva's Sacred Vision
Balinese artist I Wayan Marya depicts the powerful Lord Hanuman flying Iraivan from India to Hawaii.
Located in the heart of a traditional Hindu monastery complex reminiscent of ancient mathas and aadheenams of India, Iraivan is more than a temple; it is a pilgrimage destination, a place of sadhana and spiritual rejuvenation. Iraivan Temple is a living edifice that brings ancient tradition into the 21st century, a stable anchor sustaining and strengthening Hindu dharma for our children, their children and generations to come.
The carvers carefully place the first of 12 small pillars that will support the Nandi Mandapam roof.
A very productive year!
The ancient sound of "chip, chip, chip, chip" has returned at last to Iraivan Temple! Yes, on March 21, 2018, a 7-man team of silpi carvers arrived from India to resume the temple carving work and create the charming sound of chisels hitting stone that is so distinctive of a Hindu temple construction site. Each has come under the Religious Worker visa program which, due to the efforts of several Hindu organizations, including our own, specifically includes these extraordinarily skilled craftsmen. Master architect Selvanathan Sthapati arrived on April 11 and set to work with Yoginathaswami and the silpis to pick up all the threads of where the project had left off.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami stands with the silpis after a puja for the Nandi Mandapam work
In August, the three entry steps were installed at the temple entrance.
We were told there’s a strong tendency when such work resumes after a long break to get on with new construction and not take care of unfinished details from the last round. The team worked tirelessly for nearly two months, making refinements on the Nandi Mandapam, and planning with Yoginathaswami the work for the next two years. One critical element of this was determining exactly how the 45-foot kodimaram will be installed in the mandapam’s center. In the process, Sthapati discovered that the beautiful Nandi carved for the temple was too big by several inches, a problem impossible to fix or ignore. Hence, the carving of a new Nandi of correct proportions was set in motion in India. Happily, an even more graceful form has been chosen, so it turns out to be a boon.
A recent panorama of most stones that will make up the 475-foot-long, 42-inch tall wall that surrounds the temple; the Southern entrance landscaping
Granite pots the will sit atop the perimeter wall are being given a final polish in India.
Days were spent precisely laying out the 475-foot-long perimeter wall with chalk lines and placing the first two wall sections. It’s not always efficient to have all six silpis working simultaneously on the mandapam, so smaller teams undertook other details. One vital project completed was setting in place the three front steps leading into the maha mandapam. (photo above)
In the Iraivan sanctum, Satguru and the paramacharyas oversee a mystically important ceremony: installing copper, silver and gold wires into a copper pipe directly beneath the altar, extending down through the concrete plinth and compacted gravel into the earth, about 11 feet below. This activates and strengthens the Brahma sutra (central spiritual ray) from the Vimanam through the Lingam into the ground
Setting Up the Inner Sanctum
In mid September Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami blessed the Adharasila installation of the four base stones upon which the 10,000-pound bronze avudaiyar (Lingam base) will sit. This is a critical part of the temple’s mystical wiring, so to speak, with gold, silver and copper filaments going from this base through the concrete foundation and gravel fill and into the earth below to ground the crystal Lingam.
Our quadcopter captures the temple surrounded by Chola Gardens;
Chola Gardens: Major Progress on Temple Landscaping
Landscaping progress has been impressive, giving a more charming feel to the temple surroundings, which were already spectacular. The southern entrance at the Wailua River has been completed and the Pilgrims’ Park hillock was enhanced with giant paving stones (complete with Hawaiian petroglyphs) and Rainbow Shower trees which will provide welcome shade for future devotees. Work has begun on the Shadkonam Garden, situated in the northwest corner.
Sculptor Holly Young and her team of metal artisans in Colorado completed the 13-foot-tall bronze statue of Lord Hanuman, soon to be installed at the site of the future visitor’s center near the Rudraksha Forest. Holly is now working on six stanchions to support three ten-foot stone chains that will serve as an impossible-to-make handrail around the builder’s pavilion. These marvels of the silpi craft never fail to enchant visitors who have never seen such a thing.
Addition to the Temple Builder's Pavilion
The bronze statues of architect Selvanathan Sthapati and a carver at the Temple Builders’ Pavilion, installed on October 21, 2017.
The Southern entrance landscaping going down to the river.
Finishing and shipping the remaining carved granite stones to Kauai remains the prime focus of our carving team in India. The consignment will include a new Nandi and balipitham and the much-awaited sanctum doors, carved with eight forms of Siva. The next landscaping focus is the Shadkonam Garden, shaped like a six-pointed star. It will be a desert garden with walkways and giant boulders inside a 60-foot circle filled with cacti and other arid plants—a powerful contrast to the lush tropical areas. In the year ahead we will finish the Nandi Mandapam, install the kodimaram, set the fifth Panchakshara step in place, install the last section of the first-prakaram hand-railing, make good progress on the perimeter wall, install the sanctum doors, place Hanuman on His small mountain and begin preparations for the Visitor Center.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO COMPLETE IRAIVAN
With the main edifice nearing completion, Iraivan Temple needs your support now more than ever. Be generous and click to send your special year-end contribution today.
In 2001, Gurudeva said: “When you begin the pilgrimage to Iraivan Temple, you drop off and dissolve the karmas of the past. Then, because of the direction the temple is facing, the temple gives a new start, a new impetus for a wonderful future. It is a boon-giving temple, a gift-giving temple, a life-giving temple, a wish-fulfilling temple.”