Sunday, February 19, 2006
Opening of Cosmic Portals
The enchanting travels of a wandering scribe:
To continue on my adventures in Kashi, I shall just give you a gist of the heralding of a new day every morning. Living right on the banks of this holiest river, has the most intriguing attributes. Every morning on Assi ghat, the sun is welcomed over the horizon by the ringing of bells,
sanskrit chants, clanging of gongs, and the blowing of conch shells whose drone coincides with the first rays of magenta and gold to hit the river Ganga. This mesmerising wake up call, along with birds skirting the glassy surface of the river casting subtle ripples can only provoke feelings of bliss and eternal gratitude. The rising sun casts a linga of light over the river, creating a pillar that transcends all worlds.
Well enough of that....on to sunset. At dusk, there are 'aratis' on the ghats, facing the river. (Arati is the circling of oil lamps as a honour offering in front of a deity, in this case, river Ganga herself). To me, it seems like an elaborate preparation for the opening of cosmic portals.
the pujari (priest) prepares the 4 directions with circles of fire, and delicately seems to polish these invisible entrances with care and devotion using a variety of soft materials, leaves and incense, invoking the divine to open these cosmic portals and calling out to them with conch
Oh there's so much to tell and describe, but I should perhaps let the
images do the talking.
From the forest of bliss, (Another name for Varanasi....Anandavana)
(note: this painting was purchased by good friend of WLC, Toronto architect Eb Zeidler. lr)