Special characteristics of ‘Kumbh Mela’

 – A note from His Holiness Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavle . (founder Sanatan Sanstha )
Courtesy : www.hindujagruti.org
Hindus ! dont forget to visit the exihibition of Sanatan Sanstha in the mahakumbh in sector -10 .

‘Kumbh Mela’ is the symbol of Hindu unity !

‘Kumbh Mela’ is the biggest religious fair of Hindus. Most of the people are curious to know about ‘Kumbh Mela’, its internal form, ‘Aakhaadaas’ of ‘Sadhus’ etc. This article is published taking into account such curiosity. 1. Kumbh Mela : Open platform of Hindus’ cultural unity

The administrators/ propagators of Dharma have made available 4 open platforms to Hindus on the occasion of ‘Kumbh Mela’ at Prayagraj (Allahabad), Hardwar (Haridwar), Ujjain and Tryambakeshwar – Nashik. The 4 places of ‘Kumbh Mela’ are symbols of 4 directions. These ‘Kumbh Melas’ used to be held even before modern means of transport were invented by man. During that time, it was not easy to come together from 4 directions of Bharat and therefore, these ‘Kumbh Melas’ become the common point of symbols of Indian unity and Hindu culture.

2. Crores of devotees are its extent of pervasion
Minimum 5 crore devotees attend ‘Maha Kumbh Mela’ held at Prayag for taking holy bath in River Ganga; whereas 1 to 2 crore devotees attend ‘Kumbh Melas’ at Hardwar (Haridwar), Ujjain and Tryambakeshwar- Nashik. Followers of Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism also take part in the ‘Kumbh Melas’. The number of devotees attending ‘Kumbh Mela’ at Prayag has been noted in ‘Guinness Book of World Records’.

Information of holy ‘Kumbh Mela’ is available only in Almanacs; still millions of Hindus gather every 12th year without any invitation. This is the vastness of ancient Hindu Dharma !

In the year 1942, God Linlithgow, the Indian Viceroy saw the ‘Kumbh Mela’ at Prayag while travelling with Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya on an aero plane. He was astonished to see the sea of millions of devotees and he curiously asked Pt. Malvinas, “The organizers must have taken lot of trouble to gather people in ‘Kumbh Mela’; isn’t it? How much the organizers must have spent?” Pt. Malviya said, “Only two paisa!” Listening to this answer, God Linlithgow asked Pt. Malviya, “Pundit ji, are you teasing me?” Pt. Malviya took put a copy of almanac from his pocket and handing it over to God Linlithgow, he said, “This costs only two Paisa. People come to know about the holy period of ‘Kumbh Mela’ through this. Accordingly, every one of them gathers for holy bath on their own. Nobody is given personal invitation.” (‘Keshav-Samvad’, 27.7.2007)

3. Yearning to have holy bath in River Ganga as it awakens the feeling of detachment in devotees including physical awareness

Nobody pays attention to clothes worn by the participants in ‘Kumbh Mela’. When a nude ‘Sadhu’ takes a plunge in River Ganga along with his ‘Aakhaadaa’, one feels nice to look at such scene. Here, people forget their identity whether they are man or woman; forget about physical desires. People don’t notice whether a person is dressed or not, such thought does not occur to anyone. Many women are seen drying their saris; but nobody even looks at them. The students of Science of sexuality should visit ‘Kumbh Mela’. In that atmosphere, nobody feels lust/ sexual desire is not felt. They may feel such study is challenging. There is no question of molestation of women, rape, indecent behavior or problem of law and order ! The only yearning everyone has is getting an opportunity to have holy bath in Ganga! (Dainik Loksatta’, 06.02. 2001)

4. Exhibition of boundless devotion and procession of armed ‘Sadhus, Saints’ on the occasion of ‘holy bath’
4 A. Holy bath’ by ‘Sadhus’ from ‘Aakhaadaas’ during ‘Parva-kaal’

On the day of ‘Parvani (specific period)’ during ‘Kumbh Mela’, ‘Sadhus- Saints’ from different ‘aakhaadaas’ along with their disciples take bath in the order decided earlier and this is known as ‘Holy (Shaahi) bath’.

