Why does everyone love Varanasi

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Ganga Aarti Varanasi. Pic by Sanjay Rao

Always wondered why the world is drawn to Varanasi, one of the oldest and filthiest cities on mother earth. Even chaos is very ordered compared to Varanasi. 

 

You sit here and see everything beyond recoverable control and realise, there is a indeed a surreal beauty in uncontrollable chaos. You just are forced to create and float in your own calm amongst this gut busting disorder and filth, and realise that it is this that suddenly forces you into detachment at the speed of explosive decompression.

 

That first lesson of the spiritual path is detachment, that lovely bubble you wrap yourself into, to avoid this horrendous chaos. You realise that intrinsic nature by itself is indeed chaos whether emotional or spiritual, and detachment is the only way out. We create small islands of order for short periods to fight off the chaos. It is such a waste of energy trying to create order in illusion. If on the other hand you left nature as is and instead adapted to, it would it not be emotionally easier ??? The order has to be internal not external

 

Maybe that is why this oldest, holiest, dirtiest city on earth has produced so many of the greatest sages of humanity . The only point where the Ganga flows upwards and north for the first and only stretch in its 2,525 km journey as it meanders down to the ocean. Signifying the rising Kundalini of the spine.

 

5.00 am in the morning before the break of dawn, I am sipping hot super sweet chai from earthen cups (local name is kulad) on a crowded noisy street corner (oh that earthly smell or earthen tea).

 

Watching in disbelief as four bus loads of geriatric foreigners disembark from the bus on their way to the Ganges, to catch the dawn amidst loud horns, some devotional group singing bhajans, someone playing a loudspeaker with Hindi songs. Monkeys enjoying the show of strangely behaved humans. All these foreign oldies hobbling along with walking sticks and walkers.

 

I wonder sipping my tea, what motivated all these old people to fly from the farthest point of the earth, to find what in this mess? Why does it draw so many from all corners of the earth? What do they get out of it, that they can’t get in their neatly ordered countries?  

 

My gut says, they see the final state of untampered reality. Something ordered societies hide so well. What real death smells and feels like. The no bullshit story of religion. Not the doctored stories and the doctored neighbourhoods. The look and smell of reality as is, untampered.

 

Everyone realises salvation is their own doing or undoing. There is no one forcing you to go anywhere or do anything because GOD WILL PUNISH YOU and you will go to hell if you don’t OBEY the commands of the guys in some funny costumes !!!!!

 

It comes in a flash, Your journey is alone, your salvation is alone, and by your own efforts or non-effort. No impressively dressed agent of God, in impressive buildings asking you for money to put in a good word in heaven on your behalf works. The sum total of your life that counts for salvation is yours alone. No one is around when you reach that final end, they may be standing around, but no one is WITH you. None of the people who took your money to put in a word to god (wink wink) can do anything, they are in fact secretly worrying about their own salvation.  Your relatives may want to help, but they can only look on helplessly as you go. Your intellectual philosophy which you sold to millions is of no use to you yourself on the day of reckoning. All that mattered is how you lived and how many you helped. All those impressively ordered cities, those developed nation statistics don’t help you and it will not today. They were always a burden as you worked hard to pay for it in taxes to sustain the illusion a bit longer. 

 

You came alone, your journey is alone, and when you leave, you leave alone. Nature if left natural, is chaos in continuous ascending or descending fractal’s. 

 

It will look like chaos unless you have the ability to expand the consciousness of your third eye and see the order in that chaos. But then you have to be enlightened to see that beautiful order in seeming chaos, guided by that invisible hand of the one and only one who is the master of this universe. The easier way out is accept everything as is by surrendering and adapt to it by building that detachment, only then the hand of that invisible master Shiva becomes evident. 

 

Order your inside first before you set out to do anything to the external world. When there is order inside, you will automatically detect the order outside. Even though others may not be able to perceive it.  This ability to detach from the chaotic world around is the way to learn detachment (Vairagya) whether emotional or physical and final salvation. Those lovely cities and people in funny costumes selling philosophies. None of all that really meant anything. 

 

All that mattered for the moment to me was, watching chaos flowing past me like an unending river and me sipping my hot tea in a baked mud cup. Watching and reading the faces of people in their various dresses, stories of their fights and millions of various struggles from so many different nations. All everyone was looking for was to find that ability to deal with their struggles.  Without paid announcements by various organisations selling their products for Rs 999/- for guided tours to heaven. Somewhere everyone realises that you need to do it alone in that city of chaos.  

 

That is what is Varanasi. It will give you the answers that you seek. That is why it has and always will always attract all the deepest thinkers of the world to come to terms with the final peace in the lap of timeless transcendental Shiva. 

 

 

About Author: In search of the ultimate truth beyond concepts and notions, in that silence, after 20 years in soulless corporate board rooms.

 

See pictures of

1.Kashi 

2.Varanasi in black and white 

3.Dev Deepavali Festival 

4. Temples of Kashi 

5. Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermons