Shiva City

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Mother Ganges. Varanasi. City of fire and city of cows. Today I saw a body engulfed by flames. I saw another body, half burned, skull and torso. Today I sat with an old man who shared with me the sacred ritual of Hindu cremation. He told me that women are not allowed here because they are too emotional (I was close to tears, too), and because many women have jumped into their fire with their dead husband. He told me that your place of fire depends on what your cast is (middle class near the river & Brahmins – priests – on a pedestal). He told me how the oldest son dresses in white, and walks away never to look at the body again after throwing a pot of water over his shoulder on the burning body – a symbol of breaking family ties so that they can move forward. He told me of how many people come to die here. From the sacred waters they came, back to Mother Ganges they go. I knew this city was going to be spiritual, but that was something next level. Varanasi, Namaste.

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