KUMBH MELA – THE WORLD’S OLDEST, LARGEST PEACE GATHERING OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS
Since time immemorial, India has been known as the glorious haven of peace, tolerance, spirituality, and genuine respect and dignity for all peoples. Over the centuries, despite relentless invasion and cultural genocide of her people, India has continued to trust and welcome people from all countries, religions and ethnic backgrounds, into her own fold, including refugees and outcasts from countries around the world.
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda – Taking Responsibility for Global Peace
As the inheritor of this renowned legacy of Peace, His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda is bringing about a true Peace Renaissance, to reconnect humanity with its true nature of Dharma (righteousness), Satya (Truth), Prema (selfless Love) and Ahimsa (non-violence), and guiding humanity to the true space of Advaita (Cosmic Oneness).
The influence and reach of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda in this regard is most potently reflected in an event held every three years and acknowledged unanimously as the world’s largest and most peaceful gathering of pilgrims – the KUMBH MELA.
Once every three years, out of vast empty lands rises a megacity two-thirds the size of Manhattan, but three times as densely populated. Tens of million people gather in this place which is at once, the most ancient celebration of the science of enlightenment, but also most modern example of urban planning, use of technology and communication infrastructure. Food, stay and health care are practically free, and crime is non-existent; an event so beautifully choreographed, that Harvard University calls it “better organized than the FIFA world cup” (Ref: Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity, Tarun Khanna, et. al., Publisher: Hatje Cantz (July 3, 2015)
The Kumbh Mela is a phenomenon like no other – the signature event, the flag-ship of Hinduism. No other event in the world brings people together like the Kumbh Mela. No other event in the world highlights the capacity and potential of human beings like it. It is truly the flagship festival of Hinduism – demonstrating that human beings of all nationalities, color and creed can come together to raise humanity to its highest level – a level that can only be imagined, and only be materialized by Hinduism. The Melas are consciously organized to grow and expand the tenets of spiritual goals in constant sight of the multitude of devout seekers.
Kumbh Mela is inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, considered the world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims.
What is Kumbh Mela?
“This is the oldest festival of humanity, the largest gathering of humanity on planet Earth and the greatest spiritual event that can happen! This largest event happens with no invitation, no advertising, just a single line written in panchika (traditional hindu calendar) that says – Mahasnana (Royal bath) is on this particular date; that’s all! And this event is a gathering of millions of people in a place where there is not even an airport! Even the railway station is a small one.”
~ His Divine Holiness His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda
Kumbh (literally meaning ‘pot or jar’), in scriptures and historical records is referred to as a Parva or holy event or sometimes as a Maha Parva or greatest of all sacred events. Kumbh Parva first appears in the Vedic texts in the mention of Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya, meaning “let nature move humanity from death to immortality”.
There are many references to this festival in Vedic scriptures, in the context of the sacredness of mass bathing at specific locations of riverbanks during particular auspicious planetary configurations in the cosmos.
The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in sacred rivers in 4 different places. This massive peaceful congregation of people from all walks of life, traverse the journey from their cities, towns and villages to get the spiritual experience of a lifetime, like none other.
Kumbh Mela – Locations
It takes place every third year, rotating through 4 locations – Haridwar on the banks of the river Ganga, Prayag (Allahabad) on the banks of Sangam viz. the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers, Nashik on the banks of the river Godavari and Ujjain on the banks of the river Kshipra. An Ardh Kumbh Mela (1/2 Mela) is held at Haridwar & Prayag every 6th year. Every 12 years a Maha Kumbh Mela is held, the last of which was held in February 2013 in Prayag. With a 12-year rotation now complete, the next Maha Kumbh Mela is due to be held in February 2019, preprations for which have begun, both at the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham as well as at the hosting state of Uttar Pradesh, in Northern India.
Kumbh Mela – Its Antecedents
Historically, the origins of the festival is found in the Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Ocean of Milk) – where the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) fought fiercely to extract the Amrit Kumbh (Jar of Nectar) to which each claimed ownership, for the nectar of immortality – using Maha Meru (Mt. Kailash) the abode of Lord Shiva and Vasuki the Serpent God on which Lord Vishnu reclines, for the churning. (For a full read on this legend read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbh_Mela or watch the documentary by National Geographic – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ4aJ5tQQcU.
