Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rudraksha (Prayer Beads) — Mindy Stricke

Mindy Strike is beginning a new series of photographs and interviews about grief.  The first is with Sharada Eswar, about her father's death 16 years ago.

"In Hinduism, there are many ceremonies that take place during the 13 days after a death. My mom's older sister, who was with us throughout that period, is very traditional, and had a beautiful way of explaining the rituals and the stories behind them. Death is such a strange thing that even if you consider all of these rituals as old grandmothers’ tales, you still want to do them when something happens to you personally.

It was all about my dad's soul reaching moksha—not exactly heaven, but a safe place—and you want to do everything to insure that happens. For instance, on the 13th day, one makes donations. Some of them are symbolic, like you're supposed to donate a cow. And you do that because it's a long journey from this world to that world, and the soul has to to be nourished, and the cow is a provider of food.

Another example, on the 9th and the 10th day is when people come and visit you, and they wail loudly, I mean it's almost like Greek keening. At first it sounds irritating, but then it becomes comforting. Just being together. Though I think some part of you wants to be alone, there's also a part of you that doesn’t."

Rudraksha (Prayer Beads) — Mindy Stricke

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