Last Saturday and again this morning I was a guest of the Singapore Jain Religious Society’s temple for the consecration of their new image. I had offered the Society some water from Lake Manasarovar which I had brought back from my recent trip to Tibet, an offer that was most happily accepted. Like we Buddhists, the Jains considerer such water to be particularly auspicious and whenever possible use it in consecration rituals. Mr.Desi and others welcomed us and introduced us to Sri Bhadrabahuji, the community’s teacher, who kindly invited me to participate in the actual consecration. How different such ceremonies are to our Buddhist ones – there was so much music, singing, clapping, ringing of bells and waving of yak tail whisks that we quite got caught up in the jubilation and the happiness. At the appropriate time I was ushered forward, covered my mouth in accordance with Jain tradition, and tipped the holy water mixed with saffron and sandal over the new image to complete the consecration. Later we mixed with the guests of which there were about 2000. It was such a delight to see all the beautiful saris, kurtas and sherwanis with their colorful and ornate embroidery and also the more ancient pure-white robe-like attire. I noted that Sri Bhadrabahuji’s robe was almost identical to mine. I also met Dr. Purnima S. Metha, reader in Jain and Buddhist literature at Ahmanabad University who invited me to an up-coming conference on the two religions in Guyjarat, an invitation I will, unfortunately be unable attend. A little angel in the audience. Chatting with Dr. Metha.
A beautiful Rajasthani sari.