Nepal: a little taste of sacredness.

A journey in Nepal puts to the test any concept of “sacred” with leaves home everyone of us…actually it puts to the test any concept!

The flight over the Himalayas I already showed you was without doubt one of the experiences I most appreciated thanks to its majesty, in this so “absurd” country, different from our rules.

As regards the Mount Everest, the aspects of the sacred are endless and so different that it’s impossible to do a reliable list. It’s enough a little research on the web to realize it.

In this post I grasp the idea suggested by Monica on her blog with “the sacred of my travels”  to go into a few aspects of the sacred in Nepal.

It will be a post different from usual since it’s unlike me choosing only three photos. I love the photography and I often think it needn’t any comments and it is the most fair, subjective and objective thing in the same time, to convey the idea of a place, a moment, a situation …and in this case of something we don’t understand.

So here I am to select the only three ones I think are the most important. Monica!!! Then we have to change this story and reach almost ten since I am not able to choose so few photos!

In fact I can’t show you the Kumari, the Tibetan ceremony, the temples scattered in the town, the women in prayer and much more.

Anyway here are my three photos.

They needn’t many comments nor opinions. Maybe only a little contextualization, that is very difficult to give in some situations. It’s difficult because it would be too easy a strength judgment, it’s difficult because it cannot be took from the context and in the meantime the context is difficult – actually impossible – to understand to us.

We are not able to take off the tourist clothes and above all we are not able not to judge, even if we try to do it.

  1. This is a place where the animals’ sacrifices take place. Fowls, cocks, hens, goats…taken to the temple with the cableway (paying the single ticket) and sacrificed here in a cacophony of sounds, smells, chaos (and turning western people’s stomach) beyond description.

I’m not fussy, I eat meat and I have been living in the country since I was a child. I always watched kill a chicken or a rabbit and I don’t make it a conformism issue or a false moralism but I can assure you that seeing these people barefoot (please, note the floor), around a nauseating smell, this animal carried away with its head cut off and the blood spattering everywhere on the people around, on the white blouses, while the nerve endings still make wag it…it’s really a nauseating experience.

I have a photo about what I have just described but I haven’t got the heart to show it.

The most difficult thing it was to try mediating all this to my twelve years old daughter. We already prepared her about what she was going to see: she watched everything opening her eyes wide crying out pedantic: “Mum. You can say what you want. I never tell no one because I know you don’t agree and you don’t want but you cannot prevent me thinking about it. We are a superior civilization!”

In that moment I was speechless and I continued asking myself whether travelling really opens her mind as I always claimed or whether is closing it by an hermetic way!

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2 –             Here there are the contrast between the sacred and the profane. At the temple the holy men live on offers. The poor people dying of hunger give – and waste – in these places – money, rice, fruit and much more.

I never made a secret of being a believer. In these places that don’t belong to us for culture and tradition, in front of the surreal scenes we experience here, in places where our faith has nothing to do, we are put to test. We look into our heart, we ask ourselves, I don’t deny that…yeah, we doubt, too.

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3 –  At last I left this photo. If I don’t write anything probably it alone gives off joy and cheerfulness.

Children are given to the temple by their parents when they are 4 or 5 years old, yet.

For them as children it’s a honour to be there: they play, study, enjoy themselves and eat regularly. When they grow up, they are tourists’ guide visiting the temple and they get ready to claim strongly and firmly to be there it’s a free choice and they are very happy to do the monk. But they claim it too times, even when they are asked nothing.

Certainly it’s a privileged condition but my the soul is fill with sadness too often in this country.

As a mother I can’t not think about these children that will never experience a warm embrace, their mother and their father’s kiss in the evening and in the morning. The warm of a welcome in the family at the first teenage problems.

The love of a mother can’t be reduced to an issue of different cultures!

In front of these scenes my daughter asks herself in a loud voice whether it’s better or worse to be Kumari or a monk. The Kumari is a child goodness chosen by terrible ways when she is 3 or 4 years old, pampered and venerated, she lives according to absurd rules and she goes back to her normal life when she has her first period.

I answered her that for me it was better the Kumari: at least there were time limits. First Valeria try to say that it’s better to be a monk because they play together and enjoy themselves (and here her regret to be an only child comes out strongly and she makes it notice to me every time by shifty ways!). Then she thinks a bit about it. She looks at me and claims:

“Mum. Do you realize what question I did??? It’s like asking whether you prefer to be cut the right arm or the left leg!”

How don’t define it an exclamation of great wisdom???

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