Blessing of the RAGSN Flag

6:30am December 6, 2004 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Well this day had to finally arrive. The last day of my holidays. It’s also the day of my brother and his new wife’s “homecoming”.

But first the events of yesterday. I took yesterday as the last day of my break where I could relax. Indeed, the last day for a few weeks I suspect. We did however visit the holy Buddhist temple at Belanvilla just outside Colombo to get the RAGSN flag blessed.

First I took the flag and walked around the holy Bodhi tree (under which the Buddha was enlightened) carrying the flag and a bowl of water as an offering to the tree. This I did 7 times because that is the perfect number in Sri Lankan buddhism (instructions from Mum by the way). Then we took it to be blessed by Lord Kataragama (Lord Murugan in Tamil), one of the patron gods of Sri Lanka. The flag was placed on a tray bearing fruits and money offerings and taken to the “Devale”. There I explained to the priest (the “Capu-mahatha”) in my broken Sinhalese that the flag was used by me and my freiends on expeditions to on “loku kande”. This set everyone (about 50 people around me) including the priest into a state of giggling and bewilderment. “Loku kande” means large mountain but in the sense of “broad” or err “fat”. Anyway a smiling priest led a sermon beseeching the blessing of the god upon the flag and us for our mountain climbing efforts (yes it was very specific) and even took me inside the temple to specifically douse me and the flag in holy oil. He was still grinning when he led me out.

We also visited the temples of Ganesha, Pathini and Vishnu and presented alms and prayed for the flag. Not as elaborate, but still, the gods are now smiling at our flag.

Our flag is holy. Let the crusades begin!

Rest of the day was spent sleeping, reading, resting, packing and basically relaxing.


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