What with the hate mongering flying across religious lines, my mind went back six years to our wedding day and the way we betrothed officially and I suppose, ceremoniously. Found a transcript of the impromptu address etc. so, here goes.
My tailor was a Muslim, my garb part North Indian Islamic, part Sinhala Buddhist. Hers was traditional South Indian and her ornaments and mehendi, traditional North Indian Hindu. The cake was made by a Sinhala Christian. The event was cooked up and choreographed by A Tamil Christian. The site was a boathouse. The music was a guitar and the artists who could wield one well were many among the gathering. The whiskey was flowing like wine. The chairs were plenty but their use was optional. The date rubbed shoulders with Christmas and the decor was holly and Christmas lights. The gifts were symbolic, from us to the guests not the other way around. The notes that accompanied them were personal messages that encompassed everything they were to us over the years. The theme was Celtic pagan. The toast was by a Sinhalese Buddhist spiritually supported by his Burgher Catholic wife. The witnesses were a small group to whom religious labels meant little for their spirituality rose over and above such treatment of it. The officiating master of ceremonies was a man with a highly questionable spiritual pedigree - me. Questionable to mainstream thinking that is. Not to the folks who were gathered to witness it.
Reading that, I am sure a person would imagine it to be a typical hippie punch up of a marriage ritual but no, the exact opposite was true. Sure, no one stood on ceremony for such standing is required only when people are wary of one another. Rather, it was for us, a very deep, happy, easy, fun, festive, thoughtful, careful, reflective intermeshed union of souls.
It was also a ceremony where the words of the followers of the Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed (pbuh), Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna were spoken by a practitioner of the systems of all of these great leaders. The sources were the Tripitaka, The Holy Bible, The Holy Qur’an, the Rig Veda and the Baghavad Geetha. These were spoken by us to our witnesses. I wish this becomes more of a norm than an exception. That was to start it off. Then we exchanged two pairs of rings – one pair for union of spirit, the other pair for union of body. Then, I addressed our gathering. It was the closest thing to a sermon but it was, and still is, both important and relevant to us in times when highlighting differences is more fashionable than acknowledging similarities.
|The Celtic Shield that served as the headpiece mounted on a GI pipe|
Truth is a good place to start defining a union. Union is a good place to start defining truth. There are only four truths that have lasted more than a few decades and each of those have last over a thousand years. The core ideas of these were what I articulated just now. Although I used four languages and four spiritual systems to do so, each of these says similar things about similar things. Yet, despite similarities, the peopled earth split into four different segments along these lines because of the deadly desire in mankind to negate the simple truth that the sum lot of all of us is, pretty much, the same. By the desire to think that individuality is an asset greater than collectiveness. Over the last four hundred years, when diverse peoples came together, instead of connecting, they clashed. They fought and killed for the right to establish, strangely, absolute truth in terms of subjective world views. Yet, there is no indication whatsoever in the four facets of truth I mentioned that they could be established by force. So, the denominations and religions are not of the truth but despite it. They are constructs of mankind and man is fallible. Man fails and man has, failed. The proof is that we are collectively teetering on the brink of death despite our earnest belief that we, alone, by our individualistic, flawed ideas of right and wrong will be saved. We are so far removed from the truth that we are not even dimly aware of the root causes of our diverse, variable schisms.
But this way madness lies. This way must change. Our union here today is a statement of intent and a prayer for the greater union of peoples. To bring us all together under empirical truth and not separate us on subjective perceptions of it based on denominations. The Celtic shield motif you see behind us and on all the tables is the one engraved on the primary rings we exchanged. The rope work upon it, creating hearts upon armor is an unbroken continuity symbolizing unity. Her's was made by a Sri Lankan artisan. Mine was made in Ireland by a couple steeped in the lore of wiccan and pagan sensibilities. The soundness of those sensibilities, the world is increasingly accepting via a tortuous route through science. Behind us the shield hangs on a GI pipe set in concrete. It is made symbolically of materials used for construction and must serve as our poruwa. The shield is for protection. The ancient Celtic spiritual traditions did not use symbols of aggression but rather of defense. The four segments stand for the link between the four elements of earth, water, fire and air. But they also stand for the link between the four great spiritual leaders whose truths have stood for ages. The secondary rings we exchanged contain the Star of David, symbolizing external and internal union.
Important they are but in the end, they are but symbols of something greater that needs to be proven on the ground. And here, honoring us with their presence today, are a small group of people who have done so. Thirty two of the most farsighted, most uniquely talented, most intellectually insightful members of our country are here to witness our marriage. In our association, ever have we seen that connect with truth in your dealings with the people around you. Truly, we are lucky to call you our closest friends. Hailing from all religions and all races that have existed in harmony in our nation, we are aware of the greater union among us all as the two of us pledge our fealty to each other.
Union is a good place to start defending truth. Truth is a good place to start defending union.
Sincerely, we thank you once again for being our whole world. Sincerely we thank you for being the whole world.
Then we drank. Then we sang. Then we ate. In no particular order. Did I sing Billy Joel’s Summer Highland Falls? I cannot remember but that song hung over us and that boathouse like a spiritual halo. I definitely know that young Oshani sang the Circle of Life for us and that was a real halo. Then it was not time to go home. Then it was over.