A great, living, ancient tradition – The Kumbh Mela

During the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in 2010, a young Frenchman exclaimed, “Oh, it must have been so different then” when he came to know that I was in 1986 at the Kumbh already. “No, it was not”, I realised. It was very much the same. It may have been the same for centuries.

Here is my description of the Kumbh Mela in 1986:

Luckily I don’t get afraid, when I am stuck in a crowd; otherwise India would be the wrong country for me. I actually enjoy the atmosphere, so incredibly colourful and diverse, a wave of human beings that carries everyone along, innumerable pair of eyes meeting my eyes, fleetingly, friendly – for a short while thrown together at the same place.

So when I heard that the full Kumbh Mela will be celebrated in Haridwar in April 1986, I wanted to be there, for surely there must be a reason, when millions of pilgrims from all corners of India undergo a lot of hardship to reach this festival on the Ganges. In fact there are even two reasons.

Number one, a bath in the Ganges at the auspicious time of the Mela is a big attraction, because it is supposed to be very powerful, purifying internally and giving a boost to one’s spiritual development.

And number two, there is the prospect of benefitting from the presence of great Rishis, the successors of the ancient wise women and men from Vedic times.

Traditionally, the Kumbh Mela is the meeting place for those pillars of Indian spirituality, who have dedicated their whole life to the search for truth. Even today the hermits who are usually hidden in caves in the Himalayas and the Sadhus (wandering monks) who wander all over the country with a begging bowl and a staff in hand stand for an ideal. They embody the dream of freedom and independence for those who feel tied down in the world.

The reason why during the time of the mela bathing in the Ganges is especially helpful for spiritual growth is given in a story of the Indian mythology which is since ancient times connected with existing locations in northern India.

Long, long ago, at the beginning of our present world cycle, gods and demons tried to release the lost nectar of immortality by vigorously churning the milk ocean. When the jar (kumbh) full to the brim with the nectar finally emerged, a wild chase started. The son of a god had seized the vessel with the precious content and the demons followed at his heels in hot pursuit. Sun, Moon and Jupiter played the role of protectors for the gods and influenced the outcome in their favour from certain positions. The chase lasted for 12 days, until the jar was finally safe with the gods.

According to the mythology, a few drops of the nectar spilled over at four places in northern India, which thereby became especially sanctified and celebrate the Kumbh Mela once in twelve years: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik und Ujain.

When the drops fell into the Ganges in Haridwar during the chase, the Sun protected it from the position of Aries and the Jupiter from Aquarius. This constellation repeats itself once in 12 years, because according to Indian tradition one year in the life of human beings corresponds to one day in the life of gods.  Each time, when this constellation repeats itself, the influence of the celestial bodies is again supposed to be very beneficial for the place and millions of pilgrims converge at the place to celebrate the Kumbh Mela.

So much about the mythology. It explains why many pious Hindus dream of bathing in the holy river during the Kumbh Mela. The explanation however may not convince a European. When I walked along the banks of the Ganges, and watched the pilgrims, who stood up to their waist in the water, held their nose with their fingers, bent their knees and submerged themselves again and again, I would not have guessed that this kind of gymnastics is helpful in getting to know the truth.

But can I be sure? It can neither be verified nor falsified, whether the astrological constellation in question charges the Ganges water in some subtle, special way or not. And after seven years in India, I was already broad minded enough to consider the Indian view as possible and not only the western view, which would regard such belief ‘from a scientific angle’ as nonsense. The Indians trust that their sages und their tradition know a lot about the subtle interdependence between man and cosmos. And they may be right. Science keeps validating more and more insights of the ancient wisdom.

To be fair, westerners should have the same level of acceptance towards the Indian belief, which they have towards the baptism in the Christian Church. Rather even a higher level, as no Indian threatens anyone with eternal damnation, if he does not bathe in the Ganges.

I personally did not consider the bath as important. Nevertheless, it so happened that in the middle of the night at 2 o’clock, at the most auspicious hour, I went to the Ganges to take a dip. A group of people who were gathered around a tiny, fragile woman, Rani Ma by name, took charge of me. I had landed up in this group in the previous evening by chance.

Rani Ma did not talk much. Her guru was Babaji, who was also the grand guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. Her devotees from Kolkata considered her as enlightened.

