|No wonder more and more people want to visit Kumbha Melas.
Last Kumbh Mela witnessed 10 million people visiting this great assembly of pilgrims making it the largest religious gathering of the world. The power of faith and spiritual zeal is such that men and women, old and young, rich and poor, strong and weak take this journey to one of the Holy cities (Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik) wherever the Kumbh Mela is held and take a dip in holy rivers. This act of faith is bewildering to many of us. Imagine 10 million people gathering in one place along with sages and sadhus, with positive thoughts and inclinations, the energy becomes electrifying and one feels really revived after this experience.
Kumbh in Sankrit means pitcher or urn. It is the astrological sign of Aquarius in Indian astrology under which the festival is celebrated. Mela means a fair or a gathering. Mention of Kumbh Mela dates back to Vedic period when river festivals started getting organised.
Accordingly to Hindu Mythology Kumbh Mela ‘s origin is found the one of the popular creation myths and the Hindu theories on evolution. At a time when Gods’ strength was waning and demons were becoming powerful it was told to Gods by Lord Vishnu (The Creator) that they would require Amrit (Nector) to regain their strength. The nector was not easy to obtain as it could only be obtained by churning of Ksheer Sagar (ocean of milk). This stupendous task could not be done by Gods alone and hence they had to lure Demons to participate in churning of the ocean with the promise of sharing the wealth equally. When the Kumbh or pitcher with nectar appeared a battle between the two perpetual enemies ensued. This battle lasted for twelve days ( Twelve Human Years). Meanwhile the pitcher was transported to heavens by Lord Vishnu through his mount, the celestial bird Garuda. On the way some of the nectar got spilled in four places namely in Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik, where Kumbh now is celebrated under certain planetary positions.
The Kumbh Mela is celebrated every three years in one of the four holy places The Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad, while the Purna (complete) Kumbh always takes place at Allahabad every twelve years. Mahakumbh (The Great Kumbh) is held in Allhahabad every 144 years as such planetary positions occur only after 144 years. Last Purna Kumbh was celebrated in Allahabad in 2001.
It is said that due the fact that nectar was spilled in these places and due to planetary positions under which the Kumbh is celebrated, charges the waters with positivity and energy. The belief is that holy dip during this period in these places gives salvation to human soul from the cycle of birth and death. The pilgrims arrive from all over the world to take holy dip on specified days and listen to many different spiritual discourses. Many religious doctrines are discussed and debated in various religious gatherings. Open kitchens are organised for mass feeding of pilgrims. The sadhus from different sects are assembled for the holy dip. They follow different traditions. Naga Sadhus who usually are not seen outside their abodes as they have renounced the world, come out in their famous ash dabbed bodies and are given the first right to take the holy dip.
There are people who visit Kumbh Melas not because of religious reasons but to celebrate human spirit which is in eternal quest for salvation. The sea of people in various shape and sizes, different values and ethics gather here and for those few days and moments, forget about their earthly ambitions and desires, miseries and sorrows to seek spiritual joy and Nirvana from the cycle of birth and death. They witness how faith conquers all else and how people bear any sort of misery to get salvation. This never dying hope of human kind to get eternal peace is prevailing in such abundance in Kumbh Mela that it almost becomes tangible.
Come visit Kumbh Mela and be a part of this Mega event which celebrates Human Spirit in its unique style. This experience can’t be recreated in words. Be part of it and feel the difference it brings to your life and soul.