Kumbh Mela: Nectar of Immortality

In another 10 days, I shall be on the plane to my very first pilgrimage in India called Kumbh Mela in Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh state. The Sanskrit word ‘Kumbh‘ can be translated as ‘Pot’, which emerged from ‘Samudra Manthan’ from the Vedic Purana of ‘Churning of the Milky Ocean’ between Gods and Demons. The term ‘Mela’ means ‘Fair’.

Legend has it that churning of the milky ocean by Devas (Gods) and Danavas (Demons) yielded a pot (Kumbh) full of Amrit (nectar). However, the Gods did not wish to share it with the demons. At the instance of Lord Indra, the King of Gods, his son, Jayanta tried to run away with the pot but he was followed by some of the demons.

During the struggle for its possession, a few drops of the nectar dropped at four places corresponding with Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik on the planet earth. The drops of nectar of immortality were well received by the holy rivers at these places. Hence, these are the 4 places where the experience of immortality is eternally available to all beings. It is the place to find solutions from the very life struggles of human beings. Kumbh Melas have been happening on the planet for thousands of years. The stone inscriptions of different akhadas (sects) refer to more than 1,000 Kumbh Melas. Times and technologies have changed, yet one thing about the Kumbh Melas remains: they are the epicenters of cosmic energy.

Kumbh is held at each of the three places namely Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and only Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is held at Ujjain once every 12 years. Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is celebrated as the largest spiritual gathering on the planet earth. The main highlight of this gathering is taking holy dip called Shahi Snaan where millions of devotees all over the world come to take a bath in the holy Rivers purifies the soul and overcomes all the sins. The Hindus believe this pilgrimage to be an opportunity to get ‘moksha’ (liberation) and put an end to the never-ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth (samsara). Hence, Kumbh Melas are spiritual congregations which unite mankind under one banner of austerity, faith and devotion.

The Kumbh Melas are based on the celestial line-up of planets and the signs of the Zodiac which occurs in every 12 years. It is known to be a time when spiritual energy travels all around the place during this holy event. It is a social harmony where you get to see many saints and sadhakas gathering at one place. This event even gives you the chance of seeking the blessings of these pious saints.

Do you know that it is the position of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter in different zodiac signs that determines the location of the Kumbh in each of these places?

For example, Kumbh in Haridwar happens when the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter is in Aquarius it is held in Haridwar. Kumbh in Prayag happens when the Sun is in Capricorn and Jupiter is in Taurus, it is held in Allahabad (Prayag). Kumbh in Nasik happens when Jupiter enters the zodiac sign Leo it is held in Nasik. It is also held in Nasik, when Jupiter, Sun and Moon enter the zodiac sign Cancer on Amavasya. Finally, Kumbh in Ujjain is one of the most sacred places in India, is located on the banks of the sacred river Kshipra in the western region of Madhya Pradesh. Kumbh in Ujjain is held when a rare configuration of planets takes place which happens once in 12 years. When the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter in the zodiac Leo, it is held in Ujjain. Considering its relevance to the zodiac ‘Leo’ meaning ‘Simha’ in Sanskrit, the Kumbh is also referred to as ‘Simhasth Kumbh’. Traditionally, Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv is celebrated by various Akharas, where ‘Peshwai’ (Procession) begins in its full glory. The heads of Akharas join the procession on silver throne (Simhasanam) on elephants. It looks magnificent with the presence of armed Sadhus on horses and camels followed by Sadhus, hermits and devotees. Peshwai completes at the Ram Ghat area on the banks of river Kshipra.

Followers of Hinduism of all paths, paramparas (traditions), sects and castes unite under one banner of devotion in the Kumbh Melas. The Kumbh Mela is attended by all sadhus and gurus, of all paths. All the major belief sects, sampradayas of Hinduism: Ganapathya – Ganapathi worshippers, Kumara – Skanda worshippers, Shakta – Devi worshippers, Shaiva – Shiva worshippers, Saura – Surya worshippers, Vaisnava – Vishnu worshippers, and Guru – the worshippers of the Guru. The gods of all the traditions are brought here. Also, all the other traditions, Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission and many other missions representing their gods and gurus also take part in the Kumbh Mela.

Every enlightened being that has happened on the planet, or is happening on the planet, attends the Kumbh Mela. It is said that one enlightened being is equivalent in energy to nine million people. The Kumbh Mela is the time, place and space where all the enlightened masters’ energies are centred to bless and heal the entire planet.

What is the significance of taking the holy dip (snaan)?

