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
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.
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.