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.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


What does the Ganga in Varanasi have that it not just pulls the Indians only but also has become a priority centre for the tourists from across the world?

For the face value now, if one takes a tour of the Ganga across its iconic Varanasi ghats, one finds poorly managed ghats littered with garbage dumps, open flow of sewage into the holy river through its landmark ghats and a wide, strip from the ghat steps, of dirty, almost opaque Ganga water choked with pollutants.

Certainly, it leaves a lasting impression, and by now, it is known across. Any discerning tourist is bound to find plenty of news stories and analytical reports on Ganga pollution in Varanasi during his pre-visit preparations.

Yet, the Ganga in Varanasi remains a global attraction.

Why so?

If we don’t go into the details of the spirituality and the death mysticism of Varanasi, there are certain broad identity markers that put the Ganga in Varanasi in a different league, the markers that overwrite the negatives of pollution and poor management.
These are:

Ganga with Lord Shiva: The religious and spiritual elements of Kashi Vishwanath’s presence in Varanasi perpetuate the discourse of the philosophical realm of death (and life) in Varanasi. And this discourse is a direct outcome of Shiva’s association with Ganga.

It is said Shiva brought the Ganga to the Earth to liberate the humanity, to absolve it from its sins, and since then, it remains the central tenet of the spiritual discourse in Hinduism and has become a call for the seekers from other religions who think on similar lines.

Death in Varanasi: The ‘Moksha’ factor or the final liberation from the cycle of rebirth and death has always been a very powerful spiritual motive across the ages to seek the God, to know more about the questions of existence, to know the difference between reality and illusion, and so to seek the ‘self’.

Having the eternal cremation grounds of Harishchandra Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat at its banks, the Ganga in Varanasi has been and is the central point of the spiritual discourse on death (and so the life) in Hinduism (or the erstwhile religion of Vedas), one of the most ancient religions of the world.

The mysticism of Ghats: Varanasi is the city of ghats and Varanasi is the city of lanes. With ghats covering almost the entire length of the city on the Ganga’s side, they make for a unique culture of worship of nature (of Mother Ganga). The narrow lanes extend from the ghat steps and do miles deep into the city.

The religious and the spiritual mysticism of ghats take a physical form in the temples and mutts on the ghats and in the lanes that join the ghats. This physical manifestation of spirituality is unique to Varanasi. And its easy accessibility to every one is a magnate for anyone who wants to explore the spiritual questions of existence and death.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -