Gujarati Wedding In Spanish Fork
Posted September 2, 2006
So Much Service
This last weekend offered enough service to make one blow a gasket. We have a standing offer for devotees to come here to help out with tours, cooking, acting and/or computer work. We'll offer room, board, and an allowance. Must be fluent in English.
The crowd was about half westerners and half Nepalis. The ceremony lasted an hour and a half. I explained everything in English to the satisfaction of the westerners.
The father of the bride came from Hong Kong. He was very religious. I could
hear him mumbling many of the Sanskrit slokas with me. At the end he happily
exclaimed, "I never expected any ceremony this good in America!" Tyrel, the
groom, e-mailed me the next day.
I was also wondering what I would need to do, if I wanted to volunteer at the temple in the future? I know I am not Hindu, and actually I don't belong to any organized religion, nor do I practice any type of free form spirituality but I always feel at peace when I visit the temple. I will be very busy these upcoming months, but I would like to find time to just come help a little bit.
~Peace is in the serenity of the minds eye.
Love Tyrel and Anu."
Immediately after the wedding, my friends Neeta and Hiren Vyas arrived with
a whole van load of other motel owners from St., George. I have been to most
of their homes and motels for pujas, but this was the first time any of them
had visited the temple in Spanish Fork. They had organized an expedition of
about a dozen people and driven 3 and 1/2 hours to get here. We did aratik,
some bhajans, I showed them the cows, peacocks, llamas, parrots. We did
pradakshina around the upper temple verandah. They brought in from the car
some of their vegetarian food, and combined with items I had cooked earlier
for the buffet, we had a congenial picnic, everyone happy and in a joking
I sleep security in the motor home in the temple parking lot. When I look
through the motor home screen door from where I take rest, I can see one of
the temple octagons perfectly framed, often with a single bright star and
crescent moon to the side. It is a soothing, sublime sight which is my last
vision each evening before dropping off to sleep.
I gathered the puja paraphernalia once again and presented myself at Days
Inn just three miles away in Springville, 10:15 am. Suny Patel and his
sister Pinky (Pinju) have been very good friends of the temple, providing
free rooms each September to visiting dancers and musicians for the festival
Usually the priest does not do the cutting after the ceremony as this hair
is considered not pure, but I know people appreciate my doing it. So I
covered my robes in sheets so as to not get the hair on them, and sheared
away with the electric razor. Mitra was not the best nor the worst of all
the children I have sheared. He cried and thrashed some but we got the job
done in just a few minutes. Mitra was all smiles afterwards, apparently not
unhappy, with his "chrome dome."
I returned to the temple rather tired (I had gotten up tired that morning) at 1:30 pm to discover that nothing had been cooked for the Sunday feast so somewhat grumpily (ask Mikela) I set about cooking the feast.
Vai and i made an appearance back at Suny's home from 3:30 - 4:30 pm to wish Pinky and her husband Jagdeep, the best for their baby and to give a small gift. I chatted a while with the men in one room, while Vai mixed with the ladies in another. I asked out of curiosity, "What percentage of motels in America are owned by the Indians (mostly Gujaratis)." I had thought 50 or 60 percent and that is what I say when giving tours.
The answer I got, and it is based on a statistical survey, was 93 per cent of all the motels classified as 'budget' or 'economy,' are owned by Indians. I translated that to mean. "Ninety three per cent of all the motels where you pay less than $ 60.00 per night are owned by Indians, probably Guajaratis with the last name Patel (Patel Motel). Amazing how these people have come from another country, worked so hard and with such focus, and completely captured a multi billion dollar industry.
Vai and I retuned back to the temple just in time for the feast, attended by all familiar faces. I was able to give a nice relaxed Sunday feast lecture, not having to convince anybody, just talk devotee to devotee, "preaching to the choir." We decided not to have practice for the Ramayana (play practices are usually Sunday evenings after the feast) as some of the essential actors were missing, and even some essential parts, like Lakshman, are not yet filled. That was a small blessing for me, so I could go horizontal by 8:45 pm.
OOps. Spoke too soon. All the Sunday feasts guests had left, the lights outside and inside were extinguished, and the area was pitched into total darkness. I was in my night clothes, settled into the motor home, contemplating the octagonal dome and a sliver moon.
All of a sudden the headlights of one, two, three. four cars swung up the
hill into the parking lot. I was up in an instant, adrenaline pumping, ready
to accost vandals or prankster teens. But it was all the Gujarati families
from Suny's home, having finished their baby shower celebrations and dinner,
many of whom were flying out on the morrow, come to take their only chance
of seeing this beautiful local temple. I rushed through the back door to don
some devotional clothing, turned on the lights, opened wide the front door,
and welcomed them as if I had been waiting for nothing else. We did aratik
to the deities, sang bhajans, gave blessings. I guided everyone around the
property. They were very happy to see such a wonderful temple in Utah
Welcome home Rama, and, to all, a good night.