At the Carnival -The Ganga Arati in Varanasi.



I stood in awe of the exquisitely elegant Ganges,

on stone steps leading to Dashashwamedh Ghat:

she flowed unperturbed by immense veneration,

with orchestrated sights, sounds ushering sunset.


Her soft waves caught the glow of flickering lights

dotting Varanasi’s ghats – yet she gently cascaded,

detached to the incense, sandalwood, and flowers –

with a synchronised flailing of layered brass lamps.


Throngs gathered by the ramp to watch the show,

that every evening – placed Ganga on the Catwalk:

As propelling her delicate steps bhajans were sung,

with dumroos keeping rhythm – as tabla to her taal.


Broad-chested men – strikingly agile super models

in Akhara-fit bodies, chiseled with yogic persistence –

deftly flailing the brass aratis they held, with devotion

to Ganga’s movements – as of a show stopper model.


Viewers from all over the world jostled in the crowd,

as midstream – boats full of people watched up-close:

the intricacies of Ganga’s form showcased in devotion –

as if from the green room or back stage of a carnival.


With her poise, Ganga was an epitome of femininity,

not losing her reserved elegance even in heroic glory:

As she generously gives of herself, in loving empathy –

even to those who pollute but worship her as divinity.


Every woman can flow with compassionate concern,

after cleansing her soul of the refuses of her past life –

as she also has the power to withstand being defiled,

by nurturing her soul in service to God and mankind.



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