In another 10 days, I shall be on the plane to my very first pilgrimage in India called Kumbh Mela in Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh state. The Sanskrit word ‘Kumbh‘ can be translated as ‘Pot’, which emerged from ‘Samudra Manthan’ from the Vedic Purana of ‘Churning of the Milky Ocean’ between Gods and Demons. The term ‘Mela’ means ‘Fair’.
Legend has it that churning of the milky ocean by Devas (Gods) and Danavas (Demons) yielded a pot (Kumbh) full of Amrit (nectar). However, the Gods did not wish to share it with the demons. At the instance of Lord Indra, the King of Gods, his son, Jayanta tried to run away with the pot but he was followed by some of the demons.
During the struggle for its possession, a few drops of the nectar dropped at four places corresponding with Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik on the planet earth. The drops of nectar of immortality were well received by the holy rivers at these places. Hence, these are the 4 places where the experience of immortality is eternally available to all beings. It is the place to find solutions from the very life struggles of human beings. Kumbh Melas have been happening on the planet for thousands of years. The stone inscriptions of different akhadas (sects) refer to more than 1,000 Kumbh Melas. Times and technologies have changed, yet one thing about the Kumbh Melas remains: they are the epicenters of cosmic energy.
Kumbh is held at each of the three places namely Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and only Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is held at Ujjain once every 12 years. Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is celebrated as the largest spiritual gathering on the planet earth. The main highlight of this gathering is taking holy dip called Shahi Snaan where millions of devotees all over the world come to take a bath in the holy Rivers purifies the soul and overcomes all the sins. The Hindus believe this pilgrimage to be an opportunity to get ‘moksha’ (liberation) and put an end to the never-ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth (samsara). Hence, Kumbh Melas are spiritual congregations which unite mankind under one banner of austerity, faith and devotion.
The Kumbh Melas are based on the celestial line-up of planets and the signs of the Zodiac which occurs in every 12 years. It is known to be a time when spiritual energy travels all around the place during this holy event. It is a social harmony where you get to see many saints and sadhakas gathering at one place. This event even gives you the chance of seeking the blessings of these pious saints.
Do you know that it is the position of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter in different zodiac signs that determines the location of the Kumbh in each of these places?
For example, Kumbh in Haridwar happens when the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter is in Aquarius it is held in Haridwar. Kumbh in Prayag happens when the Sun is in Capricorn and Jupiter is in Taurus, it is held in Allahabad (Prayag). Kumbh in Nasik happens when Jupiter enters the zodiac sign Leo it is held in Nasik. It is also held in Nasik, when Jupiter, Sun and Moon enter the zodiac sign Cancer on Amavasya. Finally, Kumbh in Ujjain is one of the most sacred places in India, is located on the banks of the sacred river Kshipra in the western region of Madhya Pradesh. Kumbh in Ujjain is held when a rare configuration of planets takes place which happens once in 12 years. When the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter in the zodiac Leo, it is held in Ujjain. Considering its relevance to the zodiac ‘Leo’ meaning ‘Simha’ in Sanskrit, the Kumbh is also referred to as ‘Simhasth Kumbh’. Traditionally, Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is celebrated by various Akharas, where ‘Peshwai’ (Procession) begins in its full glory. The heads of Akharas join the procession on silver throne (Simhasanam) on elephants. It looks magnificent with the presence of armed Sadhus on horses and camels followed by Sadhus, hermits and devotees. Peshwai completes at the Ram Ghat area on the banks of river Kshipra.
Followers of Hinduism of all paths, paramparas (traditions), sects and castes unite under one banner of devotion in the Kumbh Melas. The Kumbh Mela is attended by all sadhus and gurus, of all paths. All the major belief sects, sampradayas of Hinduism: Ganapathya – Ganapathi worshippers, Kumara – Skanda worshippers, Shakta – Devi worshippers, Shaiva – Shiva worshippers, Saura – Surya worshippers, Vaisnava – Vishnu worshippers, and Guru – the worshippers of the Guru. The gods of all the traditions are brought here. Also, all the other traditions, Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission and many other missions representing their gods and gurus also take part in the Kumbh Mela.
Every enlightened being that has happened on the planet, or is happening on the planet, attends the Kumbh Mela. It is said that one enlightened being is equivalent in energy to nine million people. The Kumbh Mela is the time, place and space where all the enlightened masters’ energies are centred to bless and heal the entire planet.
What is the significance of taking the holy dip (snaan)?
If you had read about the experiments by Dr Masaru Emoto, our thoughts and emotions have a distinct effect on our environment. Dr Emoto exposed many samples of the same water to people carrying different emotions and thoughts – anger, violence, pain and love, gratitude, joy. The effect of the thoughts on the water has been proven that thoughts affect water, and hence anything that is fluid. If one person’s thoughts can affect one glass of water, then you can’t imagine the effect of millions of sadhus, devotees and enlightened beings on the sacred rivers. The water, sanctified by these positive energies, becomes amrit or nectar. ‘Kumbh’ is the place where the nectar happens. Kumbh Mela is the place where amrit is distributed. The best possibilities of a human being become available in the Kumbh Melas by partaking of this amrit. As a tradition, deities energised by enlightened masters who have left the body are immersed in water throughout the snaan period of the Kumbh Mela. The healing power of this water is immense. Not only the water, the entire space or kshetra becomes vibrant with their energy.
Since 2012, I had missed 2 Kumbh Melas in Allahabad and Nasik due to fear of the crowd and the attachment to the comfortable modern living. But this year, a big shift happened in me. As a living Hindu, especially if you are also a disciple of a living incarnation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji), who is the Maha Mandaleshwar of Mahanirvani Peeth (the oldest apex body of Hinduism), I just have to kidnap myself there by myself. The process I went through to finally drop everything in my regular life to attend Simhasth Kumbh Mela itself was such a beautiful completion process of letting go of the thought patterns I was still holding on to. It is with deep gratitude that I feel blessed to be given the right context of Kumbh Mela and also the process of a fundamental cognitive shift.
Another great excitement for attending this Kumbh Mela with Swamiji is that in the auspiciousness where the Guru energy is at its peak, he will be initiating the participants into the Suddhadvaitam process of awakening 70 yogic powers in us based on Agamas given by Lord Shiva, the first Guru. This is going to be wild!
In essence, the Kumbh Mela is a grand spiritual festival in Hinduism, the perfect time when human beings can experience their highest possibilities of achieving the Ultimate – bliss and liberation. A Kumbh Mela is a microcosm which one experiences all the dimensions of Hinduism, as a seeker I simply can’t afford to miss it again this time. Kumbh Chalo! Namaste 😀