Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reflections on the Soul

January 3rd, 2013

Today I went to Tim Carter's ash immersion ceremony.

Our small party took a boat to the other side of the sacred river Ganga. When the actual ceremony began, Tim's family members gathered around and the ashes were brought out. I had been asked to lead everyone in singing, so I began to sing the Hare Krishna melody that Lilananda Prabhu had composed in honor of Tim. Seeing those ashes of Tim felt strange. The pile of ashes was gray and formless.

Those ashes couldn't be Tim. They couldn't.

Tim was in the melody I was singing.

Nevertheless, there was something so complete and powerful about the ceremony, recognizing this deep need for closure, to release a soul to Krishna. When Jananivas Prabhu packed mud around the ashes and poured and sprinkled different substances on the ashes, I felt as though Tim was getting cooled from a high fever. Like, "Ahhh... at last, you're letting me go."

There was a timeless moment when I stood on the banks of the river, the wind blew my sari, and the sun glinted off the water and shone on my face. I watched the sacred ceremony unfold to put Tim to rest. I had a moment of realizing that we will all die, our bodies will all become ash one day. Memories of us will also fade.

There must be a soul. There must be a soul, an eternal soul that is bright and beautiful and eternal.

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