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Hinduism and the Kumbha
After a holy dip at the Sangam, in Prayagraj, one feels as if meeting with the divine after the return from a pilgrimage to the Kumbha Mela, the holy convergence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. It is an overwhelming experience. Seeing, such a large number of the gatherings of Hindus, makes one realize to think of the depth and hold of faith, coming down from time immemorial.

An entire amazing township spread over 2,500 hectares has been raised. In 2013, the last Kumbha, it was estimated that 120 million devotees visited the holy mela, with 30 million assembled on the auspicious occasion of Mauni Amavasya, leaving behind all the worldly divisions and making it the biggest human gathering of the world in a single day. This is the strongest testimony that all the divisions among the Hindus are fate and false.

Hindus believe that bathing at the Sangam during Kumbha leads to salvation (moksha). It is for this rationale that Mark Twain ? who visited the Kumbha in 1895 ? commented: "It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys."

According to mythology, the gods (devas) and the demons (asuras), churned the ocean in seek of nectar (Amrita), which has the power of immortality. The gods won, and flew off with the nectar, keeping it in a pot (Kumbha), chased by demons who wanted to snatch it from gods. But a few drops of this divine liquid fell on four places ? Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik, ? at each of which a Kumbha Mela is held at fixed cycles of planets, especially Brihaspati which completes its full circle in 12 years. After every twelve years, Hindus organize the Kumbha Mela on one of these places. 

Hindus are deeply religious. Even the eddies of the material world fail to shake this deep-rooted faith (Aastha). In fact, Hindus are the most harmonious, tolerant and liberal, capable of adjusting in every aeon to another without showing any sprain and disharmony. A highly qualified technocrat working in NASA and ISRO investigating the frontiers of science can also have three rings on his fingers, tilak on his forehead and knowledge Shikha (Choti) on his head.

At the Kumbha, the environment echoes with the chanting of shlokas eulogizing salvation (moksha). A single book or single prophet does not guide the Hindu mind but it is guided by the highest knowledge of the world and century's old ancient religious belief and discourses, preaching renunciation. All this knowledge and wisdom is guided and controlled by the ancient books. This is the reason religious ardour and an inborn perfection coexists and plays out in the everyday life of the Hindus.

Lighting an incense stick on the banks of Holy Sangam all pray for righteousness (dharma) to prevail irrespective of any division and baseness. It does not matter to a devotee what is going on outside. Those outsides must be gratifying their dharma. The real thing is that Hindu mythology is very real and scientific. Hindu spirituality and metaphysics are consistent, balanced, rational and even ascetic.

On the one hand, Hindus have the greatest Upanishads, Vedas, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, Sutras, Shastras, Samhitas, Brahmanas etc. and on the other hand fables of devas or asuras; their Amrita is what could be the final truth behind our small lives and the puzzling plurality of the universe. Hindus also have six systems of Hindu philosophy ? Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa ? five at least can be theoretically classified as an atheist for they do not converse of God.

According to the Vedanta school, the only truth is the nirguna,(without attributes), all-pervasive consciousness, Brahman. They also believe in saguna (with attributes). The rest is an illusion (Maya), a mixture of truth (sat), and untruth (asat). Hindus believe that the ultimate god could be formless and all-pervading, and the empirical world illusionary. However, they see world and humans in their gods and celebrating with the full faith and devotion their birth lives wars and even deaths. Hindus have internalised this tradition at every level of their consciousness.

Hindus believe that their soul is the inseparable part of the super soul, meaning the god. Hindu faith is very consistent since the dawn of time and human civilization. Faith, prayers, renunciation and Vasudev-Kutumbkam- as well as profit: At Kumbha and in everyday Hindu life, religious ardour and pragmatic materialism coexist.

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