Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rudraksha Beads and the Hindu Monastery on Kauai

Yesterday, Lorri Scott and I decided to go to the Hindu Monastery on Kauai. You can go to their web page to find out all about the monks and to look at amazing picture of their beautiful monastery...waterfalls, mountains, trees, flowers.....absolutely stunning! http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/tour/
This is on the entrance path, going towards the temple.
to the right of the entrance was a lovely garden....
This shows the temple, sort of a side angle....services were going on, so we didn't want to disturb them by standing in front and taking pictures. Pictures are not allowed inside the temple. Eventually Lorri and i went inside...the services were still going on. A monk was chanting on the altar (or whatever it is accurately called). A worshipper/docent, whispered to us that women sat on the left...there were pillows stacked on the side, so we each took a pillow and sat on the floor cross legged. On each side of the temple, lining the walls, were mirrored shelves with small about 15" gold statues of gods/goddesses (? I guess - I am really ignorant of this religion) ...and a recess with a huge black bull decorated with Hawaiian flowers. In the center of the floor, where we sat, was a round mandala looking thing with glass (or crystal?) spheres of different sizes, 12 of them...representing ???. it reminded me of the planets and astrology.....I could/will look this all up - cuz now I want to know - but for the sake of this post I will just give you my immediate impressions..... Anyway, there was also a container with pens/slips of paper on the floor, for you to write an intention on....and a small metal basket for you to put the intentions in, at the end of the ceremony. So pretty soon more people started arriving...not too many, maybe 12 in all....and the monk started burning i guess what were the previous days intentions -in a metal cauldron on the alter statue....then the docent gestured for all of us to stand and the monk came up to each of us and we wafted the smoke into our faces 3 times, while thinking of our intention .... Then he went and got yellow powder, and we each took some and put it on our third eye area on our foreheads...then he brought red powder and we did it again...each time the docent whispered to me and Lorri which fingers to use, how to rub the powder in our hands, taste it or put it on other chakra parts of our neck, etc....we also copied some of the other people who had a clue what they were doing. Then he brought a white liquid and poured it into our cupped hand and we had to ceremoniously drink it. Lorri and I thought it was coconut milk...but it wasn't. sigh. Then more chanting...then the monk left. Then you brought your intention up to the metal basket and put it inside, then we knelt down on the floor in child pose (like yoga!) and then stood up and bowed to the bull, and left. It was WAYYY interesting!
This is a little fresco outside the temple.
Down another path we found a grove of very tangled banyan trees (I love banyan trees!)...
This statue was at the end of the path. Below are a few close ups of the hands.
Isn't this cool?
...Below is a shot from the left side and around the temple, showing the river where the monks bathe. Usually you can take a tour which will take you down to the river, as well as show you the new temple that is being built, but for the next 2 weeks the monks are on retreat, so this area is closed to the public.
a closer view....it is actually pretty far away....you'll get a better idea of the perspective in some pics that are coming up....
This next picture shows the new temple that is being built. The round tops are actually gold colored, perhaps gilded...
This next photo shows you the new temple on the right and the river on the left....i am probably 50 (I know the picture doesn't look like that) feet above the Wailua River, and maybe 100 yards away....
Above is what the proposed temple will look like when it is finished in 2017....depending on how fast they raise all the money to build it. Go to their website to see all the gorgeous pictures of it's fine construction. http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/iraivan/
..more of the area where the temple model is housed.
As you walked around you saw many of the monks in their orange robes and flowing beards.
While in the gift shop, Lorri and I were entranced with some gorgeous beads..." " beads. Actually I think they look like a nut. Lorri bought me a beautiful pair of them. This is the brochure we picked up that talks about them:
The woman who was working in the shop told us that the monks had planted a 250 of these sacred trees and that a small section was open to the public. She invited us to go there (it was outside the temple grounds and down the road a bit) and that we would find the gorgeous trees and their nuts and to be sure and hug a tree with our intention in mind and Shiva would bless us...Before we left we both wrote our intentions again on a slip of paper and put them into a pot at the exit that had burning ashes in it, and watched them burn and our desires/wishes waft into the heavens....then we went to find the sacred trees!
Lorri among the sacred trees.
Who can resist hugging a tree?!?
awesome roots!
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Close up roots...at first Lorri thought they were stone offering bowls...they really do look like that!


Looking thru the trees towards the sky...
More roots...and our rooster friend...see the beads at his feet?
Our rooster companion...Lorri tried to entice him to give her a tail feather, but he was not willing....
...all over the ground we found ZILLIONS of the seed pods/nuts!
this is a pod still in it's husk and one fresh from the ground. The one from the ground is full of dirt and bits of the husk. The leaves from the trees turn a bright red. We also found lots of delicate skeletonized leaves.

Tataa! These are the beads that i have scrubbed and tumbled!

Aren't they gorgeous? ...and I haven't even varnished them! For size reference, look at the rooster photo above...these are 1/2 to 1 1/4 inch in size. The bigger ones have a natural hole on at least one side, some are all the way thru. You can halve them and the inside looks like a walnut. They have 5 sides. Sometimes there are freaks of nature, and they can have 11! I found a few with only 4.
I don't know what I will do with them...I thought they would look beautiful with a bronze or silver eye...I do know that whatever i make, if I sell it, I will be donating 50% to the monks and their temple project! These beads are truly a gift from heaven!

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8 comments:

Joanne Huffman said...

What a great adventure and interesting experience you and Lorri had! I look forward to seeing what you do with the beads.

kathy mc said...

Gorgeous photo's. What an exciting adventure. I have seen these beads before, by never tumbled. How cool. They are beautiful!

Marilyn Rock said...

Connie! Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us. If only the whole world can be this peaceful, right? Beautiful. We have something like this in our area but it's nothing compared to what I see here! The beads are amazing! I love the tree roots! xxoo

jackie said...

amazing and fascinating!! thank you for sharing your experience and the photos! the beads are exquisite!

Lorri Scott said...

I'm glad we did that. I brought my beads home but won't get to cleaning them for a while. I emailed you this URL from the monastery website where you can download all the info you'd ever want to know about these beads.
http://www.himalayanacademy.com/slideshows/

xxox

Kathy L said...

Connie, I have not visited your blog in ages...It seems from about beginning of NOv. on I am swamped with family stuff. But I am so glad I visited tonite. This post was lovely and peaceful. The trees were my favorite and the beads are quite special indeed. The temple views were very interesting. What an incredible privledge this vist was!

k

Vidwan827 said...

Connie, ( I think .... ).

I don't even know what blog I am at. I just was led here when I was searching for the Rudraksha beads in Hawaii. Someone once told me that there was a plantation, on an island (which?), where you could get free or cheap beads, on the ground, ready for the taking ....

I live in Cleveland, Ohio, so I must make a trip to Kaui .... Someday.

I have many, many necklaces of the Rudra beads ... But I am not very religious. I loved, loved your description of the Hindu religious milieu and the the temple and it's surroundings. Thank you for such an enjoyable blog and it was delightful to hear of your enjoyable adventure. God bless.

John Eldredge said...

What a beautiful place to visit! I was there last year and have a wonderful experience also. I am currently wearing a bead on my bracelet as I type. Thanks