Here what I am going to write will be rather than a well-designed report, a sort of haphazard diary. Yes, it’s about Shivaratri. Let me make it more clear: diary of my visit to the Pashupati Area on the eve of Maha-Shivaratri.
Please don’t care about language! It will be ekdum jhoor.
I realised that today its Shivaratri eve in the evening. Too late, as compared to those days in childhood. We kids used to start collecting wood for Shivaratri in Magh. My comprehension was “charm of festivals remains no more in adults.”
After drinking a big steel-glass of coffee, heavily garbed with winter clothes, I went to the Pashupatinath. Not too far it is from my place. Not even a kilometer away.
Visitors, worshippers, sadhus, drug peddlers, fancy women, their costumers, policemen, Maoists, he, she, in-betweens….thronged the area. Some were coming, and some were going back. Some were loitering and some were lost in themselves, probably because of some puffs of grass. What I noticed was the aroma of marijuana amid the mob. Ah! aroma of Cannabis sativa. That turns me on. Unfortunately, puffing a chillum never gave that thing (I don’t know what) that I always expected while smelling the smoke.
Well, I had carried this blue jeans bag. And it was of help. I did not have to leave my sneakers in those counters in open or hire someone to look after those. Yes, I wrapped my shoes a polythene bag that was I found in open and carried in my bag. Not because my shoes are expensive; I did not want to return home barefooted in about 2 degree centigrade night if they were lost.
In the premises of the Pashupatinath temple, there were bonfires and naga babas, and sadhus and sightseers and worshippers paying visit to them.
Au naturel they were but in fancy way. Though no cloth but some had some decorations in their sex organ. Rings and such like ornaments. Ah! A tall baba has hung a may be around 800 gram bronze ball in his phallus. He, perhaps more than half a century old ascetic, when stood up, one could see the pendulum swinging in to and fro motion. And yes on a high, he would demonstrate his expertise on penile contortion. Some naga babas were selling grass. Some were shouting “Bum Bholay” euphorically.
Oh, I just forgot to mention, some of the sadhus were busy on monetizing. What they were doing was they were asking visitors/worshipers/sightseers for money in return of their blessing and “vibhuti” (holy ash). At least five put on ash vibhuti on my forehead and blessed me by hitting my head with peacock feather. Naturally, they asked me for “dakshina.” I responded only with a broad grin and Namaskar every time. Sadhus, who claim that they have renounced materialistic world, run after money!
Well, just infront of the Ganesha temple in the east door of the Pashupatinath, I saw a young baba crouching but demonstrating his private parts. I would not care him if my eyes had missed noticing sort of astonishment on the eyes of some young girls. Those three Marwari girls, I don’t know why I think they are Marawari girls, were stealing a look at the baba’s swollen testicles and trying to hide their giggle. As good observer I am, their amazement led me to conclude that they saw a nude person belonging to the opposite sex for the first time face to face.
And may be they will make an impression that every male’s has “abnormally distended bag.”
We lack sex education, I agree Zade!!!
Well, that nagababa for sure has some problem. Perhaps hydrocoele.
Sadhu and sex, these words apparently are quite the opposite. But sadhus there were/are more sexy than say any celebrity belonging to the gender MALE. By the way, who is the sexiest star in Hollywood? Tom Cruise? Had you seen the nudist baba with hydrocele, you would certainly forget that baby Cruise. That “Pendulum baba” is more sexy than that old daddy Bachchan with gray French from Bollywood. Rajesh Hamal is baby in front of that young naga who threatened me of removing my clothes and making me baba for my questioning him why he needed “dollars.”
Those sadhus were bolder and more sexy than Prachanda and his followers who though reiterating something else were stealthily puffing off grass by bullying some sadhus.
All those naturists, who are true followers of Lord Shiva whose phallus we worship without knowing what we are worshipping, demonstrating their lingam, reminded me a fact: Nature is incomplete..
Those nude sadhus, may be hypocrites in some of your perspective, are more sexy than anybody else who are driven by sex and lust. Not joking at all! Because they are natural, we are not.
If you think that I am wrong, only because I am of very odd opinion, forgive me. I cannot stick to that prude approach of seeing those sadhus.
They are freaky but they are free. No pretension. No worries. Live life king size, probably is their motto of life. But different style they have to live. Smoke and freak out, be euphoric, and forget the world.
