What else has got 'smashed' in the last few years?
The Shiva-lingam at Amarnath is an ice stalagmite that forms in a cave at 3,500m in the north west Himalayas between the months of May and August each year. About 500,000 pilgrims make the 3 day treck each year hoping to catch a glimpse of the icy lingam and receive the blessing from Lord Shiva for their troubles.
However, in the last few years many of the the pilgrims have been missing out. Some say it is global warming, others that it is the body heat from all the pilgrims which is causing the Shiva-lingam to form for shorter and shorter periods each year, but nobody knows why for sure. See Saturday Guardian (28/11/09), Travel Section, for more on the Amarnathyatra.
However, nobody on the pilgrimage appears unduly worried, since, according to the smiling Sadhus on the route,the blessing from Lord Shiva is still assured, icy lingam in situ or not. 'It's a holy mystery' a pilgrim explains, which has to be about right, since Shiva is the Lord of Decreation as well as Creation.
Shiva the smasher.
On Wednesday I am making a different kind of journey to go to Becket's Endgame at the Duchess Theatre in London. Becket is a great smasher too, and in this play he resolutely smashes up everything in sight, the outside world is called 'zero', and those inside await their end with every delusional hope stripped away. Decreation…
… and the gift of space. It's a holy mystery.