The Mother Divine
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Right now, nectar is spurting into the holy waters at Prayag Kumbh. It is ready to work on the subtle energy points in the human body. Ready to work alchemy in the body, mind, spirit triad. Cosmic Energy is fully awakened in that water for anyone with the right receptivity. But are we receptive? Can we become good receptacles? Well, that is the question.

Amrit is the nectar of immortality; the divine nectar that flows down from the sahasrara when the Kundalini is awakened. When we take a dip in Holy Waters at Kumbh, someone who’s with the right receptivity is likely to drink that Amrit. There’s apparently everything in the Kumbh configuration that will release Amrit- the question is, are we ready?

Recently I received a letter from a friend. “ I was in the northern most part of Norway -a place called Kirkenes, north of Oslo, 82 degrees North latitude, and at minus 27 degrees centigrade. Got back yesterday morning having gone there ostensibly to watch Aurora Borealis. Climate was unforgiving, foggy and snowy. Could not see the northern lights but the trip was fantastic in watching calm wilderness and desolate white landscape- the water, the mountains, the trees and skies all white and frozen. It seemed like God was around and I asked Him to give me a sign. And as if by magic a faint streak of light came emanating from the pale sunshine and silhouetted a mound of ice that to me looked Shiva pinda and Nandi sitting across each other. I was touched. And I knew I was not drunk or doped or under any kind of intoxication. So I had a reason to believe what I saw was indeed true. But it is a kind of perception or deception, I don't know. But I did feel, God was sitting around that blissful place. He is always around. I need to be more sensitive to His presence.”

What a beautiful experience! The feeling, of feeling the presence of our Maker, is most supreme one. Even reading it makes one want to look up at the skies for a whisper of a similar awareness. Though He is present in every breath we take ... it’s our gross unawareness that makes us oblivious to the divinity that exists within us. We’re not established in yo ma pashyati sarvatra (who sees me everywhere) receptivity of the Gita. So even for a moment when that curtain is lifted, we become aware of that celestial light and it's such a feeling of deep connection. Here’s an intriguing tale on Kumbh Mela.

Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, watched the millions gather at the holy Kumbh, she became pensive and turning to Shiva said “You are indeed compassionate my Lord, but to me it seems your compassion has done more harm than good for only a fool would lead a virtuous life when moksha can be attained by a mere dip in the holy river on the occasion of Kumbh.”

On hearing her complaint, Shiva suggested that they pay a visit to the Kumbh. “It’s true I have offered that boon, whoever takes a dip in the river during Kumbh will be rid of all sins. Even so, this thing is not as simple as it seems. Boons are easy to grant, but difficult to truly earn,” said the Lord.
“How so?”
“See for yourself,” said Lord Shiva disguising himself as a Brahmin.
Taking the form of a Brahmin couple, Lord Shiva lay prone on the ground at Haridwar where Kumbh was in progress, while beside him Parvati sobbed profusely like a bereaved wife. When the pilgrims stopped to enquire about her plight, she answered all queries by saying, “Lord Shiva has promised that the mere touch of a sinless man can bring my husband to life. But if the person is not sinless, he will die instantly”.
On hearing this all the pilgrims recoiled for none of them truly believed that they had been cleansed of their sins after the holy dip. Thus the widow sat crying, until a drunk came staggering along and as soon as he found out her problem, he was certain that a dip in the river would purify him. After a quick dip in the river he returned and bent down to touch the dead Brahmin, whereupon Shiva revealed himself and said, “You indeed attained moksha my son, so far only you.”

Back at their heavenly abode, Shiva asked Parvati, “With all my divine compassion I do not seem to have succeeded in making salvation so very cheap, after all, have I?

This, then, is the reality of the Kumbh Mela, a populous testimonial to the power of religion; a magical experience promising salvation to the many millions who come to the Kumbh.

