Wrath of Shiva!

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2010

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, February 12, 2010

In honor of the birth of the creator/destroyer Shiva, perhaps the most powerful of the Hindu gods, there comes every year a day called "Shivaratri."   Though "rat" means night, mostly the night before is filled with furious drumming, chanting, and music.  Quite beautiful, actually.

Lots of  celebrants stay up most of the night, in the morning making "pooja" to the deity by offering flowers, burning inscense, praying, lighting candles, and other such methods.  It is not the size of the offering, it is the strength of the thought behind it, I heard somewhere recently.
Around dawn the drumming and music turns to chanting, almost a unisonic "Om" which changes pitch seemingly at random times and tones.  A droning which then stops short while, presumably at least, revelers go home to catch an hour's sleep or so before getting up to make an early pooja.
Bhang seems to figure prominently in the day's activities, the day meant to be a fast in which only liquids are consumed, perhaps some fruit, and of course "bhang."  Basically marijuana in one form or another, bhang is most often mixed and blended to make bhang lassi, a yogurt based drink, also known as "special" lassi.  Most times made with raw plant material to give it a green hue, sometimes bhang lassi also uses charras, or hashish, made in a special way as to blend it perfectly.  Or sometimes both. . .

Needless to say all the fellas around the guesthouse are a little loopy today, and as for myself, I have abstained, having my own pooja to make with powerful Shiva, who has allowed the Silver bullet to be completed and perfected and (knock wood), worry free. 
This evening the fast is broken at around 5 pm or so, I guess from then on it is ok to eat with the multi-armed guy.  Hopefully there has been enough destruction to make room for creation once again.  There is only so much room in the universe for all of it, you know, and shiva is a kind of urban-renewal god in that way, though instead of building crappy condos for soulless yuppies, he makes things of both beauty and ugliness.

Such a day is a good remembrance to all of us to think of the little Shiva that lives inside us hairless and too-clever monkeys.  What have you destroyed to make room for a new creation?

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