Monday, February 2, 2015

Kumbh Mela meaning, types and rituals

The Meaning of Kumbh
The literal meaning of Kumbh is a pitcher, but its elemental meaning is something else. Even as a symbol of pitcher, Kumbh is synonymous with holy activities as in daily life a pitcher (or kalash) is an integral part of all sacred activities in Hindu culture, and this pitcher is a symbol of Kumbh.
Holy scriptures say that in a pitcher, its mouth (opening) symbolizes the presence of Vishnu, its neck that of Rudra, the base of Brahama, all goddesses in the center and the entire oceans in the interior, thus encompassing all the four Vedas. This itself establishes the significance of the Kumbh as symbolized by the pitcher.
Different Forms of Kumbh
We shall not dwell upon the literary meaning of the word Kumbh, but we would like to mention the synonyms and origins. The Kumbh is a pitcher. Kumbh is the human body, it is the abdomen, and the sea, earth, sun and Vishnu are synonyms of Kumbh. The pitcher, sea, river, ponds and the well are symbols of Kumbh as the water from these places is covered from all sides. The sky has the cover of the wind, the sun covers the entire universe with its light, and the human body is covered with cells and tissues. That is why it is Kumbh. Desire, that is longing, is also Kumbh. God Vishnu is also Kumbh as He pervades the entire creation, and the creation pervades in Him.
Elemental Meaning of Kumbh
Kumbh is the confluence of all our cultures. It is the symbol of spiritual awakening. It is the eternal flow of humanity. It is the surge of rivers, forests and the ancient wisdom of the sages. It is the flow of life itself. It is the symbol of the confluence of nature and humanity. Kumbh is the source of all energy. Kumbh makes humankind realize this world and the other, sins and blessings, wisdom and ignorance, darkness and light. Holy rivers are the symbols of the lyrical flow of humanity. Rivers are indicators of the flow of water of life in the human body itself. In the human body that is an embodiment of home, nothing is possible without the five elements. The elements – fire, wind, water, earth and sky – symbolize the human body. The great sage-poet Sant Kabir has explained this sublime thought in his typical manner.

The Himalaya is the abode of the soul of the gods. The Holy Ganga embarks upon its journey from there, encompassing the forests, the mountain sages and the culture of the villages. The Yamuna is a co-traveler as it puts an end to all sins, and it is known variously as Tripathga, Shivpuri and other names. This is the Ganga that liberated the children of the Suryavanshi king Sagar. Its holy water is considered nectar itself.



Five Types of Kumbh Melas

Maha Kumbh Mela - occurring every 144 years - only in Allahabad.
• Purna Kumbh Mela - after every 12 years - last one took place in January 2001 in Allahabad.
• Ardh Kumbh - 6th year after Kumbh Mela.
• Kumbh Mela - every 3rd years, rotating through Prayag, Nasik, Haridwar and Ujjain.
• Magh Mela - Annual, held every year except years of Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela Held in Magh (Jan-Feb); hence the name. Only in Allahabad.



The Site of the Observance Rotating Between Four Pilgrimages Places on Four Sacred Rivers
• Haridwar (Uttarakhand) on the Ganges River.
• Prayag,Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna.
• Nasik (Maharashtra) on the Godavari River.
• Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) on the Shipra River.
Timings: It is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Brashpati (Jupiter), the sun and the moon. Positions of the Planets and celebrated location

CITY
Jupiter
Sun
Moon
Haridwar
Aquarius
Aries
Sagittarius
Prayag (Allahabad)
Taurus
Capricorn
Capricorn
Nasik
Leo
Cancer
Cancer
Ujjain
Leo
Aries
Aries

Take a Dip Make a Wish If you go by the Hindu mythologies, then this is the only time and place in the world where you can unburden your sins and achieve 'Nirvana' from the vicious cycle of birth and re birth. Take dips in the holy water of Ganges that is said to wash away all the sins of a person. Light a Diya and make a wish, they do come true!
Sojourn on the Ashrams on the Banks
To live among the Sadhus, who have dedicated their entire lives in meditation and fulfilling spiritual deeds is indeed a unique experience of life. In Haridwar there are many such Ashrams where tourists can stay to enjoy the life of a saint besides indulging into various Yoga and Meditation regimes. Surrender to Peaceful Activities

Taking dips three times in a day, attending yoga classes, listening to the divine lectures and participating in the cultural programmes are just a few of the activities that one can enjoy during the famous Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Travel to Haridwar and experience the inexperienced. Significance of Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali and Holi, but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past. People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha.

Rig Veda has a mention about the significance of convergence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag or Sangam.
References can be found about the significance of this ritual in Varaha Purana and Matsya Purana as well. There is a belief that the ashram of the learned Bharadvaja, where Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita lived at the time of their exile, was situated at Sangam. It is said that a number of saints including the great Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sangam and observed the Kumbh Mela. The great Indian epics such the Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned that a yagna was conducted by Lord Brahma at Sangam. Sacred Bath in Kumbh Mela

Bathing in the holy river on the auspicious occasion of Kumbh Mela is the most important activity for millions of people in India. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams. Others will just camp on the ground or turn up for the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated "royal," and it is on these days that the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) parade and bathe. On other days there will still be people bathing and other events and random processions.

Rituals Performed at the Kumbh Mela
The main ritual performed at that Kumbh Mela is the ritual bath. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the sacred waters on the most auspicious day of the new moon will absolve them and their ancestors of sin, thus ending the cycle of rebirth. Pilgrims start lining up to bathe from around 3 a.m. on this day.


As the sun comes up, the different groups of sadhus move in procession towards the river to bathe. The Nagas usually lead, while each group tries to outdo the others with more grandeur and fanfare. The moment is magical, and everyone is absorbed in it.

After bathing, the pilgrims wear fresh clothes and proceed to worship by the river bank. They then walk around listening to discourses from the various sadhus.



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