Reflections on Water:
How Thoreau's Walden Pond
Mixed with the Ganges
Yoga Came to America
with Swami Vivekananda
“The pure Walden water is mingled
with the sacred waters of the Ganges.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
One early morning during the winter of 1846-47, Henry David Thoreau looked out the window of his small cabin on Walden Pond and witnessed a part of the global ice trade. He saw over a hundred men with horses and saws, cutting the ice of Walden Pond into blocks. From there, the ice was taken to the railroad that ran across the western edge of the pond, conveyed to Boston harbor, packed into a clipper ship and transported over 16,000 miles to Calcutta, India where it quickly sold to grateful members of the East India Company.
Thoreau imagined that ice would eventually melt and run down into the Ganges river and this was what he was referring to when he wrote: “The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred waters of the Ganges.”
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