The past Monday we held an exciting ceremony at the Pagoda. A ceremony that had the power to renew us.
This astrological time, marked by the full moon of the 7th month of the Moon calendar, has a favorable effect on people’s minds, helping to turn negativity into positivity. Some societies, especially in Asia, really believe that all celestial bodies cooperate to this change. Some countries, on this particular day, used to reduce the sentence or even release some people from jail.
This is, indeed, a propitious day for those who wish to change.
Giving New Names
We felt that this was the best time to infuse goodness and strength to our newly arrived toddlers, and to all the children that wished it, by giving them a new spiritual name.
Our name affects mind and spirit. Here in Thailand, people don’t use their given name. They prefer to use a nickname, often with a superficial meaning, such as Beer, Radio, Pig, Barbecue, Guitar, Snake, and the list goes on.
Everybody’s name should elevate and inspire, not belittle. We are called by our name every day, and it affects us at a deep level. We chose to give great new names to our youth, with good and powerful meanings. They deserve it. To the little ones, we just gave it to them, to strengthen them; the big children asked for the change.
Kung, for example, is a newly arrived teenage boy, and his name means Shrimp! Then, how can such a name empower him?! He wished to change his name. Now, he received a new one with a powerful message: Ganadeva – the one who helps all those in difficulty.
Back from school in the afternoon, the children wore the uniform crafted by the care-mothers for the special occasion of the yogic dance competitions of Tandava and Kaoshiiki. The excitement and energy was high.
The care-mothers didn’t just sew the uniforms, they forged them like armors for a very special battle. The battle to defeat fear, and glorify love.
We all walked up the hill for a collective meditation.
Then, we were ready to start the process of transformation. All Baan Unrak was there to make it happen.
An auspicious mantra was chanted while the babies were bathed in a basin, with the bigger children pouring lukewarm perfumed water and letting yellow flower petals fall on the baby’s skin. Then with the child wrapped in a towel… the new name was announced to all Baan Unrak community.
We, as a community, made a promise and commitment to the children, to arrange for their physical growth, provide for their mental development, and succeed in effecting their spiritual elevation.
Below, the ceremony for Nong Hong, who was given the name of Prabha – the girl who is bright, full of Divine Light.
Then it was the turn of the other little ones. Below is Tanwar, whose spiritual name is Turiya – one with Supreme Love.
For the older children that wanted their name changed, instead of a bath ritual, we felt that it was more appropriate to announce their names after performing Tandava and Kaoshiiki. These yogic dances have the power to bring about the transformation within, fighting the inner battle between positive and negative tendencies.
We had 4 yogic dance competitions. In an incredibly encouraging atmosphere, drums beating, hands clapping, and everybody shouting “Baba Nam Kevalam!” – Love is All – under the watchful eyes of the judges, only the best performers remained on the ground. The girls performed Kaoshiiki.
The boys competed with Tandava, the mythical dance of Shiva. Little Nay Bla Soe left everybody speechless with his exceptional dancing. He jumped at incredible pace with perfect style, his posture impeccable, seemingly tireless. The 5-year-old looked like a fully grown man. We had to stop him, though it seemed that he could go on forever. He was the natural winner! His spiritual name is… Narada – the one who brings devotion.
Out around the water tank in the night, torches held aloft, the bigger boys were giving their best at every jump, galvanized by the extreme cheering of the spectators. Keeping up a great rhythm throughout the performance, while also showing great technique, Em was the deserved winner.
After the ceremony, we all went down to the kitchen for a very special dinner, much later than usual, followed by delicious cakes made fresh at Baan Unrak Bakery.