The Naga Of MahaKumbh @Allahabad – 2013
- Varanasi, I have visited many times before, but Allahabad was a 1st. City wise, I liked the latter better. Old Varanasi is an extremely chaotic, congested township. In comparison, Allahabad has more order.
- I have also been told that property rates in Varanasi match those of any metro city like Delhi & Mumbai – reason being, every visitor to the city wishes to hold a place for his last exit. Death is a magnetic word in Banaras.
- My residence for 2 nights & 3 days in Allahabad was 1 of a series of temporarily erected cottages & tents, few 100mts from the banks of Yamuna. Beds, quilts, heating & well equipped bathroom were the highlights.
- From KumbhCottages, you walk up to the road; cross over; and walk down to Arail Ghat, where a line of boats await to ferry you across Yamuna to Sangam. Looming large on the bank across, is Akbar’s majestic fort.
- From Arail Ghat, you get the most enthralling view of the MahaMela of MahaKumbh, across the 2 rivers on the banks of Ganga.
- Your eyes can feast on a sea of people in the mornings & a thousand lights in the evenings. From Arail Ghat, you can witness the event & yet escape the crowds. Arail Ghat on Yamuna offers you unrestricted boat facilities; whereas boats are restricted to only certain Ghats on the banks of Ganga across. The Ganga Ghats have been cleared of boats to prevent congestion & make more space for pilgrims.
- A word of advice to those intending to make the MahaKumbh Yatra – Do not succumb to merely bathing on the banks of Ganga. It does not qualify as Sangam, even though its Waters are tinged with Yamuna. Ask directions. Walk to a Ghat with boats. Hire 1. Boat it down to Sangam – to the exact point of confluence where Ganga meets Yamuna & Saraswati.
- Then take the Dip. Or rather the 3 ceremonial Dips. 1 – For your Past & Ancestors. 2 – For your Present & Self. 3 – For your Future & Descendants.
- Ganga, being the superior of rivers; most pilgrims prefer to reach Sangam via her waters from Ganga Ghats. I entered Sangam through the Yamuna route. Either way, both rivers flow single mindedly, from opposite directions, towards the Sangam point. The meeting point. That’s where the Merger happens.
- You can identify Ganga with her brown rippling waters. Yamuna is green & amazingly calm.
- The waters at Ganga, Yamuna & Sangam are incredibly clean & clear. An effort has been made & it is visible. At Sangam, the depth is a mere 3 feet. So you simply plunge headlong into the waters for a total submerge. It’s fun. It’s energizing. It’s invigorating.
- For a couple of hundred extra, the boatman will be delighted to ferry you across Ghats to Akbar’s fort & will also give you a ride on the distinct waters of both Yamuna & Ganga.
- Over & done with the high point of my journey, my parents & I decide to make a trip to the heart of Kumbh festival – the millions of people on the Ganga Ghats & obvious `Mela’ in progress. I could not have completed my journey without breathing in its essence. The essence of people, prayers & millions of sadhus & yogis.
- Across the Ghats, on the banks of Ganga, is where I met the Naga.
MY CONVERSATION WITH THE NAGA OF MAHAKUMBH
- The banks of Ganga are teeming with millions of tents & people. This must be moviedom’s oft-repeated reference of “getting lost in a Kumbh mela”. Yes it’s likely to happen. Thank God for cell phones & digital technology.
- Vehicular entry is banned couple of kms before the Ghats begin. And if you’re one of those who wish to make their Sangam journey via Ganga Ghat – then this is where your 5+ kms walk will begin.
- You are simply walking through a festival & perhaps that’s why you don’t feel the walk. If you’re in good company when you do the walk, it can be an amazingly memorable experience.
- You walk through hundreds of “Shivirs” that house hundreds of “Akhaadas”. Don’t forget your Ray-Ban. If the Sun is out, the heat will get to you. And of course your cameras. You can click anything anywhere. No restrictions.
- A thought suddenly takes control of me. I want to see the Nagas. They are the spirit of Kumbh. The experience would be incomplete without them.
