Karla and Shantaram
She kissed me, and our bodies settled together on the yielding sand. She clasped her hand in mine, and with our arms outstretched above our heads we made love while he praying moon seduced he sea, luring the waves crash and crumble on the charmed, unfailing shore.
And for a week, then, we played at being tourists in Goa. We visited all the beaches on the coast of the Arabian Sea, from Chapora to Cape Rama. We slept for two nights on the white gold wonder of Colva Beach. We inspected all the churches in the Old Goa settlement. The Festival of Francis Xavier, held on the anniversary of the saint’s death, every year, bound us in immense crowds of happy, hysterical pilgrims. The streets were thronged with people on their Sunday-best clothes. Merchants and street-stall operators came from all over the territory. Processions of the blind, the lame, and he afflicted, hoping for a miracle, rambled toward the basilica of the saints. Xavier, a Spanish monk, was one of the seven original Jesuits in the order founded by his friend Ignatius Loyola. Xavier died in 1552. He was just forty-six years old, but his spectacular proselytizing missions to India, and what was then called the Far East, established his enduring legend. After numerous burials and disinterments, the much-exhumed body of St. Francis was finally installed in the Basilica in the Bom Jesus, in Goa, in the early seventeenth century. Still remarkably-some would say miraculously-well preserved, the body was exposed to public view once in every ten years. While seemingly immune to decay, the saint’s body has suffered various amputations and subtractions over the centuries. A Portuguese woman had bitten off one of the saint’s toes, in the sixteenth century, in the hope of keeping it as a relic. Parts of the right hand had been sent to religious centers, as had chunks of the holy intestines.
Karla and I offered outrageously extravagant bribes to the caretakers of the basilica, laughing all the while, but they steadfastly refused to allow us a peak at the venerable corpse.
Following extract is copied from Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie
True believers, those nightmarish dreamers, grabbed at the corpse of Ayatollah Khomeini, as once other true believers in another place, in India whose name she bore, had bitten off chunks of the cadaver of St. Francis Xavier. One piece ended up in Macao, another in Rome. She wanted shadows, chiaroscuro, nuance. She wanted to see below the meniscus of the blinding brightness, to push through the hymen of the brightness, into the bloody hidden truth. What was not hidden, what was overt, was not true.
Following is from My Sri Lanka Holidays by bunpeiris.
The most venerated sacred relic of Theravada Buddhism is enshrined at the Holy Temple of the Tooth at Kandy, the medieval cultural capital and the gateway to the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. It is the sacred Tooth relic of Gauthama Buddha, the exposition of which is bound to cause great rain in view of the tremendous atmospheric disturbance caused by the congregation of millions of gods at the location thereon to pay homage to the master who ceased to exist. Those gods are superior beings living in great splendor and grandeur in other planets of the universe who had lent hear to the doctrine of the Gauthama Buddha prior to his final extinction in 543 BC.
Dalada Sirita, a Buddhist treatise advises the exposition of Sacred Relic of Buddha in Kandy Esala Perahera pageant during a drawn out drought. The validity of the advise was authenticated in the year 1829 following a long drawn out drought in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the British Colonial era. The uncommon phenomenon of heavy rain and resulting flood was recorded by then British colonial governor Sir Edward Barnes among the many others.