Reviving the Kumbha Mela
Sadhguru: For thousands of years, the Kumbha Mela has been a knowledge base, and a place and time when large numbers of people found a source of inspiration, healing and transformation. Unfortunately, in the last few centuries it has lost its significance because the nation has not been in our own hands.
The Kumbha Mela is an offshoot of Bhuta Shuddhi, the fundamental dimension of yoga, which means to cleanse the five elements in our system. Everything – this body, this planet, the solar system and the universe – is a play of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. The entire universe – trillions of forms that life has taken – is just a mischief of five elements. This shows the brilliance behind creation. In the yogic system, it is understood that if you gain some mastery over these five elements, your health, wellbeing, prosperity and access to the universe are taken care of.
The elemental composition of the human body is such that 72% is water, 12% is earth, 6% is air, 4% is fire, the remaining is akash or space. For one to live well, water plays the most important role because 72% of the body is water.
The water within you responds to the water outside of you. Water is not a commodity, it is life-making material. The water that you drink is taking the form of a human being. It has memory and intelligence. Only if you treat it well, it tends to behave well. This science of how to treat water was culturally established in this country, but these aspects have largely been lost because we are becoming a very economy-driven culture. Economics is only about our survival, about procurement of what we need. Economics should not be the guide point of our lives.
The Kumbh or this science of making use of the confluence of rivers at certain latitudes came not because of belief, but from a keen observation of how life and the different forces around us function. We identified many spots where certain forces are at work at different times of the year and different times of the solar cycle – which lasts for a little over twelve years. Wherever two water bodies meet with a certain force, it creates a churning of water. This body being 72% water, the body receives maximum benefit if you are there at that particular time.
If you stay at the Kumbh for a mandala – a period of 48 days – and spend time in the water daily with the appropriate sadhana, you can transform your physical body, psychological framework, energy framework and above all, find enormous spiritual growth within you.
Unfortunately, today, this has slowly become more about a quick visit and one dip. If it is not possible to spend 48 days at the Kumbh, it is important that you at least practice some simple ten to twelve minute sadhana for forty days at home, and then take a dip at the Kumbh. This will make a huge difference. If a certain volume of energy is present somewhere, the important thing is whether you have the ability to receive and perceive it. If you cannot perceive it, everything will go waste.
It is my intention and my wish that this Kumbha Mela should not become just one more ritual, where a huge number of people gather, get viral infections and go home with some story to tell of the weird people they saw. This should become a transformative process. This is important in the making of this nation because a nation does not become great with just economic growth. It is about the inner balance that we gain.
As Indians, if we display a different level of equanimity within us, in the next twenty-five years we will be the most valued nation because this will be the biggest challenge for the rest of the world. The rest of the world knows how to do, but they want to know how to be. This is something that we can offer to the world, because when it comes to the inner mechanics of a human being – I am not saying this with the prejudice of being Indian – no other culture has explored the inner dimension of the human being with the profoundness that this culture has.
This is something in which we have invested our time, life and energies for almost eight to ten thousand years. This is not something that we believe or made up as philosophies, but something we observed and made tools to access.
It is my wish and my blessing that this Kumbha Mela should become a huge step in that direction, to awaken the world to this possibility.
Editor’s Note: The Bhuta Shuddhi process is taught by Isha Hatha Yoga teachers around the world. Find a teacher near you. The process is also part of the 21-day Isha Hatha Yoga program, that will be conducted between May 26 and Jun 15 at the Isha Yoga Center. More information at www.ishahatayoga.com & firstname.lastname@example.org.