A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Friday, 30 July 2010

An interesting extract about the Ganges

"The Purification of the Living

According to Hindus, the waters of the Ganges are pure and cleansing waters. Indian skeptics and Westerner visitors alike have been astounded by this claim. Surveying the river at Banaras, brown and muddy in the rainy season and the receptacle of the pollution of the city, the ashes of the dead, and the diseases of its million bathers, they see a very dirty river indeed.
At question here, of course, is not really the purity of the Ganges, but the cultural understanding of what it means for something to be pure or impure, clean or dirty. In Purity and Danger, the British anthropologist Mary Douglas has exposed the many ways in which these terms are cultural constructs. "Dirt" is disorder, "matter out of place," and what is considered out of place depends upon one's notion of order. The bacterial understanding of "purity" which is part of the scientific view of order, may contrast markedly with social and religious understandings of "purity", even in the modern cultures of the West. Quite apart from the issue of whether the Ganges is bacterially pure (and there are countless studies supporting both sides on this matter!) is the issue of its ritual purity and its symbolic purity. Hindus have affirmed for centuries that there is nothing quite as cleansing as the living waters of the River of Heaven. (...)
Running water especially is an agent of purification, for it both absorbs pollution and carries it away. The traditional etymology of the word "Ganga" is from the root gam, "to go". The Ganges is the "Swift-Goer", and her hymns constantly emphasize the running, flowing, energetic movement of her waters, which are living waters. So great is the power of the Ganges to destroy sins that, it is said, even a droplet of Ganges water carried one's way by the breeze will erase the sins of many lifetimes in an instant."

~ Diana L. Eck, in Banaras, City of Light" (1983, Penguin Books), pp. 216-217

No comments:

Post a Comment