Monday, July 13, 2015

Step by Step

This red-robed man at Lingyin Temple attracted a bit of attention. Prone on the ground, he then stood up, took a step, raised his arms upward and then pressed his hands together, after which he resumed the prone position, aided slightly by the wooden mitts. Obviously practiced, he slowly but steadily made his way up the stairs in a similar manner. During a very brief rest above the flight of stairs, a visitor approached him and gave him some money.
The act of outward piety and bodily sacrifice reminded me of my trip in south India down to Velankanni. Here I observed people (of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and perhaps other faiths) crawl on their hands and knees as an act of devotion. Along the road, we had passed by people who had been proceeding along the pavement on their knees for many kilometers. 
Crawling to a church shrine in Velankanni, India

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