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s version is possibly the best rendering of this sacred event and is available on Youtube in a sermon delivered during the Kumbh Mela at Prayag in February 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKSJunAs6V8/
Kumbh Mela – The Divine Configuration
The Kumbh is an auspicious moment, a fraction of time when the planets in the sky are in a leveraged position, is said to influence the inner soul of living beings.
The celebration of Kumbh Mela depends on the position of Jupiter (Brhaspati) and the sun and is held as below in the 4 mentioned locations:
Haridwar…..when Jupiter is in Aquarius and the Sun is in Aries during the Hindu month of Caitra (March-April); 1986, 1998, 2010, 2021.
Prayag…..when Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and the Sun and Moon are in Capricorn during the Hindu month of Magha (January-February); 1989, 2001, 2012, 2024.
Nasik…..when Jupiter and the Sun are in Leo in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September); 1980, 1992, 2003, 2015.
Ujjain…..when Jupiter is in Leo and the Sun is in Aries, or when Jupiter, the Sun, and the Moon are in Libra during the Hindu month of Vaisakha (April-May); 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.
Kumbh Mela – A Harvard Case Study
Kumbh Mela, with its grandeur, scale and organic set-up of a tented city has made the academia world to research and inspires interdisciplinary research in a number of complementary fields. It became an important case study for Harvard to get an understanding of a pop-up mega city that can be applied outside religious parameters, such as in camps for refugees of war and natural disasters. Pilgrimage and religious studies, public health, design, communications, business, and infrastructure engineering converge at this festival, producing a complex atmosphere that can be understood through rigorous documentation and mapping, both on-site and in post-field processing.
“The underlying structure of the Mela emerges in the creation of a temporary city to house its many pilgrims. This city is laid out on a grid, constructed and deconstructed within a matter of weeks; within the grid, multiple aspects of contemporary urbanism come to fruition, including spatial zoning, an electricity grid, food and water distribution, physical infrastructure construction, mass vaccinations, public gathering spaces, and nighttime social events. The ultimate goal of the pilgrims is to bathe at the convergence of the rivers: even this act is organized into a larger procession, where pilgrims are given specific times and opportunities to bathe based on their social status. When the festival is not in session, the ground on which the city sits is used for different forms of agriculture”. (Ref. Read about the complete project at http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/project/kumbh-mela/
Kumbh Mela – A City of Tents and Convergence of Great Beings
During the period of Kumbh, nearly-desert lands, turn into a self-sufficient gigantic tent city with all facilities of human habitation. An area of 15 to 25 square kilometers provides all the necessities for the tens of millions of people that congregate here with deep faiths.
Hindu monks, referred to variedly as Sadhus, Yogis, Swamis, and Sannyasis of many orders, leave their hermitages in high mountains to converge in millions of numbers at the Kumbh. Here they stay on till its end, sharing their immense knowledge of the scriptures, skills of yoga and weaponry, and the results of years of tapasya (penance) and sadhana (dedicated seeking) in finding the path to moksha (liberation). It is especially an opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring and fierce Naga Sadhus (meaning naked monks), upholders of the Hindu faith over more than 1000 years of challenges and persecution, whose vows to a life of severe austerity, celibacy and monasticism is legendary.
Kumbh Mela – The Divine Bath – Shahi Snan
Kumbh Mela is related to an age-old tradition of mass bathing called snan, where the specific holy river virtually becomes the Amrith Kumbh, the urn of immortality. It demonstrates the faith and belief of the people who move to wash away the burden of accumulated sins with the intent to cross the river of Vaitarni (punishment) and seek an answer to immortality. What could be the single-minded faith, devotion, belief and thoughts that draw such humungous number of people to this maddeningly chaotic, intensely personal yet peaceful event every 3 years?
Drawing an analogy from the book Hidden Messages in Water by Japanese scientist Dr. Emoto Masaru, His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda tells us to imagine the quality of the water of these rivers, that has been flowing fiercely yet peacefully for 1000s of years, where tens of millions of people transmit and add the energies of their intense faith, devotional fervor, religious belief and thoughts to it – it indeed become amrit or nectar!
