Kumbh Mela: A Festival of Immortality

Kumbha Mela

…With just a few days left before Kumbh Mela at Allahabad ends, the world’s largest gathering of human beings is winding towards an end. Devotees from far and near are turning out in large numbers to take a holy dip at Sangam for the last time. Devotees after bathing in the holy water pray to the Sun God, the source of life and positivity, before retreating from the sacred waters. The festival, which lasts for 55 days, is an important part of Hindu tradition and an ancient ritual. The last bathing date is coming up Sunday March 10th, 2013 (Shivaratri Snan)

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Lord Vishnu’s Names are More Powerful than the Greatest Holy Places

River Ganges  Varanasi

This is Part 3 in the series on ‘Chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra’ by Sri Nandanandana Prabhu, describing the power of the Lord’s holy names.

Lord Vishnu’s Names are More Powerful than the Greatest Holy Places
by Sri Nandanandana dasa (Stephen Knapp)

The power of the Lord’s holy names is also related in the following story. It is described in the Padma Purana that many years ago when asked by the sages at the forest of Naimisharanya which one single act will bring the fruit of visiting the many holy places, Suta Gosvami answered in this way: Out of so many rituals and rites that are prescribed, only one is superior. There is no doubt that one who has devotion to Lord Vishnu has undoubtedly conquered everything. Hari, [Vishnu, Krishna], the Lord of all gods, should alone be propitiated. The goblin of sin will perish by means of the great sacred hymns in the form of the names of Vishnu. There is no doubt that those with pure hearts, going around Vishnu even once, get (the fruit of) having bathed at all the holy places. A man would obtain the fruit of (having visited) all holy places by seeing Vishnu’s image. Chanting the excellent name of Vishnu, a man would obtain (the result) of having chanted all the sacred hymns. A man having once smelt the tulasi plant, the grace of Vishnu, does not see the huge and terrible face of Yama [Yamaraja, the lord of death]. A man having (but) once saluted Krishna does not drink the mother’s milk [does not need to be reborn again]. I always repeatedly salute them whose mind is (fixed) on the feet of Vishnu. Even [those of lower tribes, such as] pulkasas, chandalas, or other mleccha tribes, who serve the feet of Vishnu alone are fit to be saluted. Then what about the meritorious and devoted brahmanas and royal sages? Having placed one’s devotion in Vishnu, a person does not experience confinement in the womb (is not reborn). A man who with high sounds chants the name of Vishnu purifies the world as does the Ganga [Ganges River]. There is no doubt that a man is freed from sins like murder of a brahmana by seeing (the image of), touching (the feet of), reciting (the name of), and devoting oneself (to Vishnu).

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Mother Ganges

Some selected quotes on the river Ganges

Mother Ganges is worshiped by the water of the Ganges: a devotee takes a little water from the Ganges and offers it back to the Ganges. When the devotee takes the water, mother Ganges does not lose anything, and when the water is offered back, mother Ganges does not increase, but in this way the worshiper of the Ganges is benefited. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord offers the Lord patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam—a leaf, flower, fruit or water—in great devotion, but everything, including the leaf, flower, fruit and water, belongs to the Lord, and therefore there is nothing to renounce or to accept. One must simply take advantage of the bhakti process because by following this process one does not lose anything but one gains the favor of the Supreme Person. (SB 9.9.12)

When there was a meeting of great sages at Naimiṣāraṇya, Sūta Gosvāmī was reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the importance of the Ganges was stated as follows: “The waters of the Ganges are always carrying the flavor of tulasī offered at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and as such the waters of the Ganges are ever flowing, spreading the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Wherever the waters of the Ganges are flowing, all will be sanctified, both externally and internally.” ( Nectar of Devotion Chapter 7)

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Glories of the Ganges

Ganges River at Varanasi India

The Ganges is glorified because it emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, if one takes to the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, or takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is immediately cleansed of the many dirty things which have accumulated in his innumerable births. We have seen that in spite of the very black record of their past lives, persons who take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness become perfectly cleansed of all dirty things and make spiritual progress very swiftly.

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 4, Chapter 21, Text 31

Instructions by Maharaja Prthu

yat-pāda-sevābhirucis tapasvinām
aśeṣa-janmopacitaṁ malaṁ dhiyaḥ
sadyaḥ kṣiṇoty anvaham edhatī satī
yathā padāṅguṣṭha-viniḥsṛtā sarit

yat-pāda—whose lotus feet; sevā—service; abhiruciḥ—inclination; tapasvinām—persons undergoing severe penances; aśeṣa—innumerable; janma—birth; upacitam—acquire; malam—dirtiness; dhiyaḥ—mind; sadyaḥ—immediately; kṣiṇoti—destroys; anvaham—day after day; edhatī—increasing; satī—being; yathā—as; pada-aṅguṣṭha—the toes of His lotus feet; viniḥsṛtā—emanating from; sarit—water.

By the inclination to serve the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, suffering humanity can immediately cleanse the dirt which has accumulated in their minds during innumerable births. Like the Ganges water, which emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, such a process immediately cleanses the mind, and thus spiritual or Kṛṣṇa consciousness gradually increases.

In India, one can actually see that a person who takes a bath in the Ganges waters daily is almost free from all kinds of diseases. A very respectable brāhmaṇa in Calcutta never took a doctor’s medicine. Even though he sometimes felt sick, he would not accept medicine from the physician but would simply drink Ganges water, and he was always cured within a very short time. The glories of Ganges water are known to Indians and to ourselves also.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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