We take a car from Varanasi to Allahabad, about an hour and a half trip. Our goal is Maharishi’s Smarek. The trip sounded easy enough; of course, we didn’t really have directions. Our driver’s English is a bit spotty but better than our Hindi, which none of us speak. We feel excited, however, and unwilling to let lack of directions get in our way. We jounce our way over cobblestones on our way out of Varanasi.
Once on the road, my attention goes back to the landscape passing our windows. The endless repetition of poverty and trash is broken periodically by green fields and lush plants. It feels like jungle could take India back over in a heartbeat. Again, I’ve noticed more than once the periodic piles of bricks stacked carefully along many roads. It appears that as one structure crumples, the bricks seem to be recycled into a wall, a home, or a shop. I wonder if it is a communal practice or individual industry.
We arrive in Allahabad where Maharishi attended the university, studying physics. Now, we search for the spot where he was cremated and his ashes offered to the rivers at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the underground Saraswati. We cross the Yamuna on the Shastri Bridge, negotiating for passageway with a herd of Brahman bulls also making the crossing.
Tomorrow, the Smarek.
Images: Photos courtesy of Richard Furlough.