Kumbh Mela – Descent of the Divine
The Kumbh over its 1000s of years of celebrations has seen many incarnates and holy saints visit, give darshan (divine vision) and even participated in it. In fact, it was Jagadguru Shankaracharya who gave the prominence to this festival in the 8th CE, when he established his four Mathas in the east, west, north and south of the sub-continent. Besides him, other personalities whose spirits make their presence felt at the Kumbh include Tulsidas, Lord Buddha, Guru Nanak, Chaitanyadev, Kabir, Guru Gobind Singh, Swami Dayananda, sants such as Tukaram, Ramananda, Ramanujacharya, to name a few. In more recent times Kumbh has seen participation by the Dalai Lama, amongst others.
His Divine Holiness Pramahamsa Nithyananda adds another mystical dimension to why the shahi snan is so precious. When an Enlightened Master takes a dip in the waters and adds his energies to it, the quality of the water becomes equivalent to that already energized by the multitude of humanity present there. Add to this the energies of the spirits of past Enlightened Masters and great sages as those mentioned above, and the miraculous powers of the water increases multifold, beyond imagination. This combined with the ferocious and upward flow of the river raises the consciousness of the people gathered there towards the Supreme Being, bringing tremendous positive energy to not only the location of the Kumbh Mela but to all beings of planet earth. For all humanity living today, to have the distinct privilege of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, the rare living incarnate of Lord Shiva himself, is possibly the most humbling yet enlightening experiences of all!
Over the last two decades His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda along with the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham has participated in full regalia at the the Kumbha Mela several times in India, besides launching the first ever Kumbh Melas at an international level, in the USA. The participation include those at:
Preparations are in full swing for the forthcoming Maha Kumbh Mela to be held in Prayag once again, in completion of the 12 year cycle, in February-March 2019.
Kumbh Mela 2007 – January 2007, Allahabad, India
In January 2007 His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda graced the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. The event was spread over 4000 acres of land, with over 1 lakh tents and at least 25,000 spiritual leaders representing the best of the oldest living tradition of Hinduism. In just a single day, 40 million (4 crore) people took the Shahi Snan. By his very presence in whom all cosmic energies reside, His Divine Holiness raised the energy of the planet and the people to superconscious frequencies on a massive scale. During this event the Nithyananda Sangha performed sacred rituals everyday and had celebrations of divine proportions, bringing massive peace and well-being to humanity.
The Clairvoyance of Intense Energies
“During this particular Kumbh Mela, it has been observed that the river Ganges has reversed direction and started flowing against the nature, upwards. The clairvoyance is too much here. You are in an intense energy field. A man who has the three things: Murti (the Superconscious Being), Sthala (a space which is an energy field) and Teertha (a water body that is energized with superconscious energies) has everything and is blessed. Here, you have this Kumbh Ghat which is the energized space, the sthala, you have the Triveni Sangam which is the energized water body, the tirtha, and the Enlightened Being! You have all three here just now. Here, all you need to do is celebrate and you will be liberated.”
~ His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda hosted the first ever Kumbh Mela in the USA in 2007. At His invitation, Hindus gathered from around the US and around the world to celebrate Sanatana Hindu Dharma. Swamis representing different orders – The Ramakrishna Order, Puri Sampradaya, Chinmaya Mission, Saraswathi Parambara, Acharya Yogish Muniji from Jain tradition, as also American Swamis and those from Los Angeles participated in the event, to create immense positive energy for the USA and all beings residing there. All the Swamis from varied orders united to bring spiritual energy and the social feeling of oneness to the community and to the whole world.
Taking The Benefits to the World – 1st International Kumbh Mela, Los Angeles-USA, 2007
The Second Peace Confluence of the Kumbh Mela was held in Los Angeles on September 9, 2007 in collaboration of the Vedanta Society. Many Southern Californian spiritual organizations such as BAPS, ISKCON, Mata Amrutananda Mayi, Siddha Yoga, Siddha Samadhi Yoga, Sanatana Dharma Temple, Sindhi Center, Hamsa Yoga, Gujarati Association, besides others more, attended enthusiastically in the festival.
This Kumbh Mela, held at Prayag (Allahabad) was the culmination of a 12-year cycle and appropriately called the Maha Kumbh Parv. During this Mela the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam continued it activities established at earlier Melas – namely providing Anna Daan (free food) and shelter to devotees who were joining the morning satsang (sermon) live on 2-way video conferencing.