There was no doubt that this group would take a bath in the Ganga in the night and Rani Ma insisted on taking me along. I did not object. We slept for a couple of hours on reed mats on her veranda and then joined the steady, unending stream of human beings winding their way through the town to Har ki Pauri, the most auspicious place on the Ganges. The stream was so dense that I hardly managed to bend to take off my slippers when we reached the ghat area. The others had wisely left theirs behind. There was real danger that the stream of people would run over one, if one falls to the ground.

It actually happened. Ffifty people had died in the night. The continuous stream of pilgrims had been blocked for a while to make way for some VIP politician and then was waved on. Many, who had squatted on the ground and dozed off while waiting, could not get up fast enough, when the crowd suddenly moved forward. They were trampled to death.

StilI, I was grateful for that amazing experience and glad that i had not slept through the night.

About half a million sadhus, swamis, sanyasis, as the potentially holy men and women are called, had come to Haridwar – a good representation of spiritual India. Anandamayi Ma had already passed away, but Devaraha Baba was there and I was happy to have his darshan again.

The Mela presented a colourful, fascinating picture. Many sadhus were naked, just smeared with ash from head to toe. Others had wrapped an orange coloured, sometimes also white or black, and often worn out cotton cloth around their hips. On their foreheads they had mysterious marks. In one hand they usually held a begging bowl and in the other a wooden staff and in some cases, a dangerous looking metal trident. Their hairstyle was eccentric. If their heads were not shaven, their hair was matted with ash and piled in several layers on the head or it reached down to the waist.

If I had not noticed it already earlier, I would have noticed it during the Kumbh Mela – the fact that not all of them were close to sainthood. Only because someone is naked or dressed in orange, does not necessarily mean that he is a pure, calm, great being who is a well-wisher for all of mankind. As is the case everywhere there are such and such individuals.

And so there were also here the genuine ones who had dedicated their life to the search for the truth – fully and sincerely – and among them there might have been some who had come to an end of their search and could feel what they truly are in their essence.

I have to admit that I did not meet too many really impressive personalities, but in some cases I could envision that someone lived his or her life from a deeper, more awakened level of consciousness.

Once for example I was sitting on a small wooden bench in front of a tea shop on the road side. An elderly man with a towel wrapped around his head sat down next to me. I moved a bit away from him, because his clothes looked dirty. He carried a sack over his shoulder which had the same dirty white colour.

A skinny bitch, whose puppies were stepping over each other under her belly, positioned herself behind our bench and looked at us full of expectation. We both turned towards her at the same moment, and I was surprised, how much compassion shone from the eyes of this man.

Now I suddenly felt love for him and wondered whether it was appropriate to pay for his tea, as he looked poor. Just then Melita Maschmann passed by and we chatted. Meanwhile the man paid and left. We also left and Melita pointed at him, “Look at this man in front of us. People here claim that he is enlightened. He is always calm, kind, unperturbed, even though he is poor and earns his livelihood by collecting mud for soaps.”

Melita and I participated in the morning arati in the temple where Anandamayi Ma’s Samadhi (tomb) is the focus of worship. Afterwards we went off in different directions. I was walking, when the man from the teashop came to my mind, and I wished I would see him once more. Somebody walked ahead of me, but he didn’t have a towel around his head, so I didn’t take further notice. Suddenly I became aware of the prominent varicose veins on his legs and realised that it was him. At the same moment, he turned and smiled at me.

Some other time, I sat with a group of people on Rani Ma’s veranda, when a sadhu from Uttarkashi in the Himalayas joined us. Rani Ma greeted him warmly. Both of them conversed with each other for a while. Then he sank into stillness. We all were still and it felt very peaceful. After he had left, Rani Ma claimed that he was enlightened. Of course I can’t know, whether it was true.

Probably I have walked past a number of people without recognising that he or she felt truly one with all.

I suppose that there were some even in those huge tents, which the government had put up for the very poor. There people chanted almost non-stop one of the many names of god. Among them there were emaciated, old men with hollow cheeks and eyes sunken deep in their sockets, who accompanied their chanting with cymbals – and had time to look up and invite me with a smile to join in.

