By Swati Chopra February 2001 National and internanational at this year’s Maha Kumbha Mela churned out a motley mix of images. Those of us who could not or would not make it to the confluence of three sacred rivers (one being unmanifest) at Prayag, sat cocooned within our mental/physical comfort zones and passed judgments. On the techno-savvy sadhus, the ash-smeared Nagas, the ecstatic westerners, the akhara rivalries, the short cut to moksha offered by gurus big and small. We hungrily lapped up all the exotica, scornfully saying: ‘There is no high like salvation. After all, how can you be absolved of all your sins with one dip in a river on a particular day?’ Perhaps it is not really about dips in rivers or about ‘auspicious’ days. Perhaps it is not even about moksha. Perhaps it has something to do with an urgent need to know, know, know that triggers a desperate search for a fissure somewhere in mundane reality that just might offer a glimpse of the great white TRUTH. A search that is, for most, tragically time-bound by the parameters of human existence. A search that denotes humanity’s yearning for permanence, continuity, connectedness, oneness. A search so deeply intermeshed with the collective unconscious that it makes us flock like bees to a pot of honey to faith fiestas like the Maha Kumbha. A search that has faith as its backbone, in evidence at the ghats of Allahabad where million of limbs and bodies lower themselves into the swirling waters and pay obeisance to the Divine. The rivers merge with one another, uniting with the sun at the horizon as waves of cosmic laughter ripple all around.And mankind stands faced with itself.To view the photo gallery, click here.
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