Several pujas and homas were also offered during this Mela. They included:
Ganapati Homa, Shatru Samhara Trishati Homa, Purusha Sukta Homa, Sri Vidya Homa, Rudra Homa, Guru Homa, Kalabhairava Puja, Mahakali Puja, Gayatri Homa, Medha Saraswati Homa, Avahanti Homa, Vaideeshwara Homa, Dhanakarshana Bhairava Homa, Navagraha Homa, Mrityunjay Homa, Sudarshana Homa, Medha Dakshinamurthy, Sathyanarayana Puja, Surya Homa and Sahasranama Archana.
Regular events such as divine darshans, training in different areas were also held to the select group of participants who traveled from across the globe to this event.
Before The Avatar even arrives, Sanyasis are already sharing Anna Daan, free sattvic meals, and pilgrims gather for The Avatar’s Live Satsang, discourse of the spiritual truths.
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda along with prominent Hindu saints at the VHP meeting. VHP president Ashok Singhal gracing the dias
Spiritual Responsibility for Kumbha Mela – Coronation as Mahamandaleshwar of Mahanirvani Peeth
An important happening at the February 2013 Kumbh Mela, was the coronating of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda as the Mahamandaleshwar of the renowned Sri Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani (Mahanirvani Peeth), the most ancient apex body of Hinduism with an awe-inspiring heritage of over 10,000 years.
Already recognized as a powerful crusader for integrated spirituality and lasting peace, His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda brings to the role a new vigor and vitality, while drawing strength from the Akhada’s vast network and solid spiritual base. As Maha Mandaleshwar of Sri Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani (Mahanirvani Peeth), His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda takes responsibility for upholding the principles of Vedic dharma, the cosmic laws and protecting them from degradation, while raising them to greater heights. He also takes responsibility for this huge confluence of Hinduism, meeting with Hindu spiritual leaders and other visionaries to forge the future of Hinduism, guiding spiritual activities and blessing the people.
Feeding the Needy and the Holy
During this Kumbh Mela, the Nithyananda Peetham camp provided hot and nutritious Annadaan (free food) every day to tens of thousands of people who sought a glimpse of His Divine Holiness. Bhandaras (shared community meals) were held with great festivities for saints, holy men and seekers of all sects, in recognition of their efforts to bring peace and spirituality among the people. Each day, the camp of Nithyananda Peetham hosted powerful Vedic peace rituals like Rudra Homa, as well as spiritual discourses and meditations throughout the day, delivered and guided personally by His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda and his Acharyas (ordained teachers), in which several thousands participated and benefited.
Simhastha Maha Kumbh Mela – September 2015, Nashik
Grand Procession of Peace – At Kumbh Mela in Nasik, 2015
In a grand ceremony marked by hymn-chanting and religious fervour, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela commenced on 14 July 2015. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh hoisted the ceremonial flags in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar respectively. The main ceremonies, hoisting of flags at Ram Kund (Nashik) and Kushavarta Teertha (Triambakeshwar) were organised by the Nashik Ganga Godavari Panchkothi Purohit Sangh and Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh respectively. Thousands of monks and ordinary people alike thronged the two sacred places celebrating the coming together of the Sun and Jupiter in the Leo zodiac sign.
The Simhasta Maha Kumbh Parv at Nashik lasted an incredible 72 days coming to an end on September 25, 2015.
The Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam showed its continued global presence, with nearly 800 participants from across the globe, participating in a 15-day Shivoham program from September 10 to 25, 2015. The programme got off to a significant and auspicious start with Mahamandaleshwars of the Mahanirvani Akhada visiting the pandal of the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam at Triambakeshwar.
The Message of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda primarily focussed on Kumbh Mela being a celebration of seeking and seekers. It is so significant that no one can go back without getting impacted positively by it. This day was significant as the students (balasanths) of the Nithyananda Gurukul showcased the power of their Third Eye with demos to the devotees and Mahamandaleshwars present there.
His Divine Holiness used every opportunity to invite his Gurukul children to sit along with him on the stage, where he also fed each one of them Himself. Participants in the program were tutored by the Master himself to learn to dance with gusto, in preparation of the procession to follow for the day of holy dip or Shahi Snan. This was the day on which the participants were also initiated into the Shivoham process.
