India’s Kumbh-Mela – Its Mythological Story
- Gods & Demons. The proverbial pot of Nectar (Amrit) that lies hidden in the unfathomable depths of the Milky Way (Kshirsagar/Ksheersaagar). Gods want it. Demons want it. They have no option but to join hands. Mount Mandarachal agrees to become the churning stick. Vasuki, the snake-king agrees to become the rope that will hold the churning stick. The Milky Way is endless, unfathomable, it is impossible to find a base. Lord Vishnu agrees to help. He incarnates in the form of a Tortoise (Koorma Avatar). Floating in mid-ocean, the Tortoise becomes the base on which Mount Mandarachal is rested. Gods (Devas) hold Vasuki at its tail & Demons (Asuras) hold Vasuki at its head. And begins The Mighty Churning. Samudra Manthan.
- Gods & Demons churn the Milky Way for an equivalent of a human millennium. Goodies pop out and are distributed amongst themselves by Gods. Demons wait patiently for Nectar (Amrit) to surface. But before Nectar surfaces Poison. Shiva is called to rescue. He drinks the Poison (Haalahal) & holds it in His throat, not allowing it to drop below. He is the only one who can do it. Poison turns His neck blue (Neelkanth, the blue-throated one).
- And surfaces the Nectar (Amrit). Gods & Demons do a double-take. Each want the pot of Nectar to themselves. Lord Vishnu, his job duly over as the Tortoise, re-surfaces & takes the form of a beautiful woman – Mohini. He cunningly takes the pot of Nectar from the fighting hands of Gods & Demons. He advises them to line up on either side & promises to serve them sequentially. They are hypnotized by His beauty. They agree. Gods & Demons line up on either side. Lord Vishnu as Mohini begins the serving from the Gods’ end. As the Gods gain immortality one by one, Demons get restless. It is as if their turn will never come.
- 1 Demon senses something amiss. He sneaks His way into the end of the line of Gods. Mohini (Lord Vishnu) serves him Nectar in sequence. Planet Moon notices the switch. He raises a ruckus. Sun-God joins in to further the ruckus. Lord Vishnu realizing His mistake, quicky changes into His original form, signals for His Sudarshan Chakra & aims at the body of the Demon slicing it into 2. But the Nectar has already entered the body & hence death is impossible. Sliced into 2 halves, the Demon acquires the names Rahu & Ketu. Feeling sorry for his dismembered state in which he will have to spend eternity – Lord Vishnu grants him a boon to join the league of the main planets in Astrology, creating the 9 main planets of Destiny or the Nav-grahas.
- Rahu & Ketu vow to avenge the Moon & Sun for raising a ruckus. Hence in Astrology, whenever Rahu & Ketu are in a certain degree of vicinity to either Moon or Sun – the planets of Moon & Sun stand debilitated (weakened).
- Coming back to the pot of Nectar – rewind to the point where Moon & Sun raise a ruckus & where Lord Vishnu changes back into His original form – the Demons are alerted that they have been fooled. They make a dash for the pot of Nectar.
- Gods & Demons once again engage in a tussle for the pot of Nectar. For 12 days in the time of Gods & Demons – and for 12 years in human time – this tussle ensues. In this tussle – 4 precious drops spill onto Mother Earth. At the Holy spots of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain & Nashik – the drops of Nectar merge into the Holy Waters of Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, Ganga at Haridwar, Shipra in Ujjain & Godavari in Nashik. The ethereal subtle drops merge into these Holy waters at an auspicious astrological time, highlighted by planets Sun, Moon & Jupiter.
- Once in every 12 years, the same astrological configuration falls into place. It is a planetary conjugation in space – a conjugation similar to the placement of planets during the period of Great Churning (Samudra Manthan).
- This conjugation triggers the bubbling of all the Holy Waters into which drops of Nectar (Amrit) fell.
- During this brief period, a dip in these Holy Waters ensures a direct cosmic link to Heaven where your Higher Self will help absolve you of past misdeeds (sins); cleanse your mind for new, fresh beginnings; and allow you a clean slate to pen a better tomorrow.
- India’s Kumbh Mela.