Kumbh Mela – The Largest Congregation of Humanity
Kumbh Mela is the largest concentration of religious gathering in the world. It’s held once in 12 years this festival is a must visit during a trip to India.
Disburden Sins and take a Dip Make a Wish
According to Hindu mythologies, this is the only time and place in the world where a person can disburden his sins and achieve ‘Nirvana’ from the vicious cycle of birth and re birth. Take dips in the holy Ganges that is said to wash away all the sins of a person. Light a Diya and make a wish, they do come true.
Surrender to Peaceful Activities
Taking dips three times in a day, attending yoga classes, listening to the divine lectures and participating in the cultural programmes are just a few of the activities that one can enjoy during the famous Kumbh Mela. Travel to Kumbh Mela and experience the inexperienced.
Significance of Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali and Holi, but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past. People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha.
Rig Veda has a mention about the significance of convergence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag or Sangam.
References can be found about the significance of this ritual in Varaha Purana and Matsya Purana as well. There is a belief that the ashram of the learned Bharadvaja, where Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita lived at the time of their exile, was situated at Sangam. It is said that a number of saints including the great Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sangam and observed the Kumbh Mela. The great Indian epics such the Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned that a yagna was conducted by Lord Brahma at Sangam.
Significance of Kumbha Mela is that it offers the chance to attain liberation from the endless suffering of existence and to merge with the Brahman. In ancient times, Kumbh Mela was meant for the great minds in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) to meet and discuss and share knowledge for the welfare of the living beings. Decisions and new findings in philosophy and science taken during the Kumbh Mela were then carried by the Saints to different parts of the world.
Rig Veda also talks about the importance of the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical river Saraswathi at Prayag. The importance of the ritual can therefore be traced back to Rig Veda.
The ritual is also mentioned in the Varaha Purana and the Matsya Purana. Liberation or merging with the Brahman is the main significance of Kumbh Mela.
The Sangam or Prayag finds mention in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Mahabharata states that Lord Brahma conducted a yagna at Sangam. The Pandavas is also said to have visited the Sangam.
Several great saints including Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shankaracharya is believed to have visited the Sangam and the Kumbh Mela.
Sacred Bath in Kumbh Mela
Bathing in the holy river on the auspicious occasion of Kumbh Mela is the most important activity for millions of people in India. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams. Others will just camp on the ground or turn up for the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated “royal,” and it is on these days that the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) parade and bathe. On other days there will still be people bathing and other events and random processions.
Rituals Performed at the Kumbh Mela
The main ritual performed at that Kumbh Mela is the ritual bath. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the sacred waters on the most auspicious day of the new moon will absolve them and their ancestors of sin, thus ending the cycle of rebirth. Pilgrims start lining up to bathe from around 3 a.m. on this day.
As the sun comes up, the different groups of sadhus move in procession towards the river to bathe. The Nagas usually lead, while each group tries to outdo the others with more grandeur and fanfare. The moment is magical, and everyone is absorbed in it.
After bathing, the pilgrims wear fresh clothes and proceed to worship by the river bank. They then walk around listening to discourses from the various sadhus.