Experience of many lifetimes @ Simhastha Kumbh Mela

I just got back from an incredible 21-day program called Suddhavaditam which happened in Ujjain during the Simhasta Kumbh Mela with my Guru, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji). The program was attended by some 3,500 people from all over the world – the largest program ever conducted by Swamiji in a built-up camp from a 9-acre bare land.

In the camp, everything was run by volunteers or adheenamvashis (residents of Bengaluru adheenam) – be it kitchen, housekeeping, free food (annalaya) for public, free medical camp and a huge 108-deities temple with an exception of a few hired workers for cooking, washing and maintenance of the camp. Literally it was like a dream created out of nothing, yet everything happened in that extraordinary dream.

These 3 weeks had been an unimaginable roller coaster ride filled with excitement, fear, irritation, anger, love, compassion, kindness, healing, completion and bliss. On the first day of the opening of the program we were thrilled that many of us made it to the program despite all the obstacles which came our way. After the first initiation, then came the first storm after a heightened mood of celebration which flooded certain parts of the camp – the event hall and the dormitories. My bunk bed and part of my luggage were affected by the storm, we spent the 2 days walking in muddy floor and slippery ground. That night I had to share the bed with a female friend who generously offered to let me sleep with her. The amazing thing was the first storm didn’t dampen our spirit as we just focused on the recovery of the situation and started rolling up our sleeves to dry the hall with buckets and trays. Despite the wet ground, Swamiji gave us the first initiation as nothing would stop this from happening. Within 2 days, the water on carpeted floor in the hall and the ground dried up due to the hot weather. The first lesson we learned was – Focus on the right actions to get back on track and never entertain the negative emotions – this strategy actually helped us to overcome the discomfort of the first storm very quickly.

Swamiji began the first initiation of the higher 7 powers of 3rd eye – having a telescopic vision, power to see beyond an obstacle, power to see from distant, power to see one’s thought currents and emotions, power to see internal organs and scan others’ bodies. He followed up with another initiation into 4 powers of crown center ( Sahasrara chakra) – power to visualise complex intricacies, verbalise, internalise and digest any concept. Next he initiated us into another 2 powers of crown chakra – power of psychological levitation and physical levitation. The initiations awakened the qualities of bliss and living without patterns. The initiations generated a lot of excitement as we could see the manifestation of powers during the practice session facilitated by Ma Mahayogananda.

On the 4th day of the program, the Singapore and Malaysia groups were assigned the responsibility of serving food and cleaning after each meal for the participants and public visitors as a part of our volunteering service (seva). While doing seva of serving food, I witnessed all kinds of food patterns of human existence – people eating too much driven by the senses, people getting annoyed when they couldn’t get the food they wanted, people wasting food without feeling respect for food, people who don’t take the responsibility in bringing their own food tray to the washing bay after eating. In the first few days, these behaviours triggered a lot of agitations within me, I totally lost my cool! Why can’t people understand that we are all volunteers here? If each one of us can play our role, it would make everyone’s experience better. The moment I looked in, I cognized that there were people whose fulfilment derived from food itself besides being in Swamiji’s presence, I dropped the judgment and instead, I brought new understanding and completion, which put me back to the space of completion. With that clarity, I was able to continue with the serving of food feeling more complete. Interestingly, the more I served the lesser my appetite became as the days went by. By the end of the 21-day, I was very complete with my food patterns and I was ready to go beyond food living as a divine being.

The first Shahi snaan (holy bath) at the holy Shipra River was filled with so much excitement for all of us. After taking bath and dressed in traditional Sari for women or Yoga vastram for men, we gathered at 2 am to prepare for the procession and we hit the street in large contingent carrying colourful Vedic umbrellas, flags, deities as well as country flags. We danced to the rhythm of Nithya Kirtans (divine music) as we walked 2.5 km to the ghat (holy dip area).  As we hardly slept that night, so some of us took turns to rest along the way. When it was our turn to take the snaan, Swamiji led the team and entered into the river and took 3 dips. The rest of us followed suit but everything happened so quickly, we dropped the procession items and slippers, went into the river and submerged the body by taking 3 quick dips in the cool water. The next moment I realised the policemen yanked us out of the water and moved us away. After the holy bath, a feeling of bliss and completion emanating from my Being was felt as I walked my way back to our camp. Now I fully appreciate the sacred science of taking shahi snaan at Kumbh Mela – the power of cleansing of the sins and tasting of the nectar (amrita)!

