Travelogue: Homa in the Cremation Grounds of Varanasi
Shree Maa, Swamiji, and the group took a boat ride up the Ganga to the Lalita Ghat. Lalita Ghat is adjacent to the famous Manikarnika Ghat, where many bodies are brought from around India everyday for cremation.
Swamiji recounted that this was the same Ghat where he and many other Sadhus of the past had come to perform tapasya. Sitting by the light of the funeral pyre, they would chant to God.
In his infinite kindness, Swamiji wanted all of the devotees on tour to have a similar experience. Currently, there are restrictions on sadhus entering Manikarnika Ghat to do Sadhana. Therefore, we sat at the Lalita Ghat, just adjacent to the Manikarnika Ghat, and performed a Chandi Homa.
It was early morning and the sun had just risen on the opposite side of the Ganga. The peaceful river was but a few steps away from the Homa Kund that Shree Maa and Swamiji constructed. Swamiji began invoking the sacred fire and many on lookers came to see what was taking place.
As Swamiji had lost his voice the prior evening at the Hanuman temple, Shree Maa led the chanting of the Chandi. Thanks to the inspiration of our Gurus, we were performing sadhana just like the rishis and sadhus of old and, even as Swamiji himself had some 30 years earlier.
As our Homa fire burned, we could also see the burning of the funeral pyres right next to us.
In the middle of the river and all around us, life was continuing in a myriad of ways. People were traveling to various destinations by boat. Dogs were playing. Cows were looming around us. In the midst of the somberness of death, life was so abundantly evident! What an inspiration!
Ironically, across from us, we could also see the end of life. The scene was perfect and we could have not wished to do anything else but worship the Divine Mother.
Jai Maa! Jai Swamiji!