They are but a satire to the world of us hypocrites.
Well I met a gentleman just the other side of the main gate in the premises of the temple. Because of the smoke, both of us were tearing.
He said, “Piro bho …”
“Yes. May be because of the height the smoke has been problematic.”
Then began our real conversation.
He asked, ”You interested in Philosophy?”
“What you read?”
“Both Eastern and Western. From Upanishadas to Nietzche.” It was exaggeration, in fact. But not a tall tale. I could not take more names because I did not know much. But yes I am interested in philosophy.
“Have you read Bhagawat?”
“Yes. Translation only. It would be fun could I read it in Sanskrit.”
“Ashtamaskandha and Navamaskandha (Eight and ninth cantos?) ”
“I don’t remember everything, though.”
Then I asked,”Are sadhus this time lesser..?”
“You always come in Shivaratri?”
“Yes. But could not come last year. I forgot why.”
He then asked me what I really do. I told him the truth. From my studies to my past job.
“Then you know A Rana?”
I got him. “I know A Shah, now she is A Rana.”
Then he told me that he taught her mathematics. He was sort of admiring her talent…
I don’t know how we again entered into Philosophy. Hiduism, Atheism within it, Christanity and Islam, Buddism… and many more. He posed himself as a learned man.
He knows Charwaak too. The great atheist, who suggests people not to worry about sin or such like things and says “….Rinaam kritwaa gritam piwet.” (Drink ghee even by taking loans.) Meaning: enjoy the materialistic world by any means. Of course, he did not miss to mention about Patanjali, the great guru of Yoga.
Sadhus around the bon fire in front of us perhaps had an impression that I was a westerner. So they were talking with each other in Hindi, “Call that ‘gora’ (fair-skinned) and get dollars from him.”
A sadhu in orange asked me, “Where you from?”
“Of course, Nepal.”
He gave a half smile, say in a silly way. Then he requested me to join him in his “aasan” (seat in floor) in front of some logs spewing black smoke.
The new philosopher friend of mine suggested me not to go. “They will ask you for money.”
“I know. I won’t give a penny.”
There was a hot discussion with him and his friends, nagas as well as orange-clad sadhus. When they asked me for money, I boomeranged, “Why do babas need money?” They could not bear to me.
When I said that I too am a baba, they could not bear me and bluntly threatened to strip me. Who cares? But the one who invited me is not a sadhu at all. He is a drug peddler disguised as sadhu for sure. Actually, he wanted to ask me if I needed some hashish or may be ganja. I returned.
The friend too came from somewhere inside. He had a disposable glass in his had filled with hot milk. We were talking about Christianity and Tenth Commandment.
My host sadhu shouted at us. “You will make me impure by spilling the milk.” My friend became enraged. They exchanged some bitter words.
Where we were staying would not let other visitors to him. So he would not do his business. And he was not happy with us.
Unexpectedly, this wise friend lost his nerves with clear reflection of inferiority complex. Sort of astringent over-patriotism. From highfaluting philosophy I saw him declining to jingoism. From no where, he rebuked the Indian sadhu.
I said, “We all have sort of complex however wise we try to be. Probably because we feel we are inferior to them.”
He tried to explain….
Well, an old naga baba approached us and complained in Nepali,”Guthi (trust) hasn’t provided us with wood and food.”
I asked, “What is this then?”
“Not by Guthi. Annapurna (an akhada) sent us wood. Food by other people…”
How would the sadhu know that what politics could be going on in the Guthi and Pashupati Development Trust and in the country?
Out from the temple, I went to Bankali area.
An old person, probably the leader of the pilgrims with bucolic look, asked me in Hindi,”Swamijee, where can we stay here?”
Was he asking me? Yes, he was. Swamijee? Probably because he could not find other words to address a person respectfully.
I asked him where they have come from.
“When did you reach here?”
“Just a while ago.”
They seemed to be exhausted because of their three day journey from a countryside in Jhansi, India to the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu.
“You ate your meal?”
“Yes, in the bhandara (sort of holy feast).”
“How many you are?”
I felt of helping them. Those old Indian pilgrims from countryside. Had they been well off, they would buy service of some luxurious hotel and pay a visit to the Pashupatinath and do dharma. They would never ask me for help, and never show trust on me. But god knows, there is his existence, why they expected help from he and trusted me in fact.
