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Last year I sat in meditation in an ancient crematorium, dead bodies filling the floor and about 6 of them being burnt a few feet in front of me

November 10, 2023


There’s a distinctive smell, particular to a burning dead body in the Ghats of Varanasi, India.

It’s one of the very few places left on earth where they burn the dead out in the open- a tradition that’s been going on for over 3000 years

Imagine that!

For thousands of years these fires have kept on going with 6+ bodies always on rotation burning.

A human body takes 3 hours to burn and consumes 250kg of wood, from which only Banyan tree and Sandalwood are allowed.

As I sat in meditation I could smell a mix of Sandalwood with that of burnt flesh.

My mind went silent for a little as my body remembered:

This is where I’m going.

This is where we’re all going.

Death is what we’re doing from the moment we’re born.

Somewhat obvious yet I was raised in a catholic family in Colombia & death was not something you talk about.

You were expected to look the other way if you happened to drive by an accident.

A total avoidance of it..

I had never seen a dead body as an adult.

I have never lost someone dear to me.

So I decided to face that which I’d been conditioned to turn away from.

Walking through the streets I found my way into meeting a guy that knew the son of the owner of the Ghat, so after one phone call and a bribe, I was allowed in.

Usually only the family of those being burnt are allowed by the pyres.

As I walked in I realized it is hot as hell!

Pyres burn at 760 to 982.2 Celsius (1400-1800 Fahrenheit)

Yet a strange chill spread through my body..

It felt like the parts of me which thought we had an eternity to explore what is truly meaningful had just been given a reality check.

Time’s ticking!

You’re mortal.

The energy was palpable as the prana that would usually take 14 days to leave a dead body was forcefully pushed out by the fire in a fraction of the time..

A wave tantric yogics can ride if they dare to.

After that night, food tasted like death for a few days.

& the scent of the dead stayed with me.

It now keeps me going.

Clear about what matters,

and flexible about what one day won’t.