Fragrance of burning incense sticks, Vedic mantras in the background, echoes of sadhus and sadhavis, and public in general chanting prayers related to Hindu mythology, millions of people gathering to take a dip at Sangam, thousands of diyas lit, colours from all over the world – that is how Kumbh Mela looks like!
Kumbh Mela in India is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, attended by people all over the world. It is not a festival, not an occasion – it is a faith, a faith in which Hindus (majorly) gather to take a dip in holy waters. It is also considered as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. This faith behind the greatest congregation on Earth, this all encompassing energy of belief and power – it is the spiritual belief of hinduism – MOKSHA. It is this faith in the form of Kumbh Mela, the only one in which people together believe in the fact that one has to get out of this circle of life and death, and they take an attempt (whichever way they can understand) to get out of this cycle. It has also been inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
There are only four places for it – Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.
- The Ganges – At Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Aquarisu and Sun is in Aries during The Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April)
- Sangam of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati – At Prayagraj (Allahabad); when Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and Sun and Moon are in Capricorn during The Hindu month of Magha (January-February)
- The Godavari – At Nashik; when Sun and Jupiter are in Leo during The Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September)
- The Shipra – At Ujjain; when Jupiter is in Leo and Sun is in Aries, or when all three are in Libra during The Hindu month of Vaisakha (April-May).
There is a difference of around 3 years between Kumbh Melas at Haridwar and Nashik; the Melas at Nashik and Ujjain are celebrated int eh same year or one year apart. Maha Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years – at Haridwar and Prayagraj (Allahabad).
STORY BEHIND KUMBH MELA
This Mela is associated with a Hindu Legend – In Samudra Manthan (churning of ocean), a pot (“Kumbh”) of nectar came out of it, for which gods and demons fought. This fight was for immortality. When the pot was produced, to prevent the demons from seizing it, a divine carrier flew away with it. As per the legends, while carrying the pot around, it spilled at four places – these four are the places where Kumbh Mela takes place.
Another story is that each site’s celebration is based on a distinct set of astrological positions of the Moon, the Sun, and the Jupiter.
SIGNIFICANCE OF HOLY WATERS
Mela at Prayagraj (Allahabad) is probably the oldest. It derives its importance from the fact that the waters here creates a vortex – confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and invisible Saraswati. It is believed that whenever the planet Jupiter enters the astrological sign Taurus, when the Sun and the Moon are in Capricorn, a powerful positive energy space is created at Prayag. The whole area is charged with that force – water, air and the entire atmosphere.
It is believed that taking a bath in holy water that is imbued with a power to promote spiritual growth, emotional strength, and health, and finally putting an individual on the path to moksha.
Now, one need to understand that only taking a dip in water doesn’t bring moksha/liberation. It puts on the path of moksha – the journey is still long from there. Because of the positive and charging energies there, people are put on the path of liberation and move towards attaining true knowledge. It is only this true knowledge that would end the war between the good and the bad – like the legend – where it is the search for the nectar of immortality that ended the war between the gods and the demons. It is for this search, when both came together and worked for it. That is what a human being also needs to do – accept and assimilate, both the good and bad, work together to move towards liberation.
In 2019, Ardh Kumbh Mela is being held in Prayagraj (Allahabad, India).
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