Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang araw! Good day!
We just had couples of festivals in Filipinas. Manila held its annual Black Nazarene with around 6 Million devotees participating; Cebu, its Sinulog festival centered on the patron saint Sto. Niño (divine child, child Jesus) that drew 2 Million participants; Kalibo in Aklan, the Ati-atihan that also centered on the Sto Niño; and, other towns in the Visayas and Mindanao, festivals of the Sto. Niño.
More such celebrations and/or festivities are going on around the world today. Despite the inclement weather in flood-stricken areas, peoples around the world deserve to celebrate life through community undertakings with spiritual symbolisms as core unifying signifiers. They are spectacles to the appreciative eyes, wonderments worth documentations for special television features.
Fragmentation of community bonds had already caused so much damage on the human psyche across the planet. Suicides and crimes have gone up at startling speeds and scales since the predominance of modernity and urbanization, and alienation is still moving up the scales of pathology today.
We are all puzzled about the effects and causes of social fragmentation, and challenged to reverse the trends towards a new order of harmony, balance, cooperation, and respect for the ‘integrity of creation’. The situation is leading to madness of a grand scale never before faced by mankind, madness that is the indicator of an even larger malaise of a Dark Age.
There is not a single country left in the world today unaffected by the rapid and sustained fragmentation of community bonds, and the crescendo of violence, crimes and suicides. Even suicide is used as a tool for sectarian violence, as suicide bombers use their bodies to destroy those whom they hold with deep resentment.
It is too late to go back to a primordial past, a past of relative calm and peace, as the wheels of history or ever moving forward. So we are challenged to re-invent the worlds we live in while time moves and the rugs under our feet are changing. The greatest challenge is to build a ‘culture of peace’ marked by a ‘dialogue of cultures’ or tolerance of differences.
As part of building that culture of peace, it is of fundamental import to see folks embarking on and sustaining spiritually or religiously-oriented festivals. The thought-forms of a very positive nature released by devotees during such an occasion is sufficient a regenerative force to reduce crimes, induce healing of wounded community bonds, and replenish energies for confidence-building among erstwhile estranged members of a larger community.
True, there are some thefts and petty crimes committed during the conduct of special events of community festivals. There also are deaths due to stampedes in some other festivals, such as the deaths in the latest India festival. But such incidences are more the exception, the sacrifices that are X sub-events attendant to a major event.
Take the case of the Sinulog in Cebu. How many crimes were committed in Cebu while the Sinulog was going on? Chances are that the crime rate on that day itself was negligible, inclusive of possible petty crimes of thefts done by pick-pockets on unsuspecting devotees. The same is true for the Black Nazarene in Manila, ergo for all the other community festivals done across the world.
To further demonstrate what I’m driving at, let me cite to you a study done couples of decades back yet. A significant group of Maharishi yoga fellows meditated at the same time, with focus on the theme of reducing crime rate in a certain city in the USA. Mind you, indeed the crime rate in that city on that particular day went down to half of its regular crime rate!
Now, some may say that is a miracle of sorts. I’d say it is the product of very positive high frequency thought-forms that are, in physics, of a very high level of energy. The energy elicited by the prayerful folks were sufficient enough to reduce crime rates. How much more to obtain fulfillment of the wishes of the devotees concerned, materialization of such wishes could have been fulfilled, reinforced as they are by attuning to the energy of that event of being together in prayers and celebrations.
So the message for everyone else is, whenever a large community festival is being held, which to a great extent is marked by prayerful moments by huge flocks of devotees, attune yourself to that event. No matter if you may not approve of cult engagement, never dis-engage from nor throw dagger-hostile thoughts on those events or towards the folks carrying them out. Devotion done together is a wonderful human phenomenon, itself worth watching and attuning to.
I am all too glad that many such festivals are held each year across the globe. Cities and towns that don’t have such festivities and are now deciding to launch their own version of them are increasing by the year. These are all indications of the personal and collective efforts to junk madness and fragmentation going on in our daily lives in all countries of the world.
[Philippiines, 08 February 2011]
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