Benares

1998 | 00:27:04 | United States | English | Color | Stereo

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Aging, Death and Dying, Expedition/Travel, Religion/Spirituality

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"In 1997 I went to Benares, India to study the Hindu practice of burning the bodies of their dead on the Ganges ghats. My purpose was:

1. To become more at ease with death, a hidden western phenomenon;

2. To de-fuse fear around seeing death;

3. To watch how Hindu elders congregate in Benares to die since dying here in this holy city guarantees "moksha", no rebirth. Visiting temples and ashrams for the elderly allowed me to observe how they use their time and prepare for their eventual passing.

4. To bring back some information on all of the above with me to ponder as I age.

This 27-minute video is the story of my research there, told by me. However, my voice is transformed by the sound technician into a male voice, a symbolic gesture on my part. Because women are not allowed at the burning ghats, a videographer took the footage. I was able to go but only with permission from the chief of police of Benares."

--Linda Montano