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“If you are looking for God where will you find him?

We can aspire to look in heaven, but when we attain this place we will never come back to tell others whether he was there.

We can look around us and in our hearts, is that where God is? Is he with us, around us?

Perhaps our path is to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves and utter the Lords names; then maybe we will find the truth and taste peace on earth.”




The wedding ceremony – some considerations you must make

All wedding ceremonies are about placing two people together. The Hindu wedding is no different in this way and Hindu ceremonies are conducted by way of emotion and scenes/rituals. By saying rituals we are not demeaning the ceremony at all; we are merely placing a past historical “time” and act to the ceremony; acts which our ancestors took part in through prayer. Whilst some may feel this is outdated, others realise the value in this and see the beauty in some ancient traditions carried forwards in a “modernal” manner. If it is peace, love, and respect that you are trying to instil into your wedding ceremony then I ask you to consider the points I raise here carefully. Historically Indian weddings have always been full of a “hussle” and “bussle” with parents wanting to invite all family and friends to the big day. Most weddings were carried out in school halls with guests numberings 700+.

Weddings were used as a means of socialising with family and friends we had not seen for some time. However, as times have changed and we have experienced western values our childrens expectations have changed also. Meeting, greeting, feeding guests and socialising in numbers; this worked well in the past and can still work if this is what you want. But prayer is difficult where the Priest has to explain and filter through this noise. Families themselves have to cope with the changing times by understanding what they want and what their children want may be two entirely different things; all this caused by time, by age and generation gaps. Now more and more young people expect a quieter environment during their wedding. And it is here that we must consider what is it that we really want?

If we invite 500+ guests to a ceremony quiet environments are difficult to maintain for children will play. One cannot expect pin drop silence with these numbers, I would genuinely say lower your expectations if you have agreed a guest list of 500+. Nowadays there is a tremendous expectation upon the Preacher to "control" the crowd. Guests, in my humble view, are not a crowd. I will make this clear. They are guests. As a Human Being I can only control my own attitude and behaviour; I can perhaps influence the behaviour of others, but I cannot control others fully. In planning a wedding you must therefore consider your numbers, your venue, and the quality of the acoustics and most importantly the music played in the background.

Of course we should not forget our culture and there are wonderful meanings within some of our traditional wedding songs. There is something quite beautiful in the traditions of Indian women singing wedding folk songs if they can sing well. If they can't sing well my advice is this; we need to try and encourage them to understand, but we must try to not offend elders. What music really gives serenity to a wedding? This is something I am often asked. Put simply, it is music that is magical and instrumental; it can be Indian as well as Western music that achieves this goal. And of course guests should consider the purpose of their attendance at a wedding. We are there for the bride, the groom and the parents; we are there to witness vows and celebrate the coming together in marriage of two individuals.

There are many other ways to make a wedding a serene experience. Sometimes only a small number are invited to the ceremony. I call this list 1. And another group, some of whom are in list 1, attend the evening reception. But in terms of guests, guests perhaps can be clear on what is expected of them. So how can we all achieve this? Simple things like ensuring there are enough seats for everyone, and separating the Dining area from the wedding area can all actually make a difference. Planning is critical, especially for an Indian wedding. Ushering guests who are standing and directing them to Chairs is an equal consideration. No standing at the back and no seats at the side of the Mandap all help create a perfect atmosphere.

As we move forwards into a generation that seeks questions, and that wants to attain some spirituality for that time, on their wedding day, where spirituality is important, then we as people attending the wedding can do our part in making this journey a spiritual one also. And sometimes we must look beyond the preacher and ourselves why what happens happens. To end with I with I wish to make a positive comment on inter cultural marriages. At Darshan we support anti racism and support all marriages and partnerships. Who people marry is a personal choice. I hope this short article gives people an idea as to some of the considerations that impact on a wedding and our philosophy.