During this event participants were introduced to significant guests such as Swami Vishwananda, Sri Purnananda and the head of the temple in Kankal in Haridwar. This place is one that His Divine Holiness calls as His Guru Gaddi, as the deity of this temple assumed human form as Shankar Baba and gave food and medicine to His Divine Holiness when He was ailing on the Ganga ghat. On this day His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s vision of Sarvajnapeetha (The Seat of Divine Knowledge) was released in the form of a book along with books on Third Eye Awakening and Living Advaita which were presented to the honoured guests.
On this day earnest preparations were made towards the forthcoming Shahi Snan with His Divine Holiness personally overseeing the preparations. The paduka mandir were given paduka peetams, the men were taught how to wear the traditional agamic attire rounding up with a complete dress rehearsal with the peetams, umbrellas, flags of nations of various devotees who had come from abroad, Sangha flags, and so on. The day ended with the participants being lead through a spiritual process of identifying incompletions, writing them down. Once the Shivoham process was completed the participants were asked to tear the papers to surrender it in the Godavari the next day, after their Shahi Snan.
All preparation and hard work of the previous two days and nights, culminated in the exhilarating procession to the Shahi Snan in the Godavari (at the Kusharvarth Kund), which took off from the gates of the Mahanirvani Akhada. The sequence of the Mahamandaleshwars to the Shahi Snan is predetermined. The pilgrims at this Kumbh were treated to the sight of the most joyous, colourful and boisterous procession they had ever witnessed. Brilliant crowd management, security and lifeguard arrangements by the State police ensured all pilgrim and participants had comfortable dips at the Kund. His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s blessing, sitting on a panaquin, in a rain drenched darshan created kundalini awakening in many of theparticipants around Him. On 13th ad 18th September, throngs of pilgrims to the Kumbh Mela waited for several hours in the queue to have a darshan of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda.
Feast for Monks – Bhandara
Day 4 of this event gave an opportunity to the international participants an opportunity to serve and participate in a rare event – in the large Bhandara (feast) for over 2000 sadhus of the Mahanirvani Akhada. People were organised in teams to serve the sadhus, which is considered a great privilege and auspicious act for Hindus. In the bhandara only men are allowed to serve the food and therefore the women participants made themselves handy cleaning the utensils and distributing the Living Advaitha book amongst the guests. It was a joy for the participants to watch His Divine Holiness along with other Mahamandaleshwars partaking a meal as per tradition. The following day, Shri Narendragiri Maharaj, head of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad was the guest of honor along with Kolada Matha Swami. On this day and the following days participants were initiated into Samaya Deeksha,Third Eye Awakening and Shivoham processes besides giving darshan to the participants.
Divine Initiations to Shaktis to Balasanths of Nithyananda Gurukul
His Divine Holiness gave the Agni Samyama to 6 Gurukul children and one adult, late in the night. He did a thorough evaluation of the awakening of the third eye and and only those who passed the test became qualified were only given the initiation. His Divine Holiness mentioned that this power expresses through the third eye. Over a period of time, just by blowing they will be able to burn cotton / paper. His Divine Holiness made it clear that powers are simple side effects of enlightenment. These initiations help in settling into the space of Living Advaitha.
With other spiritual leaders during the 2015 Kumbh Mela at Nashik
Departure to the Shahi Snan on September 19 to the Kund at the Triambakeshwar Temple, Nashik
His Divine Holiness relaxes in the blissful aftermath of the Shahi Snan with equally blissed and delighted participants and devotees from across the globe!
Blissfully transmitting to the participants from across the globe the knowledge of Shivoham
Recounting to the participants his blissful experience at the Shahi Snan – September 20, 2015
Kumbh Mela – October 24, 2015, Los Angeles-USA
Continuing the endeavor as a Peace Ambassador towards global peace, started in 2007, the 2nd International Kumbh Mela was held in Los Angeles on October 24, 2015. A total of 108 brass Kalashas or pots filled with energized waters of the Godavari from the Nashik Kumbh Mela were carried in a rousing procession, consisting of people drawn from different ethnic backgrounds and Hindu sampradayas, and was poured in the Colorado river with fervent prayers for peace and harmony of the communities there. Here are interesting glimpses of the USA Kumbh Mela, 2015.