After the Shahi snaan came the 2nd storm, this time it was a nasty cyclone which happened in the afternoon during lunch break. The group of us was serving food at serving area and a strong rustling of the wind started to sway the ceiling fans and the tent structure. The next moment we witnessed a large cyclone hit the area and blew down the front structure of the camp and then we saw a few zinc sheets from the temple roof flew off just like paper sheets. That was the moment a massive fear engulfed in all of us and someone shouted “Squat down” as we started to take cover under the food serving counters. This 2nd cyclone shook many participants to their core, many left the program the next few days as they didn’t have the strength to handle further shocks in their nervous system. One really needs a strong spleen to handle the fear attack of utter insecurity. For those who stayed on, this time we became much more prepared than the first storm, the group divided themselves into different teams to focus on recovery. Within 2 days, we were back on track! Swamiji later shared that when he saw the cyclone hitting the camp, he quickly shielded the area using his power and diverted the impact of the cyclone so that nobody was hurt. He assured that the test of Nature was over, there would not be any more storms. What a relief! The lessons I learned from this incident: 1) In situation of a natural calamity, you simply trust the master who is the Source since Nature listens to the Source, 2) If you are not able to relax into the laps of Cosmos in the presence of a living incarnation, wherever you go, you can never feel settled. I’ve learned to trust the master to protect us from all natural disasters. After this 2nd storm, the weather had been hot and sunny till we left the camp!

The 2nd Shahi snaan was another memorable experience. As it was the final Shahi snaan of the Simhastha Kumbh, the huge public crowd started to fill the street when we started the procession by walking to the snaan ghat. At one section of the road, it became too crowded and the policemen were not able to manage the crowd control properly. The public started to push and squeeze into the procession, many of us felt sandwiched like a sardine. The intense suffocation frightened me and I just prayed to be relieved from this situation. Soon enough, the policemen came to our rescue and opened the barricade and moved us to another road. It turned out that the 2nd Shahi snaan was the most beautiful experience as I was able to take the holy dip at my own time, completely enjoying the cool holy water with the deity –Nithyanandeswara, which was nicely tucked in my kavi (shawl) that I was carrying throughout the journey to Shahi snaan.

While the happening was going on as a flow of the event, we were also given time to practise the manifestation of powers after the initiations by Swamiji. By using the power of 3rd eye, some of us were able to see the room of another person through their inner space even though they have not visited their home. I was able to read the thought currents of others as well as describe the projected person in one’s inner space. These sessions gave us so much confidence in playing with the different powers as we saw the different expressions by others. Swamiji shared that after Kumbh Mela, he will continue to guide us in expressing the powers in daily satsang (morning discourse). Then came the final initiation called Astha Kanma – the 8 actions over 8 objects such as earth, water, fire, air, ether, plants and animals, other beings and the mind. When fully awakened, one can express 64 extraordinary powers (8 x 8) by playing with the multiple dimensions. He planted the seed of this powerful initiation in all of us on the 20th day of the program. People who didn’t have the patience and passion for the purpose they came for, they missed this final initiation. Swamiji once iterated that “Everything is only given. It can never be earned. But Sadashiva tests at least you have the ability to receive.”

After the completion of the program, it was celebration after celebration at different levels! Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we felt the intense bliss, fulfilment and  completion of this extraordinary program which raised us to a brand new level of existence. In Vedic tradition, powers are bestowed to people who are able to take responsibility for themselves and the world. Whether we are going to express the extraordinary powers, it is dependent on our decision to expand in responsibilism for the world.

In essence, this Suddhadvaitam program not only broke many of my patterns, it also gave me the clarity of one thing – the play of the human mind which derails us from seeking and experiencing a breakthrough in consciousness. If you have been working on aligning your mind to the Cosmic truths, you will sail through this program triumphantly. If you have entertained your physical, psychological and neurological ups and downs, you will miss the entire experience of this program. This is not even a program, it is a life-transforming gift of learning how to relax into Cosmos with trust and surrender even in moments of utter insecurity and realising that you are SadaShiva – Pure consciousness. Namaste 😀

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 😀