They were devotees of Vishnu, who is the preserver of the universe. Vishnu is said to incarnate in human form on earth, whenever the evil gets the upper hand, to show again the right path to human beings. Ram and Krishna are Vishnu’s most loved incarnations (avataras). The life story of Ram is narrated in the Ramayana and Krishna’s in the Mahabharata, which consist of 100.000 stanzas. Krishna lived supposedly some 5000 years ago and Ram several thousand years earlier. The devotees of Vishnu are generally milder compared to those of Shiva. They want to be constantly and lovingly aware of his presence and merge with him or rather merge with that form of him, which they love the most.

When I got up to leave, an old man advised me to travel to Ayodhya and even enquired whether I had enough money for the train ticket to get there. He genuinely wanted me to visit the birth place of his beloved Ram, who is for a Hindu the same as Jesus Christ is for a Christian – god in human form.

In front of a photo shop, a young sadhu approached me and asked in fluent English where I came from. He was wearing only a loin cloth and was a naga sadhu – “since yesterday”, he told me already in his second sentence. The previous day I had witnessed, as a few thousand young men sat on the banks of the Ganges, their heads freshly shaven and maked except for a loin cloth. They “took sanyas”, that means, they vowed to renounce the pleasures of the world and not to dream anymore of wealth, family and position, but instead to dedicate their life completely to the search for god.

One of those young men stood now before me, who, only day before yesterday, would have looked completely normal, with shirt and trousers on his body and hair on his head. I asked him why he chose to become a naga sadhu. “I want to meditate in a cave in the Himalayas to become one with god”, he answered, as if this kind of desire was the most natural thing in the world for a young man of his age. I used the opportunity to ask him whether he could introduce me to his guru. He readily agreed.

The naga sadhus consider themselves as the warriors of Shiva. Shiva is on one hand the destroyer in the trinity besides Brahma, the creator and Vishnu, the preserver. On the other hand, Shiva is considered to be the Highest, the only one, above the trinity.

In the 8th century (some say, even earlier), the great philosopher Adi Shankara had grouped the individual sadhus into ten orders, as per their main spiritual practice, reacting to the Buddhist monk communities. Adi Shankara also asked them to visit the Kumbh Melas, to keep in touch with each other and to exhort the common people to live a righteous life.

The naga sadhus fought against the Muslim invaders, who made between the 8th and 18th century life difficult for Hindus and often killed them if they did not convert to Islam. Today, however, the belligerence of the naga sadhus is limited to fighting over who can take a dip in the Ganga first or to frightening photographers. A Frenchman had to run fast to save his camera. I also dared to take a photo of the nagas, even though the press officer had asked us not to. Secretly and quickly with my small Minox and I was sure that nobody had seen it – till the film was developed. Three nagas looked directly into the lens.

The manager of the tourist bungalow in Haridwar had warned me about the naga sadhus. In case they do not like something about me, it could have disastrous consequences, because most of those sadhus have occult powers, he claimed.

Yet my young companion seemed extremely peaceful and his guru, too, was surprisingly friendly, almost gentle and rather stout. He not only allowed, but seemed happy that I took photos, and called the whole company of his sadhu disciples to his tent. He offered me tea. Conversing however was difficult, as my Hindi was very limited.

The guru dictated the shopping list to the young man who had become a naga only the previous day, who carefully noted down all the items needed. I wished him the best for his path, wished that he may realise the truth and keep up his enthusiasm. Because the vow to renounce the world by itself is no guarantee, that worldly desires do not again gain the upper hand. But I have respect – not only for those who have achieved the ideal of an even-minded, serene personality, but also for those who strive for it.

It is easy to ridicule those strange looking figures because of their appearance or to put them down as parasites of society. And there is no doubt that many of them wear orange only because it easier to beg in this colour, and possibly there are even criminals among them who hide in that garb. But can I really know how much courage many sadhus muster to untie all their relationships and to let go of the dream of a happy family life and success in a career – in favour of an inward journey, where they have to walk alone, without health insurance and without being certain that the next meal will indeed find its way into their begging bowl?

They demonstrate a life style, which is diametrically opposite to the modern life style. They are not interested in fulfilling desires, but in relinquishing them. They don’t want to create needs, but to reduce them. And in this way they act like a barrier against the mighty trend towards the materialistic consumer society.

