Pilgrimage to Kumbh Mela
avyaktam vyaapakam nityam gunaatitam chidaatmakam
vyaktasya kaaranam vande vyaktaavyaktam tam ishwaram”
Homage to the Holy Creator.
I praise that Lord who is both manifest and unmanifest.
The unmanifest is pervasive, eternal, beyond all qualities,
and composed of consciousness,
and yet is the cause of what is manifest.
I feel the divine ecstasy while sharing the Kumbh experiences. We as a spiritual group went for Kumbh in 2001, 2011 and 2019.
I feel very fortunate to share my astounding experience at the Kumbh Mela (2019) at Prayagraj and I am very fortunate to be with all Maitree’s! The Kumbh Mela holds a lot of importance in Hinduism and is organised once every 12 years. Between the two Maha Kumbh Melas, an Ardha Kumbh is organised.
I remembered my guruji telling me that no pilgrimage is truly complete until one experiences discomfort. To be in the pilgrimage is to forget oneself completely. The “I” feeling should dissolve in togetherness of seekers – unlike today’s travel where the essence of pilgrimage is lost due to lot of comfort and pleasure available through technology. It is then I learnt not to look into the mirror while in pilgrimage and let myself be the way I am, because my purpose is to dissolve the rememberence of I-ness, disconnect me from myself, so that my existence is not my body, my clothes, my looks, my hair, etc. it is a very small thing to start with but I was able to grow faster through years of such holy travels. Later it was easy to lose out on many things like this. So was this pilgrimage, nothing bothering me I was able to spend time with me and myself !
I get always mesmerised at the ghats. In duality of mind that lives in a state of constant delusion, spiritual experiences, visions and messages helps in my internal strength to expand like a tree. The massive human congregation just with sheer belief is in itself an astounding experience. I felt how fortunate I am to be in such gathering where the energy of countless seers, sadhus, revered and highly evolved persons have bathed! To walk upon the soil where millions of humble & simple people who have been pouring in with their overflowing faith, patiently walking for miles lugging their luggage, countless uniformed young men and women from state police to various other orders sweating through their rigorous & greuling long hours in service for the maddening crowd who made the event successful, elderly and weak in their wheelchairs or limping with the help of their family who made this gathering miraculous, overwhelmed for God sent support for the facilities by someone unknown to me in the worldly ways….what a blessing I felt! While I was lying in my bed at night, half awake, half asleep at approximately three in the morning, I was woken up by beautiful golden light as if dancing in the dark tent that we were sleeping. A deep resonating rhythm closer to me and I jumped out of my bed, walked out kept talking to my Lord, just asking for His grace……..the rhythm as if answered me, increase your gati- speed..speeden up to travel astrally, see to it that other souls too ascend, to remove their obstacles. I felt as always, myself unimaginably vast and expansive. I merged in Light to see my dearest fellow pilgrim near me, where my attention and consciousness moved away from my visions towards his Spirit body from his physical body.
Dear ones, we had taken the dip together at a specific time of the year when certain planetary positions align in a way that the entire energy or frequency is higher on earth. That’s the best time for inner purification. The dip in the Triveni Sangam (Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati) is believed to shower the highest blessing and grants liberation/ Moksha. Traditionally one takes three dips in the holy rivers during such time, taking three dips in the holy Ganges during the Kumbh or Maha Kumbh removes the heavy bundles of karma of many life times and takes the seeker towards Moksha. Such planetary positions is even believed to turn the waters of the river specially Ganga beneficial with nectar like quality in it. Taking a dip signifies surrendering to the flow of life, surrendering to waters..surrendering to the elemental force.
Three dips represents purification of the outer shell – the body called déha snana, purification of inner self containing all mental and emotional contamination called the chittashudhi or chitta snana, to elevate our conscious awareness out of the body towards the soul that resides inside this body as atma snana. The soul travels through many incarnations to exhaust the karma, taking a dip during such time with faith is a doorway to transcend and break the cycle of birth and death to achieve Moksha/liberation. Our puranas says, that to bathe in the bright waters of the Ganga where they meet the dark waters of the Yamuna during the month of Magh (January / February) will not be reborn.
