Why & How Kumbh Became A National Event
In order to unite the entire nation of India, a festival must appeal to two distinct strata of society: the intellectual, educated class and the average, less educated and more superstitious class. Religious faith is the basis of unity in spirituality-inclined people. Spiritual people seek those things which will help them progress further toward the Ultimate goal. Our sages understood this, and thus the mythological stories appeal to the hearts of the masses, and the philosophical message and scientific basis appeal to the educated mind.
Rishis and sages have always shouldered the responsibility of the social, moral and spiritual upliftment of the country; they dealt with the problems of invasions, corruption, lethargy and selfishness. The nectar – which manifests in the form of satsang, knowledge, love and grace – is distributed to all, without any discrimination. The great assemblages of sanyasins, yogis, sages and saints reassure and uplift the nation; hence great masses of people rush to the sacred places at the time of Kumbha. Mahatma Gandhiji, in his autobiography, wrote, “…and then Kumbha arrived. It was a great moment for me. I have never tried to seek holiness or divinity as a pilgrim, but seventeen lakhs [1,700,000]of people cannot be hypocrites.”
Even today, Kumbha Mela requires no advertising. Indian calendars simply note the time and place of the next Kumbha Mela and millions of people flock there with unshakable faith and devotion. It is as if they are responding to a cordial, personal and urgent invitation to attend this function. It is a true miracle of God! One cannot even begin to imagine organizing such a function, and yet it just happens by the grace of the words “Kumbha Mela”.
The Meaning of Kumbh
“Kumbha” literally means a pitcher, yet the symbolism inherent when we speak of “Kumbha Mela” far transcends the literal translation.
The Significance of Kumbh Today