The baby was ever so good, only got tired at the end of a 2 hours ceremony in his honour, a 3-month-old little Aaryan, son of my niece and her French husband. It seems that my Gujarati family is quite fond of us French people as there have been 3 Franco-Indian alliances so far! I love the temple, it has an atmosphere of peace, goodwill, joy and simple goodness that for me represents what religion is about. I found this in Buddhist and Jain temples, Gurdwaras and Christian communities too. Last time I was in this temple had been for my nephew’s wedding so it brought back lovely  memories as well as the chance to see most of the family. 8 out of the 9 siblings were there – the one missing was in France, so I was amazed at how little my brother and sister-in-law had changed and how much the children had grown. I wish I had their skin, they never seem to age! The homa or havan had a lot in common with weddings: pooja, arti, agni.. in fact, it had all the basic elements of rituals anywhere: fire to purify- agni- water to wash away, air- bell and incense for scents and prayers – and earth: food, flowers, offerings and sharing. The French grandparents commented at the end, when the Prasada was offered, that it was a lot like communion, which of course it is to some extent: not an incarnation, but a way of sharing food with the community and the deity/ies. The atmosphere was very pious yet very relaxed, people prayed and chanted yet could also have a little chat, the children were restless and curious and while they were coaxed to stay with someone, nobody was offended when one came to see closer what was happening and when the baby finally needed to sleep, mum slipped away to help him calm down and the priest praised him for having lasted so long.

Alix

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