January 20, 2013

The Art of Preparation

By Kalikramatic Baba In Artefact 4 min read

Peer mare, paigambar mari hainmarr gaye hain zinda jogi.
Raja mari hain, praja ,ari hain mari hain vaid aur rogi.

The Saints Have Died, The God-Messengers Die
The Life-Filled Yogis Die Too The Kings Die, The Subjects DieThe Healers and the Sick Die Too


Placing the dead body

The above Doha’s of Sant Kabir enunciates that no matter how Great, Disciplined, Wealthy, Normal, Generous or Bad you are, You will face death some day or the other, for Death is Inevitable !

Some people even believe that death is not the end but its a beginning of new life which will again end with a new beginning ,for its a continuity until u attain Moksha. Speaking of Moksha, According to Hinduism the best way to attain Moksha is to be burnt near the Ghats of Ganga and since Varanasi has about 100 different ghats, so its one of the most exotic* locations (*mokshamatically speaking) to get burnt ,after you are declared Dead.

Preparing the wooden death bed

I ended up at one of such exotic location in Varanasi. The place is called Raja Harishchandra Ghat, it is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi. It is named after the great Raja Harishchandra. This ghat is used as a place for cremation of Hindu dead bodies. About 100’s of dead bodies are daily burnt here. This process of Hindu cremation is not as simple as it sounds. Hindus and all other communities in India strongly believe that death cannot be defeated and since they can’t defeat it they prepare for it.

Death body experiencing package 2

Body burnt along the bed
A Hindu death is not less than a Hindu wedding, provided you remove those crying people and property disputes. There are series of rituals that are performed straight from the day person is declared death till a year or two more. Straight after a person dies his body is carried on a bamboo stretcher by 4 people who are close to him, after which the body is brought to the ghats and is placed on a pile of wood. the eldest member of the family performs a series of rituals with the help of a priest and finally lightens the body. sometimes the heads of the male family members are shaved.

Now a days just like other customs and traditions even the death is commercialized which is proved by the fact that there are two death package available here at the Harishchandra Ghat. In package one they offer you to burn the body on a stage like structure which is clean, you even get a good priest and everything, whereas in the second one you have to burn the body directly near the River bed, this package even includes Garbage & Roaming Dogs as a bonus along with a priest who will come and leave the place just like Flash from the justice league.

I remember the time my grandpa died my family have to give the entire village a big bang food fest with deserts on the 13th, 180th & 365th day from the date of death, Why ? because its a Ritual, Along with it we even donated our Cow, 20 kg’s of Rice and Wheat, a king size bed, a cycle, a watch, A bag full of clothes, some cash and a bunch of weed to the priest who performed all the rituals, Why ? to make sure that my grandpa’s soul will rest in peace.Tastier your food the faster your relative will reach heaven that’s what people from my native village think.

Today I hear many old people making bucket list of how and where they want to die, Some even have a opinion on the type of wood they want to get burnt in It may sound weird but it is good in a way since they are atleast courageous to accept the fact that they are about to die soon.This preparation of death makes me mad sometimes but maybe this is the way it is meant to be & who knows if even I ll do the same when my time comes closer.

May all these soul’s rest in peace

Long live this Art of Preparation.

Banner Image by Akash Shukla

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