It’s going to feel wondrous. You will sense it in your bones, but you will not be able to rationally explain it. Alongside the horror and people urinating on the streets, you will glimpse hands joined in prayer in front of human deities with terrene needs. Observing Kolkata from the top of your hotel, you will feel that entire humanity dream while the night embraces you and humidity does not cut you some slack. Your socks turn into a breeding-ground for germs, while you walk the floors of temples with refined walls and immense paintings on their walls. At their entrance, you will stare at the Wheel of Life: you will be amazed to discover how many of its imageries are similar to the ones you saw in Dante’s Comedy. You will understand that there is one common message in the world: do not hurt others, as nobody wants to suffer. You will stare straight into Yama’s eyes, the Lord of Death that fiercely holds the Wheel, and then you will notice Buddha Sakyamuni, who is pointing you toward an external destination, towards infinity. You will encounter many of His manifestations, with different names, mudrā and positions which you will desperately try to remember but miserably forget after not even an hour. While you cross the bridge towards Howrah, on that taxi, you will realise you are part of samsara, the ocean of the material existence. This is what Kolkata probably is: this metropolis is difficult to accept, impossible to leave; it will rise up to the unexpected highs and will then push you back into the cycle of existences. Illusion, reality, devotion, loss, richness.
- To see the beauty and the horror in ordinary things – Kolkata part 2
- India: 4 shades of spirituality