Upcoming Kumbha Mela
Posted April 5, 2004
Mahaman Prabhu asked me if I would like to help in some way to publicise and promote the ISKCON camp at Ujjain for the Kumbha Mela. I quickly agreed to help in whatever way I can and hence I am writing this article.
To help promote the ISKCON camp we have produced a website, the address of which is www.virtualtemple.net/kumbhamela The site has information about Kumbha Mela, how to get there, accommodation etc., it will also carry articles from devotees attending the Mela about the activities going on and their experiences. The site has been quickly put together so please forgive me for its inadequacies and any faults. If you find any please let me know, you can email me at my pamho address or at KumbhaMela2004@hotmail.com which will be an email address for all enquiries you may have about the Kumbha Mela.
With only five days to go before the first important bathing date on Caitra Purnima on 5th April, preparations are being made at the ISKCON camp for the month's Mela. There will be prasad distribution, book distribution, harinams, classes, question and answer sessions and a whole host of other activities going on.
Some government estimates are saying there may be as many as 35 million visitors to the Kumbha Mela over the month period. So now devotees from all over India and the World are making their way to Ujjain to take advantage of the assembly of saintly persons and to take bath in the sacred River Shipra. Srila Prabhupada said of Kumbha Mela "No. Kumbha Mela is sat-sanga. If you go to Kumbha Mela to find out a man of knowledge, then your Kumbha Mela is right. Otherwise, yad-buddhim salile sa eva go-kharam [SB 10.84.13]. If one thinks that this salila, the water, to take bath in the water, is Kumbha Mela, he is a go-kharam. But the real..., that "Now there are assembly of so many saintly persons. Let me take advantage of their knowledge." Then he is intelligent. [break] ...of highly learned saintly persons. People should take advantage." So our hope is that many people will take advantage of the ISKCON camp and take up Krishna Consciousness.
While looking through the folio for some quotes about Kumbha Mela I found the following, which is from BB Govinda Swami's Vyasa-puja offering from 1993. "It was the Prayag Kumbha-mela, 1989. Huge harinamas, book distribution. One morning a sadhu approached me. He was typical looking-long matted hair, beard, kaupina, ashes, rudraksa beads. I was very busy and tried to avoid him, but someone had told him I was one of the camp organizers. He came directly to me and said, "Please give me a book." To avoid becoming entangled, I signed a note instructing the book godown to give him a small two-rupee book. Five minutes later he was back. He looked me in the eye and in fluent English said, "No, not this small book. I want Swami Prabhupada's Gita." He continued to say, "It is the most brilliant commentary written on Gita in this modern age." Immediately, considering that he might be Narada or Brahma, I took him by the hand to the nearest bookstall, reached in my pocket, took out fifteen rupees, and presented him with a Gita. Tears came to his eyes. He said, "I've seen and heard everything in this mela. No one can match what Swami Prabhupada has done and inspired your people to do. No one shall ever match his efforts to give Krsna prema to the world." So it is with great anticipation of the immense preaching opportunity, which Kumbha Mela presents, that I prepare to go to Ujjain.
A stay at Kumbha Mela will not be without austerities, as is the case with any worthwhile spiritual activity, but we will do our best to make your stay as comfortable as possible. So please try to make it to Ujjain for Kumbha Mela 2004. The Mela runs from 5th April to 4th May, so there is plenty of time to visit. Further information about auspicious bathing dates can be found on the website.
Any contributions towards running the ISKCON Kumbha Mela camp will be
gratefully received and will bestow the giver great benefit.