Some real pain: The aftermath of the Indian flooding

I’m not quite sure this counts as a counter pose (post?) to our terrific discussion of pain and Ashtanga, but it at least is a reminder of the pain that happens off the mat.

The flooding last month in northern Indian, now getting the moniker the “Himalayan tsunami,” caused by early monsoon rains, continues to subside.

And, yes, we keep coming back to it — in part to make sure you’ve heard of Namarupa’s effort to help one village that was caught in the devastation.

Here’s a latest dispatch:

During the months of May and June pilgrim-tourists in the millions make their way up into the mountains of the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Their destinations include the divine sources of the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, the abode of the god Shiva in Kedarnath, the famous residence of the god Vishnu in Badrinath, and the Sikh site of Hemkund Sahib, associated with Tenth Guru of the Sikh tradition, Guru Gobind Singh.

This year in mid-June the monsoon rains came early and poured down upon the Land of the Gods with the sort of unexpected intensity that comes once in centuries. Flash flooding, landslides, and rising waters stranded tens of thousands of visitors and destroyed roads, buildings, livelihoods, and bridges. It is too early to know how many people have died but the number will probably be in the thousands.


On June 24, 2013, the Hanuman Fan Club on Facebook, a group devoted to the deity Hanuman, posted an old pre-flood image of the Kedarnath temple. Hindi text introduces the image, noting that of all the structures in Kedarnath only the temple survived because “It was connected to the faith of millions and therefore Mahadev [Shiva] did not allow it to tremble.”

It should be noted that cell phone towers also appear to have survived. The range of sentiment expressed in the comments this posting generated, of which at last count there were 2133 (along with 2917 “likes”), is striking. Some express the opinion that this destruction is the direct result of frank commercialism. Others take issue with Shiva’s seeming whimsy at choosing who lived and who died, or ask why the survival of the temple matters when family members are dead. But the majority of the comments are expressions of praise and reverence: “Long live the lord of Kedarnath” (“Jai Kedarnath baba ki”), “Long live Bolenath [sic] ( “Long live the lord [Shiva] who is innocent and simple”), or simply “O god of gods, destroyer, destroyer” (“har har mahadev”), an acknowledgement of human limits in the face of such power and tragedy.

It’s a good read (and hat tip to Namarupa for point toward it.) Guestimates are that 4,000 people are still missing. I guess I’ll add: A point is this could have been you on your pilgrimage.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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