And back.

12 Feb

On the 9th to Delhi and on the 10th to Calcutta.

I took a dip at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. That wasn’t the plan, initially, but a couple of friends strongly recommended it. For one thing, they said it’s a unique experience. And for another, the spiritual vibrations of a Maha Kumbh Mela (which occurs once every 12 years) and particularly a Purna Kumbh Mela(which occurs once in 144 years; that is, 12 cycles of 12 years) are high, and a ritual dip in these conditions is not meaningless.

For a lot of people, a dip signifies a cleansing of all past karma. Do I think this is absurd? Yes and no. No, because for a person near Realisation, the dip might act as the final push towards God Realisation. And perhaps, for a person whose faith is truly pure, their deep belief might actually translate to reality. Who’s to say not, we are but human. But for people who choose to see this as a transaction, a bargain, a deal; for those who are content with a superficial understanding of religion or faith, the dip won’t really make a clean slate of their past. It can’t hurt, I doubt it can lead to a karmic burden, but it certainly won’t do magic.

The experience of the dip made me believe more strongly that I ought to be less of a non-believer about such things in the future. I wasn’t expecting anything when I submerged myself in the initially chilly waters of the Sangam. But oddly, when I came out, I felt very light in the solar plexus region and my back. Floaty light. I am now convinced that at the very least, there was cleansing energy and a lot of positive energy there that day.

And the water was surprisingly clean. I remember human shit floating on the Ganga at Varanasi when I’d visited over 15 years ago. But here? Nothing but lots of mud from the riverbed. At the point of confluence, you can even see the different colours of the river. One is slightly browner than the other.

For the largest gathering of human beings on the planet, the Mela was very well managed by the Uttar Pradesh Government. I expected to see chaos, I saw only organisation. Those lights you see below? Camp lights. And that is just one tiny section of the Mela Grounds.


Words can never do justice to the experience of the visit. It was special, quite magical. The vibe was happy.

There was sadness in the end though. On the biggest bathing date, 10 February, there was a stampede at the Allahabad Railway Station which left 36 people dead. It was heartbreaking to read this in the news. So many poor people, having pooled perhaps years and years of savings to take a dip, people from all corners of the country travelling with tiny babies and aged relatives, people travelling with such hope-trapped in the stampede and now going back with incomplete families.

There was sadness elsewhere too. The Government of India blackened its hands and its morals with a second secret hanging, after Ajmal Kasab. It executed the Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru without informing his family and without letting them meet him or bury him. And this was a man not guilty beyond proof, whose trial was badly botched up. He was yet another persecuted Kashmiri. And I don’t even care if he was guilty-NO ONE has the right to take a life.

We live in troubled times where it’s even more urgent to search for Truth. The fight between the lower self and the Higher Self-the lower cannot be allowed to win.


2 Responses to “And back.”

  1. countingducks February 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    This was a fantastic experience. I read it with great interest. I love the last two lines. “The lower self cannot be allowed to win”. No it cannot. I feel cheered just reading that

    • astudentinkolkata February 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      🙂 I’m so glad! That you feel cheered on reading these lines is a reflection of your own core values.

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