- I make enquiries & am told that “Naga Babas” belong to JUNA-AKHAADA. The oldest Akhaada. That’s where you can find the authentic Aghoris of storybooks.
- We finally locate the Juna-Akhaada. I enter the Akhaada to find ash-smeared, stark naked, Sadhus with matted locks sittings in small huts – each engrossed in his own ritual. They appear surprisingly tranquil & indulgent. You can enter any hut, touch their feet, seek blessings, click pictures. It makes no difference to them.
- Walk through the huts, I refrain from entering any as a mark of respect to the naked sadhus. I click a few pictures from my cell phone but with prior permission.
- Standing still & simply breathing in the essence, I’m suddenly aware of a Naga directing a rather piercing gaze at me.
- I instinctively turn sideways & catch his eye. He’s a tall, lean, handsome, Naga with sharp features & long matted locks. He’s perhaps the only one with small pink stole wrapped around his waist. But you can see he’s well-endowed. He’s outside his tent, smearing himself grey, with the ash from his Havan-Kund.
- He enters his hut to resume his rituals but his eyes remain focused on me. Not knowing what to do, I do a Namaste in respect. He mutters something to the saffron clad Sadhu sitting next to him & the Sadhu beckons me to enter the tent.
- It’s an open tent. Pilgrims are coming, prostrating & leaving. The Sadhu asks me to sit down & smears some ash on my forehead.
- Not knowing what else to say & not wishing to leave abruptly either – I ask the Sadhu to tell me something about the significance of MahaKumbh.
THIS –> WAS THE CONVERSATION:-
- There is a KALPA-MUHURTAM in progress at MahaKumbh. A `Kalpa’ is a single day in the life of Brahma. In every hour of that day, Brahma creates 1 auspicious muhurat (time).
- During this Muhurat, a Kalpa-Vriksh (wish granting tree) surfaces at an appointed place. Entering the radius of Kalpa-Vriksh not only allows your wishes to be granted, but also cleanses with its energy – your past, present & future – of your present lifetime, as also your past & future lifetimes.
- The only condition to access the energies of this wish granting tree is PURE INTENTION. Purity of heart is what will take you to its doorway.
- Calculated in earth time, this KALPA MUHURTAM, in full force, will be in effect from Paush Poornima to Magh Poornima. Energies started sweeping in from Makar Sankranti & will linger on till Maha Shivratri. That is how the dates of MahaKumbh have been decided.
- The Kalpa Vriksh for this event, has been designated to spurt at the Sangam point. Hence the significance of the spot.
- The waters of Saraswati cannot be traced in solitude as her waters mingle with Ganga & Yamuna from an underground source. Yamuna, when stored or contained by itself, deteriorates in 48hrs. But when Saraswati & Yamuna merge with the Holy Ganga at Sangam – the mingled trio of waters can be stored for 100 years & more without changing. That is the power of Ganga.
- Mouni Amavasya is an unusual tithi (time). During this 24hr period of Amavasya; EXCHANGE OF ENERGIES; TRANSFER OF ENERGIES becomes possible.
- As we speak, the waters of Sangam are charged with Energies of roughly 10 million people. Most significant amongst these energies are those of Nagas & Sadhus. Water is the best carrier of Energy – and right now these waters are charged with the spiritual energies of a million sadhus.
- On Mouni Amavasya, when the Nagas & Sadhus dip into Sangam; they will suck onto themselves – the energies of the people who have priorly bathed in these waters; in their body will happen, the purification of your Energies. And you will feel the difference in your personal life.
- Similarly, they will release a million purified energies into the waters of Sangam on Mouni Amavasya; so if you happen to bathe in these waters on or after Mouni Amavasya, then you will suck in these purified energies, and the same life changing occurrences will be scripted into your destiny.
- That’s how it works. So anytime from Paush Poornima to Magh Poornima & with special reference to Mouni Amavasya – your destiny can & will change for the better.
