Aged Little Sadhu : Samsara in Motion

Aged Little Sadhu : Samsara in Motion

The title of this blog entry may seem a little disparaging,  though repeated efforts to initiate conversation or a relationship came to nothing.   All I know about this man was that he was an older man,  diminutive in stature and by his appearance was definitely a sadhu.  It also seemed that Manikarnika Ghat appeared to be his home.

He was there every day,  sleeping beside one of the temples amongst the goats and cows and spent his days silently watching the antyesti rituals.  I never saw him engage in conversation with another human being, apart from to ask for chai,  or some food,  or to acknowledge with a little nod if chai was bought for him.  His whole life seemed to revolve around the ghat where cremations of his Hindu brothers and sisters occured.

 

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Manikarnika

Manikarnika

My previous blog post described the role of the Karta at Manikarnika Ghat at Varanasi;  the white cotton-clad males who lead the antyesti rituals on the ghats of Manikarnika, one of the most auspicious cremation sites in the Hindu world. Although moksha can be obtained in other circumstances, for example bathing in the waters of the Ganges in a great festival like the Kumbh Mela,  nowhere brings such liberation upon death than the Ghats here. They are the centre of the Hindu universe.

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Karta : the White Men of Mannikarnika

Karta : the White Men of Mannikarnika

The men with the white cotton clothes and the shaven heads are conspicuous amongst the sacred,  infernal landscape of Mannikarnika Ghat, the most auspicious cremation site in the entire country of India. Often separated from family and friends, they sit upon piles of wood or the concrete ghat steps and contemplate their role in the ceremonies which facilitate the passage of their relative from the temporal world into the afterlife, where moksha ( freedom from the circularity of rebirth ) is believed to be attained because of the sanctity of the Ganges at Varanasi.

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