Advait

City of Death (Advait: part 4)

By March 2, 2008No Comments


It was past midnight when I reached Baneras, also known as Kashi, also known as city of death. People come here to die, to attain nirvana. I had an eerie feeling that my destiny had called me for something similar.

I slowly came down from the train. My entire body was hurting from the long journey, yet I could feel a certain sense of excitement in my heart. I also felt knots in my stomach; it was similar to the ones I got when I went to my school after holidays. A porter came offering his help to pick my luggage, I realized I had none. I surprisingly smiled at him and said ‘Thanks but I don’t have any luggage except this body’. I walked out of the little station and looked around. Winters hadn’t started, yet I felt cold. With no warm clothes other than just a shawl I had, I decided to sit near the little tea stall to feel the warmth from its stove.

Kashi has a very significant place in Hindu mythology. Ganga which flows on its bank got its birth from the jata (Hair) of Shiva. Almost all ancient Sages, Rishis, Kings, & pauper made a pilgrimage here. This city calls you when you need to come here.

Chai did good to me, refreshed I got up and started walking without taking any Rickshaw or auto. I walked as if I knew these lanes, I felt I belonged here. Modern India and tourism had destroyed the essence of this place yet there was something mystical in the air. I reached Assi Ghats and sat on its steps gazing in the darkness. This was the same place where hundreds of years back, Tulsidas wrote the great Ramayana. There was still some time before the sunrise. Effortlessly I had the urge to close my eyes and sit cross legged in meditation. I did as I felt. No thoughts, just empty space in my little mind. Peace came. Don’t know how long I sat, When I opened my eyes the sky had started to turn crimson.

Bells rang, temples gates opened, Pundits started chanting, salesmen prepared their stalls, ferrymen took out their boats, people rushed to bathe in the holy water and within moments, before even the sun rose…the grand old city woke up, just like from a deep meditation.

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