Have you helped some one to die? No I am not talking about euthanasia. In fact I am talking about a hostel cum home were you can come and die i.e “Mukti Bhawan”. Varanasi holds an important place in Hindu mythology. Being the oldest holiest city in the world and the land of Shiva, this is a place to get Moksha. It is believed that if any one dies or is burnt here gets Moksha. The term Moksha is the Hindu concept of liberation from the trials and tribulations of life. It is when you give up all materialistic pleasures and become one with your self or the Atma. Though Moksha or true liberation can be attained even while living, it is believed that attaining Moksha on your death-bed frees you from the cycle of life and death and your soul is free ever after. Mukti Bhawan is situated in Varanasi very close to a bank named Harishchandra Ghat. A ghat which has historic significance and is respected by all dead or living here. Harishchandra Ghat is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi and is named after a mythological King Harish Chandra, who once worked at the cremation ground here for the perseverance of truth and charity. It is believed that the Gods rewarded him for his resolve, charity and truthfulness and restored his lost throne and his dead son to him.
Mukti Bhawan is not a place for you to come and commit suicide as suicide is prohibited in Hindu religion, but it is a place were people on their death beds come and wait for their death. This can be detected by the age and the feeling of “end is near” of every renter . A person can max book a room for 2-3 weeks . If ‘Yumraj’ doesn’t appear during their stay , the person either have to leave the room or share it with other guest. The house manager Bhairav Nath Shukla along with his team has been serving here from past 45 years, with a minimum charge. As the part of the stay one get a share basis maid, a common cook, a priest for the last rites . Unfortunately people who visit and wait for their death are abandoned, lost, mentally ill elderly people whose friends and family have declined to take care of them at this stage. Mukti Bhawan give them a chance to feel wanted again, it gives a chance to live once more before dying. as well it provides them peaceful death.
Varanasi is an amusing place where I have been able to live their for 3 long years and I am still amazed by the culture, life and cosmic energy of it. It is a place where you can get lost easily in the never ending galis, where you can have finger-licking food, where river Ganges is more than just a river, where sadhus use smart phones, where the current PM of India Narendra Modi won the 2014 Lok Sabha seat from and also where if you are lucky enough to die, can break from this cycle of life and death.