A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Monday, November 5, 2007

2005 Varanasi, India

Varanasi, reputed to be the holiest site in India where Hindus bring their dead to be cremated, their ashes spread in the Ganges. Its dawn and sleeping pilgrims are waking up, having spent the night on the pavement by the river. Bathers already are in the river. The waters of the "Ganga" are supposed to wash all your sins away by such a bath. I was ready to dive in ... until I saw a corpse floating by. I also read in the Lonely Planet how terribly polluted the water is: 1.5 million particles of fecal bacteria/100 ml, when the safe level is 500.
A barber is shaving the head of a mourner (leaving a top knot in the back). He then gives me a haircut, trims my beard, and does a shoulder massage. All the while we are on the steps leading down to the Ganges with a pair of goats, a leper beggar, and a sadhu just a few feet away. Within a few hours its too hot & humid to be outside, but that evening we are in a boat, floating candles in cup cake paper as prayers; and watching the amazing spectacle of incense, drums, bells, chanting and priests doing the evening blessing.