Realms of the Senses
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“…Whatever Hindus affirm of the meaning of life, death, and suffering, they affirm with their eyes wide open.
Many westerners, for example, upon seeing Hindu rituals observances for the first time, are impressed with how sensuous Hindu worship is.
It is sensuous in that it makes full use of the senses – seeing, touching, smelling, tasting and hearing.
One “sees” the image of the deity (darsan).
One “touches” it with one’s hands (sparsa), and one also “touches” the limbs of one’s own body to establish the presence of various deities (nyasa).
One “hears” the sacred sound of the mantras (sravana).
The ringing of bells, the offering of oil lamps, the presentation of flowers, the pouring of water and milk, the sipping of sanctified liquid offerings, the eating of consecrated foods- prasad – these are the basic constituents of Hindu worship, Puja.
For all its famous otherworldliness, India is a culture that has also celebrated the life of this world and the realms of the senses.”
(“Darsan – Seeing the Divine Image in India” by Diana L Eck)
This man was praying at a side of Manikarnika Ghat (मणिकर्णिका घाट) along the holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Since five years I often take a few pictures of him whenever I come there and he doesn’t seem to mind about it.
He is always worshipping the elements with gestures carrying a sensuous grace…
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