Varanassi Part IV – Sunday Morning and Messages
November 15th is the actually date of this day in Varanassi. Remember, you have links to all the varanassi pictures…I will not be posting all the pictures in these posts as it takes too long so you can refer to the different links if you want to view the pics talked about in the posts.
It is now 7:15 AM on our second morning in Varanassi.
India is for me always a lesson in discovering my own true limits and respecting and accepting them. I am definitely NOT a good tourist and there is no way I can enjoy day after day of intensive site seeing. I am NOT a morning person either – as my friend r is – and no matter how badly I would like to already be “out and about” with her at this moment – it is not something I can, in any way, do- unless I want to be dishonest with myself and my own needs. (Actually, I am in a way a morning person, but morning for me is meditation, prayer, pranayama, very slowly doing those things which begin my way in a tranquil and harmonious way – If I rush in the morning-by whole day is off.) I need right now, to do exactly what I am doing. Rising earlier than I really should have anyway – I am sitting on the terrace watching the world on the Ganga go by. (I awoke earlier to go to the toilet – at 5:30 – and the Ganga was just as awake then as it is now, or at night – and the whole river was a sparkling sea of puja lamps. Almost as if someone had strung beads in varying patterns, of brilliant color, all across the Ganga. It was quite magnificent to see)
So I sit and watch the world go by from my lovely balcony, wanting to be down ON the Ganga at sunrise sounds wonderful – but it is not a possibility for me – Perhaps tomorrow if I will have an easier day today.
The sunrise is beautiful (no camera to prove it to you so take my word for it). The birds are innumerable including some hawks which keep circling my balcony. The boats peacefully gliding past below with the happy “morning people” enjoying the view.
Early morning bathers leisurely enjoying a bath before the later throngs of people find their way down for morning ablutions.
The water, from up here on the balcony LOOKS so cool and inviting – much nicer then from close up.
The sounds of morning prayers from the house next door – the sun, already quite warm vising opposite me to the East – reflecting brightly on the water and brilliantly illuminating the entire view.-as if inviting camera or paintbrush to attempt to capture its beauty.
Insistent call of
of “boat madam?” calling to all passersby below (with that particularly Indian pronunciation of BOAT)
Indian tourists availing themselves of a Ganga dip. Women artfully removing their underclothes and leaving just sari to go into the water. Men removing all except underpants – preparing an offering to Ma Ganga from provisions they’ve brought with them in plastic bags – and finally – after slowly moving waist deep into the water – hesitantly dunking completely while holding their nose closed – immersing in all 4 directions and praying before finally cupping water in their hands and bravely taking a drink of the Holy waters! Then more praying (probably praying not to die after drinking the water!) and out!
And to my amazement – wrapping herself in a small towel for upper body, removing her sari and washing it – now dressed only in her petticoat with the towel over her shoulders!
Her mother, sitting on the ghat throws her clean clothing and she artfully removies the petticoat, puts on the new one and then somehow manages to drape herself in 7 jmeters of cloth without getting it wet and looking like she just came out of her bedroom. Hubby also completely changes clothes and then off they go with camera and guidebook to continue their day! All clean and refreshed!
We spent the rest of this day in Sarnath. This is the place where Buddha first began preaching after reaching enlightenment under the bodhi tree in bodgaya. The tree in the picture here grew from sapling taken from the original bodhi tree – so this is a truly sacred and immensely powerful place to be.
I always find tranquility when around Buddhist energies, and this half day respite from varanassi was no different. It was Sunday, so the place was relatively crowded but still tranquil. There were lots of school trips and the children were so orderly, well-behaved and quiet. I can just imagine that amount of Israeli school kids out on a trip! You can see from the pictures how courteous and quiet (also happy) they are.
It was an extremely hot day, even here, and we were lucky to have decided not to go walking around in Varanassi this day, or I, for one at least, would have found myself probably spending most of the day in the room with the AC. We had a wonderful time and returned to varanassi when it was already cool to enjoy the evening on the main ghat.
We went by jeep to sarnath and of course had to drive through varanassi to get there. In the links I sent there are some amazing (frightening) pics of driving on Indian roads which I hope give you some idea of the adventure! Note the ones with the double white line, and remember that in India, you are supposed to be driving on the LEFT side of the white line!!
More in the next part!