A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sri Satyanarayana Temple

Took a ride to the Sri Satyanarayana Temple in Middletown, Connecticut to meet a Hindu priest today. I'm charged with delivering him next week to a Hindu friend's Upanayana, or Thread Ceremony, to be held for her grandson.

She's a Brahmin, and this will be the boy's introduction into his varna, or caste. Many Hindu families today, especially outside of India, perform this ceremony themselves, with the father officiating, but Priya is not one to do things half-cocked. Hence the fetching of a priest from one state over.

Whereas in India every corner would have a temple, dedicated to a particular god, the Sri Satyanarayana Temple is a kind of Grand Central for many sects. Ganesha is next to Shiva is next to Hanuman; there's a Jain section, a North and a South Indian section. You just go to whichever part of the temple you feel comfortable in and do your thing.

It's a good thing we made a dry run, because there was some mix-up as to which priest would be available, and when he would need to be scooped up. Luckily for me, the original priest has jumped ship in favor of a wedding (and probably a larger donation), so Priya gets priest #2. Priest #2 speaks a little English at least. My Hindi is nonexistent. And if I screw up, there'll be no Upanayana next week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Introduction to the temple is appreciable but the comment like "...the original priest has jumped ship in favor of a wedding (and probably a larger donation)," give a very bad taste. I wonder why people look down on the Brahmins and especially priests!! You can count on the people who really give big donations to the priests even on a festival day. You think of the priest only when there is (even a small) function at your home; but the respect you give to him is just nothing. Remember one thing .... a priest spends a number of years in studying Vedas which you don't even dare to (can't) say atleast once !! and he is considered to be a direct link between us and the Almighty, of course, if only you believe. Please do not pass sarcastic remarks.

7:11 PM  

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