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  • Writer's pictureDinesh Shahra

Kumbh : A Hallmark of Indian Culture

Hinduism is the oldest surviving religious tradition in the world. Customs and traditions of Indian people at times pre-date the written history. Ancient civilizations in Egypt, Rome and China, ceased to exist and can now only be seen in museums; however Indian civilization is thriving in the contemporary world. This can be credited to the fact that Hinduism, unlike other major world religions, does not impose strict dogmas or beliefs about a particular way of living and appeals to the mind of both theist and atheist. It doesn’t not matter if one beliefs in God or not, Hinduism has got different ways for people of every  temperament to realize the one ultimate truth. These different ways of discovery are classified as the path of knowledge for the intellectuals who are inclined towards reason and understanding, the path devotion or bhakti  who live by faith and feeling towards God, selfless service or karma yoga those who are action oriented and committed to their work and vision.

Hinduism is perhaps the only religion in the world with no central founder nor there are any specific beliefs to be followed. And for this reason Hindu tradition celebrates difference of opinion and truly promotes universal peace and principle of unity in diversity. Our cultural evangelist like Adi Shankaracharya, systematized the need for periodic recurrence of Kumbh for  ‘seekers’ of truth. Kumbh  Mela venues have served as platforms for debates and dissemination of spiritual knowledge by those who have realized the ultimate truth. Their desire to share the transformational knowledge which brings harmony and real prosperity in our life and the world, done out of their sheer love for humanity or god or out of joy itself! Dialectic knowledge (Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis) that evolutes from these gigantic gathering have nourished rationalism and logic in Indian tradition Mythology established over the ages has popularized the theory nectar spill at kumbh venues. According to myth, Kumbh gathering commemorate the falling of ‘divine nectar’ (Amrit) during the conflict of devtas and rakshasas. However some inquiry into the matter will help us understand the nature of this ‘amrut’ or nectar. Amrut is considered to be ‘Sat’ or the irrefutable Reality which is beyond the ambit of time and space. In popular connotation it has been portrayed as the bliss of immortality; however none of the seeker who gathers in these assemblies would agree upon this property of granting immortality. Besiegers of Amrut are also referred to as ‘Sth ir chiita’ or to be beyond modification. This state can arise only through a state of fullness discovered by committed saadhna or spiritual practice of study of the philosophy, applying it and by developing devotion. Amrut is also credit for granting a permanent state of bliss, Ananda, to its besiegers. A joy undisturbed by external or internal stimuli. Considering the above three factors, it's impossible to believe in material existence of such entity- its knowledge and its dedu ctive wisdom that can meet these criteria. However we have a long ancient tradition of Avatars, sages, mystics, yogis and even kings who have reached such inner perfection and high state of consciousness,  and become role models and guru for people to strive for it. Kumbh also decimates connecting knowledge of ‘Ishwar Swaroop’ which paves way for journey to the ultimate ‘Brahma Gyaan’. Hindu civilization is not a conglomeration of believers but seekers of ‘Ultimate Reality. It is this knowledge and its derivative wisdom, which is the true nectar responsible for immortality of Sanatan Dharma. Kumbh Mela are not just cultural events but in essence a celebration of mankind’s quest for the ultimate truth. I would call upon the younger generation to make it a point to witness this spectacle before submitting to any prejudice.Kumbh melas are thus not just the hallmark of Indian culture but also a heritage of entire humanity.

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