‘If in doubt, be in favour of the wandering monk’ is still the motto in India. And even critics of the spiritual scene in the country do not doubt that there are enlightened beings among the sadhus, somewhere high up in the inaccessible Himalayas – who only leave their cave for the Kumbh Mela…

By Maria Wirth

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26 comments

  1. Radhika Nagrath · · Reply

    wonderful maria. yes haridwar and its kumbh mela- unsurpassable for seekers of truth

  2. Pradeep Kotagar · · Reply

    Serene, peace

  3. […] The article first appeared as – https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/a-great-living-ancient-tradition-the-kumbh-mela/ […]

  4. Quq Balam · · Reply

    I have to ask, why do you want to have acceptance of Hindu practices from Europeans? Why should their opinion by taken into account by Hindus, or anyone for that matter? At the very least, you could also take into account the opinion of the people like the Chinese, Polynesians or Latin Americans regarding the Kumbh Mela, but you didn’t do this in your post. It’s a very Eurocentric way of thinking.

    Neither is it true that the Christian Church teaches eternal damnation by not baptizing. Baptism is a requirement in Christianity, sure, but people won’t go to Hell if they don’t do it. Neither is Hell eternal damnation, but simply a temporary state of purification. And while there may not be Hindus who threaten you with eternal damnation, you still have Hindutva fanatics who say you will suffer severe retribution for not being a Hindu.

    1. please keep in mind that i wrote this originally for German readers in German language, myself being a German. i just wanted to make them reflect, not unfairly and unthinkingly condemn what is not familiar to them.
      however you are wrong if you consider hell as temporary in the Christian doctrine (and Islamic, too). it is clearly eternal after only one life on earth.

      could you please explain who is a Hindutva fanatic? and who says that one will suffer severe retributions for not being Hindu?
      kindly read some more articles on the blog, for example
      https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/lets-all-be-hindu-fundamentalists/

    2. Quq Balam · · Reply

      A Hindutva fanatic is basically a Hindu extremist who believes India, as the holy land of Hinduism where Brahman revealed himself, should be reserved only to Brahman’s chosen people, that is, Hindus, and therefore Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, etc should be either forcefully converted, expelled or killed for desecrating this holy land with their presence.

      And yes, Hell is temporary. In Roman Catholicism, there are two levels of Hell, Purgatory and Hell itself. Roman Catholic theology teaches that only the latter is eternal, and that God’s saving grace is so powerful that no one will be there. Sinners therefore only go to Purgatory to purify themselves. The other ancient Christian sects (the Assyrian Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy) go even further by erasing the latter level of Hell altogether and teaching that Hell is only a temporary state for the purification of sinners. The main Protestant Churches like the Anglican and Lutheran Churches also assert this as well. By now, it is only a reduced number of Christians who believe Hell is a place of eternal damnation, and even among those who do believe this, only a minority believe it is a literal place of fire and torture, the others believing that Hell is just a state of separation from God.

      1. Quq Balam · ·

        And you can read Hindu scriptures. Even as early as the Rig Veda, the gods punish those who don’t follow them, the “godless” in Ralph Griffith’s translation, and there’s mention of those evil doers who go to Yama’s abode to receive retribution. Later Hindu texts developed the concept of Naraka, where souls go through torturous ordeals even worse than anything described in the Bible about Hell in order to be purified to then be reincarnated again into a life of more suffering than the previous one as punishment.

      2. Archpagan · ·

        I have compiled a new parable for inclusion in your Gospel, which is reproduced below:

        A farmer somehow lost his towel. In reaction, he took a vow that he would not shave his face until the cost of towel is recouped by savings from it. After one month he had ½ inch long stubble all over his face. While resting under a tree he met a saffron-clad monk with a huge beard that covered his entire torso. The farmer became curious and started casting inquisitive glances at the monk. Sensing something amiss, the monk inquired –‘Will you say something, my son?’ The farmer reacted – ‘How many towels have you lost, my Lord?

        But, Mr. Quq Balam, we have not lost any towel please!

      3. First of all, do not say, Rig Veda has said this and said that. The English translations are unreliable. The teachings in Rig Veda are through allegories and are not literal. It requires a lot of sadhana to understand it’s content. It’s not possible for everybody. Remember paroksha priya hi deva. Nothing in Rig veda is direct and yet these english translators try to translate it word to word. The language in rigveda is very symbolic and really uses an earlier form of Sanskrit. Even this language is not yet completely decoded but they write translations. And you use these translations to say, its same as others…blah blah..really?

