Later today I along with my family will be attending the engagement ceremony of a plant called Tulsi to a Hindu mythological god called Krishna. Yes – a plant (those green things that grow on the ground) to a dancing, singing, blue Hindu idol made probably of clay (or if he’s posh – marble).
I would have also gone to the wedding next week, for which I have received a beautiful invitation, but for the fact that I am going to out of the country. No doubt it will be attended by hundreds of well attired Indians, in true Monsoon Wedding style. I have of course sent my regrets, and a token £21 (cash only please, we are Indians) to the parents of the bride – yes, the plant – called Tulsi.
My friend Sarita (name changed to protect the ignorant) is boycotting this event. She calls it “nonsense”. She can’t understand why educated people living in the UK would partake in such stupid rituals. I guess I also fall into Sarita’s category of stupid for aiding and abetting such a waste of time and no doubt loads of money – again in true Indian style.
For those pagans whose ancestors have participated in this annual celebration for thousands of years, this event is called Tulsi Vivah – the wedding of Tulsi. There are many many historical and mythological accounts of Tulsi Vivah which sources like Wiki well summarise. That’s not my domain.
Sarita, darling, for me its simple.
(a) Its the celebration – in these trying times we need all the opportunities to celebrate good times with family and friends
(b) It’s the message – Tulsi (yes, the plant) represents nature and all that is beautiful and powerful that nature represents. Indeed in Hindu mythology, even the Lord ultimately had to bow down under the weight of a single Tulsi leaf. I wont be able to change the climate chnage deniers (Lord Lawson et al), but I can for sure convey a simple message through the fun and colour of this Hindu ritual
(b) Its about respect – respect for the believers – even if I think the very concept of a virgin birth is “nonsense” (to use Sarita’s fav phrase) no doubt we will all (including Sarita – who at all other times is a real party bopper) partake in the pagan festival now popularly known as Christmas. Oh yes – Sarita – don’t forget the singing of Christmas Carols round that prickly green thing called a tree (part of my dear Tulsi’s family).
Ah, yes – what about the waste of money. Could not Mr & Mrs Parmar (name kept to protect the innocent) have spent their thousands on something else more worthy? Sarita, its their money, they are not using it to start wars or waste it on booze – so whats the issue? And if you still think they are stupid, at least spare their souls the intellectual terrorism that today’s “yoof” appear so prolific at unleashing. After-all they are simple people, with nothing fancy jobs. Give them a break.
If we can see beyond the messengers (The plant, the statue, the stupid simpletons who are spending thousands) and look at their message – then maybe, just maybe there is a bit of good that th world can learn. The receiving at birth of a daughter (and Sarita, you are somebody’s daughter) and the giving away in wedlock a daughter is the most sacred act in Hindu culture that any parents can perform. By giving away Tulsi to the Lord, Mr & Mrs Parmer are handing back to Mother Nature (the Lord) what they were gifted by her – hopefully filled with more love and respect for the world then when they recieved her.
And finaly, my wife and daughters look absolutely gorgeous in their stunning Indian outfits. Off to the party now at the Jalaram Jupadi Temple in Hounslow – who by the way are the groom’s family!