The Significance of Kumbha Mela in Today’s World

Scientific and technological advances have put a man on the moon and a camera on Mars, but they have failed to bring humanity together on Earth.  Each year man becomes more and more alienated and he is held more and more as a prisoner unto himself.  Kumbha allows people to come out of this mechanistic and materialistic life and develop a bond of love with others without any discrimination of caste, creed and color.  Thus, an important aspect of Kumbha Mela is the incredible unity amidst diversity that occurs at these sacred occasions.

Another important element is the distribution of nectar in the form of real knowledge.  In life, the ability to discriminate between right and wrong and the strength to follow the path of true Dharma require only a little more awareness and unfaltering faith.  The Kumbha Mela has the great ability to distribute this very nectar to millions.

Kumbha Mela in a New Light:  The Message for Today

Every nation has its own personality, unique unto itself.  India is inherently spiritual by Her nature, and the entire world has long since turned to India for spiritual guidance.  However, India has even more to offer the world.  Our culture is not only spiritually advanced, but our scriptures have long since taught the messages that are urgent for today’s world.  For example, India is the only land where rivers, mountains, trees and animals are not only respected, but are also worshipped.

In today’s age of environmental awareness and ecological conservation, everyone knows that mountains, rivers and trees are great natural resources which must be preserved, conserved and used wisely.  We have seen the devastating consequences of deforestation, over-industrialization and the pollution of our water sources right here in India.  Yet, Indian culture has preached reverence for nature since its inception so many thousands of years ago.

Rivers, especially Ganga, are truly our “Mothers.”  Farming is a primary occupation in India; thus, irrigation is of utmost importance.  Ganga and other rivers irrigate not only our farms but also our hearts, minds and souls.  It is our sacred rivers that pilgrims flock for the Kumbha Mela.  We must remember that these rivers are sacred and treat them as such.  The message of the Kumbha Mela in present times must include a renewed care for the land we call “Mother.”

The nectar that Kumbha Mela must disseminate today is a renewed respect for our Earth and her animals, a re-dedication to the laws of our scriptures, and a re-kindled fire of spiritual yearning in our souls.  This year, as we celebrate Kumbha Mela just as our ancestors did, we should remember the way in which they lived and the values to which they held.  If Kumbha Mela can re-unite us with those sacred roots and with the messages of the scriptures, then it will veritably be giving us the “nectar of immortality.”  Then, and only then, will we attain true peace and liberation.

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