On April 4-5, 1995, a grand ceremony, called Panchasilanyasa, brought priests and devotees from around the world to the site of Iraivan Temple for the placement of five sanctified bricks in an underground crypt, along with a cache of gems and other treasures. Warm Hawaiian breezes enveloped the faithful in a gentle embrace. Camphor, incense and flowers spoke to their senses as did the tintinnabulation of the bells and sonorous Sanskrit, chanted loudly by vibhuti-smeared priests. Deva Rajan shares his experience of the event.
"Many priests were there from Chennai for the homa, including the respected Sivasri Sambamurti Sivachariar, who officiated the Hindu rituals, along with architect V. Ganapati Sthapati. A four-by-four-by-foot square pit had been dug at the northeast corner of the future inner sanctum of the Iraivan Temple. In the pitch black of the hours before dawn, no one could tell if we were in India or in Hawaii. With great ceremony, my Gurudeva, the Hindu priests, the architect and others installed sacred substances into the pit--gems, gold, silver, rare herbs and other auspicious items. Tray after tray was carried by the monks to be placed. At one point, a large pot of vibhuti (holy ash) was poured into the pit; hence any further offering drew clouds of vibhuti floating out of the hole, blessing us all.
Under the tranquil light of the moon, Sambamurti Sivachariar, together with Gurudeva, frequently waved the glowing camphor flame. In bursts of powerful sacred chanting, the pit was consecrated. Master architect Ganapati Sthapati placed five sacred bricks engraved with the letters na ma si va ya in Tamil.
After these rich and abundant blessings, Gurudeva directed a few of us to seal it all off with concrete. As the crowd dispersed, we mixed several wheelbarrows of fresh concrete and poured it into the pit. When the task was complete, with joyous hearts we drifted away, knowing we had participated in a rare and magical event that would stay with us forever."