Having a bath in any holy rivers should not be considered as any normal activity as today’s generation thinks as if it is only to jump into the water to swim, play, take photographs, scream slogans without any feelings as if it is a party and leave the water unaffected. Never enter the river just for entertainment. The element of water in the river has its divine consciousness, God Varuna is the deva of any river to whom we first interact with, then the river goddess of each river. Deep reverence should be there in the mind then loosen yourself to enjoy the water and the company you have. It is the faith and reverence that makes ordinary experience into extraordinary.
There is a story in this connection. Once, Pārvatī asked Śiva whether Gaṅgā would remove the sins of all. As an answer, Śiva took on the appearance of an old man and took Pārvatī, in the garb of His aged wife, to the banks of Ganges. He told Her that He would pretend to be drowning and that She should raise an alarm. Accordingly, She screamed to attract the attention of the passers-by and sought the rescue of Her husband. The people around rushed to His rescue. The disguised Pārvatī, however, stopped them and, as earlier instructed by Śiva, said, “Only that person who has not the slightest trace of sin can touch My husband.” Only one among the throng dived in without the least hesitation and rescued Him. Surprised, Pārvatī asked the rescuer if he was free from all sins. The man replied, “Did I not have a dip in the Ganga before saving your husband? My sins vanished at that very instant.” Śiva then told Pārvatī, “What doubt need be there that sins are washed away if one has faith like this person?”
The body with 9 holes called as Navadvara sharira produces impurities and waste material. So outward and inward cleanliness happens through the holy dip. Holy dip is just not for getting wet in the water of the holy rivers, but for also purification of mental impurities created through the five sense organs. just being in the water does not cleanse the body and the sins, do you think all aquatic life form is pure and clean just because it lives entire life in the waters? Therefore, one should practice internal purity. There are certain nitya karma to follow during such baths because it is not nitya snana- regular bath with a bucket and mug or under the shower. Few, we did follow and we are fortunate to participate in them like, Agneyam -you got the chance to apply bhasma/ ash if not all over the body but at least your face, arms and neck! Brahmam -chanting holy mantras while sprinkling water around you called as apohistha mantra.
Manasam – Meditating on Lord God. Divya – bathing early morning while the sun shines. Kamya Snana – while dipping praying for special or personal prayers, which we all did. Brahmamuhurtha snana – Bath in the river early morning before the sunrise
Visit to Akshyavat was such a bonus! It is a sacred fig tree mentioned by sage Markandeya described as Akshayavat in the Prayag Mahatmya of the Matsya Purana. According to a legend, once the sage Markandeya asked Lord Narayana to show him a specimen of the divine power. Narayana flooded the entire world for a moment, during which only the Akshayavat could be seen above the water level. It is known as indestructible tree located near Patalpuri temple.
According to a famous legend, when a sage asked Lord Narayana to show him divine power, the Lord flooded the world just for an instant and then made the water disappear again. However, during the floods while everything else drowned, only the top of the ‘Akshayavat” could be seen. The banyan tree is therefore considered to be an immortal tree. Shri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are said to have rested beneath this tree. It was worth the while waiting, as I looked into the leaves , they started chattering into my ears that each shimmering leaf is God’s essence and God Himself. That was the message Lord gave to the sage that He is present everywhere, not to lose hope and and see Him alone in every condition with faith then one will find only Him still in the chaos of life. I prayed to the age old sacred tree that like him we should all be able to perceive, sense, see, feel, hear, breathe God alone no matter how busy we are, or how much affected we are in chaotic life’ actions until the last.
The return travel sitting through the night, the discomfort in the body gave birth to many more new divine ideas! Vikram, your leadership and care could fail any seasoned travel agent! Warmth and care is your nature, surely flawless arrangement Vikram!! . To close this, I am grateful to Montu and his sister Gita and the entire family for their love, kindness and support! Gratitudes to loving fellow pilgrims of Maitree family to be with me!
Pilgrim in Light