  5. I am an indian and i know my nations history , you are already misleaded and you are misleading your fellow europeans also.Christian missionaries brought light to this nation.Do you know the history of missionaries who fought for the rights of women and untouchables in the 17th and 18th centuary kerala.Do you know that women had to pay breast taxes to cover their breasts with cloths.You Europeans have born into freewill and liberty society due to christianity and people like you travel all over the world and taste all kind of dirt.Cows in India have more rights than non Hindus.
    Some months back an Australian devotee of Matha amrithanantha mai , turns against her and write a book exposing the evils taking place in her ‘ashram’.This foreign women was a devotee for the 40 years , of Hinduism and ‘arshabharatha’ culture.At last she find everything meaning less.
    Only the people of western civilization come here and do foolishness.Arabs or muslims never do such foolishness. The real reason is that European Christians have hugged secularism; and discarded God of bible.The truth is the catholic church has adopted secularist vews in 2nd vatican council which terribly mislead the westerners.

  6. Mathew · · Reply

    The four-fold division of society is the only contribution of hinduism.
    The system of varnashram dharma is upheld by popular Hindu scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharata andBhagvat-Gita.
    In Ramayana, for example, Ram kills Shambuka simply because he was performing tapasya (ascetic exercises) which he was not supposed to do as he was a Shudra by birth.
    Similarly, in Mahabharata, Dronacharya refuses to teach archery to Eklavya, because he was not a Kshatriya by birth. When Eklavya, treating Drona as his notional guru, learns archery on his own, Drona makes him cut his right thumb as gurudakshina (gift for the teacher) so that he may not become a better archer than his favorite KshatriyastudentArjuna!
    the most elaborate exposition of varnashram dharma is to be found in Manusmriti, an important dharmashastra of Hindus.
    The Brahmins were created for teaching, studying, performing yajnas
    The Shudras were created by Brahma for serving Brahmins and the other two varnas without being critical of them.
    It was this caste system punished a majority people for thousands of years and make their life suffer.They had to wait 17th and 18th century for the christian missionaries to show the people of india some light.they teach humans are not created into prisons of castes but created as equal by God.And the God is ‘love’,the name of God is mercy.

    1. This is called propaganda. People whose their religions are only dogmas, need some poison to be injected into the sanathan dharma, in order to propogate their own faith. You are like the evangelic tv channels which spread falsehoods and their own creations, and splurge some dharmic names to look genuine. You seem such brainwashed bigot. Im a shudra, and i am one because i chose to work and earn a living. Shudra is not at all an offensive term as is being made out by you. Anyone can become a brahmin if he so wishes to and pursue. Many of the great rishis are born to shudras. Stop misquoting texts and misleading people. I know, a lot of money is pumped in by the christian missionaries to spread falsehoods about others and you seem to be a product of that. Christians have killed 100 million native americans because the church said that native americans didnt possess a soul and hence its not a sin to butcher them. Do you call this love? They have labelled blacks as people without souls and hence can be enslaved. Christians have also killed 100 million Africans, cause killing soulless people was not a sin it seems. They have enskaved africa, destroyed it’s ethnic religions, plundered it to amass wealth back home. Christians have destroyed the entire roman culture, because they thought it is pagan and needed to be reformed. So they waged wars to refirm the romans and kilked millions of them, and finally suceeded to convert. But you know christians being the experts tgey are at creating myths, have started rewriting history that it was christians who were persecuted. Haha! Read ‘the myth of persecution’. The christians traditionally always thought women had no soul and hence they can be enslaved too, this view coming from the church itself. It required womens rights groups to remember them the oppression. And how many Indians did the british colonisers kill? Apparently, the british thought if themsekves as high class because they were chrustian and white and saw no loss of morality in plundering and looting India. for this it even had rewritten indian texts, looted the texts, and still kept in their possesion, not less than 50,000 Indian manuscripts. Your christian colonisers would loot India and send a pittance of the loot through christian missionaries to convert Indians. I guess you take pride in that. Such is your morality. Your christian rulers have looted food grains as well to send as reserve stock for the european soldiers in the world war. It has caused famines that killed more than 10 million hrought India. And this you call ‘love’? Your jesus said, a person gets diseases because he is attacked by souls. This one you calk god? Just create a myth in the name of a person, and say he takes all your sins. Why should anybody take away anybody’s sins. A rapist should get his due punishement. All these genocides, the christians conducted throughout the world, many if them sponsored by the church, you call it ‘love’? or because jesus takes away the sins, christians can cintinue to conduct genocides and pogroms? The list of genocides conducted on native people throughout the world by christians is almost endless. Do you call this the gift if christ? Or may be this really is the true gift of christ to the world.

