From Mt. Kailas,
birthplace of Shiva,
Lord of All,
the snow slides down the Himalayas
melting into pure water
and becomes Ganga
the holiest of rivers.

Absorbing the works of nature
and of man, it flows
past temples, villages,
rice fields and factories,
and Calcutta slums,
and comes,
at last, to meet the sea
in the Bay of Bengal.

On its way
it purifies the faithful,
accepts the bodies of the dead
and funeral relics,
washes elephants,
infuses tea;
and harbours cholera
and an influx
of chemicals and sewage.

As a carrier
it is a vehicle of Life.
According to its contents,
it sustains
or kills!


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