Our tourist guide started by saying – Varanasi is a place of ‘learning and burning’. Very true. It is also a conglomeration of fire and water, heat and dust, monkeys and dogs, purity and dirt, life and death, devotion and neglect, peace and chaos, holy men and tourists, kite-flying and elaborate prayer ceremonies, aromas and stenches. We spent the day walking along the banks of the river Ganga, watching all the activities and preparing ourselves for the ceremony in the evening.
At one point, I felt very angry. Being the elder sister to two younger brothers, I was expected to always be ‘good’ so that they would learn by example and I did my best. I have worked really hard all my life. I have put myself through significant isolation and rigour to be able to provide well for my family. After all that, I clearly don’t deserve this!
When the time came, we said a few prayers, made some offerings and let him go. Now, he is free. I pray for his peace.
What have I learnt? Among other things, NO self pity, no matter what.
Sri Aurobindo has said, “There is no mortality. It is only the immortal who can die; the mortal can neither be born nor perish.”