I found myself with my group heading to a tributary of the Ganges River. It was about 8 in the morning, but I saw a few dozen men in the water bathing in what appeared to be long skirts.
Beyond getting clean, they would scoop handfuls of water and pour it over their heads, in a fashion similar to the way some groups baptize new converts. They also would submerge themselves in the water. My guides told me that they were engaged in these practices to cleanse themselves from sin.
Along the side of the water, I saw a large monkey idol made of an orange substance. Other idols could be found under other trees and throughout a small market area that led to the bathing area.
As I left that place, astounded by what I saw in the in the water, I passed through a small market area filled with people burning incense, reading from their holy books, praying to idols, etc.
After passing through that small market place, there was another tree with countless flowers laid to the left of it and a large bluish idol that looked like a man and had long hair.
I couldn't believe just how much idolatry was present in Calcutta. As I returned to the church started by Mark and Huldah Buntain in 1954, I had an even greater appreciation for the difficulties they faced and the wonder that the church is today with 5000 people and having started 950 other congregations in India.
Labels: Calcutta, Calcutta Mercy Ministries, CMM, India, mission, missions