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  • Writer's pictureMadhusudan

Advait part 5 (The Burning Ghat)

After the customary bath in Ganga, I proceeded towards the holiest of holy temple in Banaras. Passing through the narrow lanes, filled with small shopkeepers, sadhus and cows I finally reached the ancient Shiva temple.

The moment I entered the temple premises, something happened, something profound, my heart skipped a beat….I immediately felt I knew this place although I was visiting it for the first time, it felt familiar, it felt known, it felt Home. I felt weak in my knees but something powerful was pulling me towards the inner temple. I obeyed. Thoughtless I walked through the corridors as if I had walked here thousands of times, straight I reached to inner sanctum where Shivling was. The mere glimpse of it made my eyes closed, my lips murmured the Shiva mantra and some more Sanskrit shlokas unknown to me. I lost track of time and place, my eyes felt heavy but my body felt like a dry leaf falling from a tree. A ray of light pierced my heart, illuminating my mind body and soul.

By the time I came out of temple, my heart had already made a decision. I felt determined and there was no trace of insecurity or doubt. In a small restaurant I had my lunch in peace.

Evening came and I sat on the ghat steps watching evening aarti mesmerized. Very rare you see a river being worshipped. Till late I sat there watching the lamps floating in the water. It was time to let go. Slowly sleep took over me and after years of restless nights I finally dreamt. A beautiful tomorrow.

At 5 in the morning, In manikarnika ghat where people die and body is burned, my soul is reborn. Head shaved, my clothes burn with my hair. My belongings given to the pundits. I decided to take a pilgrimage with other sadhus to do a parikrama of ganga.

Kashi, next to a river, in water, where it all begins and all end, my new life enfolds.

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