Lake Windermere has become a special place to scatter ashes of a loved one for members of the Swaminarayan sect: a rapidly growing branch of Hinduism, popular in the western world.
The reason for the lakes importance within the sect comes after one of it’s leaders died after a boat trip there in the summer of 1979.
Mr Rajan Zed who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has asked the government to build a road to a gazebo structure and platform for scattering ceremonies to be built of the side of the lake.
He has asked Michael Gove (SoS Defra) and the Lake District National Park Authority to build a link road “so that grieving families and friends could gather and perform the last rituals properly, respectfully and peacefully”. And that “earnestly delve into developing this dedicated area for scattering cremated remains in view of substantial numbers of Hindu populace in England”.
In a response to an enquiry from the Daily Telegraph Mark Eccles, head of park management for the Lake District National Park reinforced the fact that scattering ashes was permissible on the lake with certain caveats, but did not comment on the likelihood of the gazebo.
Although the sect is growing, actual numbers are still quite small. With less than a million Hindus currently living in the UK (the sect being a small subsection of this – sorry no numbers) and numbers of scatterings at the lake being put at around 10 per month.
It is interesting to note that the sect find a lake an acceptable place to scatter, I see why they would consider it important or even holy, but the extremely minor flow of water within the lake seems to be contrary to other Hindu tradition that insist on water flow as part of the last rites.
The comments below the article in the Telegraph were excellent. Proper Daily Telegraph, inter alia: What nonsense/ No / Oh England! Where is my England! / Whatever next..???/ What a cheek! Classic. Not one single word of compassion or conciliation. Oh well.
Having said that, I don’t think it is great idea either, the lake should remain as unblemished as possible. The numbers could easily be absorbed by scattering from the bank or from a boat, without the need (or expense) of a link road or gazebo.