The 108 Kalashas blessed and ready placed before the moorthi of His Divine Holiness
Aarti at twilight (Sandhya) at the Los Angeles Kumbh Mela, 2015
Chanting the Swasti mantra or peace chants to bless and heal the whole world.
The procession began with a dance by the Aztec Native Americans
His Divine Holiness communicates his peace message to the gathering over 2-way video conferencing
Devotees and participants dance their way to the Colorado
A motley gathering – a section of the participants at Kumbh Mela-USA, 2015
Padukas of the Guru and Deities from various temples are bathed in the holy snan, which has the sacred water from the Godavari river. At right, pouring the holy waters into the Colorado marked the end of this remarkable celebrations in the USA.
Different Hindu organizations get banner ready for the precious divine procession to the Colorado
Stephen Knapp and Rajiv Malhotra, guests of honor at Kumbh Mela-USA 2015, give their respective keynote addresses to the gathering
Blind fold Demos by Nithyananda Gurukul Children – Right – Deities in full regalia
The Kumbh Mela 2015 Youth Brigade dance their heart out during the celebration
Simhasta Kumbh Maha Parva, Ujjain, April-May 2016
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Kumar Chouhan extends an invitation to His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda for the Ujjain Kumbh Mela of 2016, on September 19, 2015, at the end of the Kumbh Mela held at Nashik
The Simhastha Kumbh Maha Parv 2016 in Ujjain (April 22 to May 21, 2016) was unique in that it was held close on the heels of the recently concluded 72-days long Simhastha Maha Kumbh Mela on the banks of river Godavari in Nashik which ended on September 25, 2015.
The Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh Maha Parva also marked the culmination of the cosmic conscious shift which began in 2012, with the Sun and Jupiter (lodged in Simha Rashi or Leo) energies at their highest ever in this mela, giving clear indications of upheavals and unforeseen changes to come the world over. This unique occurrence of two Simhasthas following each other within a span of 6 months, has happened after nearly 300 years, due to a rare divine cosmic arrangement. The most auspicious dates at the Kumbh Mela were the Shahi Snans, on April 22nd Chaitra Shukla, May 9th Akshaya Tritiya, and the culminating date May 21st Vaishakh Shukla.
His Divine Holiness continues his pursuance of global peace and unity by making this incredible yet rare opportunity free of cost to his followers and devotees worldwide. Delighted devotees simply jumped at this opportunity to be around the divine presence of the rare Living Avatar, and traveled from far and wide for a 21-days spiritual blast. Consequently, the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham Camp at the sprawling location at Ujjain stood out for the sheer number of foreign devotees congregated there. More than 50% of the nearly 3000 participants were from outside India from over 40 different countries.
Experiencing the True Spirit of the Kumbh
It was amazing to see how thousands of participants of all nationalities gathered together to celebrate the true spirit of Kumbh Mela. How does one experience the true spirit of the Kumbh Mela. One of the Sri Mahants, who has been around His Divine Holiness for several years has summed it up beautifully, after his observances during the Ujjain Kumbh Mela.
The Grand Peshwai of an Avatar
The Simhastha Kumbh Maha Parva 2016 was preceded by the Peshwai (procession) during which the heads of various Akhadas lead their procession into the city of Ujjain in full glory, seated on silver simhaasanam (thrones). Crowds of Ujjain thronged the streets of the peshwai to seek blessing of the seers, saints and naga sadhus.
This year Ujjain was treated to the grandest ever peshwai with the presence of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda and his entourage of colorful canopies carried by devotees in traditional agamic white-with-gold bordered attire, flags emblazoned with His blissfully smiling image and Him seated on a grand golden simhasanam (throne). With its trademark heart thumping, foot tapping music His procession was easily the rarest sight the people of Ujjain had ever witnessed. Lucky ones from the thronging crowds received a garland here, a prasad there, some even managing to get a gentle touch. But one thing was sure – not a single person from the crowd missed the radiantly glowing face with the blissful smile and raised hands blessing one and all.
The Nithyananda Peetham camp was also a rarity in itself. Located almost at the end of the Kumbh Ghat on Sadawal Marg, the camp became a temporary home to the nearly 3000 participants and adheenavasis or ashramites congregated from Nithyananda Sanghas across the globe, for a 21-days spiritual blast with Shuddhadvaita Shaivam and initiation into 70 shaktis by His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda.
