Early Reflections – March 2005

EMW WELCOMES THE MONTH OF MARCH – the third Gregorian month which promises us here in the UK the winds that are to precede the April showers. The days are becoming a little longer here near Greenwich, and the daylight peeps through just before 7.00 am – at least our children can awake after the sun, it makes the journey to school less difficult. Winter is loosening her hold on us.

We honour here at EmW the Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and the Sikhs this month for their festivals, and as last month, we have included the diary of events for you on a different page, please see below. The Welsh and the Irish also celebrate the Feast Days of their patron saints, the Buddhists celebrate a New Year, the Jews honour Purim which marks the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the persecution of Haman, which falls on the Christian Good Friday (the first day of Easter); and Hindus celebrate Mahasivararti, the marriage of Lord Shiva to Pavarti, and the Sikhs celebrate the martyrdom of their 6th guru, Guru Hargobind who took his assassinated father’s place in 1606 at the time of the Mughal Empire in India.The 6th guru was only 11 years old when he chose to defend his people by wearing two swords of Miri and Piri – symbols of political and religious leadership. In maintaining his religious integrity, Hargobind was imprisoned by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir for 5 years. When he was finally released, the 6th guru only accepted his freedom if the 52 Hindu princes also in jail would be offered their liberty. This was granted upon the condition that as many princes could leave as could hold onto the Guru’s cloak. Hargobind ordered a special cloak with many long tassels, and thus clothed, was able to ensure the freedom of all the Hindu princes. Hargobind is known by the Sikhs as “Bandi-Chor” – the releaser of prisoners.

The return of Hargobind to Amritsar in 1620 was celebrated by the lighting of the Golden Temple – the Sikh Diwali, symbolising freedom of conscience, freedom to practise one’s own faith, to respect another’s faith and to fight persecution. This seems to be a highly respectful and enlightened ethos, particularly toward their fellow man. This generosity of Sikh spirit towards other faiths is something we should embrace and remember, whoever we are.

I have always found it eminently forward-thinking and equally sensible that many of the Mughal Emperors in India decided it politic and the “easy route to keep everybody happy” by breaking Islamic tradition when they came to power by marrying a wife of each faith concurrently. The wives, a Hindu, a Muslim and a Christian and perhaps a 4th of either, were given their own quarters and staff, and place of worship was built with their own specific religious architecture and design. Nobody could accuse the Emperor of dogmatism, and everybody including the wives was happy. It makes you think, however, of the enormous power the Emperors wielded to break simply the mighty rules of Islam, just to keep the peace. It also makes you think seriously how much of their infinite political wisdom we have lost in the last 500 years or so.

Eastertide is upon Christianity. Easter Sunday is always on the Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox, 21st March. It is the most important festival in the Christian calendar – the Resurrection of Jesus.

EmW wishes you the blessings of your festivals this March.

In profound peace,

Selima

 

 

 

Photo by https://pixabay.com/en/users/InspiredImages-57296/

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