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)

Kumbh Mela: A Festival of Immortality
from; Maha Kumbh Festival 2013

What do saints and sadhus, sannyasis (renunciants) and businessmen, housewives and farmers, teachers and students, scientists and the superstitious, poets and politicians, mystics and beggars all have in common? The quest for immortality! What else could bring together such a multitude of individuals to one congested river bank for forty days?

Besides being the largest gathering of human beings anywhere in the world, the Kumbh Mela can evoke the deepest spiritual sentiments of an individual.

The Kumbh mela is by far the largest religious phenomenon in which the collective destiny and spiritual urges of the human race find expression. Kumbh is a Sanskrit word meaning “pot” ,“pitcher” or “jar” and mela means “festival.” According to Indian mythology, the Kumbh mela derives its name from the pot of the immortalizing nectar.

Held at the confluence (sangam) of the three most holy rivers in India: the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the subterranean Sarasvati, the Kumbh Mela lures the faithful for a dip in the holy waters that relieves lifetimes of karmic reactions. There is a scriptural understanding that bathing on the astrologically propitious “peak” holy days extinguishes uncountable sins, relieving the pilgrim of his or her entanglement in the complex cycle of birth, disease, old age, and death. One can thus transcend the mortal world of perpetual reincarnation, of duality and suffering, and hasten one’s return back home, back to Godhead.

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