If you had read about the experiments by Dr Masaru Emoto, our thoughts and emotions have a distinct effect on our environment. Dr Emoto exposed many samples of the same water to people carrying different emotions and thoughts – anger, violence, pain and love, gratitude, joy. The effect of the thoughts on the water has been proven that thoughts affect water, and hence anything that is fluid. If one person’s thoughts can affect one glass of water, then you can’t imagine the effect of millions of sadhus, devotees and enlightened beings on the sacred rivers. The water, sanctified by these positive energies, becomes amrit or nectar. ‘Kumbh’ is the place where the nectar happens. Kumbh Mela is the place where amrit is distributed. The best possibilities of a human being become available in the Kumbh Melas by partaking of this amrit. As a tradition, deities energised by enlightened masters who have left the body are immersed in water throughout the snaan period of the Kumbh Mela. The healing power of this water is immense. Not only the water, the entire space or kshetra becomes vibrant with their energy.

Since 2012, I had missed 2 Kumbh Melas in Allahabad and Nasik due to fear of the crowd and the attachment to the comfortable modern living. But this year, a big shift happened in me. As a living Hindu, especially if you are also a disciple of a living incarnation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji), who is the Maha Mandaleshwar of Mahanirvani Peeth (the oldest apex body of Hinduism), I just have to kidnap myself there by myself. The process I went through to finally drop everything in my regular life to attend Simhasth Kumbh Mela itself was such a beautiful completion process of letting go of the thought patterns I was still holding on to. It is with deep gratitude that I feel blessed to be given the right context of Kumbh Mela and also the process of a fundamental cognitive shift.

Another great excitement for attending this Kumbh Mela with Swamiji is that in the auspiciousness where the Guru energy is at its peak, he will be initiating the participants into the Suddhadvaitam process of awakening 70 yogic powers in us based on Agamas given by Lord Shiva, the first Guru. This is going to be wild!

In essence, the Kumbh Mela is a grand spiritual festival in Hinduism, the perfect time when human beings can experience their highest possibilities of achieving the Ultimate – bliss and liberation. A Kumbh Mela is a microcosm which one experiences all the dimensions of Hinduism, as a seeker I simply can’t afford to miss it again this time. Kumbh Chalo! Namaste 😀

Imagination is the result of mere words

Do you know that imagination is the fantasy which moves you away from the reality?

The biggest click I got from the 9th Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is – imagination is the results of mere words – words we create unconsciously! Patanjali says anything experienced by you, other than your pure consciousness is vikalpa – imagination. Imagination is that which is created merely by words! Hence imagination brings more suffering than wrong knowledge because for wrong knowledge to happen, your consciousness needs be present and the mind needs to do something. Wrong knowledge can only happen in waking state or dream state. Wrong knowledge is nothing but wrong logic. But imagination can disturb you in all the three states – waking state, dream state and deep sleep state because imagination touches the deeper zones than wrong knowledge.

Another important truth I discovered from this sutra is that imagination corrupts your seven chakras. What are chakras? See, your mind and body come in contact with each other at 7 points in your body. These 7 points are known as the 7 energy centres or chakras. The Yoga tradition describes these 7 points as Chit-Jada-granthi – the points where matter and consciousness meet each other. Whenever you carry imagination, you corrupt these 7 energy centres and disturb their functioning.

For example, if your imagination touches your root centre, Mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine, it is called fantasy. You are caught in fantasies about others and yourself which results in distortion of your basic perception of reality. You start seeing everything as larger than life, you start expecting the things which can never happen. Projecting your magnified expectation on reality is called fantasy. This happens often in relationships, you will always feel that the other person is not fulfilling you. You start imagining things, projecting things and creating things. When you see that it is not happening through the other person, you start blaming the other person. That is why you constantly feel the other person is depriving you or suffocating you. You are not even aware that it is your fantasy which is creating the expectation of things which can never happen or which never happened.

