Despite Election Commission Pressure through Dratsang Lhentsog Secretariat to cancel the Moenlam Chhenmo yesterday, His Holiness conducted it. It was done in such a way that a national " Varkem " may have been averted and at the same time the devil's thirst was quenched to some extent ). It seems His Holiness not only shares with the Fourth King the same year of birth but also the great political acumen of the Kings in the way that Their Majesties the Fourth and the Fifth share with His Holiness the highest quality of spirituality.
The response to Election Commission was that religion was outside politics, therefore, the Dratsang will continue performing the Moenlam Chhenmo (I guess it was to let Election Commission know in clear constitutional terms that Dratsang was not under the purview of Election Commission). However, it was announced in the Moenlam Chhenmo congregation that Dratsang will be performing Moenlam Chhenmo but civilians need not attend it( that was to quench the devil's thirst for national disasters to happen). However, quite azsizable number of devotees did attend it. (The nearest translation of the announcement made on behalf of His Holiness to the congregation, from Dzongkha to English has already been posted by me ).
Let me give a background picture in layman term what it means to interrupt an ongoing religious event. In villages almost every household conducts an annual Chhoku. And the day before the Chhoku, the tormas are made. Unless a family member dies, the next day Chhoku cannot be cancelled once the tormas are installed on the Chhoetri. It spells out what misfortune needs to strike to cancel an ongoing religious Prayer event. Every Bhutanese Buddhist family has to be aware of it. And I am told that the Election Commissioners are Buddhists.
For the Central Dratsang led by His Holiness to cancel an ongoing religious activity specially the greatest of Dharma Prayer ' Moenlam Chhenmo ', the nation would have to be struck with any of these griefs: War, Natural disaster of huge magnitude or Death of national figure. Such griefs would cause the attendees of Moenlam Chhenmo to meet the immediate challenges that burden the nation and for Central Monastic Body and His Holiness to return to their Seat of Dharma ( Tashichhodzong or Puna Dewachen Phodrong ) to intercede with the Deities of the Kingdom to come forth to alleviate the misfortune of the Kingdom.
Under any other circumstances, I cannot imagine the cancellation of promised offerings to the already invoked Kasung ( at Thimphu Moenlam Chhenmo Neten Chudrug till afternoon and evening Dramar). Prayers need to be blessed and consecrated by such holy forces to have desired impact. All required religious arrangements had been made for nine days of continuous Prayers from 6: 30 am to 7pm. How does anyone suddenly break the flow of prayers and invocations without suffering undesirable consequences? If anyone does not appreciate what the monks and Lopons and His Holiness have to undergo ( for the well being of the nation) just the physical part forget the spiritual strain, take a hike to Kuensel Phodrong at 6am and 6pm at this time of the year and sit still. Experience the icy chill and fierce skin scrapping wind.
The devil is not the Election Commission.The devil is the unseen and unknown evil forces that want to harm the Kingdom. Election Commission became a convenient tool of medium to belittle and humiliate the very Central Monastic Dratsang and His Holiness who with the Deities protect the nation from unforseen ' Varkem '.
Now let me explain why I used the terms "rude" and "collision" when I described the decision of the Election Commission to forbade the performance of Moenlam Chhenmo by the Central Monastic Body and His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo.
If for any inevitable reason the Commission felt the Moenlam Chhenmo need to be put on hold, why could not the Commissioners seek an audience with His Holiness and explain whatever the situation was? Are they so egoistic with their constitutional ranks that the communique must be restricted with a notice/ request to the Dratsang Lhentsog Secretariat. I do not believe the Moenlam Chhenmo would have been put on hold but a more personal approach could have prevented the high temperature and sacrilegious offence. It was so blatantly rude and offensive.
Collision of evil and good forces is bound to happen if civilian authorities are so callous and aggressive towards the Central Monastic Body and the Holy Person of Jhe Khenpo. And some people with evil intents even alluded that Election Commission had consulted with other " stakeholders " and also Election Commission on its own did not possess " the courage " to take such a drastic step.
I think Election Commission was over zealous and hasty. And it definitely did not consult any worthwhile stake holders or authorities. Someone would have pointed out to the Commission it's boundary of jurisdiction ( North Thimphu not South Thimphu where there is no election and therefore, under the overall authority of Central Government but under immediate administration of Thimphu Thromde ). His Excellency the Prime Minister would have handled such an issue so tactfully and in the best of decorum under the circumstance if he was consulted. Just the other day the honourable Prime Minister had come to Kuensel Phodrong to humbly pay his respects to His Holiness and the Dratsang.
I do not think Moenlam Chhenmo would have affected the voter numbers. Whether Diwali or Moenlam Chhenmo both pacify and make people happy not raucous. Those registered voters I happened to sit nearby were already asking friends to look after their seats durng the next day because they themselves would be be absent to attend to the voting. Those who want to vote, they would have come from far and wide just to vote and those who do not want to vote will not vote even if the voting booth is placed on their door step. By now we have a fair idea of the behaviour pattern of our voters and non voters.
Thankfully we have the Royal Family and other Agencies to steady our ship of the state. Today Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and their Highnesses the Princess and Prince Trulku graced the Moenlam Chhenmo. Among many other notables the Royal Bhutan Army and a Constitutional Body the ACC offered their respects and offerings at the Moenlam Chhenmo. His Majesty the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and also the Supreme Head of Constitutional Bodies. So their presence made me very happy.
I thought it was the most auspicious day to silently thank the Deities and the King and take my leave of the Tsawai Lam. I do not ever want to be a witness in person another black day. I was so shocked to tears when I heard the announcement that evening of 3rd November, 2016. I am still shocked because I have so deeply believed that come what may the two main Pillars of the Kingdom: First the Institution of Monarchy and Second the Dratsang could survive any unforseen defaults of democracy. How wrong? The seemingly permanent and deemed indestructible Institutions are so frail at the stroke of a pen. On 3rd November it was the Dratsang which was prevented from performing it's state duty. When will someone strike next?
To think that 2016 the year of Male Fire Monkey began so beautifully and was heading towards a golden finish line. The much prayed for Crown Prince arrived; the Local Elections happened so smoothly, Their Majesties celebrated and shared with the nation their greatest happiness of Wedding Anniversary ; A great Dharma Prayer begun in the Capital for the very first time; the nation happily greeted the Coronation Anniversary and soon the BirthDay Anniversary of our Triple Gem King to be followed by the National Day.
Prayers and Prayers.