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Benaras Ganga Diaries

August 29, 2016 3 min read

An unplanned visit to the Ganga came my way.

For spiritual reasons.

For filial piety reasons.

For ceremonies that complete the cycle of life & death.

Measured in the number of hours – the Benaras experience was less than 3 digits.

Measured in the number of experiences and new thoughts that came to me, the experience was infinite.


I was born a Hindu and was raised in the Hindu atmosphere. And being too much of a questioner, I have no faith. I am more familiar than most practicing Hindus with the stories and the books. But I have no faith.

However, recently I went through an upside-down evolutionary experience.

During the course of conducting research for a recent talk on the cruise ship Queen Victoria, I learnt about many aspects (let no one tell you that they know ALL about Hinduism – it is simply not possible to read all – leave alone understand all of the books) and arrived at some conclusions.

The major conclusion was that Hinduism was a body of intellectual works treating subjects

– of life and death

– of how to conduct one’s life

– of the cosmos – including macrocosms & microcosms

– of math and science – physics, biology, botany, astronomy, genealogy ….

It appeared to me that to categorise these treatises as a religion would be to restrict the applicability of such a great set of works as religion necessarily demands an allegiance that is both singular and exclusive.

So while one can be a Buddhist and a Christian AND study physics without any conflict – one cannot do that if Physics were to be labeled a religion rather than a science.

Since I cannot change the fact that Hinduism is perceived by the world as a religion rather than a way of life or a scientific exposition – let me just focus on my personal experience.

All I can say is that I have found my way to Hinduism not through ‘faith’ that allows no questions but through ‘logic’ that survives on questions alone.

Benaras is a city where Hindu rituals and ceremonies and sanskrit shlokas as a part of daily life and not confined to some special camps or institutions. Being there gave me a sense of ‘plugging in’ to an ancestry with which I was only peripherally familiar

As I understand it, shlokas are all mediums of transmitting deep knowledge that is contained within. And indulging at the level of the medium – through joint recitals – accompanied by rituals –  is a community bonding exercise. On the other hand, engaging in the thought & knowledge contained within the shlokas is an individual exercise.

And while the former is socially enjoyable, the latter is intellectually fulfilling. On this trip I could enjoy only the former but the setting gave me a glimpse of the latter – and someday I will return with the agenda of exploring the intellectual aspect.


Here I present some moments of ‘plugging in’ and other extreme experiences.

The Holy River Ganga

Kashi Nu Maran – The Flood of 2016

A Hybrid is Born – Sari weaving

One More Hybrid is born – Sari weaving

Kashi Nu Maran – Death in Kashi

Palace on the Ganga – Art in Architecture

A Journey for the Bucket List

The City of Benaras

The Burning Ghats of Benaras

Some Amazing Songs of Ganga


Sept 2016





The post Benaras Ganga Diaries appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

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