Holy smoke – The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal
Smoke is making my eyes tear…. And my lungs are being filled with smoke…. I am aware that I am uncomfortable standing here and inhaling…….. breathing in this smoke…. Made from human ashes….
The Pashupatinath temple, is a holy place for Hindus.
It is located on the banks of a dirty narrow river, called the Bagmati River, which makes its way all the way to the Ganges River in India.
Many open cremations are being made here.
Seeing a cremation done in the open air, is a worthy experience.
It brings you closer to your ideas about death, and it will challenge your belief system.
To me, it is so obvious that the body holds no life of its own.
That it is no more than a clay puppet, moved by the spirit and motorize by the power of Life.
Seeing the body of a beloved person being cremated….
Seeing the body engulfed in flames, finger falling of the frame…. It brings you face to face with your concept of mortality and death, and it challenges the space betweenwhat you THINK you believe and what you REALLY believe….
Will your heart miss a beat?….
Will you be frightened or concerned?….
Grievous or mournful?….
Feel the gripping fear of death?…
I can honestly say that I felt none of these emotions.
It felt as if somebody were burning an old wooden doll… Lifeless and no longer needed.
If anyone doubts the existence of a soul, or of a spirit, that animate the body and is the life that we experience….., then seeing a place like this, waves away all doubts….
The body holds nothing….
By itself, it is nothing…
I’ve read other travelers accounts, in which they described seeing these cremations.
Some said it was one of the most powerful and challenging moments of their lives.
Maybe because I contemplate life and death so often, and thinks about the nature of reality and life constantly…… that I was not so moved.
I was more shocked by the kids and other people who jumped into the river, and sieved between the sand and remains of the bones and ashes, looking for money, jewelry, or small coins to collect, to buy food and to supplement their cost of living…..
Does children of Life really think they have to live like scavenging dogs?…..
Other workers went into the water, to remove wet and unburnt pieces of wood, to use in other burning pyres.
Their belief in lack, limitation and hardship, was hard to watch…
Lack is an illusion…
Death, is another illusion…
And even life in a body, is just another illusion… A dream…..Nothing more.
God did not create a finite world.
God did not create death, illness and sufferings.
And what God, the Creator did not create, simply does not exist….
It is a dream inside the dramas of human beings….
It exists ONLY in their dreams and nowhere else.
The colorful Sadhus by the temple, smoke huge joints filled with cannabis.
Traveler’s photos, refers to them as “holy men”.
My kind Nepalese guide Ganga, tells me they are not so holy….
He says the are just modern day beggars….
They do not work, they do nothing of value with their lives, but grow their hair long, dress up colorfully, paint their faces and bodies with ashes, and beg for money from the tourists, who loves to take their photos….
Maybe in the old days, they represented extreme austerity, acceptance of mortality and death…. But it is no longer so……
“They are the original Nepalese Hippies.” he tells me with a smile….