sacred bath at kumbha mela 2001


sacred bath
sacred bath for the spiritually rich

None were too young or too old for this occasion. A young mother sprinkled a few drops of sacred water over the head of her newborn baby, asking God to bless her child with a good life and prosperity. In another place, an elderly couple eased themselves into the cold water. Some bathers made offerings of flowers, sweets, and colored dyes to the sacred water while others offered Vedic hymns. The chanting of Sanskrit mantras and om, the supreme combination of letters, issued from the lips of every pilgrim.

The thoughts of many were turned inward at this time, and the blissfulness of their experience was clearly exhibited on their faces. Even the poorest of pilgrims was spiritually rich during Kumbha Mela. For the devout, the waters of the sangam are more precious than all the silver and gold in the world.

The Indian poet Kalidas, echoing the emotions of the pilgrims, wrote: "When the water of the Ganges and the water of the Yamuna mingle, it appears as though diamonds and sapphires were woven together in a string; as though a flock of white swans had suddenly run into another flock of black swans; as though a garland of white lotus buds were interspersed with blue lotuses; as though streaks of lightning had merged into a sheet of darkness; as though a clear blue sky was spotted with wooly clouds of autumn.

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