6.26.2013

2013 Kedarnath deluge - When the Lord of Destruction speaks

I have been watching the news for a while, looking at the world scampering around to rescue people stuck in the mountains with no help to get away from the great deluge. I heard the news anchors asking those responsible to account for their inaction, questioning whether this catastrophe was man made, whether we had plundered the great Himalayan foothills and not thought hard enough about the consequences. I thought about all the staunch temple rules that get thrown on devotees when they trek so long to see a glimpse of the Great Lord. 

It brought in a few thoughts... few serious thoughts about how we the people, Hindus  view our faith. I am no one to teach it, but I am an observer...and as an observer I speak. 

The story of Baghirathi wishing for the Ganges to come down to earth and give us life giving water almost came to life here. She came down roaring, crashing through the mountains, bringing to life the power of this mythology but with a difference. Lord Shiva didn't stand in the way to hold down her power in his matted locks. This is the power of the river, brilliant, intense, wrecking every little piece of man made atrocity in its path sending home the powerful message, YOU are a miserable small entity of life on this planet so stay that way.

It strangely reminded me of the Titanic, a grand ship that was built to defy nature and and nature consumed it in minutes with no survivors. We dug into the very foundation of the mountains and hoped to have things standing when they actually fell into the storming river like a bunch of miserable unstable pack of cards. 

Then came the picture of Bhairava in my mind, the fierce form of Lord Shiva. As I watched the Times Now correspondent walk through the Kedarnath temple with his shoes on, flashing the camera at the main shrine which is strictly forbidden these days and closing his nose to the stench of decaying bodies around him, all I could visualize was Ughra Tandava. 
Clearly the Ughra Tandava is not a pretty dance, its energetic in a stage littered with the dead, displaying the wrath of the God, expressing his fury when we miserable creatures hinder the ways of nature. I almost heard his cackling laughter. I wondered, I could feel the pulse of his fury, I could realize the intensity of the picture of truth, I could see the face of death as strongly as I saw the face of life and I could relate to the true meaning of the Kala Bhairava. How many of us have the capacity to withstand and love and worship this form? Isn't he so much better within the cage of a picture frame rather than as a demonstration of his capability!

And then came the horror of another possible truth that the people are probably totally unaware of and don't have the time to worry about. Amarnath Linga has disappeared into the waters, and the Kedarnath Linga is neck deep inside a pile of quick sand to a depth of 9 feet [Times Now coverage]. Was this an attempt of the great God to disappear into the earth leaving us to perish in this world that is slowly getting cheated off the sacred emblems that protect it? Are the great Gods leaving us to our peril? Is this the start of the ending of the great Kali Yuga? We have evolved too and our instincts yell out about such a fate a little too loudly these days.

If this is the beginning of the end, its a grand picture to watch, to observe the power of nature as it unfolds. The common thought is why kill the innocent people? I have not lost anyone personally but my heart sinks in sorrow for those who perished. And yet, I wonder that if I had to die, wouldn't it be a great place and a great way to die, at the shrine of the Lord of Kedarnath? I rather die overnight in the deluge next to the sacred emblem and hope for salvation from this existence rather than lie rotting like a vegetable in some god forsaken hospital looking at people waiting for me to die. And if the people were washed away by the great deluge, maybe it was Karma that applied on them. End of the day, no one is innocent and everyone who lives today is a sinner small or big. And of course, the truth is inevitable... we are born and therefore we will die.  

And yet through all this hardship and survival, those who have been air lifted are just thanking their stars that while they went to Kedarnath and wished for petty things, the Lord of Destruction actually granted them another life. The only hope visible in this whole tragedy are the two sacred fresh Vilva leaves that continue to hold fort on the head of the sacred Linga of Kedarnath. Isn't it strange that the lightest and easily damageable Vilva leaf remains protected over the Lord's head while people lie dead around Him. 

The Lord has spoken, expressing his discontent and wiping off those who had to go. The great army of Yama swept through the Himalayan valley picking up all those who perished along with the waters. The Great Mother Ganges, blessed the parched earth with her life giving waters to those who survived. To the great Gods I bow and thank them for this powerful message, for this great spectacle of life and death playing on the stage of the Himalayan foot hills. 

