Gazing across the valley of the Wailua River and its Nani Kaua Pond, you see the gold-leafed domes of Indian design shimmering in the sunlight, with majestic Mount Waialeale in the background. You are beholding the towers of Iraivan Temple, a pure and powerful white granite wonderment carved in India by hand and erected ten thousand miles away on this Garden Island by India’s master stonemasons.
This is the crown jewel of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, being constructed first and foremost as a destination for devotees on annual pilgrimage. Hindus revere a sanctified edifice like Iraivan not only as a temple, but as the very body of God. Iraivan is an ancient Tamil word for God, meaning “He who is worshiped.” This temple was inspired by a series of mystical visions of Siva that came to Gurudeva early in the morning of February 15, 1975, in which he saw Lord Siva seated on a large boulder that was later discovered on the then overgrown property. These visions inspired him to begin this exquisite temple, unlike any in the world. Since that day, pujas have been held daily at that swayambhu (self-created) Lingam (mark of God), which will one day be sheltered within an elegant open-air pavilion.
Iraivan Temple’s Pillars
Gurudeva decreed that the temple be “a library in stone,” and had 24 of the pillars carved with sacred and cultural symbols. At the bottom are 24 of the traditional forms of God Siva. In the middle are depicted cultural and philosophical images. The top of each pillar has sacred symbols and plants, half from India and half from Hawaii. The pillars have much to teach about our spiritual tradition. Visit our web app, “The Pillars of Iraivan” to learn of the mystical symbolism carved upon each one.