I said,”Let’s see. Places here are backed by now.”
I escorted them to a tent and asked them to take rest for sometime there. Two old fellows went with me to find a shelter. Rammandir premises was pack, so where other temples and inns. We returned.
On the way, the leader said,”You are like Bhagwan for us.” I did not like that and said him so. He explained….
“What you do?” I asked.
“Agriculture. We are Yadavs.”
Okay. But his expression showed sort of humiliation. Are Yadavs in India taken for lower caste?
“We all are humans,” he fired my wisdom.
Yadav! Man, I saw a banner that read “Yadav Samaj—Health Camp” in a tent. It was empty. This can be the place, I can try for them, I felt.
We returned to the place where his team was waiting us. My cousin appeared there from no where. Actually, some society of my maternal clan has installed that for distributing drinking water tomorrow. So I had requested a guy to let them stay them for a while. My cousin was there so it was no from then.
Tea was being distributed for free just in front. So I asked them if they wanted to drink tea. But here is a funny story. Funny in terms of language—I mean difference I languages.
“Aap log chaya khaenge?” [You people want tea?]
/chiya khaanu/ is the phrase to drink tea in Nepali. We sort of say “eat tea.” In Hindi, they say, /chaya peena/.
And they did not understand me. I realised it. That had happened in Varanasi too last year. In the BHU Hostel, we had a discussion on the topic. We means me, Anup and his Orissan friend…. I forgot his name now.
I managed hot tea for them and then went to find a shelter again. Yes my cousin was with me.
I asked two gentlemen there. But they turned out to be just visitors. Later, the custodian gave permission.
I told them the good news. They were more than happy. The leader and a lady may be his wife kneeled down and tried to touch my feet. Oh my god! What these old people were doing? I stopped them by saying they were of age of my grannies.
I know they were happy with me. But that all was not needed. I escorted them to the new place. And showed them a makeshift latrine nearby.
I and my cousin then went to take a look at the mela. Later when we get in them, they asked if I could manage some wood for fire. “It’s damn cold. Fire would be relief.”
I said I would try to find some wood. We went that depo that sells timber for rituals and funeral purpose. But wood was very dear. Rs 5 perk kg. But you have to buy a big log! And you know I noticed some foul play there too. Instead of the selling wood to pilgrims, they had kept some fine wood with good flat shape to sell to may be furniture!
My cousin said that he saw some people distributing wood from trolley for free. Why not to find them then? On the way, we collected some dry wood. We told the pilgrims that some people with trolley would approach there and distribute wood.
Lau katro lamo bhaisakechha………
Well, back to Rammandir area, I witenessed people’s craze for contraband. The majority was there for smoking ganja. On a high, some were singing and dancing. 99.9999999999999 per cent was male. Only five or six women I saw that time among about five or six thousand people.
Two women were sort of centre of attraction of some inebriated male fellows in the Ram Mandir. Both women appeared to be lunatic because of their language and body language. They too were for sure on a high. In a bon fire encircled by gajjadis, they were playing duet with an old man. Wording with crude meaning…..
Indian drug peddlers clad in saffron and orange were busy selling small packets of grass. Five rupees, ten rupees, 50 rupees…… Some young boys were selling cigarette. You could see guys taking out tobacco gently from the cigarette and filling the roll with grass.
Yes, some were trying to learn smoking form chillum. One guy choked. I remembered my first encounter with infamous marijuana in the vicinity.
Even the eyes of the policemen on duty were red. They appeared to be intoxicated. Marijuana was being sold in open below the nose of the administration. And, those who I took for Maoist militia… they too where enjoying the puff!
Truly speaking, I felt of smoking but did not. I did not know how to ask for puff. I did not how to ask for some stuff. I have never bought anything except books and I did not now how to buy grass. One thing I was sure of was if I had asked for some, the peddler would ask me more money than its rate.
I had a ten-rupee polymer that is a little bit deformed with heat in my wallet. I thought of buying … I really could not. I did not ask the cousin, a high school boy, to do that for me because I would be leading him astray……
Then I returned home. He went to take care of his mineral water and tent.
Those old pilgrims want me to see me tommorrow morning. (LOok, today morning. It’s 3:05 am now.) But I did not tell them that I will be in deep sleep that time.
Happy Shivaratri! Bum Bholay!