Poison – II: Vultures In The Green, Rolling Hills

I was planning to write about the Shah Of Blah, but he has to wait for a few days.

This video, if it plays, comes with a statutory warning: watch with care. It may offend many.

Yet, it is a video that forced me to re-evaluate some of my perceptions. It forces us to think.

When I saw the video, and saw the people cutting off pieces of the flesh of the corpses, and then feeding the corpses to the vultures, my initial reaction was of shock and revulsion. “How could they?”, I thought. “How very horrifying and disgusting”.

Yet, as I watched, and saw the vultures feeding in the calm landscaped countryside, I asked myself the question – “Why don’t I recall when I watch a butcher slice the skin and flesh off a goat?”

One man’s poison, is another man’s way of life.

Why indeed, do I look on calmly and think food?

The people were feeding the dead to the vultures. The vultures were feeding, and acting in accordance to their nature. When we see a vulture feeding off a dead carcass, we shrug our natures, and say, “Nature”.

When I saw the vultures feeding off the corpses (note – corpse, not carcass. Different word), I recoiled. this was my natural reaction.

While I do not advocate that we start chopping people to death (we have innovative ways enough of bombing them to death), and start feeding them to vultures, the video forced me to acknowledge a few things.

We are driven by our cultural upbringing and perceptions of the way of the world, and the natural order of things. The people in the video probably felt that they were just feeding the vultures. I don’t know. Perhaps, they felt that they were preserving the natural order of things. Maybe, they felt that this way they treated the dead, and the vultures, with respect.

While we are comfortable (or not) with pressing a button and sending bombs down to earth, we are not comfortable with death when we come across it close enough.

Death makes angels of us all, said Jim Morrison. Death surrounds us every day, and we do not like to face the uncomfortable aspects of death.

For those of you who did manage to watch the video to the end, and who got past the initial reaction of shock and disgust – what did the video say to you?

What perceptions did it force you to re-evaulate?

What questions did you ask of yourself?

Did it push you beyond your zone of comfort?

Did I provide you with a dose of poison?

 

30 Comments

  1. I didn’t watch the video Rajiv – because it doesn’t want to download on my computer, but I totally agree with all you say. Honestly – I wouldn’t mind being eaten by vultures when I’m gone – there’s too little space as it is left on our old planet to add more cemetaries, and once we’re gone what difference does it make whether we’re eaten unseen by worms or eaten under the sky by those created to do the job. Beautiful sentiments. Thank you for sharing them. 🙂

    1. I did not think about being eaten by vultures, because we get cremated. We don’t add to space, but we do add to smoke. Electric crematoriums are becoming more popular.

      I was told that the Parsis of India out their dead into The Towers of Silence, where they are eaten by vultures.

  2. I felt a bit shocked when I first saw this, but it’s something I can be inured to. It’s natural. The body is nothing more than an inanimate object after the spirit departs. I’d like my own body to be disposed in this manner if it were legal in America. In fact, Native Americans once called this “sky burial”. They left bodies on pyres at mountain tops, for the buzzards to consume. The buzzards then supposedly carried the spirits to the sky.

  3. Some people in Peru truss up corpses very tightly and leave them high up in the mountains, to decompose and be eaten by Condors and the like. It is a very sacred act to them to continue the cycle of life by becoming food for the creatures of the earth. There is nothing offensive or revolting about it to me – whatever happens to my body at that time, “I” will be long gone. Going into the belly of a Condor will mean that I can fly 😉 Peace . . .

    1. Yes, after I got over my initial shock, I thought exactly the same thing. The words you used, “the cycle of life” captures it perfectly. I felt somewhat the same – in a way – when I had to dress my father’s body for his cremation earlier this year. While going through the emotions, I also realised that it was an empty shell that I was dressing. The spirit had flown.

      1. Indeed . . . well said. But still, no doubt a difficult time. My condolences on your loss. Peace . . .

  4. I didn’t watch the video because so much suffering has filled my eyes in the last two years, but having seen my share of these videos, I would say sometimes reality is just harsh. We do recoil at it. People will do anything to keep from facing themselves and that is exactly what is needed.

    This was probably a tough post to write. It was excellently written.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it was tough because, after I got over my initial shock, I realised that the people feeding the vultures were doing nothing wrong. The task was to write a post that challenged ( if I may use that word ) without being too self-congratulatory or offensive

  5. Hello Rajiv,
    My comment is late – as always… – but I also thought of ‘sky burial’ when reading your post. Yes, I did have an initial shock when first learning of this, but it makes me think and re-think so many things we take for granted, what we consider ‘proper’ or not. And your words “While we are comfortable (or not) with pressing a button and sending bombs down to earth, we are not comfortable with death when we come across it close enough” are spot-on. As always, thanks for your thought-provoking post.
    Regards,
    Takami

  6. I am with Lisa, having seen too much misery and suffering, that I like her, could not watch this. I understand the concept of the video, yet due to my sensitive nature, not able to watch. The body is nothing more then the means to house the spirit and when the spirit leaves, as it does in death, the body is only molecules and atoms. Nothing more. As Rising Hawk pointed out, the cycle of Life continues no matter what, and there is nothing wrong or disgusting about it. It just IS. You have written this post with great care, Rajiv, and for this I really thank you. I too send Much Love to you as you come to Balance after the loss of your Father. With Love, Amy

  7. Well I watched the video. Rajiv you may find this hard to believe but I am unshakable. I was transfixed by the size of the vultures and the number of them waiting. It reminded me, of any species when they are hungry they will swarm and cluster and even fight for food. My Pa was a hunter so I’m used to seeing things like this. Obviously not a human body being cut up like this. It all seemed not real to me but I know that it is. I find it amazing and I think we’ve talked about this before that each one of those people was someone to somebody. They each had a mom and a dad and not knowing how they ended up dead, leaves me with so many questions. I told you Rajiv, you have so much inside your to share and this my friend leaves me grasping for words. Another wonderful post! I am reading backwards I realize in order. Let me say WOW! Yes do some more on this death! BTW our friend Gigi has a book I am reading Conversations with Death a Love Story, you would like this. Stay safe in your search!

    1. Thanks very much! Yes, I saw that Gigi has a book out. I actually plan to make The Fables of The Shah Of Blah into a book in one year. Or more.

      The conversations take place with Yama, who is the Guardian of the Dead, and the fables start at the Vaitarna, which the river that the souls must cross.

  8. I started watching the video after reading your post. And it made me watch it to the end. I agree with others here. It doesn’t make much difference after death, or so I think. I did hear about the Parsi tradition, but watching it is entirely different.

    Somehow, it humbles me. That the body we become so vain about is eventually going to be destroyed, one way or the other. Its the inside that matters 🙂

  9. You ask the questions I’ve actually been mulling…been meaning to bring up death sometime. I’m having technical trouble – there’s a block on vids on my screen at the moment – but I appreciate your reevaluation of your own response and perspective.

    D.

  10. HELLO Rajiv…
    Before commenting I should tell you….few months ago… I… out of curiosity searched DECOMPOSING HUMANS on google. I was shocked to see how even good looking people become so disgusting i.e, I wasn’t able to eat my food that night. Later I began to think WHAT is our body for?
    everyone is just gonna become like that. What is the difference? you are no longer who think you are ….. that experience was little eye-opening for me…of course I am still at a very young age but have decided to do something in my life so that I may be remembered at least a bit longer after my departure. This video however is a very much appreciable work carried out by you. Unlike the other time this WAS’NT disturbing to me or poison:) as you called it. A very nice attempt, I can call it.
    BEST OF LUCK….
    And how is your mother now? I pray for her health……..
    regards
    Manoj

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