(6) The day I was convinced that Buddhism would never spread in India - I was shocked at the Ganges bathhouse.

Haridwar. Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

Travels to Buddhist sites in India and Sri Lanka (6)
The day I was convinced that Buddhism would never spread in India - I was shocked at the Ganges bathhouse.

The morning of the third day in Haridwar arrived. After yesterday's visit to the Mansa Devi temple and two consecutive days of pooja tours, my stamina was already at the limit.

But I have come all this way. I would like to walk alone for a little bit.

So during my free time that morning, I decided to go for a walk.

But as soon as I left the inn, I was astonished! To my surprise, the water level of the Ganges had dropped significantly! I could see the bottom of the river bank!

The left is the day before yesterday and the right is today. The difference is obvious.

I was surprised to see the water level drop so much in just a day or so. I don't know for sure, but on the last day in Haridwar, the world in front of my eyes is showing great changes.

Hmmm, but I don't know... It is extremely dirty.... A large amount of garbage mixed with earth and sand, it's an indescribable sight. It smells like sludge.

Above all, I was shocked by the following scene.

Hey, what's this..!

I was just exclaiming.

I guess the lowered water level of the river has made everyone feel free to come into the river. But even so, this is still...!

The pictures alone do not do it justice! We would like you to watch the video as well!

The water level is not as muddy as it was yesterday, but has dropped to waist-high at best. At shallower depths, the water level is about knee-deep. However, it is still a brown stream. Everyone, young and old, male and female, bends down to immerse their entire body in the river. Unlike yesterday's bathing, in which the participants were just sinking into the water, this requires more aggressive movements in order to get the whole body submerged. It was interesting to see how everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Some people are splashing water on each other and seem to be having a lot of fun. They looked as if they were playing in a flowing pool. I saw cheerful faces here that were completely different from the "scary faces" I saw in Pooja.

You can hear the hustle and bustle of this place. This is a truly enjoyable place for Indians.

The Mansa Devi temple we visited yesterday has exactly this kind of atmosphere. Yes, Haridwar is a major theme park of the Hindu world.

I certainly had some thoughts about this cheerful religious worldview the day before at the Mansa Devi Temple. They were very open in wishing for their own happiness. They are truly optimistic (positive) that by praying there, their evil will be purified and good luck will come to them.

The "oafish face" seen in the puja and the "cheerful face" seen in the Mansa Devi temple and ablution hall.

This is a contradiction in terms. Which is the halidwar after all?

Both are correct. Sometimes they have a "scary face" and sometimes they have a "cheerful face". This is India. There is no logic. Here is a chaotic world that embraces all contradictions. It is better not to worry about the details.

And my amazement does not stop yet. I want you to see the next picture.

I was watching the Indian people bathing in a daze when I noticed that some of them were clearly moving in a way that was different from bathing. Let's look at it from another angle.

Notice the man on the left in this photo. Can you see that he is holding something like a basket in his right hand and looking at the surface of the water? Let's move even closer.

Oh! This is just like looking for gold dust, isn't it?

And it is indeed true! This is how he searches for coins and precious metals that have sunk to the bottom of the river! And if you look closely, you will see that all the people around him are doing the same thing!

The reason why they are doing this is because here in Haridwar, a huge puja is held every day, and huge offerings are given here. But as we have seen, when the prayers start, the place becomes crowded like a shura. In such a situation, it often happens that people drop their money or other ornaments in the river by some mistake. This is how they collect them.

I was completely taken aback by such a scene unfolding in the holy land of the Ganges. It is beyond my comprehension that the sacred and the mundane can coexist so well.

People bathing in the holy Ganges.

It's easy to put it this way.

But how miscellaneous a world is unfolding in that Ganges!

After all, there is no room for Buddha here. There is no point in saying to the people here, "Bathing is meaningless. They will not understand if I tell them to live modestly, do good things and do not do bad things, and to be liberated from samsara. The people here all believe in the purification of the Ganges and pray for the happiness of this life and the next. They also enjoy from the bottom of their hearts the Hindu-like festive space created by Haridwar.

In this kind of Indian national and religious character, Buddha denied them. Buddha is an extraordinary outsider, after all. We need to find out more about how his teachings spread throughout India.

I am glad I came here after all. There are things that I feel only because I have been there.

There is no way Buddhism can spread in this place!"

I thought so. It is a fact that Buddhism, although it died out in the 13th century, continued to flourish in India even after the death of the Buddha. The question became clear to me: Why did Buddhism become such a great force in India? How did Buddhism become such a powerful force in India? Who listened to Buddha's teachings? I will continue my study focusing on this question.

My stay in Haridwar was an unforgettable encounter with the Hindu world.

*By the way, after all my trips to India, I got right to it.The life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as seen through local photographs.will be a biography of Buddha written with an emphasis on this very perspective. In particular"⒁The historical background of India, where Buddhism was born - What is the history and worldview of the ancient Indian religion of Brahmanism? And a word about the caste system."The series of articles from the following pages discuss in detail the historical background of the Buddha's acceptance in India. These articles were born out of my experience in Haridwar. In this sense, my stay in Haridwar was a truly gratifying experience for me.

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