art327 01

Anil Bhanot on Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey

art327 01Heaven must have descended into the Westminster Abbey today as the Royal Wedding took place.

My wife dropped me in the morning by the clearance marquee for guests invited to the Royal Wedding and inside the Abbey, which is one of the oldest houses of God in the UK, the atmosphere was filled with a grandiose sense of serenity while the senses feasted on a multitude array of colour and music. It was a beautiful setting for the Royal couple whose match seems to have been made no less than in heaven itself.

Curiously the Christian marriage ceremony has some of the key hallmarks of a Hindu wedding ceremony. The father gives the bride away just as in a Hindu ceremony, albeit a bit more elaborately, the girl’s Kanniya Daan is done by her parents. Then the vows are taken just as in the Hindu ceremony seven vows are taken. Of course there are a lot more Hindu ceremonies around the fire alter for God and Dharma but in a simplistic way the format seems to be the same. Even the Lesson at the end of the ceremony is exactly like the Shiksha given at the Hindu ceremony. Again just as the bride’s brothers play a major role in the Hindu wedding, Kate’s brother James Middleton read from Romans 12:1-2,9-18, for The Lesson, which gave a beautiful message of love, spiritual worship, perseverance, patience, humility, aspiring always to noble thoughts and a line I particularly liked, ‘to outdo one another in showing honour’. But perhaps if I may be allowed to suggest that a Hindu Lesson would have just added one tiny bit extra that Kate must now treat William’s parents as she does her own with the same love and care and more and of course in this modern age the same goes for William.

The Dean of Westminster Dr John Hall conducted the overall service with the Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams blessing the marriage ceremony and Bishop of London Richard Chartres gave a wonderful sermon, saying that every wedding is a Royal wedding. Indeed, as in a Hindu wedding the Groom and the Bride around the fire alter are considered to be the incarnates of Lord Vishnu the Preserver and his consort Goddess Laxmi representing beauty and all the good things in life. After the wedding the Dean Dr John Hall, Canon Jane Hedges and the Minor Canon Michael Macey gave a Champaign reception in St Catherine’s Chapel Garden at the Abbey to toast the newlyweds a happy and long life.

Perhaps today the world also witnessed a soft yet noble face of the constitutional aspect of the monarchy. True every family goes through ups and downs in life but the permanency that a responsible monarchy brings in a position that is above politics, a monarchy that mingles with her people, is surely far better than any equivalent elected republican President who simply cannot give the people a softer sense of nationalism that otherwise comes with peoples natural desire to aspire for something that is more enduring, and with a human face rather than merely some republican symbol like the flag.

Hindus love Royalty, generally speaking. Our Avatars Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were born into Royalty. Even Buddha the renunciate, was born a prince. Our very best wishes are with William and Kate; it goes without saying that they are a lovely couple. May the gods and goddesses always smile at them with their grace.

Anil Bhanot   29 April 2011