4 B. Procession of ‘Sadhus and Saints’, along with their arms , taken out for ‘holy bath’ !

At about 4.00 a.m., the holy bath begins. ‘Sadhus and Saints from different ‘aakhaadaas’ go in a procession carrying their arms to go for ‘holy bath’. Thousands of people gather on both sides of the procession to have a look. The local devotees decorate the path to be taken by the procession with ‘rangolis’ and flowers. Later, various ‘aakhaadaas’ go on this path, one after another, along with their religious leaders, disciples, elephants, camels, horses etc. with the background of music, to the place for taking holy bath. Some of them go on elephants, some go on decorated chariots mounted on tractors, trolleys etc. and their followers hold canopies over the heads of their Gurus/ leaders; devotees shower flowers on them, with playing drums, timpani etc. in the background and raising acclamations of ‘Har Har Shankar, Gauri Shankar ‘, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Jai Ganga Maiyaki Jai’ etc. Thousands of nude ‘Sadhus’ go in the procession with ash smeared all over their body wearing garlands, holding blazing swords or other weapons and flags. Due to smearing of ash, thousands of Naga ‘Sadhus’ look like figures which don’t look like human; they raise slogans of ‘Har Har Gange….’ and we feel as if we are watching some live picture.

4 C. Exhibition of absolute devotion by devotees during procession !

In the year 1930 when we were returning after having holy bath in River Ganga during ‘Kumbh Mela’ at Prayag, many women-devotees from Kathiawad (Gujarat) were trying to come on the roads by breaking the ropes tied on both sides of the road. The procession of Naga ‘aakhaadaa’ was being taken out. As that ‘aakhaadaa’ passed by, those women came on the road despite barricades and took some dust from the path taken by the procession and smeared on their foreheads. They also carried some dust by tying in the edge of clothes they were wearing. Such was their absolute devotion! – Vaikunth ji Mehrotra [Kalyan Hindu Sanskruti issue – 24th year’s special issue), Kalyan Office, Gorakhpur]

4 D. Great period of ‘Kumbh Mela’ is taking ‘darshan’ of Sadhus and Saints following various paths of Yoga !

Evolved persons meditating in Himalayan caves, hermits from Kashmir to Kanyakumari travelling on foot and Saints/ Mahants from armed ‘aakhaadaas’ can be seen during ‘Kumbh Mela’. If we try to talk to them, we realize that they are like ‘Himalaya’ as far as their knowledge and experiences are concerned; still they are very humble and loving. When they view the crowd, it is like they are encompassing everyone as sea does.

(Fortnightly ‘Sanskrutik Vartaa-patra’, ‘Maha-kumbh’ special issue, 15.8.2003)

5. Very interesting discourses by ‘Sadhus and Saints’ on Dharma and Spirituality drawing devotees to them in ‘Kumbh Mela’
During ‘Kumbh Mela’, ‘darshan’ of Saints gives a treat to eyes of devotees; whereas discourse and lectures on topics like Dharma, Spirituality, ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ etc. are inspiring treats to ears of devotees. About 10,000 pandals are erected at the venue and in most of these pandals, discourses on religious subjects are held every day.

6. Sheds offering food throughout the day (anna-chhatra) is a facility provided by different Sects to devotees during ‘Kumbh Mela’

In pandal of every Sect or ‘aakhaadaas’ the common thing that goes on throughout the day is ‘Anna-chhatra’ run for devotees. There might not be a single ‘aakhaadaa’ where ‘anna-chhatra’ is not run. There are many such ‘anna-chhatras’ run during ‘Kumbh Mela’ which provide food for millions of devotees; else, more than 75, 00, 000 devotees gathering for ‘Parva-snan (holy bath)’ would have had to lit fire for cooking food and it would have required such big space !’ – Dr. Durgesh Samant , former group Editor, ‘Sanatan Prabhat’ periodicals (28.9.2003)

7. Disparities in society are forgotten in gathering of devotees through the medium of ‘Anna-chhatra’
Few rich ‘aakhaadaas’ run ‘Anna-chhatras’ during ‘Kumbh Mela’. Generally, it is a feeling amongst people that ‘Anna-chhatra’ means where food is provided to the poor; but during ‘Kumbh Mela’, there is a base of spirituality to these ‘Anna-chhatras (having food together)’. Here, a devotee, who is a millionaire, is seen having food as ‘God’s Prasad (holy sacrament)’ sitting next to a poor beggar. (‘Dainik Loksatta’, 6.2.2001)

8. Fair of Faith giving a hard slap to ANS members

‘More than 5 crore devotees attend Prayag (Allahabad) ‘Kumbh Mela’ without receiving any invitation or without any concessions in journey fares or without any media coverage or any financial aid because of Hindus’ faith towards Dharma. Hindus and Saints, religious leaders go to the place of pilgrimage, in unison, at the confluence of three holy rivers including Ganga-mata in such large number. In none of the non-Hindu Sects, devotees gather at such large extent nor have we ever heard of any such gathering. Atheist organizations like ANiS also are not able to gather such huge number of non-believers; but even with invitation, they cannot manage to collect even 100 people. This indicates the extra-ordinary nature of Hindu Dharma.’ – H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale (Nij Bhadrapada Kru. Saptami, Kali Yuga Varsha 5114 [7.10.2012])

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