Tuesday, February 17, 2009

गंगा सागर

Ganga Sagar

This is one of the holiest sites in India. The confluence point of the Indian Ocean and the Ganga river, it's here where millions of pilgrims come to bathe, what's known as a holy dip. Many pilgrims will only come once in their lifetime, considering this geographic point so sacred that only one visit will absolve them of all their sins.

Millions of people dream of submerging themselves in these waters, believing that it is here where earth finds its most direct link to heaven.

I was here in mid-January. In short, it was an immense privilege.

The next day, I went to the Kali temple in Kolkata. In two short days, I had two of the most meaningful spiritual experiences of my life.

I know that I am lucky. I'm also grateful for the wisdom to have known that while I was there.


micro said...

What's with the powdered dude and the puppy?

renamaphone said...

he's a sadhu...sort of a Hindu monk. And he has a puppy.

micro said...

Awwww. Cute. A monk puppy.

What kind of powder, and what are their beliefs? (heh, all of them please =)

wolfBoy said...

this sadhu looks like he might be (no pun intended) a white guy...?

again? said...

i think Powdered Man is my friend Christaan.

he left for Japan a few years ago, so, y'know.

greg oakes said...

great post!

renamaphone said...

Hmmm...sadhus renounce all worldly possessions and attachments for a life of spiritual devotion. Tantric sadhus cover themselves in the ashes of cremated bodies, what they see as physical remnants of a powerful transfer from this world to the next. Other sadhus also use ashes, but they're from different woods, chosen for special reasons I'm sure, though I don't know them.

I do know that some sadhus are spiritual leaders, while others are not. Some men who have been scolded by their communities for some reason or another use this way of life as an escape from their worldly responsibilities. They leave their families and their villages behind, and wander India as men universally respected by their society. Indians know that some of these men are bad men, lazy men, and so on, but there's no way of knowing who's who on sight. So all are respected equally.

I'm no expert on this...I'm sure there's much more to say.

I don't think that sadhu is a white guy...I mean, he could be, but it's more likely that he's a light-skinned Indian. Indians come in all shades of white and brown. This society is diverse in every way possible.