- It’s like a mass consummation, the Naga tells me. We live in ethereal energies & we do not need the aid of a body to transfer energies. But since we’re talking about a million people here, everyone’s energy is not conducive to everyone else; so we do the sorting. Energies that are due to you, we’ll send to you before the closure of MahaKumbh. Similarly if we have to take something from you & pass it on, we’ll do that too. We are the mediums. This is why we kick-start every Snaan; no one bathes before us. So basically, what you have given & what you will receive will be untainted with any other energy – and it will leave you or come to you in purest form.
- Head spinning philosophy this.
- Also, on Mouni Amavasya, we Nagas can do a soul transfer. If we have old bodies, we can find younger dead bodies & transfer our souls without the cumbersomeness of rebirth. But of course, you would never know how or when we practice such sciences. We are not as simple as we appear.
- You seem to have an interest in God & religion, the Naga asks me. The path to God seems to interest you.
- My irreverence sets in. Oh I have seen God while being very much attached to the world, I tell him. I have felt the tangible hand of God upon me at a place called Jaleshwar in Nepal, I tell him. I was drowning & He pulled me out. I have seen with my naked eyes `bhootas & pretas’ (supernatural forces). And I have done it with a mere careless chant of Shiva, with no rituals. I have seen 6 of my past lives with the mere chant of Bagalamukhi, I rant on.
- The Naga is expressionless. Tea arrives for the Sadhus & the Naga forces me to have a cup with them. A small boy runs in from a shop across & drops 2 packets of Cavanders cigarettes at the Naga’s feet. I cannot help stare.
- Smoking Chillum & drinking Bhaang is an integral part of Naga lifestyle, he informs me. If you are spiritually advanced, intoxication kicks open the communication door to Almighty. Our intoxication is tinged with the higher intoxication of the name of Shiva. Even while I’m talking to you, my mind is on the chant. But if you’re not spiritually advanced, then it can destruct your mind & body.
- Ok. I nod in understanding. Would you like to take Sanyas here? he asks me. No, I like my world, I tell him. He nods in understanding.
- Come with your entire family, however large or small, and stay with us at Juna Akhaada for the entire duration of MahaKumbh, he extends the invite. I thank him.
- How many kids? he asks. Didn’t happen, I inform him. He stares into space. That shouldn’t be the case, he says. That’s not what I see here. You should be having 1 or 2. None, I confirm.
- It’s difficult to explain to you, but many times a soul destined for your home, may be born elsewhere also. A magnetic tug pulls them there. Souls experience a lot of conflict in this tug-of-war, but they will be pulled to the stronger magnet. So it’s always wise to have kids as soon as possible in life. That way you can pull them to you sooner.
- I agree, I missed out on that one, I tell him. The Naga changes the topic. There are a 100 people walking outside our huts, but you’re the only one sitting here. Have you wondered why? I’m dying to know, I tell him.
- We felt a connect with you. We felt we needed to tell you something. So we called you. You still have an open invite. Anytime you wish to join us on our path to God, come to Juna Akhaada & ask for us. This is a very strict & secretive Akhaada; we do not offer entries easily & especially not to women; but you’re welcome.
- Humbled, I tell him. You know what makes you different? he asks me. You don’t contain knowledge; you give it away; through 1 you we can benefit thousands of others. That way, we can achieve much more by the time we leave this incarnation.
- So can I share this information that you’ve shared with me? I ask him. By all means do so, says the Naga.
Ok. Done. Here it is. For whatever it is worth. I hope it touches someone in some way.
MY PERSONAL SYNCHRONICITY OF EVENTS:-
- This strange synchronicity; this strange significance of events; came to light in a conversation with my Mom, at Allahabad station.
- We reached Allahabad on the afternoon of 26th Jan & were scheduled to exit on the afternoon of 28th Jan. Having spent 2 nights at Kumbh Cottages; we reached Allahabad station by evening 8.30pm of 28th to catch our scheduled train to Delhi, at 10.30pm.
