I am a Rajasthani baniya, but whenever someone asks my roots, I say I’m from Varanasi. That’s the Four-year transformation Banaras did to me. Life lives here! No wonder it is the oldest living city in the world. One of my hypothesis for the reason of this fact is the reincarnation overload. It is being said that if someone’s body is being cremated at Harishchandra ghat he gets ‘moksha’ which means he is being freed from the vicious cycle of life and his soul meets the supreme lord. Maybe, for this reason, it’s one of the only two places in India where dead bodies are cremated any time of day. However, due to the excessive population of dead bodies and a constant increase in the rate of paap in kalyug, there is an overload on moksha function. Hence souls are being trapped here and the city lives on.
It’s intriguing to note that the element which makes this city mystical is not the river Ganges but the Ghats. This comes from a logical deduction. The Ganges is pure and sacred everywhere and if a comparison is made between other holy and lively cities like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Allahabad etc. the factor which separates out Varanasi is the Ghats. These Ghats are an ecosystem within themselves. Though they are a continuous function of steps with no boundaries ranging from Assi to Raj ghat, each ghat is equally differentiable with its history and individuality. The history of the city can be compiled comprehensively by assigning a chapter to each ghat. However, this history can only be learnt by living in the present and making a trip to these Ghats in Varanasi.
In a novel, there are some chapters which are closer to your heart than the others. Similarly, there are few ghats which connect to your soul more than others. And in those few, there is always a special one. Like in the movie Avatar, for every Navi there was one unique flying creature ‘Ikran’ in Pandora, Tulsi ghat was my ‘Ikran’.
A minute stroll from the busy chaat- shops and fancy rooftop cafeterias from the Assi ghat, some manoeuvring in Y coordinates you reach tulsi ghat. Just like the ‘Sheldon’s Spot’ from the Big bang theory, I had found my own spot at Tulsi ghat. Since it was an open system at Ghats, the variables of ambient temperature had created a spot for each season of the year. In autumn nights the breeze is cold enough to refresh you but not too cold to freeze you at the extended platform with broken mild steel railings. In winters, sitting by the steps, watching evening aarti with a null set mind is a great delight.
In spring the flat wooden benches serve as a bed for night-outs. In mornings watching people offering Ganges water to Sun God after washing their sins is a motivation especially for a pseudo atheist like me.
There is some magic in this ghat that you automatically attain knowledge. You can solve a Bernoulli in the flow of Ganges, write the most sacred book of Hinduism like the Ramcharitamanasa sitting on the steps, discover your inner peace of master Shifu or do a kapalbhati of Baba Ramdev in the morning at those benches or can be a wannabe Wordsworth (me) in the evening on that extended platform.
The depth of discussion versus the no of accompanying persons on this ghat may be inverse hyperbolic but it always remains in the first quadrant. This ghat can handle all type of emotional loads like the first proposal, first kiss, nth rejection, silent tears and the unending introspection of the purpose of life. The memories created on this ghat get stored in cloud computing of this place and remain unetched for eternity.
I don’t understand a ppm of the theory of relativity which assumes time as 4th dimension but I am sure time spent on this ghat will always be of your space wherever you stay in the universe. Juggling between the immortality of life, seasons of year, shades of sun and pollution of the Ganges these Ghats are the only constant thing in Varanasi and will remain so forever.