      1. Mathew · ·

        You are the fine example of hatred culture of extremists….. your problem is you don’t have a ‘thanks giving’ culture.
        Jesus treated women as an equal. This was unheard of back in his time.here in india in the 18th century missionaries got killed when they raise their voice against social injustice.
        Do you know the history of missionaries who fought for the rights of women and untouchables in the 17th and 18th centuary kerala ?
        Do you know that women had to pay breast taxes to cover their breasts with cloths ?
        Do you know that the first medical doctor of the lower caste in south india was a product of missionary education ?
        Do you know when the local indian governments prohibited lower caste people from earning education before 19th century?
        I can tell you one single example from a lot.. Dr.Palpu is the prominent hindu leader of ezhava community in kerala in 18th centuary.He couldn’t earn education from govt schools because of untouchability.It was the christian missionary Mr.S.J. Fernandez went to his home and teach him.(This is what we call legacy.This is history.And you cannot see or recognize it….. because you hate ,.
        From south to north the whole india owes to christian missionaries.In kerala german and spanish missionaries made malayalam to modern form.
        Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg was one of the first two Protestant missionaries to India. He and his fellow worker Heinrich Plutschau arrived in East India at the port of Tranquebar in 1705.Modern Tamil Nadu’s education system is based on his language study, literary and education work and the school system he founded.
        Ashoka (304–232 BC), India’s greatest Buddhist ruler, used the Pali language and Brahmi script to spread his teachings throughout India. It became the language of Buddhist learning. Yet, at the dawn of the nineteenth century, India did not have even one scholar who could read a single sentence inscribed on the Ashoka pillars found throughout India.Worse the anti-historic nature of caste system of hinduism had ensured that for centuries no Indian had even heard Ashoka’s name until the 1830s when an Anglo-India scholar, James Prinsep, found the key to reading Brahmi script on the pillars.

        I have read your theories in BJP news papers written by RSS activists.
        This is why Graham Staines got killed by extremists.people like you are learning continuous lies like ‘Christians loot,church killed many…… How long you will be a prisoner of hate ???
        (I know roman and early christian history well,you first learn about christian missionaries who made modern india.)

        Before the British, Muslims had ruled our land.Why none of them contribute anything for language dialects.
        Indian scholars did not develop India’s national language,Bible translators such as Reverend Gilchrist and missionary-linguists such as Reverend Kellogg made the dialect for indian texts (AD 1532–1623) the base for developing modern Hindi as a literary language.
        If Missionaries ware not here , your official language would be Persian.Persian did for Moguls what Sanskrit did for Brahmins. It excluded most Indians from power. One way to keep government of the rulers, for the rulers, and by the rulers is to run it in a language not understood by the ruled.Decades of sacrificial service by Bible translators made it possible for the British government to agree to making Hindustani their court language at the lower levels of administration.Rev. John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759–1841) developed “Tables and Principles” of Hindustani.Rev. S. H. Kellogg, an American missionary in Allahabad, coalesced more than a dozen dialects to help create today’s Hindi.Every living literary language in India is a testimony to their labor. In 2005 a Malyalee scholar from Mumbai, submitted a seven-hundred-page doctoral thesis to the University of Nagpur. It demonstrated that Bible translators, using the dialects of mostly illiterate Indians, created seventy-three modern literary languages. These include the national languages of India (Hindi), Pakistan (Urdu), and Bangladesh (Bengali).

        Is this what people like you hate ??? The words you used , the education makes you capable of criticizing and hating church are the gifts you received from christianity.

