The ghat decked with light, holy music, and intermittent and melodious blowing of the conch shell was inviting people to witness the worshipping of the divine Ganges; the holy mother, for the daily ritual of offering prayers on her banks.
Children and adults, men and women, old and young, the affluent and the deprived, everyone desired to be there, to thank her; the mother, for her selfless act of bestowing life to everyone wherever she goes; she an integral part of every ritual from the birth and beyond death; the godlike water purifying the physical and the metaphysical; in this world and beyond, some claim to understand this, and renounce or devote their life to a cause; the others remain clueless and find solace by identifying it with, the ubiquitous hell and the heaven, a lie spoken so many times and across so many religions, its seems to have universal acceptance now with little to no resistance, something many of us tend to accept as ‘the truth’; after all, it is easy to comprehend and even easier to communicate.
Ignorance spreads as it has its own peculiar way to satisfy everyone and as it turns deep-rooted, people begin to find bliss in this falsity, preferring it over the truth, which though simple, remains hidden in the complicated works of the sages and the wise people, who seemed to have created large sturdy barriers, and are willing to only choose the right man/woman, who is vulnerable enough to first accept their limitation, their ignorance before they could be bestowed with this esoteric knowledge.
Will this change and will we realize the illusion we are living in? Maybe, maybe not, but the moment we see death, things suddenly seem to fall into some kind of perspective, but then the illusion, the Maya, gradually takes over.
Going to a funeral has its own moments of self-reflection, and there are flashes where we abruptly feel being blinded by some concealed trickery and vow to break from it from then onwards. But if this would have been so easy, everyone would have become an ascetic, after witnessing a death, but it seldom happens as the cloak of illusion spreads its own untruth, forcing our feeble minds to relinquish the pursuit of truth we promised ourselves to continue running after a beautifully orchestrated trickery, blinding us into enjoying a fake life when the purpose should have been to find it.
The place suddenly metamorphosed into a lively evening of revelry as people absorbed in blissful music lost themselves into their respective gods for a few moments.
The aarti (prayers) continued and the pandits with their huge lamps, offered their obeisance to the holy river, thanking her for being there for everyone and pleading her to remain as motherly as she had always been.
Soon, the prayers were over; the crowd thinned out first before gradually disappearing, even the priests left and so did the alms seekers; the caretakers closed the doors of the numerous small temples dotting the ghat, as the holy mother was now left to wait for her devotes till the next morning.
An ascetic still sat there; his half-naked body smeared with what the river carried from up above the mountains; the face as calm as a sleeping child, with a hint of a subtle smile. He stared at the flowing waters, sitting in padmasana (lotus pose) when a stray dog suddenly walked and sat beside him.
The yogi, glanced at the dog, his smile turning a little brighter; the light from the streetlamps reflected the serenity of his face as the dog wagged his tail once, before he too, like the Yogi, turned his face towards the river.
The sun broke the dead of the night when the priests walked down the steps towards the bank when one of them noticed something unusual.
Two puddles of water appeared in the middle of nowhere; he looked around, but couldn’t find the source when a sudden realization occurred to him.
He fell flat on the ground (dandvat pranam), paying his obeisance to the realized souls, before thanking the holy mother for giving him an opportunity to witness the leftovers of the great energy which finally left for their great journey ahead. That day, he too relinquished his responsibilities as a priest to go out in search of his own existence!