October 12, 2008
Today we were so fortunate to attend the Naming Day of Priya Shanti (in Sanskrit her name means Beloved, Peace). She was welcomed to this world by her parents as they blessed her with the four elements - earth, air, fire and water - and performed Nama Karana, an Indian tradition where the child's name is whispered into her ear three times. It is said that the child will always remember that moment, when she was given her name.
Priya, may your name resonate deep within your heart and may you indeed be beloved and peaceful.
As we stood on the sand to witness the ceremony I realised how important ritual is in our lives. How special it is for family and friends to unite and to celebrate. Today we welcomed Priya to this world and into our lives. It was a chance to acknowledge how blessed we are to be in her presence and also to consider the responsibility that we share with her parents - to raise her in a loving and kind world.
Ceremony provides an opportunity to be thankful. Prayers around the dinner table, the blowing out of birthday candles, the kiss to seal a marriage. No matter how small, ceremony makes our lives more meaningful.
He is to young to understand now, but soon Che will ask me why I walk around our house with incense burning (to cleanse the space), why we decorate the Indian Elephant God Ganesh (remover of obstacles) who sits at our front door and why we chant ((((Om))))). He will come to know these little rituals as a chance to be thankful for what we have. And one day soon I will introduce him to Bhakti Yoga - where he will plant, water and nurture a flower - to help him understand the art and practice of devotion.
He will choose whether he believes what we do. On his Naming Day we acknowledged that when he is older he will decide who and what he believes in. We can only share with him what we know.
I hope all children are raised to know their parents beliefs. I hope they understand that taking a few moments to be still and quiet is ritual in itself.
We ended our day under a mango tree, eating beautiful food, laughing and playing. I wish that Che and Priya understand how wonderful celebration is and I hope they stay friends for life.