The Standing Babas

The Standing Babas were men who’d taken a vow never to sit down, or lie down, ever again, for the rest of their lives. They ate their meals standing up . . . They even slept while they were standing, suspended in harnesses . . . The pain was unending and terrible . . . Tormented, tortured, the Standing Babas were never still. They shifted constantly from foot to foot in a gentle, swaying dance . . . The faces of the Babas were radiant with their excruciation . . . [they] assumed a luminous, transcendent beatitude. Light, made from the agonies they suffered, streamed from their eyes . . . The Babas were also comprehensively, celestially, and magnificently stoned. They smoked nothing Kashmiri – the best hashish in the world . . . and they smoked it all day, and all night, all their lives . . . For a tiny moment in the infinitude of his suffering I almost felt it, what the human will can drive the human body to endure and achieve.

– Gregory David Roberts, “Shantaram”

5 comments on “The Standing Babas

  1. t33ndr3am says:

    Your artwork is gorgeous.

  2. Katy Taylor says:

    in my experience of Will, there is also a way that we can align ourselves with Divine Will, and then it is not a torture for the body, but the surrender of the bodysoul in alignment with Divine Will. that said, there’d have to be a reallly good reason to take on such a thing! tell me about the eyes, mary.

  3. katy, the eyes are described in the book:
    [they] assumed a luminous, transcendent beatitude. Light, made from the agonies they suffered, streamed from their eyes.
    (there’s more about the eyes . . . i excerpted sections for this blog)

    the standing babas were in pain all the time – are in pain all the time, assuming they still exist. they rocked back and forth, changing feet, to attempt to alleviate the pain. i recommend the book, Shantaram – it’s about so much more than just these baba’s. but the standing babas have stayed with me so i decided to draw their effect on me. and, seriously, would a woman ever conceive such a thing? i am doubtful.

  4. katy, and yes, if you are wondering, i know that my painting implies more than.

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