“Indeed, it is faith - rather often alone, that cures us of most of our shortcomings. Doubts cripple us. We cannot reach the fruit which otherwise would be with that person, as it was with the drunkard, believing in nothing other than this simple but most robust truth. I still belong to that set of people who are crippled with a tinge of unbelief,” a scholar mentioned after reading this tale.

There are other opinions.

“A beautiful tale and a very telling one too. I know nothing about these sort of things. But offhand it appears: complete faith is a product of innocence which is nothing but purity. And purity is the harbinger of Moksha. Hence purity is a state which only the Guru knows about and another may only speculate on it.”

“It is the power of faith that is tested. If people indeed believe they are cleansed by the dip, they are! If they don't, they don't. Power of faith!

Faith has the power of transformation! Whether it is the dip which has the power is not to be discussed. It is the belief which has the magic touch of the divine power! The Divine brings the potential out. The fruit has to be ripe in order to fall!”

There’s faith. And there’s faith in someone’s faith too. For many, faith is a matter of belief in someone they have faith in.

Here’s a famous scene from the popular Hindi movie ‘Guide’. A part of the movie’s synopsis reads thus: The protagonist Raju, a freelance guide later convicted of forgery, accidentally assumes the role of village holy man (Swamiji) after his release from two years in prison. In telling a childhood story, Raju speaks of a holy man whose 12 day fast resulted in God's bringing rain to end a drought. A drought and ensuing famine hit the region. Through miscommunication of a village fool, Raju's words are interpreted by villagers that he will fast for 12 days to end the drought. He finds himself trapped by villagers' belief. At first Raju opposes the idea, going as far as telling Bhola that he is just a human like any one of them and even worse a convict who has undergone trial and served a jail sentence over a woman. But even the confession is not enough for the villagers to give up on their belief. He reluctantly begins the fast, although he does not believe that there is any relation between a man's hunger and rain. With the fast, Raju undergoes a spiritual transformation. As the fast goes on, his fame spreads. People by the thousands come to see him and take his blessings. An American journalist asks him whether he truly believes that his fast would bring rain.

Reporter: "Swamiji kya aapko vishwaas hai ki baarish hogi?" (Swamiji, do you believe it will rain?)
Swami: "In logon ko mujh per vishwaas hai aur ab mujhe enke vishwaas per vishwaas hone laga hai". (He smiles and says "These people have faith in me, and I have faith in their faith.")

Coming back to the Kumbh, it is hard to say how many of the Kumbh-goers actually believe in their redemption through a single dip in the river. The tale we are talking of is a deep one. It throws floods of light upon the human tendency to ‘want to believe and yet not believe’, ‘have an intellectual faith but not feel it within,’ ‘trust in divine intercession but check it through personal apprehension’ and of course actually behold the shell of the ultimate reality but never truly believe it were in one’s palm.

A true dip at that Kumbh Sangam would stand for losing our separate identity and sublimating ourselves into what can be termed as ‘an ethereal integrity.’ But such profundity aside, we realize, as someone points out, “The Drunkard, no matter how intoxicated, was still conscious about the great value of the Holy Dip only because of his Bhakti that lay in his sub-conscious mind.”

If only we could be as drunk like that holy one (Drunkard)!!!

That is faith for us. A never-ending conundrum. The math of faith is however uncomplicated when seen from within. For instance, when the entire village gathers to collectively pray for rains, only one among them turns up with an umbrella. An innocent child!

A child remains smiling even when thrown up in the air, because it knows it will land in safe hands. That's Trust. That would make us wish to be children and play about in the waters of immortality.

So here’s Kumbh edition of The Mother!

The last editorials were significantly and a bit literally inspired by Dr Arindam Chakraborthy and Krishnananda; for the present one I thank Dr Rajeshwari Pandharipande, Prashant Roy, Parimal Chaudhary, Ramya Lakshmi, Partha Banerjee and Amarnath Chatterjee – Hemant Singh too, for lovely pictures of Ganga arati at Paramarth Niketan.

I welcome Lopamudra Roy Dasgupta to the Editorial Team, and thank her for the remarkable support in putting up this issue of The Mother.

Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
The Editor