Friday, August 14, 2009

Digging through the rituals of Sikkim for the principles of 'THE WORD'.

I remember one of my friends commenting breezily-Sikkimese people are ritualistic .Born in a christian family and being brought up away from most of these rituals I wondered if he was right.
Going through several works of research done by contemparary journalists on the origin and the rituals of Sikkim ,I realised he had got it right and yet there were several admirable things to be learnt from this land of rituals.
1) Budhism was brought to Sikkim by Guru Padhmasambhava(budhists believe him to be a reincarnation of Gautama Budha, born in a lotus ).He is said to have addressed Sikkim as 'Bayul Demazong'-'a hidden land of sacred treasures'.(a hidden life of sacred treasures!-blessing people and the land !-if internalised how powerfull!)
2)There is this common act of offering traditional scarves as a mark of respect on different occasions-this white scarf known as khada is supposed to be a mark of intent which says I honour you with the purity of flower and yet with the permanence which goes beyond the flower which is but to wilt.When someone accepts the khada it is a mark of acceptance of the genuineness of the person who is offering it.(An act of restoration).
3)Kanchendzonga,the gaurdian deity of the Sikkimese budhists is worshipped because it is supposed to be that, literally, a guardian of the land.Apparently one of the lama incarnates from Tibet was on his way to Sikkim when he came across considerable opposition to his journey in the form of snow-storms,etc-he is said to have sat on a hill of snow and meditated following which a white duck is said to have approached him asking him why he wanted across-he is said to have been allowed entry into Sikkim .The mountain was to be a guardian which was to keep out all untoward elements from the sacred land of hidden treasures.(Protection of all that is sacred,holy and pure).
4)There is the saga dawa-a month long period of( Prayer,fasting and devotion).
5)Tendong Lho rhum faat-falls on a third lunar month each year is a festival of thanksgiving and prayers are offered for peace,protection and long-life for all beings.The prayer is offered to the Mt.Tendong(Reminds one of the golden calf of the Exodus days!!!)(Looking at the brighter side-An act of cooperate thanksgiving and prayers).
Intent in these cases look to me like a trove of treasures but how far has an average Sikkimese really owned the treasures that were to be a part of their inheritance from the days of the yore or are they lost somewhere in the rituals of the day as my friend has aptly put.

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