Har Har Mahadev. 

11 comments:

Raju said...

Impressive and good one; but i doubt if mahadev has something to do with this floods, he/god is just bound to the karma(work (but not destiny)-of human beings).. as one do his karma....so ones' reaps his karma phala (results)...interconnected with all human beings....

Rakesh Nagavarapu said...

Very well written. Thank you

Sunline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anuradha Goyal said...

This is one of thought thought processes that I wish I had written. Very well said, and may it is time for the end of Kali Yuga.

Suhas Nawathe said...

A few points discussed / written in media like (a) this was anticipated as per CAG report of 2009, (b) the scientific causes of the deluge (c) precautions to avoid this deluge prescribed were ignored by the local government(cost of which was just 15% of the releief package now announced by PM etc. whether or not should be considered / thought of before claiming this as a beginning of THE END of KALIYUGA. By the way, though I have yet to decide for myself whether I am an atheist or not, I feel I must believe in Science and also bow down to the holy power, whose few acts even today's Science has to explain.

Anonymous said...

Came upon this while following news about the tragedy. My take is that the deluge was a Natural occurance like Katrina and Sandy here, worsened by neglect of ecological pointers and unpreparedness of the administration to handle crowds. Human Foolishness garners its inevitable consequences. Neither a God nor its man-made Symbols has anything to do with it . Precious lives were lost and it wouldn't do for us to claim that they somehow deserved their fate, as the tone of the article seems to suggest.
Some years ago a similar mishap happened in Amarnath , but sadly, no lessons were learnt from it.
Satish Vythyanathan
Dayton, USA

MAHESH said...

Just came across this blog, and this entry. What you say maybe true. And yet, Shankara Bhagavad Pada describes Bhairava as 'Kripaakaram' and 'Bhaktavatsalam' in the Kaalabhairava Ashtakam. And we do say "Namaami bhagavad paada Sankaram, loka sham karam.". While his fury is existent, should we believe that it is directed indiscriminately? And that all who died in the flood, deserved to? I don't have an answer. Maybe yes, maybe no. But I do believe, that we love to see Shankara, as Rudra, or Bhairava. :-)

MAHESH said...

Came across this blog, and this entry, and I had to say this. Why do we romanticize the notion of Bhairava as the destroyer? Shankara Bhagavad Paada calls him "Krupaakaram" and "Bhakta vatsalam" in his Kaalabhairavaashtakam. We still say "Shankaram loka sham karam" - the deliverer of good to the world. Did everyone who died in that flood deserve to die? I don't have an answer. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn't. But was it due to the anger of the Lord? "Those who had to go, had to go?" Are we being judgmental there? Is this the same god who we ask for "Mrutyormuksheeyamaamrutaat" in the Sri Rudram? I still admit I'm not an expert, and I could be wrong.

Kavitha said...

Hi Mahesh

Its a nice thought painted in your comment which makes me think again, why do we consider death bad?

Its inevitable and the fear of the unknown paints death as this pathetic culmination of all our earthly existence.

I personally have grown to love death as a concept. Not so much the real experience :) But yes, i am slowly crossing that hurdle.

Death is not bad, its not wrong, its not fearsome. Its just transition that is bound to happen. So maybe, those who died were meant to go. And why do we feel that god should deal with us differently than other animals. I dont see anyone weeping over dead cattle in the same flood. We are Pashu, and like other animals we also die in masses... just the way nature works...and we are no exception to the rule.

Regards
Kavitha

MAHESH said...

Interesting thought about death there. And you could be right. Death is after all the shrugging off, of the sthoola sharira... :-)

Kalyan said...

When such tragedy occurs particularly on a mass scale we feel terribly upset and wonder why God is punishing the very beings who had gone to worship . Your views on comparing such death to dying in hospitals is indeed thought provoking and gives a different perspective. At the same time supposing the tragedy had not occurred would they have not lived for some more years?Ultimately we all have to reconcile to the fact that death is inevitable and God's will has to prevail.
Good article Kaitha.
Kalyan95385