Archive for afterlife

As a Wild Hunter

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“With my mouth I speak slander, day and night.
I spy on the houses of others – I am such a wretched low-life !
Unfulfilled sexual desire and unresolved anger dwell in my body, like the outcasts who cremate the dead.
I live as a wild hunter, O Creator !”
(From the Guru Granth Sahib – the religious text of Sikhism)

This is a picture of the burning ghats of Manikarnika shot at sunset from a boat on the holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Antyesti, the Last Rite, is an important Sanskara, sacrament of Hindu society
According Hinduism cremation is releases an individual’s spiritual essence from its transitory physical body so it can be reborn.
If it is not done or not done properly, it is thought, the soul will be disturbed and not find its way to its proper place in the afterlife and come back and haunt living relatives…

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Shraaddha

Posted in In Search of Lost Time with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by designldg

“Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.”
(Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)

This picture was shot at Ahilyabai Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras) where an old man invited a Brahman to perform Shraaddha along the holy waters of the Ganges.
Shraaddha (Death Anniversary) is a Sanskrit word which literally means anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
In the Hindu religion, it is the ritual that one performs to pay homage to one’s ancestors, especially to one’s dead parents.

“Rites with offerings known as shaddha are periodically held after a person has died to nourish the soul in the afterlife.
The rites are often performed once a year and feature a feast with a plate of food of food offered to the dead.
Hindu believe the living must feed the dead living in the World of the Fathers.
If the ancestors are properly taken care of they will reward the living with prosperity and sons.
The shaddha is thought to day back to the Aryans.
It is viewed as a meeting between the living and the dead.
The souls of the dead who are nor properly buried are thought live outside the World of Fathers as ghosts that torment their relatives until they are there. custom”
(“World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder, Facts on File Publications, New York)

Conceptually, it is a way for people to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks towards their parents and ancestors, for having helped them to be what they are and praying for their peace.
It also can be thought of as a “day of remembrance”.
It is performed for both the father and mother separately, on the days they became deceased.
It performed on the death anniversary or collectively during the Pitru Paksha or Shraaddha paksha (Fortnight of ancestors), right before Sharad Navaratri in autumn.
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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

The Way to Heaven

Posted in Dev Diwali with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honored, in heaven.”
(A popular śloka from the Mahabharata)

This is Manikarnika Ghat during the night of Dev Diwali in Varanasi (Benaras).
This place has a great significance not only in Hindu mythology and way of life but also in the philosophies of life and death as this is the “Maha-Shmashan” or the Great Cremation Ground of the entire Universe.
Hindu mythology teaches that this ghat is especially sacred and that persons cremated there receive moksha and are granted instant salvation, it is an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.
There stands the sacred fire (dhuni) which might be the oldest fire, it is said that this place is the “navel of the world”.

Today Western Christians will observe All Saints’ Day and I thought that this picture could make a bridge between the two cultures.
Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven and the “church militant” who are the living.
Tonight the tradition is to light candles while visit ing the graves of deceased relatives in cimeteries and the atmosphere will be very close to what I see along the sacred river at the same time of the year…

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