The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

PANDA AT VARANASI’S GANGA

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey 

‘Pandas’ at Varanasi Ghats are an conspicuous presence. They are known by many attributes. Some call them priests; some call them half-priests; some call them among frauds. Basically they are a class surviving on the religious tourists who come to the Ganga at Varanasi. Dressed in saffron or white robes or ‘dhoti-kurta’, their day begins with the morning sun and ends after the ‘Ganga Aarti’. In summers, they prefer to sit during morning and evening hours when tourists flock the scene. Come winters, the scene shifts to the sunny daylight. Special religious occasions and festivities are exceptions as they ensure their round the clock presence. They act as keepers of baggages of tourists who decide to take a holy dip in the river. They offer them mirror and comb. In addition, they offer to conduct some ritual worship to the gods expecting some donations or compensation for it. Its simple business and depends on the customer (the religious tourist). If you know about them you won’t go near them or would be practical in dealing with them. Travellers unaware of their ways, like from other parts of India, from abroad or the rural folk, bring good returns for them. But, nonetheless, they are an important part of the ‘Ganga at Varanasi’ ecosystem. Like many inherent attributes of the ‘Ganga ghats’ culture in Varanasi, they form the cluster of continued presence. Not all are in the same league. Some of them are good but like all good things, they are handful. Probably, on the whole, they remind us of the business aspect of religion. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey 

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