Friday, December 07, 2007

Flowers for Trinitron.

New sadhus such as he will be cannot stay in Bombay, Sevantibhai explains. When they go around the high-rise flats for their daily round of gathering food, the doors are usually shut. Sevantibhai never refers to food-gathering as begging -- a man from a business community like the Jains is never a beggar -- but as gocari, the grazing of a cow, which only takes some grass, never the whole clump. They have to walk around with a layperson to ring the bell (the use of electric appliances is forbidden). "If the door is opened, the television is usually on, and if the sadhu's glance happens to fall on the TV just once, it is enough to send him straight to hell." The layman has to make sure, after pressing the bell, that the TV is switched off before the monk walks straight into the kitchen to gather the food. "Dharma Labh," says the monk, inviting the householder to gain religious merit, and inspects all the pots, and takes from each only enough so that the family does not have to cook again, in which case the sin of the second fire would accumulate to the monk. The monk will graze in several different houses, once a day, mixing everything he finds into one or two pots: vegetables, rice, dal, and chapatis from different kitchens, mixed together and eaten cold, strictly for sustenance. Here, too, Bombay makes a monk's grazing difficult. In towns like Ahmadabad, a monk can tell in advance if the television is on in a particular house, because the doors are never closed during the day.
Suketu Mehta, Maximum City 502-03 (Vintage, 2005).

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]