Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kumbha Mela: An Unique Celebration Of Unity In Diversity!!!

You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean, in a drop ~ Rumi

The very mention of “Kumbha” more clearly “KumbhaMela” had always been bit scary and frightening to me in my babyhood days. You know…those stories of My Granny had always a missing girl in Kumbh Mela who was distanced from her parents only to face the hell of the world. Nobody was there to take care of her. Also she was not able to find her parents after leaving their hands in the “Kumbha Mela”.
 And finally one fine day by God’s grace her parents find out her and she was back to her home. She learnt a lesson that she would never leave the hands of her parents again in any other gathering.  The moral of the story was never go away from your parents while in a crowd or congregation.
May be the whole idea of My granny was to teach me how to remain with parents and never go anywhere without them and sometime may be inculcating the Faith For the God almighty in me but I was also developing fear towards the “Kumbha Mela”. I used to quickly identify myself with the missing girl. And the very thought of it and the “Kumbha Mela” would be enough to give me a “Goosebumps” as it appeared to me as a place where little girls may part away from their parents.

Well, the horror remained till my teenage. First it became a laughing factor for me following the bollywood dialogues “Kumbh ke Mele Main Bichade Hue Do Bhai” (the two brothers who were separated in Kumbh Mela).
Also after that the fear and apprehensions got converted into intense dislike following the horrifying nasty look (I’m sorry but honestly I used to feel like that
)  of Aghori babas and Naga Sadhus in pictures in any article or every print materials available on “Kumbha Mela”.
I used to wander, to be religious why one needs to look so much ghastly horrible! So in my entire college days I was never interested in learning about “Kumbha Mela” and its significance.

It was only in 2010 when the Maha Kumbha Mela was held in Haridwar and my Parents-in-Laws (Mother in law and Father In law) visited the same, I got some positive inclination towards it.
It is also an interesting story that left us with an amusing memory. That time we were staying at Delhi while my in laws decided to visit the Kumbha Mela. They came from Odisha, visited the same at Haridwar while completely in touch with us through phone. As that time my son wasn’t well, so we couldn’t join them.
One fine day their phone became unreachable while we learnt about the stampede in the news. We were horrified. After much enquiry in vein, we thought might be something wrong had happened with them.
OMG!! Without losing a moment we headed for Haridwar. On reaching there we enquired about them in the Hotels they were staying and every possible place where they could be. But left with no clue about them. Kumbha Mela was almost over by that time. So there was no such dense crowd.

In night as we returned to our Hotel, a phone from an unknown number came. OMG!! It was my Father in Law. He said they had already left Haridwar and that time he was calling from Puri. In our culture, it is believed that, after bathing in Ganga (Ganga Snana), one should first Visit Lord Jagannath then only can go to home. That is the rteligious process which we were not aware. As they lost the mobile, so they couldn’t inform us about their program of leaving Haridwar.Thank God!!
 That was my first visit to Haridwar and my first dip in sacred River Ganga though not witnessing the “Kumbha Mela”. But the residue of preparation was testimony of the immense nature of “Kumbha Mela”.

History and Tradition of Kumbha Mela:
Indeed, the Kumbh Mela is one of the oldest traditions of Hinduism. It is believed to be the largest congregation of devotees in the world on earth. The reason for which it is observed has its origin in the ancient episode of “Sagar Manthan” (Churning Of Ocean) described in the Holy Vedic Texts.

As per the legend, after the joint venture of churning the ocean by both Devas and Asuras  (Gods and Demons) at last “Amrit - the nectar of immortality” was obtained contained in a Kumbh (Pitcher). However the ownership of the same was a matter of discord between two parties that was followed by a fight. During the brawl, it is believed that drops of nectar fall on four places. Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik.

Kumbha Mela 2015 flag Hoisting Ceremony at Nashik.

 Interestingly these four places are geographically situated in the banks of Four Holy Rivers and one mysterious river.  The Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the Godavari at Nashik, the convergence (Tribeni or Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, and the Shipra at Ujjain are the sacred rivers which are worshipped during the Kumbh Mela.

Since then, it is believed that bathing in the holy waters of sacred rivers in these places, (Kumbh Snan) during this virtuous carnival washes away sins, cleanses the soul and leads to Moksha - the liberation.
It is held every third year at one of the above four places in rotation depending upon the position of the planet Jupiter and the Sun according to the India Astrology. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.

Religious significance of Kumbha Mela:

All religions believe that the destiny of mankind is determined by the celestial war that goes on between good and evil. All festivals, in essence, are a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Kumbha Mela is one of the most significant festivals that people often observe very religiously. It makes them feel as if the “drop Of Nectar” dissolved in water of these rivers would enter into them kill all the sins done so far (knowingly or unknowingly) as the antibiotic kills the germs and cleanses the body.

The stunning and extravagant flaunt of faith In KumbhaMela has always been a dot of magnetism to the inquisitiveness of alien travelers from times immemorial. It is believed that the famous 7th century Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang was possibly the first person to mention Kumbh Mela in his diary.
Hiuen-Tsang had given an eyewitness account of the Kumbh Mela a  coverage of  how during the Hindu month of Magha (January-February), half a million people had gathered on the banks of the river Ganges at Allahabad to observe a commemoration that lasted 75 days.

He had written about the pilgrims to the fair assembled along with their king, his ministers, scholars, philosophers and sages. The king had donated huge amounts of gold, silver and jewels in charity to acquire good merit and to assure his place in heaven. Hiuen-Tsang’s testimony indicates that the Kumbh Mela was already quite popular in the 7th century as well.

Spiritual Significance of Kumbha Mela:
Spirituality is often different to different people. But common thing is getting closure to the Almighty – The ultimate source of energy is spirituality.

I personally feel Kumbha Mela represents the “Unity in Diversity” among the different followers of different religions. It goes perfectly with the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma. Often we equate Religion and Dharma. But both of them are fundamentally different. Religion is often monotheistic believe (following one set of rules or God)  while Dharma accommodates or holds together all believes in one place (Dhara eti – Dharmah!!). The Culture of Sanatana Dharma is all about accommodating all those monotheistic believers or religions such as Saivas (Follower of Lord Shiva), Vaishnavs (Follower of Lord Vishnu) …etc. That’s why it is called Eternal as it is a culture that has a room for every human irrespective of their belief system (Co-habitation and Co- existence being the founding principle to ensure Unity) And Kumbha Mela is the meeting point of all those believers. It propagates Unity, brotherhood shedding the difference among humans and their beliefs. May be that’s the symbolic meaning of the holy bath. Shed the difference, feel Human!!

Kumbha means a “pitcher,” which represents the human body or human life. It is made of clay and extremely fragile. It should be baked in the fire of yoga and good karmas (which are often difficult to do) and filled with nectar-like love and devotion. Then only we can celebrate the KumbhaMela in daily life.
Yes, it is required to have KumbhaMela in daily life. When Kumbha (HUMAN BODY) will fill up with nectar like unconditional love, devotion, service and humanity towards the creation the world will be a much better place.

May be the Kumbha Mela symbolically represents the “Meeting point of Virtues to fill up the divinity into the Kumbha – the Body”  !! 

I am unraveling the mysteries of Kumbh Mela by participating in the #TheKumbhMelaExperience activity at BlogAdda in association withAnugraha

Images - courtsey Google Images

1 comment:

  1. Such a great information on ujjain city and simhastha 2016. Also helpful to search and full details on history of kumbh mela. Thanks for it...