Next, if your imagination touches your Swadhistana chakra or being centre located 2 inches above the root centre, it is called fear. You experience fear of others and fear of yourself. You start to have phobia for no reason. If your imagination touches the Manipuraka chakra, the navel centre, it is called worry. You start worrying about others and worrying about yourself. If your imagination touches your Anahata chakra, the heart centre, it is called attention-need. You suffer from continuous attention need from others and from yourself. Sometimes you put up with abusive relationships just because of your attention-need. You forget that you can be a source of love and you need not be a beggar for love and attention. If your imagination touches your Visuddhi chakra, the throat centre, it is called jealousy. You start constant comparison with others and comparison with yourself. This happens a lot when you constantly compare with yourself what you were able to do yesterday and not today. If your imagination touches your Ajna chakra, the brow centre, it is called ego. You start suffering from ego with others and with yourself. The greatest suffering is you judge yourself, you regret your own words and actions or you are angry with yourself for something. When you carry too many judgments about life, about others and yourself, it means imagination is corrupting your brow centre. Finally, if your imagination touches your Sahasrara chakra or the crown centre, it is called discontentment. You suffer from discontentment with others and discontentment with yourself. This is how we create different kinds of suffering in our life due to the inability to handle the realities of life!

Have you seen people renouncing life due to many unfulfilled fantasies about life? They fantasized about luxury lifestyle but they didn’t make it and they couldn’t tolerate the failure, the reality of their life. They started to renounce out of frustration due to not having the right understanding about their fantasy.  I’ve seen people misunderstood about yoga and they created a fantasy about themselves and tortured themselves in the name of yoga. They are not able to come out of the fantasy they are caught in. That’s the endless suffering.

In essence, imagination – Vikalpa is fantasy which not only moves you away from reality, but it also makes you experience the ultimate suffering. It has to be understood with very deep awareness. It originates from the words you use to yourself and others because words have power to shape your destiny. Your ability to relax from imagination is the ultimate relaxation you can have in life. Namaste 😀

Source : 108 Truths of Yoga of Enlightenment by Paramahamsa Nithyananda

Is problem becoming your reality?

Do you know that if you are convinced about some problems due to your powerlessness, it just becomes your reality?

Many times, instead of going to the root of the problem and solving it, completing it, you go on holding onto the surface and enjoy the suffering. For some people they are afraid that if they go to the root of the problem, it may just disappear and what will they do in their life?! With the unconscious mind, we can get so comfortable with our problems that we are afraid to come out of the comfort zone and live without any problem. Sometimes the problems have become our companions and we just love our problems because we can get attention from others. Worrying about the problems has become a pattern that one may feel lonely without problems. Hence we don’t want to look into the root of the problem.

In the 8th Yoga Sutra, Patanjali says “Interpreting based on past conditioning leads to misconception or wrong understanding”. In this one Sutra, he analyses and describes ALL our problems.

First of all, most of the time we suffer only with our conditioning, not with the situation itself. If you look deeply, 99.9% of the sufferings are not related to the external situation, they are related to our internal conditioning.

Here’s an incident which happened to my client. This lady once witnessed the infidelity of his father when she was a child. Her parents fought frequently and her mother was depressed. Once a fight broke out and she asked her father not to leave them alone but he did. Her entire world crushed because her idea of her father loved her was completely shattered. She lost the trust she had in her father and in men. Her relationship with her partner become a problem because of inability to trust and she tortured herself with the pattern of spying on her partner. The incident is nothing but the past conditioning which stops her from experiencing the reality. The good news is she had completed with this incident by letting go of the anger and had since started building up on her trust.

From this incident, we can see that it is our mind that is programmed at a young age and we start living life based on our programming. We walk, talk and take decision based on those programs. The scary part is many of us are not even aware that we are programmed and we continue to live in unawareness!

That is what Patanjali calls as wrong knowledge, the very cognition or input in which we receive life is distorted because it is based on past conditioning and incompletions. So naturally, whenever wrong data and process are done, the way we take decision will also be wrong.

Here is a simple exercise you can do just to see how you make the same mistake of interpreting the present moment using the past conditioning. Sit and pen down at least 10 incidents where you made the same mistake using past conditioning. You will begin to see how your mind is behaving, how your life is happening and how you are struggling with this pattern.

The big problem is, before you even understand the depth of the problem, you start trying to correct it from your past conditioning. Then the problem can never end because the very knowledge is wrong. If you just understand the depth of the problem, that’s enough to trigger a transformation inside you. Just by understanding the depth of the problem, the transformation starts happening in you. Be very clear, understanding brings clarity, clarity brings change.

Upanishads declare again and again that all the Enlightened Masters declare – Whatever IS, is divine, it is God. If you see anything other than the Divine, if you have any other experiences other than bliss in life, you are stuck with this pattern, this is the sutra for you. Contemplate on this sutra – Interpreting based on past conditioning leads to misconception or wrong understanding. Decide to get out of this pattern and go to the depth of each problem and see it without your past conditioning so that you see each situation as it is. Namaste 😀