Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Sky Clad Jain

Before we left for India, the religion I was most interested in observing was the Jain. The Jains consist of two categories the Sky clad(monks) and lay-people. I am more interested in the Sky clad members. From what I understood these people are the most careful humans alive; among other things they brush away the bugs in the dirt before each step and won't wear any clothes because it could have been a home of an animal. My idea of these people were completely different before I actually saw a practitioner in action. As we were leaving the sunset ceremony in Assi ghat, Varanasi, he walked up behind us - walking is more like a pace of a slug. He was a person folded, he had spent so much time bent over sweeping bugs that he had locked himself in a bent position. His left arm used to be the limb holding the broom but it was so weak he could not continue to hold a broom. That arm was also locked in position between his legs just as he was stuck bent over. His right arm was dragging a begging bowl behind him. This arm had become longer than the other, just as my right arm has grown a couple inches longer than my left because of a life filled with tennis serves and football throwing, his had grown somewhere between 6 and 8 inches because of the weight of the bowl - that was maybe a pound. When I thought about the Sky clad Jainists I decided I would love to converse with one, but I figured had I talked with this man he might die off mid sentence, so I just watched and will forever have this image branded in my head.

No comments: