Motley Crew

Namaste!

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The Sadu, who is dressed in the Hindu color of saffron was wondering the streets of Varanasi when I met him.  Varanasi is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city, 9000 years old)  on earth by the Hindus.  With archaeologists dating it in the top 10 oldest cities.  Varanasi is filled with Sadus, as it is considered the holiest of Hindu cities.

Sadus are wandering  Hindu holy men.  When we were there in 2013, the Sadus were very present on the ghats or steps leading from the city to the sacred river  Ganga ( Ganges ). Many tourists never visit Varanasi as it has an intensity that is equal to no other city we visited in India.  The city is trying to maintain the spiritual atmosphere of the place and make it more welcoming to visitors from other cultures by prohibiting Sadus and the begging widows off the ghats.  In India today, there are 4-5 million Sadus who live on the fringe of society to engage in personal extreme asceticism. . . praying, chanting, and meditation. Poverty and hunger are always present to them as they rely on donations from the lay Hindus or tourists. The Sadu  told me that Hindus tend to walk on by as they are used to the constant presence of Sadus. There are women Sadus  in some sects and all are trying to achieve Moksha (one-ness with god) and the end of the reincarnation cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.images (1)

sadhus-of-varanasi

 

Sadu_Kathmandu_Pashupatinath_2006_Luca_Galuzzi

Next in the picture would be me. . .  .the students called it “Anne being Anne”.  This was my talking to strangers, making friends and wearing the lopsided hat which they decided  represented my personality! Hmmm. . . I never asked for clarification!

The man on the right. . . .I had met on the  ghats and walked and talked with him quite a bit.  Since my Hindi is pretty non-existent, we were speaking English, which is the second national language in India.  Only people who are educated speak English, but many can understand English spoken about specific topics which affect or concern  them. He told me his story that he had not always been a beggar on the streets but a working man who provided for his wife and three sons.  Then he was unfortunate  to be involved in a horrible accident.  Then he removed the cloak from his arm.

Oh, I wish I had a picture of the mangled arm which had been broken somehow in his work. But there was no workman’s comp, or medical care and it had “heal” with his elbow pushed in towards his body and his fingers grotesquely twisted.  He said it healed as  it was broken.  Now he begs for the bare necessities of food on  the streets. He didn’t seem bitter or angry, just glad to have someone listen. My husband was around and aware that this dear man helped me across the street( followers know I was terrified of  the Indian traffic while  crossing  the craziness of the streets.)

There is also a Buddhist pilgrimage site only 6 miles from Varanasi, Sarnath. This is one of the four sites for pilgrimages  for Buddhists.   The giant stupa marks  the spot where Buddha delivered his first teaching after he obtained enlightenment.

Dhamek_Stupa,_Sarnath

Varanasi, a  chapter from the  Hindu Vadas , a city of history, poverty, prayer, chanting, medication, begging, ancient history, death, hope, life. . . . . Our favorite place in all of India. We would love to return yet again to this intense and captivating city. This time for at least a week to discover more of  the winding, dark streets and in-search of more of the heart of Varanasi.

This Is Incredible India! 

images from Google public domain

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India, Religions of the World, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Motley Crew

  1. daytripper2015 says:

    Looks incredible!! I can’t wait to go there! 😀

    • annetbell says:

      Most of my posts are about Incredible India and the two wonderful trips we had there. Flip through to find other topics you might like or ask me. I adore India!

  2. Wonderful! There’s a reason I wear so much orange 🙂

  3. Thank you for this great post about Varanasi and
    Sadhus.

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