Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Slice of Chidambaram in Hawaai!!

For Illustrative Purpose Only
WE have seen in an earlier blog the importance of Chidambaram as a pivotal place in Shiva worship. The temple has the rarest form of Shiva that in the form of space or nothingness. The Nataraja form of Shiva, the one performing the divine cosmic dance is very much a symbol of Chidambaram. This symbol is also ruling the hearts and minds of the devotees’ seven seas away on an Island that is more famous of having a good time!!

The Kadavul Hindu Temple on the island of Kauai is famous as a Hindu Monastery. The complex is 363 acres was formed in 1973. The centerpiece is a massive Shiva temple constructed in the Sri Lanka style. The presiding deity is Shiva in the form of Nataraja. The Shiva statue is guarded by his faithful ride the Nandi who is present in the full glory in a statue that weighs 16 tons. The monastery also boasts a 700-pound, 3-foot-tall, naturally formed crystal Sivalingam (among the largest known sphatika svayambhu lingams in the world). This is proposed to be the main deity of a new temple being constructed in the temple complex. This new temple called as the Iraivan temple will be hand carved in white granite and it will be carved by the artisans from India. The temple also has a rare collection of the Siva's 108 tandava dance poses in 16-inch-tall bronze icons covered with gold leaf and an elaborate silver trident (trishula), symbol of God Siva's three fundamental powers of desire, action and wisdom.

What makes the temple extra special is that the temple has a team of 21 resident monastics who are devoted to the service of lord Shiva. They meet in the early hours of the morning before sunrise for the poojas and other rituals. The monks rotate in three-hour vigils round-the-clock during which time they worship, meditate, chant, practice Sanskrit and perform personal spiritual disciplines. This sadhana has been maintained in unbroken continuity since the temple was established in 1973, adding to the temple's profound power which changes the lives of many a visitor, much like the ancient temples of South India. Till date in excess of 127,000 vigils have been performed.

The temple compounds have a guided tour done for free and the all visitors are encouraged to understand the basic tenets of Hinduism and also take a walk around the grounds. The temple compounds include the actual temple, gardens with a huge banyan tree, the flag mast and temple water tanks. An added attraction is the Rudraksha plantation. The rudrakshas are actually berries and they are blue in color before they ripen, fall down and dry out to become the berries that we are more familiar with. For hindus, an archana or a pooja can be done by those who are interested.

This exotic slice of Hinduism and India is still a work in progress and the parts of the temple are being constantly expanded and added. All work on the temple is done by hand. Perhaps we need to be more aware of our own heritage and the vast areas where the art, architecture and spirituality of ancient India has had a foothold and has inspired generation. From, the tempels of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the Kadavul hindu temple in Kauai Island, Hawai.

Such temples were always centers for learning and were pillars of ancient scientific discovery and practice. The vedas and puranas of yore give tantalizing hints of these accomplishments and refer to advanced sciences. The quest of this knowledge has over millennia has brought to India scholars, monks and conquerors in equal numbers. Perhaps the last hint of the use of this knowledge were in the times of Chanakya and Emperor Chandragupta. A tumultuous time when Rudra, a man from humble origins rose to prominence as the right hand man of Chandragupta. Rudra, a man who was betrayed and who had to fight to prove his mettle. The temples and the mysterious clues from the carvings in such temples enabled Rudra and his men to commence the great search for brahmastra & amrit the pinnacles of the ancient shastras. Join this breathtaking hunt with Rudra and be a part of the battle he fought in the forthcoming book “The Indus Challenge”. Coming to bookstores and available for preorder on Amazon soon!!

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