      2. Mathew · ·

        you can look at old moral stories , it is presented in every people.
        But what you have to understand about christianity is , it is about a living God.
        Look , how interesting it is , God challenging all the human logic.
        God is asking in Isaiah 66:7-8
        “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.”
        Is this the same happen when the united nations declared Israel nation on May 14, 1948 , for vote of 42 against 23 member nations. ?
        To understand Jesus , first you should come out of your hate ……

  7. analyst123Mahendra · · Reply

    Mr. Mathew – your words are hatred towards Hinduism. You are misquoting the ancient anecdotes of India. There is type of people who enjoy Christian just by “abusing- Hinduism- Christians”?
    Ekla Mr. Mathew – was he your ancestor, how do you know and misquote about him, in derogatory cast remark? Ms Maria Wirth, for example, is a writer, thinker; does it qualify her for admission to Indian Military Academy? The age at which one learns Military craft is a matured age and one by that time has decided his occupation, why you want Ekalavya a Military man? Just to give a selectively chosen example to denigrate the religion of your ancestors and your mother land that is Bharat.
    Can you say details about your another bad example “Ram kills Shambuka”? What is the reference Mathew?
    The Hindu does convert people by using the weakness of individuals, weakness like money, women, illiteracy, ignorance, fear? The Hindu does find fault within other religions. The Hindu respects others’ religions for them, but never abuses other religion. Abusing, writing lies, is not Christianity. Yes, it is christianity-of-some-christians-like-you’, who live and preach only abuses to Hindus. Not any more!

  8. What you think ? did i abuse you ? or hate ?
    You only read my words about caste system of india ? I have mentioned some other facts about missionaries also.
    You read my words and misunderstood ,did i abuse or hate you ?

    In 1994, India’s Roman Catholic bishops invited one of our most influential public intellectuals, Dr. Arun Shourie, to tell them how a Hindu looks at Christian missions. Since his illustrious family was a product of missionary education, the bishops may have expected him to commend missions. Shourie, however, condemned missions as a conspiracy of British imperialism.
    When Britain colonized India militarily and politically, Shourie argued, missionaries were brought in to colonize the Indian mind.Christian Mission’s he said, were the worst form of colonialism.
    Arun Shourie had gone to India’s best Christian college and earned a doctorate from a prestigious American university established by a Protestant denomination to teach the Bible.
    But the fact is missionary education enabled india to spread it’s wings into modern world , the genius and upper class students received good education which further enabled them to get education from America and European countries.
    This is also a clear form of hate and biting on the hands which raised him.Is this the same thing that the so called hinduthva leaders continue to do till today ?
    At least we have to announce a national day to remember the christian missionaries.But what we have done back ,after the brutal murder of Graham Stuart Staines and his two sons by dhara singh , Madan Lal Khurana, former Union Minister said , it’s due to conversion.How simply a responsible person made a comment like this, The Supreme Court of India, the last bulwark of justice and secularism in it’s judgment which made it seem that Dara Singh was justified in “punishing” Staines for his Christiana activities.
    You seems to be educated and you can evaluate yourself,what makes hundreds of missionaries ,to leave the luxury of their homes in europe to reach india and all over the world to work in between tribes and untouchables to love and live with them to work hard for their upliftment ?
    There is a truth out there , if you want to know search for it you will find….
    http://christianity.about.com/od/newchristians/p/whychristianity.htm
    Jesus Christ says “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
    Christianity is the invitation to :
    1.Experience the Greatest of Loves:
    2.Experience Freedom:
    3.Experience Lasting Joy & Peace:
    4.Experience Relationship:
    5.Experience Your True Potential & Purpose:
    6 Experience Eternity with God:

    My previous comments ware not for you , it’s to MARIA WIRTH.