Kumbh is all about aparigraha or minimalistic living, which at Ujjain included dormitories, shared toilets and bathrooms, saatvic organic food from Mahadeva’s kitchen and seva of all kinds.
Gifts from a Spiritual Blast
The majority of participants who got on board the train to Shuddhadvaita Shaivam and tarried on despite all inconveniences and hiccups, were richly rewarded. They included rare sights of avataric communication with the lords of wind and rain, Indra and Varuna, to avert disaster, eye-filling darshans of Sadashiva and Kalabhairava, the blessing of serving food to Mahamandaleshwars and 2,000+ sadhus of the Mahanirvani Peeth during the bhandara, the heady marathon hours of dancing, and the sight of His Divine Holiness dancing to His own blissful beat and music! It included a trip to Ujjain’s landmark jyotirlinga Mahakaleshwar temple to witness the famous Bhasma Arati at 2.30 a.m., by His Divine Holiness, in a rare invitation into the garbha mandir or sanctorum, by the high priests of the temple.
Participants also witnessed the holy initiations of 25 krama brahmacharis (novitiates), the first step into the luxurious life of sannyas or monkhood in the Nithyananda Sannyas Order. As if this was not enough, participants were given three rounds of opportunities to do Pratyaksha Pada Puja to the Lotus Feet of their Master besides participating in rare homas such as Chandika Homa. Topping all this was the free gift of initiations to 77 mystical powers expanding the powers of the Third Eye to hitherto unimagined limits.
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda took the opportunity to also reorganize Nithyananda Sangha to the next level of functioning as an organization. People were placed in the hierarchy of Sri Mahants, Mahants, Kotharis and Thanedars (SMKT) on the basis of their past completions and accomplishments rather than on their future possibilities.
The Show of Vedic Strength by Gurukul Balasanths
It was also a period in which one experienced and learned to manage humongous crowds that gathered each day, to catch a glimpse of Vedic Hindu glory in the Nithyananda Devasthanam, where 108 deities and all their paraphernalia had been carted all the way from the Sacred Arts of Bengaluru Aadheenam. The Nithyananda Gurukul balasanths were a flurry of activities conducting homas, pujas, rituals, deity alankaras through the days and nights, while some gave blindfold demos to visiting dignitaries and to the crowds.
Humongous Crowds Seek Avatar’s Blessings, Darshan and Free Food
As per local intelligence sources, footfalls at the Nithyananda Peetham camp were in the range of 50,000 during the week which easily doubled during the weekends. The Nithyananda Annalaya geared to serve about 100,000 devotees found itself serving twice the number most times. As His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda shared with all participants, 25% of the crowd to the Simhastha Kumbh Maha Parva made a footfall at the Nithyananda Peetham over the month-long celebrations. They were there for Nithya healing, to take advantage of the Free Medical Camp, see third eye demos, be agog at the sight of the bedecked, bejeweled deities, and above all to catch a glimpse of the Avatar who had emblazoned the thronging crowds of Ujjain during the Peshwai and the Shahi Snans with his blissful visage and smile.
But there was a real treat for those willing to stay around for more. Those brave enough to withstand the hours-long wait in the unforgiving heat and sweat of the serpentine queues were gifted kantha rudraksha mala (for protection by Shiva), Guru Deeksha (the protection of the Guru at all times), Social Media Deeksha (access to His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s immense wealth of videos, books and talks on Youtube) guided meditation to and Kalpataru Darshan (boon-fulfilling blessing). Patience paid off, they left with a relieved smile, a lucky selfie, an energized picture and or prasad of laddoo or apple or a banana.
Anna Daan from the Nithyananda Annalaya
10s of 1000s of pilgrims and visitors to the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham camp partook of the free food from the Nithyananda Annalaya for over a month during the Ujjain Kumbh Mela.
Several dignitaries, sages and heads of Hindu Spiritual organization also were blessed by the presence of His Divine Holiness acknowledging his increasingly visible role as an ambassador of world peace and unity and resurrection of authentic Hinduism.
