A very worthwhile read from the New York Times over the weekend about a woman who oversees the holiest crematorium in Varansi.
(I won’t mention, again, that this summer’s Namarupa Yatra includes time in Varansi.)
From the piece:
Everyone around her calls her a funeral director, a job she inherited from her husband, who died three decades ago. When Doms die, usually another male family member takes over the business of the final rites, but Ms. Devi decided to take on her husband’s work to support her two young sons.
“My life is to live in a world of death,” Ms. Devi said in an interview earlier this month, sitting on a torn mat in a courtyard filled with smoke and surrounded by walls coated with soot accumulated over decades.
She spends more than 10 hours daily at the ghat, or bathing place near a river, in Manikarnika. An estimated 100 bodies are cremated daily at Manikarnika, where a pyre burns 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Across Varanasi, nearly 200 bodies are burned every day.
Manikarnika may ring a few translation bells, if you think about your closing asanas. Yes: ears — earrings, to be precise. The story is that the ghat formed from an earring that fell of Shiva as he was dancing.
Posted by Steve