Ashes to ashes

I was reminded of a time in Varanasi, sitting at the burning ghats, watching bodies burn. Everything is happening here. The whole city goes by, nay, the whole world! Seasonal festivals pass thru, all the animals of the city are represented, except they’re bigger stinger healthier and more menacing somehow. Aghora tantrics sit around. Madmen come to extort money for you. Families mourn and carry out the last rights. Morning and evening everyone gives and recieved blessing from the river passing thru and the light that’s is Kashi…. Prakash.

On this evening I was sitting with a long time friend. One of those people you have such varied experience with that he’s more like brother. In any case, one of the mourning family members took offence to having a couple western tourist gawking at his burning relatives body and he chased us away. We left easily, we weren’t there to offend anyone.

He didn’t ask us why we were sitting there. If he did, I would have told him that my father burned, but I didn’t get to see it because of Canadian law and policy. He was killed by fire and then about a week later I gave his body over to the fire. Ashes to ashes… His ashes didn’t go into ganga where she passes thru Kashi, but with the lords blessing, someday his son’s will.


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