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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sengol: A Historic Symbol of Power and Dharma in India

The Sengol, a sacred sceptre, has captured the imagination of the Indian people due to its extensive history and symbolic significance. From its association with the illustrious Chola dynasty to its role in India’s independence, the Sengol represents the transfer of power and the timeless tradition of Dharma. In this article, we delve into the intriguing narrative surrounding it, exploring its ancient origins, coronation rituals, and recent news of its installation in the new Parliament building.

The Legacy of the Sengol

Dating back to ancient Western civilizations, the sceptre has been an integral part of royal regalia, symbolizing authority and power. Countries like Norway, Sweden, and the UK continue to honour this tradition. However, in India, the concept of royal authority was different, with kings reminded of the supremacy of Dharma, the ethical-spiritual order, over political power.

Rituals of Transfer of Power

During the reign of the Cholas in Tamil Nadu, the Sengol played a vital role in transferring royal power. The Rajaguru, the court priest, used the sceptre as a symbol to signify the exchange of authority from one Chola king to another. This ritual, accompanied by a deep sense of reverence, acknowledged that the power bestowed upon the king came from a higher authority in the heavens through the sacred Sengol.

Dharma Danda and Coronation Tradition

Indian coronation rituals emphasized the importance of Dharma over mere political authority. After formally ascending the throne, the newly crowned king would proclaim three times, “Adandyosmi” (nobody can punish me). In response, the court priest would step forward with the Dharma Danda, the sacred sceptre, gently patting the king’s crown and proclaiming three times, “Dharma Dandyosi” (Dharma will punish you). This ritual served as a potent reminder that ethical-spiritual order holds supreme authority.

Sengol and India’s Independence

The Sengol played a significant role in India’s journey towards independence in 1947. Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, transferred power to the Indian people through a ritual by Srila Sri Kumaraswamy Thambiran, a revered figure from the Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam in Tamil Nadu. The specially designed Sengol was used as a symbol of power transfer, signifying the end of British rule. Nehru, who would become India’s first Prime Minister, received the Sengol amidst sacred verses from the Thevaram, composed by the Tamil Shaivite saint Thirugnana Sambandar.

The Sengol’s Resurgence

In recent news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to install the historic Sengol in the new Parliament building has sparked both interest and controversy. While Sengol’s return is seen as a significant event, some opposition parties have questioned the Prime Minister’s authority to inaugurate the parliament. However, it is essential to recognize that it symbolizes the transfer of power to the Indian people, which was acknowledged when Nehru received it in 1947.

Validating the Sengol’s Authenticity

The authenticity of Sengol’s story is supported by photographs and reports from international media outlets. Time magazine vividly narrated the incident, describing even Nehru’s embrace of the religious spirit during the ceremony. Additionally, a prominent national daily published a report titled “Mutt’s Tryst with Destiny 15 Minutes before Freedom,” providing detailed accounts of the historic event. The presence of such documentation strengthens the authenticity of the Sengol’s significance in India’s history.

As the Sengol finds its rightful place in the new Parliament building, it becomes essential to delve into its true significance. Rather than nitpicking over its historicity, the focus should be on understanding its profound meaning—the Indian civilizational tradition of ethical-spiritual authority superseding political power. The Sengol represents the embodiment of Dharma, reminding those in positions of authority that their actions are subject to the higher principles of righteousness and moral order.

The Sengol’s journey from the regalia of ancient Western civilizations to its role in the Chola dynasty and India’s independence is a testament to its enduring symbolism. It serves as a potent reminder that power is not solely derived from political institutions but is rooted in a higher sense of responsibility towards the welfare and well-being of the people.

As the sacred sceptre graces the new Parliament building, it is a fitting symbol of the harmonious fusion of tradition and modernity, where the political authority represented by the Prime Minister finds its resonance in the timeless values of Dharma. The installation of the Sengol is an opportunity for all Indians to reflect upon the importance of ethical-spiritual authority in our society and to embrace the ideals of justice, compassion, and integrity in our collective journey towards progress and prosperity.

It stands as a powerful testament to the rich cultural heritage of India, inspiring us to uphold the principles of Dharma in all aspects of our lives. Let us celebrate this historic occasion with reverence and embrace the profound message that the Sengol carries—a reminder that true power lies in the pursuit of righteousness and the well-being of all.

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