An unplanned visit to the Ganga came my way.\nFor spiritual reasons.\nFor filial piety reasons.\nFor ceremonies that complete the cycle of life & death.\nMeasured in the number of hours \u2013 the Benaras experience was less than 3 digits.\nMeasured in the number of experiences and new thoughts that came to me, the experience was infinite.\n***\nI 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.\nHowever, recently I went through an upside-down evolutionary experience.\nDuring 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 \u2013 it is simply not possible to read all \u2013 leave alone understand all of the books) and arrived at some conclusions.\nThe major conclusion was that Hinduism was a body of intellectual works treating subjects\n\u2013 of life and death\n\u2013 of how to conduct one\u2019s life\n\u2013 of the cosmos \u2013 including macrocosms & microcosms\n\u2013 of math and science \u2013 physics, biology, botany, astronomy, genealogy \u2026.\nIt 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.\nSo while one can be a Buddhist and a Christian AND study physics without any conflict \u2013 one cannot do that if Physics were to be labeled a religion rather than a science.\nSince 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 \u2013 let me just focus on my personal experience.\nAll I can say is that I have found my way to Hinduism not through \u2018faith\u2019 that allows no questions but through \u2018logic\u2019 that survives on questions alone.\n***\nBenaras 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 \u2018plugging in\u2019 to an ancestry with which I was only peripherally familiar\nAs I understand it, shlokas are all mediums of transmitting deep knowledge that is contained within. And indulging at the level of the medium \u2013 through joint recitals \u2013 accompanied by rituals \u2013\u00a0 is a community bonding exercise. On the other hand, engaging in the thought & knowledge contained within the shlokas is an individual exercise.\nAnd 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 \u2013 and someday I will return with the agenda of exploring the intellectual aspect.\n***\nHere I present some moments of \u2018plugging in\u2019 and other extreme experiences.\nThe Holy River Ganga\nKashi Nu Maran \u2013 The Flood of 2016\nA Hybrid is Born \u2013 Sari weaving\nOne More Hybrid is born \u2013 Sari weaving\nKashi Nu Maran \u2013 Death in Kashi\nPalace on the Ganga \u2013 Art in Architecture\nA Journey for the Bucket List\nThe City of Benaras\nThe Burning Ghats of Benaras\nSome Amazing Songs of Ganga\njm\nSept 2016\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\nThe post Benaras Ganga Diaries appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.