- Night temperature 2 degrees & hardly any comfortable place to sit. Waiting rooms irrespective of any Class were filled with pilgrims. Luckily we were invited into an Army enclosure by a group amicable army officers & that’s where we found our place.
- Then a progressive delay of train arrival happened every 2 hours. Though there was no fatigue in mind or body; the delay got to my dad & me. We tried every possible trick to exit from Allahabad ASAP. Alternate trains; taxis; even flight bookings. But absolutely nothing worked. There were NO available options. The final arrival & departure of train was declared at next morning 5.30am. That put us at an incredible 9hr waiting at Allahabad station in a temperature that dropped to 1.5 degrees.
- It was at that point where I kind of questioned this entire journey. If the final leg is not smooth, then does it really have any significance? I asked my Mom.
- My Mom, who was perhaps the only unmoved person by happening of events, couldn’t help smiling at my discomfort.
- After insisting for this trip to materialize, it’s very strange that you’re doubting the sequence of events. It’s strange that you’re not looking for a significance.
- My religious & spiritual inclinations are a gift from my mother. It was her childhood exposure to sadhus & holy men constantly bunking in her father’s home that gave birth to this philosophical bent of mind in my mom, and later in my brother & me.
- From her childhood, she quoted a conversation. Completion of any significant journey requires that we spend 3 nights at a place. It ensures transfer & assimilation of energies from a place onto yourself. For women, it’s 3 nights; men can handle this transfer in 1 night.
- Which is why, to every place of pilgrimage where older men traveled with families, they would bunk for 3 nights. So you see, mom said to me, we can’t leave Allahabad in 2 nights or it won’t complete your journey. We have to spend the 3rd night here. It wasn’t planned but maybe the purity of your intentions (as the Naga said) worked to make this happen for you. It is the final leg & it is ending perfectly.
- To entertain me a bit further, mom continued. In south Indian marriage rituals, after the marriage is culminated & the girl is packed off to her husband’s place – both husband & wife will return to wife’s home for 3 nights – and that is when the marriage REALLY culminates. These 3 nights usually happen at a pre-fixed Muhurtam. There is a Kalpa-muhurtam in progess at Allahabad, she jokes. So for all of us women who come here, it is the symbolic 3 nights. So be patient. My mom’s dry humor never fails to lighten my mood. Though I refuse to forgive Indian Railways for the 9hr delay.
- The usual Yatra route at MahaKumbh is the ceremonial dip at Allahabad & then a darshan of Kashi Vishwanath. That’s what we were enlightened upon. We did it reverse, I told my mom. We went to Varanasi 1st & then came to Allahabad.
- Mom brushed off the variation. Yes true, she said. But we are married women; so we have come from our Inlaws place at Varanasi to our father’s place at Allahabad. It’s all in order; don’t think so much, mom says.
- Arguments with mom have never worked. She wins everytime. We board our train at 5.30am on 29th morning. Train is further delayed mid-way on route. What’s the significance this time? I ask mom. We’ll have to wait till we reach; only then we can understand, she says.
- At 5.45pm 29th evening, we settle ourselves, with bag & baggage, into my brother’s car. Our journey concluded.
- Mom says to me – here’s your significance. We started our journey in Rajdhani at Ahmedabad at 5.45pm sharp on 23rd evening. We have concluded it at 5.45pm sharp on 29th evening. 6 days x 24hrs = 144hrs.
- The time cycle of MahaKumbh = 144 years. The time cycle of my MahaKumbh journey = 144 hours. Precise. On the dot.
Coincidence? No. There are no coincidences in Life. Synchronicity? Oh yes. Is there any doubt? Numbers are the language of the Universe. The Universe talks to you in signs & symbols & numbers. See with your Eyes & you will only see the obvious Chaos. See with your Vision & you’ll see the Picture.
The Universe simply said – let go of your doubts; you’re in Sync with the Big Picture; don’t analyze; simply flow; you don’t know everything yet; when the time is ready, it will be revealed to you.
Believe in it. It happens.