This past week I took time away from work for the purpose of going to my temple’s “Maha Kumbhabhishekam.” After talking with a friend, I’m wondering if there aren’t maybe a few different occasions for which this ritual is performed. To be clear, for the last many years my local temple ( Hindu Temple of Central Indiana ) has been in a mode of planning and organizing and fund raising for the construction of a “proper,” Indianized temple. When I first started walking the Hindu path, all our local community had was a community center that was basically one small room – although in a free-standing building. After some time we moved into another building on the opposite side of the city. I don’t recall whether the new building was built or whether it was purchased – I think it was built for us. But it was a beige box. It was more than one room, but not much more than that, although with more space for devotees. Then after more years the aforementioned planning and organizing and fund raising was started – all of which culminated in the big event which took place last week.
June second is the anniversary I share with my beloved. This year the date marked our eleventh year cycle of togetherness. The very next day was the beginning day of a five-day Maha Kumbhabhishekam held by our temple to inaugurate and consecrate the new construction and rehouse the gods (moving them from their old location in the beige box to their new homes in garbas within the new sanctum sanctorum.
As this is pretty much literally an once-in-a-lifetime event for Westerners (even for Indians, in many cases) I decided to take PTO so that I could attend each day. I awoke each morning quite early so that I could be there before most other people – and I was successful in that endeavor, most of the day I was beat to the temple by only the priests and a handful or two of volunteers. And there were some days when I even beat some of the priests. I stayed all day each day, no less than 8 or 10 hours except the last day. My longest day was 13.25 hours, and on each day I went home only after the rituals were done, missing only some dancing and singing (and other basic cultural performances) which was held at the end of each day except the last. I’ll be publishing a pretty massive post here as soon as I can get to it wherein I’ll explain what I saw and experienced on each day.
As I was living through these days I posted often to Facebook. In response to one of my posts, a Facebook friend who resides in India commented, advising me that even to attend such an event is said to benefit / bestow blessings that will endure for generations after. I don’t know how many generations, but the very first thought that came to my mind is that I have no uterus. Neither does my beloved. Adoption is increasingly unlikely for us, and the logistics of other means for creating or obtaining human children are also prohibitive.
This friend of mine specifically stated, “generations,” not subsequent births. So, I’m thinking that if I don’t benefit from this karmic merit in my current life and if I cannot somehow forward these benefits to my nephews, then perhaps when I leave my current existence this punya will simply dissipate into the ether? And if it does, will all beings everywhere be benefitted? My understanding, from a Sahaj Marg perspective, is that the here and now would be affected most directly. The atmospheric condition would certainly be altered and also the unique conditions of those present. In Sahaj Marg we place some emphasis on peeling away the layers we’ve built up over lifetimes and during this lifetime. Perhaps there’s something about attending these spiritual events that helps in that effort? (To be clear, while my understanding of Sahaj Marg is that these kind of ritualistic things aren’t to be clung to, they aren’t necessarily or expressly prohibited – just that they can be a trap for us, like most parts of religion.)
What if it’s all just jibber-jabber?
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti