Purn Kumbh Mela is the most celebrated Hindu festival of Kumbh.
Here are the various significant aspects of Kumbh Mela in Hindu Tradition.
The word Kumbh denotes the shape like that of a Pot or pitcher. Kumbh signifies creation or Shrishti. ‘Shrishti’ or the creation is of the shape of a pot, ‘Kumbhakar’. Kumbh are eternal, the form may have been different before. The Vedas and Purana’s use the word Kumbh in different aspects for pitcher, sky, banks of river, ponds, human bodies and planetary positions. In Atharv Ved, 4/3/7 Brahma himself says, “Chaturah Kumbham, Chaturdha Gajami”. Rig Veda, 10/897 in 12/3/23.
The word Kumbh has been used in all four Vedas. In Shashtras, 12 Kumbh festivals were narrated, out of which four are in Mrityulok – Prayag, Haridwar, Nasik, and Ujjain. The festival of Kumbh was already in its advance stage In 600 AD when Huan San visited Prayag, and mentioned Kumbh in his Biography. The Kumbh festival was present ever since the existence of Sanatan Dharm. With time it has only grown bigger and better with the introduction of organised Akharas by Adishankracharya. The Akharas are the warriors to protect the religion. Their congregation at the Kumbh brought further popularity to the festival. Thus Kumbh has its own share of history attached with religion and Sanatan Dharm.
Given below are few scientific aspects of Kumbh :
- Astrological Aspects :
The planetary system is closely related with human beings and nature. All the four places where kumbh parv occurs are due to a certain combination of planetary positions.
As in Prayag Mauni Amavasya is the occurrence when sun enters Capricorn and Jupiter in Taurus and Moon in Saturn. Saturn is the son of Sun and Yamuna is the daughter of Sun. However, Ganga is one of the rays of the sun. Which travels from South Pole to North Pole? Thus it becomes the festival of Sun. These planets provide us life and liberate us with various diseases.
- Social Aspects.
People from various caste and creed, travel from different parts of the country and abroad only to take part in this world’s largest congregation of faith. Kumbh exemplify a perfect illustration of Unity in diversity. These festivals nullify the barriers of caste and creed amongst people. We witness Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs surrendering them to Sangam. The only Sanskrit (culture) that remains is Bhartia Sanskriti. There have been instances of Foreigners surrendering their faith to Bhartiya Sanskriti and inclination towards the study of Sanskrit during this festival.
This may come as a surprise to the entire world what happened in 1942. When Lord Viceroy was having an aerial survey with Mr. Madan Mohan Malvia asked the later, “how much money does govt. spend to manage this huge gathering? “. To which, Mr.Malviya, took out a Panchang from the pocket and said this cost only 2 paisa. This still remains a surprise for the foreigners.
- Spiritual Aspect:
Indian Culture is based on four purushard. Dharm, Arth,Kam, Moksha.
A person attains it all at once by staying at the banks of river Ganga in the holy company of great Saints. Some even reaches the state of complete salvation (Vairagya). Saints originate from different cultures Sankjracharya, Ramanujacharye, Nimbarkcharya, Ballavacharya etc. They have retained and renewed the tradition of GuruParampara as utmost to the Hindu religion. Their emergence from difference origins sends a message of unity to the entire world. This reflects their moral character and teaches us the very aim of this life.
The four Varnashrams described in our Shasta’s are followed by the division of Labour. They have their own importance in life. They are Brahmcharya, Grahasta, Vanprastha and Sanyasa. These all four varnashrams become one at the time of Kumbh. The Kalpvasi remain together for the whole month and experience natural change in their lives. With renewed energy they learn the knowledge of the land. Having honoured the sacred river they go back to their respective villages to spread their message.
- Open University:
Kumbh has been an open university without having to appoint any administrator e.g. Vice Chancellor, registrar etc. People visit the banks of Ma Ganga, lean and return to their villages spreading across the moral education of faith and worship. Earlier the festival of kumbh was limited to its natural extent. The subsequent advent and use of technology has widespread the extent of Kumbh with Broadcasting to far of countries, spreading the message of faith and worship on a larger scale. Hi-tech gadgets used for the announcement, safety and security of the region. The binding force is behind it all is still the religion and culture.
- 13th Prayag Kumbh:
The 13th Kumbh festival started on 15th January 2013 to 10th March 2013 for the total of 56 days. It was a miraculous experience to one and all. I have personally studied Kumbh festivals since 1966 and found that this one was different from all the other Kumbhas. In 1977, on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya there were 1 crore people waiting to take the dip in the Sangam when they witnessed intense rains. There were no casualties then. The management and administration maintains that it was the belief and faith of the pilgrims that saved their lives.
In 1988, there was limited space at the banks of Ganges. Which was a cause of concern for the management, on how to accommodate bathing of several lakh people in a limited area?
It was estimated that only 3 lakh people can take a dip at a time. All of a sudden a day before the Holy dip Ma Ganga changed the course of her flow and formed three parts of it. Thus 9 lakh people could together take a dip at one time.
The 13th Maha Kumbh the flow was divided into 14 sectors and each sector was handled by a magistrate. 16 Cantoon Pulls were made over Ganga. The rush was unexpectedly high. It could only be handled by a Divine force that the situation was well managed.
The planetary calculations worked out this Kumbh after 147 years, which had a great relevance to one and all. Everyone wanted to take a single drop of Ganga water. It is due to the profound faith in India for Kumbh that yagnas and various other rituals were performed, puranas were read at the same time when political discussions were made too. People from different regions of the world came together, spoke in various languages. This signifies humanity and those we are all created by one God.
Kumbh has been quite beneficial for the poorer section of the society as well.
Various small businesses emerged during these festivities when numerous poor children started selling ingredients for Ganga pooja like, flowers, incense, divas etc and made fortune with it. Even the boats man took out coins thrown into Ganga by people during their voyage.
Milkman too earned in huge proportions by selling milk. There were instances of child birth at the banks of Ganga. There was a birth of twin sisters at the river banks who were named as Ganga and Yamuna. Several married couples bathed in Ma Ganga joining hands, knowing water is life n worshipping to be blessed with a child. “Apah mev pratham – water came first in the creation. Everyone knows that. Thus we must honour like millions others the water of river Ganga. As Ganga is not just a river that falls from Himalayas, it also has purifying effect in its water due to the various minerals present in it. Especially in Prayag, where Ganga and Yamuna meets and creates the power of unity.
Once the water of Ganga was tested in laboratories and was declared safer and more powerful than any other water in other rivers. This is the result of combination of planetary energy. There was a worldwide meeting of more than 2 Lakh foreigners with their gurus at the Banks of the Sangam.They took bath, worshiped river and learned the importance of the river. They also tried to clean Ganga and gave a message for the environment pollution to more than hundred devotees at different parts of Kumbh area. This is spread in the radius of 30 kms. It is here that foreigners studied climate, Yoga system of yagya, Karmkand and they felt that this festival of Kumbh gives new life to millions of people.