Sri Jayendra Saraswati, Peethadhipati (spiritual head) of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, Kanchi, Tamil Nadu; Swamis from Muruga Mutt, Karnataka; Swami Vishwananda; Sri Vishwadhar Swami from Ramakrishna Mutt headquarters in Belur, West Bengal; Sri Chandra Swami from Vishwadharma Yatan Trust; Brahmakumari Sannyasis; Ram Snehi Mutt Sannyasis from Rajasthan; Sri Swami Anubhavananda, a Privrajaka Sadhu from Bombay; Kemkaji from Geeta Press, Patanjali Productions – Norwegian team, among others.
World-class Health Care
The Nithyananda Medical Camp provided first-class quality treatment at no cost to the program participants and the public alike, right from the start of Kumbh Mela at Ujjain.
A variety of medications, procedures, and services were made available by a team of local and international healthcare providers from India, the United States, Canada, Malaysia, and parts of Europe. These healthcare providers consisted of doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, nurses, ambulance technicians, and even specialists including pediatricians and cardiologists who all came as volunteers for the medical camp set up by His Divine Holiness His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda. The camp was kept continuously well-stocked with a variety of drugs and medications, from tablets and pills to IV fluids. The medical camp treated everything from minor cuts requiring tetanus shots to cases of severe heat stroke and made every effort to expedite the transport of the patients to the appropriate hospital.
Love and Gratitude to the Divine
Devotees and participants offer the Guru-mudi consisting of rice and jaggery to His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda
The grandest event was left for the end – it happened on the culminating day of the 21-day program, with the grand Thulabharam & Kanaka Abhishekam rituals. Thulabharam is an important ritual offering by devotees in Hindu temples. The offered material, equivalent or more in weight of a devotee is then offered to the deity of the temple. Such offerings include jaggery, tulsi leaves, sugar, butter, coconut, gold, silver, etc.
In the Thulabharam, a resplendent His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda sat on one side of a flower-bedecked golden scale and the offerings by the devotees was placed on the other side. Participants and followers of His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda got an opportunity to show their immense gratitude, devotion and love to their Enlightened Master, by showering Him with various kinds of offerings. For many participants it was fulfilment of lifetimes’ or janmas of waiting to acknowledge the immense blessings of their Guru. For others it was simply an extraordinary event in which they were fortunate to be present, be witness to and participate in. Various Sanghas offered other thulabharams too, which included sacks of Vibhuti (sacred ash), Kumkum (vermilion), Salt, Rice, Rudraksha, Flowers and Jaggery, while an individual family offered Sugar Candy.
Every Thulabharam was followed by a round of arartrikam (arati to the Master) and blessing by His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, making the whole experience a heady mix of ecstasy, love, devotion, gratitude and blissful visions for many participants. A final round of Pushpa Abhishekam of roses by the Sri Mahants and Mahants gave a touching finale to this shower of love and gratitude from the devotees to their Master. The crowning glory came when a select group of participants and balasanths who were confidently expressing some of the shaktis, were given the rare honor of wearing the mark of Sadashiva – the long black thilaga on their third eye, personally anointed by Sadashiva avatar His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda!
His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda offering aarati to river Kshipra. At right, blessing the crowd.
The Royal Bath – Shahi Snan
Snaan means showering your inner and outer space with completion. 5000 years before Vedic Rishis established that water has memory. When thousands of enlightened masters stand in that water, it becomes nectar forever. Fears are completed and leave your system when you enter that water. Desires are fulfilled and patterns are burnt away; new Kundalini Energy awakens in your system.
-His Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda
The Grandest event at the Ujjain Kumbh Mela was easily the days of the Shahi Snan for which participants had a full dress rehearsal, colorful umbrellas, canopies, country flags and all, for the procession. The day of the shahi snan began on the early hours of the morning for all participants with clear instructions of the snan protocols indicated.
Feast for Hindu Monks – Bhandara
Holding Forte at the Heads of Hindu Spiritual Heads Meeting – The Maha Vaicharika Sabha
Shivoham & Shuddha Advaita Shaivam – Initiations to 77 Shaktis
The Many Facets of Sadashiva at Shuddha Advaita Shaivam & Shivoham Processes
Other Faces of the Ujjain Kumbh Mela
Homas & Pujas at Ujjain Kumbh Mela
Artists who entertained, blessed by His Divine Holiness
Dancing Away the Blues of Two Tornados, Social Media Initiation, Sadhus at the Bhandar …