A Wedding

Picture of Bride and Groom

My daughter and son-in-law

I got out of the habit of regularly posting while helping to arrange my daughter’s wedding. I thought I would start to get into the posting habit again by writing about my daughter’s wedding from the perspective of a Hindu arranging a non-Hindu Wedding.

Before becoming a Hindu I was a Unitarian for a while (see “How I became a Hindu – part two“), and my daughter had always wanted a Unitarian wedding in a Chapel in Great Hucklow, where she had attended Unitarian events at “The Nightingale Centre” as a child. She knew a Unitarian minister who carried out the service.  The whole wedding was a great success, with the centre enabling members of both families from all over the country to get together.  What I want to write about in this post though is my thoughts about Hindusim and Unitarianism following this event.

Unitarianism

Unitarian logo

If you are familiar with Unitarianism you can skip this section.

Unitarianism was originally a branch of Christianity that claimed that “God is one”. Traditional Unitarians did not believe in the Christian trinity, and saw Jesus as a human teacher rather than divine. They were similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses in this respect. However modern Unitarians have taken an ultra-liberal approach, whereas Jehovah’s Witnesses still hold fundamentalist beliefs.

Though there are still many “Christian Unitarians”, all modern Unitarians hold that belief that “Everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves“.  It is a creedless religion, respecting all creeds. Beliefs of individual members in the traditional Christian Unitarians,  the pagan “Earth Spirit Network“, and atheists and agnostics. Unitarians are also non-evangelical, in that they don’t try to convert anyone to their beliefs.

The Unitarian Wedding

John Harley presides at Unitarian Wedding BlessingWe had people with many different beliefs at the Wedding, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, agnostic, as well as some “Strong Atheists“. The Unitarian ceremony was ideal for this, as it allowed everyone to understand the marriage in their own terms, whether they were from a religious perspective or as a secular right of passage. As Unitarianism encompasses so many beliefs the ceremonies do not assume a single worldview.  The Minister, John Harley, made this a very moving and memorable ceremony, which was appreciated by everyone – I had several people tell me how good it was.

So – if the Unitarian Ceremony was so good – why am I no longer a Unitarian?

Image of Ganesha

Ganesha

Unitarianism is intellectually very appealing. It places a lot of emphasis on everyone finding their own path. Also many Unitarians are very nice people, with a lot of concern for others.  Certainly Unitarianism performs a very useful role when people of different faiths do come together. Why then am I not a Unitarian?

For me Unitarianism tends to speak to me only on the intellectual level, and not the spiritual. I think it is telling that in the week before the wedding I went and prayed at our Mandir to Ganesha for the success of the ceremony, and went to thank him afterwards. I prayed to Shiva & Parvati for the future of the married couple. I brought my murtis and mala beads to the venue and carried out japa and simple puja.

Even so, it would be quite possible to be a Unitarian and follow Hindu beliefs. There are Unitarians who are influenced by Hindu beliefs, and even people who identify themselves as Unitarian Hindus. Why don’t I do that then?

For me Hinduism is my spiritual home. Though I appreciated that the parashiva is everywhere, it is much more tangible in the Hindu Mandir. I would not expect to see someone spontaneously outpouring devotion in a Unitarian chapel, though in the mandir I have seen people exclaim “Jai Shri Ram!“, “Govinda!“, or “Om Shivaya Namaha!“. And of course there is my lineage, the Nandinatha Sampradaya, and its teachings.  Whereas some people may excel in following a creedless path and finding their own way, there is the risk of going round in circles. The masterful writings of gurudeva give a clear guide to a well-trodden pathway.

So I conclude that Hinduism is my home and my path. I love Unitarians, and I welcome the service they bring to those of different faiths. I appreciate and respect that they don’t try to convert others. However I am not a Unitarian, I am a Hindu.


Picture of Ganesha is of the murti in the Bradford Lakshmi Narayan Hindu temple. It is a low-resolution copy from the Mandir website, which I believe to be fair use. All other pictures taken by wedding guests and publicly posted on facebook.

16 responses to “A Wedding

  1. Hearty wishes to the newly married couple.
    Lots of love and prayers.

  2. Cute couple! I wish them the best. 🙂

  3. wedding is personal and as grown up unitarian she must have loved it,,, like i love hinduism. and u proved to be hindu by arranging it without any hesitation ❤

  4. Goodness! What a beautiful family you have! Congratulations to all of you<3

    A friend of mine was very much into the UU organization for our community . She was their community outreach to get new folks to come in and check them out. She urged me so many times to forget about the temple and customs and just come on over. But, when i went to check our her website for the church i found that the only information given to children in the sunday school was completely bible based KJV. So as you said above, it didn't work out for me as i am Dharmist and it's just not my path.

    • UU has its roots in Christianity so that’s no surprise. They claim to question and their communities can appear diverse, but they really have their own set of beliefs to adhere to and preach.

  5. Congratulations to you and the newly married couple! The ceremony is novel.. wish you all the best on your journey of self discovery!

    • Thanks.
      Having seen gone through the hassle of comparing prices, meeting different people at different times to see flowers, table covers, clothes, check menus etc – then chasing suppliers to make sure they knew the time and place – I can see why people use Wedding Planning services!

  6. best wishes to the newly weds, and congrats to you on successfully perforrming the wedding. Must be a great relief now that it all eneded so well.

  7. Wishing the New Couple, Many years of Love, Joy and Wedded Bliss!

  8. Congratulations to all your families.

  9. Congratulation to both families, Tandava! Sending my love and positive energies to you all!

  10. Congrats and Krsna’s blessings to the newlywed couple. 🙂

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