The Trade of the Corpse

Laxman Biyogi

He said—
“I cannot cremate my mother’s corpse.”
Another one said—
“I cannot cremate my father’s corpse.”
He, she, and they
are all lined up
on the banks of the Bagmati

On everyone’s face,
the blaze of silence is running
with pain, the hearts are tormented.
The hearts or the livers,
side by side, are broken into slices;
and are humming the flute of lamentation

They all, including him
are still waiting for their turns
to burn the  bodies
of their sleeping kin—
parents, husbands, wives,
brothers, sisters,
and countless relatives!

A short distance away,
there is an ‘electric crematorium’
From its chimney,
a strange odor mixed with smoke
is wafting out slowly

Yes, he also considers himself the boss,
and separates the rich and the poor.
What an extraordinary talent!
He tags even the corpses
With castles and huts

After an easy reach at the cremation ground,
the aristocrat sleeps on the Brahmanal,
crosses it and enters heaven.
What an irony !
The feeble poor of the huts
wait for their turns until sunset

Shouts the clerk of the graveyard
like a free bull:
“Why did you bring it here before date?
Hunger is forbidden here.”
Soon he sweetens his tongue:
“If you want admission, pay for it;
put the cash inside that box — whatever you have,
gold, silver, or diamond!

Salute to you, destiny!
Taxes are levied
On the living and even on the dead!
A miracle you are; wonderful is your policy!
How long will the exchange on the corpses last?
How long will your veracious eating drag,
by persuading while living,
and by dragging after death?

By staying on the peak,
and exploding obedience
how long will you become Hitler
and continue killing the innocent Jews?
Those who did not pay the tax
are not allowed to live.
You even snatched their right
to be burnt after death?

On the other side is,
a huge idol of Aradhyadeva;
The huge pile of corpses
lies under its feet
Those corpses are to be cremated.

How do you separate
the skull of the rich and the poor?
On what basis do you send the deceased
to heaven or hell?

Yes! The pillow of money
is your favourite one;
You become drowsy
on diamonds and pearls,
not on the hemp and datura alba
otherwise, O Pashupatinath,
how long will you keep looking
at this business of the dead?

Translated by Tika Ram Khanal
——————————————————————————————————————————— According to Hindu mythology, after death, one has to pass through ‘Brahmanal’ to enter heaven.
— According to Hinduism, Lord Pashupatinath has many synonyms: Aaradhyadev, Mahadev, Shivaji, Shankar, Shambho, Kailashnath, etc.