  9. analyst123MAhendra · · Reply

    Ekalvya – is the moral story, ‘respect and obedience to Teacher’, Eklvya teaches the moral of ‘perseverance, to pursue his goal with patience’, Eklavya is an ideal student. Children learn morals from Eklavya. These virtues are universal.
    Ram, is an ideal human being, the virtues Ram teaches are to build social relations in society. The Ram is the noble ’son’, noble King, noble brother, noble friend, noble husband, Tam teaches the virtues required to be a good social human being. Hindu worship Ram for the virtues.
    Hindu, humanise its symbols of respect and faith. The Earth is ‘Dharatimata, mother-Earth’, Ganges is not mere body-of-water but “Maa Ganga (the mother Ganga), Cow is not a milk animal Cow is “Gau Mata (Mother Cow), Sun is not a god (Devata), like Mangal (Mars), Shani (Saturn) etc.
    The attack by misquoting, the symbols of Hindu faith to whom Hindu worship and learn moral living with virtues, is a deliberate abuse.
    The Ram Rajya should be read and understood first, the Ram Rajya is an ideal way of governance. There was no untouchable during Ram’s rajya. This a deliberate lie hence abuse.
    Christians should worry more about Europe which is becoming Muslim fast. The largest numbers of people (with resources above a billion dollar) are leaving Christian countries of Europe for fear of increasing Muslims. Where are they moving to, Australia, US and Canada, where Muslim are kept within limits?
    Christian traders came to loot India.

    1. You don’t need to worry about Christians in europe or increasing number of muslims.The people of Isreal many times hunted and vandalized in history.Now Isreal is the powerful , most technologically advanced and glorified nation of the world , it’s the word of God , that comes true , Through the prophets God speak to Israel “For a short time , i may turn my face from you , but after that i will call you back with more love’ ,
      God is asking in Isaiah 66:7-8
      “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.”
      Is this the same happen when the united nations declared Israel nation on May 14, 1948 , for vote of 42 against 23 member nations. ?
      Look , how interesting it is , God challenging all the human logics by asking ” Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? ”
      And all the neighboring nations of Israel are all enemy nations.
      But the protector of Israel is the true one who says “Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” .(pslam 121:4)
      This is why i ask ,you want to know truth ? you can look to moral stories , you can search for a living God.You will be amazed when you start to know the truth,For 400 hundred years Israel peoples ware slaves of Egypt , Before that they become refugees who forced to leave their native place.From there God made them into such a glorified nation , And from them Christianity born.
      Ezekiel 34:13
      “I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.”

    2. So for to conclude my above comments, you can find moral stories , it is presented in every people.You can find universal truths from autobiography of Dr.A.P.J. Abdul kalam ,Mahatma Gandhi , mother Theresa ……..But they are all reflecting the truth , no other religions have generated missionaries like in christianity. When hindu ‘men gods’ and ‘women gods’ go to rich European countries and west and accumulate crores , the christian missionaries leave their rich homeland and live with tribals of india.This all and much more is happening from the power of bible , Do you ever read it for a personal guidance? you can count on it.They are the living words from the living God. It speak to the broken nature of man,“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” ” Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied” Not ‘blessed are the righteous’ but ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’? the hunger and thirst for righteousness,is for truth of Jesus Christ.

      1. vaibhav · ·

        The lady is describing is her experience and the peace she experienced while being in kumbh. Are we here discussing about the evils of hinduism or for that matter the indian caste system??? Even if such a discussion is underway, a christian missionary(in your case a converted one) is unwelcomed for it.

  10. Thanks Maria.Very beautifully written. I’m compelled to add this info to your blog, because you mentioned Babaji & Parmahansa Yogananda. In Autobiography of Yogi, if my memory is not failing me, he mentioned that Babaji actually met Lahiri Mahashaya in Kumbh Mela. Shri Yukteshwar Giri was called later, on a hill top. Yes, Kumbh Melas have an intriguing spiritual aura about them.

  11. Gadiraju Nageswara Rao Raju · · Reply

    Thank you Maria. you put Hindu philosophy in so simple words.Hindu philosophy says all worldly pleasures like money,women and alcohol etc.will create miseries in self,family and society.That some real sadhus seek atmagnanam i.e.knowing paramathma in yourself.

  12. Babylon · · Reply

    Many Many Thanks for this beautiful article Maria. The beauty of Sanatan Dharma is, it encourages each soul to find the Truth. The young man who decided to renounce all for that Truth has surely realized that all the happiness of family life, money, luxury, success and social position are transitory and does not provide ‘Sat Chit Ananda’. For the West, this renunciation would surely be called as “someone who has lost his onions”. However, it makes perfect sense in India. The four purusharthas – Dharma., Artha, Kama and Moksha. Moksha is the goal of every soul.

    And a must mention here, all other Religions can be dated back to so-an-so BC or AD. Sanatan Dharma can never be dated. Reason lies in its name “Sanatan”.

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