Fire around me everywhere,
The heat intolerable to bear;
And yet I cannot feel a thing,
My soul has lost its ability to care.
Covered in ashes from head to toe,
The numerous fires spurting more;
I stand amidst death, drenched in rain,
Wondering if this is what I live for?
Ashes over me I cannot distinguish,
Which is human, which of material thing?
Human or wooden, ashes are the same,
To turn to ashes then – A lifetime I live?
The drizzle now turns to a heavier shower,
Drenching my being to the very core;
Yet on the fires they have no power –
Roaring high, over the pyres they have lit.
Below the river Ganges peacefully flows,
Washing away ashes, the fires have restored;
Men are hurrying around me everywhere,
Carrying corpses; guts – for which fires don’t care.
Just this afternoon I saw her face –
Peaceful and calm in death’s embrace,
When bathing, dressing her like a bride,
Preparing her for the final goodbye.
Narrow winding lanes when I traversed,
I knew what lay at the end of the path;
Yet I wasn’t prepared to face the ultimate truth,
My Life – mere ash on the pyre in death.
As I now stand watching her pyre lit,
My heart numb from all the sights it hit;
My face, eyes smarting from all the smoke,
Is red, incapable of insulating like my soul.
Manikarnika Ghat in Benaras they say,
The holiest crematorium for Hindus till date:
Frees one from the cycle of Life and Death,
Has given me Moksh from the fear of Death.