Chandan - The Damru Man -देवसुत

posted Mar 8, 2013, 10:59 AM by A Billion Stories
"Thirty Three Crore Gods live here" said the mallah (boatman) rowing with both his powerful hands. The audience listened in silence.

The clicking of cameras stopped as all mesmerizingly gazed at the place where dead bodies were being burnt by the river. Four bodies at a time, day and night, wind, rain or shine, all through the year, for the past three thousand years - may be more.

The ash from the cremation floated in the river for a few meters before dissolving in the purest water on earth. The only sound was of the rolling logs being handled for the cremation.

The mallah now rowed with one hand to turn the boat slowly. The cameras were still silent in reverence. A joyride on the boat turned out to be a spiritual journey across three thousand years.

By the time the boat was where it started from, it was evening - a time for "aarti". Six pundits started performing the two hour long pooja. With that started the slow beating of the "damru" (Shiva's drum). This damru was big. It required two strong hands of Chandan who was barely visible even though he was standing in the middle of the gathered crowd.

As the pooja progressed, so did the speed of the rhythm of the damru. The pooja would not stop till it ended, nor would the damru, nor would Chandan. In the last quarter hour, all reached a crescendo. It was both exciting and intoxicating till silence fell when Chandan stopped. The pooja was over.

After quickly catching up with Chandan - lest he disappear in the dispersing crowd, when I asked about his experience - he said "I have been doing this rain or shine, day after day without a break for the past 12 years".

It seemed to be that neither the elements nor death itself matters against the will and faith of man in this ancient city of Benaras (Varanasi).

- -देवसुत

Submitted by: देवसुत
Submitted on: Fri Mar 08 2013 22:39:42 GMT+0530 (IST)
Category: Original
Language: English
Copyright: A Billion Stories (

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