Then we went to Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple where they cremate people and then push their ashes into the river. Literally there were bodies wrapped in white ready to be "cleansed" in the river and then temple workers in robes stacked wood and hay on funeral pyres and started the flames. The whole scene was out of an ancient textbook or something. It was really face to face with a religion / culture like no other. I saw things I can't believe, and it just made me realize how far from death we stay in the Western world. In America, we would never be so close to dead people and our way of respecting them is by silence and privacy. Here, whole families and crowds come to watch their deceased family member burn. On the other side of the bridge (the above picture is taken from a bridge), there are fewer funeral pyres and with more space, and apparently only the wealthy or important people get to be burned on that side. While we were there, someone said a politician was being cremated, which is why there was such a crowd.
We were there until sunset and it was an odd mix of spiritual, eclectic, gruesome, and otherwordly. For the people there, mostly Hindus, it was an important and special rite to send their deceased off into whatever happens next. But for me, to see and smell the smoke filling the sky, the flickering fires... it was strange. My reading that night was Revelations 22 and it made me feel dirty for what I had seen earlier that day. Jesus and His plan for return are so pure and upright and wholesome -- I am so thankful that our Creator works in that way, and we have no part of orange flames and incense and flower garlands and burning bodies.
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.