In addition to the Buddhist temples referenced yesterday, we visited one of the world’s most famous Hindu temples, Pashupatinath Temple, the most famous temple to lord Shiva. Thousands of people from around the world pass through these 1500+ years old temple grounds on their pilgrimage to find enlightenment, peace, and answers to prayer. Holy men live in caves up river and seek peace and inner depth.
Of the many Hindu beliefs, people believe that if they die with their feet in a holy river (a river that empties into the Ganges, such as Katmandu’s Bagmati), they’ll go straight to Nirvana. Because of this, there’s a home for the dying a few yards from the river—a hospice of sorts.
Here’s the Bagmati River. We sat in silence while watching family members carry deceased loved ones to the banks of the river. We found it hard to process watching the cremation of three precious people. The still burning remains from one such cremation is shown here.
Because Hindus fear the afterlife, there are many sacrifices made to appease the 300,000,000 various Hindu gods. We watched priests and followers perform “puja” as people sought things like a good afterlife for deceased loved ones, fertility, finances, etc. We watched men slaughter a goat and offer it as a sacrifice to the god Shiva. I’ll spare a photo of the goat, but here’s where it died moments before this was taken.
There was a lot of silence the day we visited these temple. It helped us understand Nepal and the people. It helped us understand the history and holidays. It helped us understand the Nepali’s sincere quest for truth and hope, and the fear that accompanies that quest.
I’m so glad that Jesus isn’t the author of fear, but instead of love, power and a sound mind.