Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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sea of devotion

It was indeed a glorious sight watching millions take a holy dip in the Ganga  on Monday morning on the occasion of the Maghi Purnima, the last important  bathing day of the Kumbh, though the Mela will go on till Mahashivratri when it would be more or less a local affair. The clouds were there but they could not dampen the spirit of the bathers because in between the sun also peeped out  from the mantle of  haziness  and spread its sunshine to bring cheer on the faces of those shivering with cold as they stepped out of water after the  bath and were preparing to  dress up .  By noon time one saw the sun shining in its majestic splendour, providing much relief to all, especially the administration which was apprehensive of a wet afternoon spoiling the show.  Some shivered while looking for their clothes and some found their shoes or sandals missing. But all that is a part of the hide- and- seek game that bathers have to play with their things as tracking them becomes an uphill task though ultimately all ends well and in most cases even those lost from their groups are also traced and reunited. It happened this time too.

According to the  seers in the Mela, the auspicious time for bathing began at 1:40 on Sunday night and continued till 2:01 a.m.on Tuesday though it was also stated  that technically the bathing time ended at 1:41 p.m. on  Monday itself  as  'Bhadra' was on only till then.  But the vast multitudes  kept on coming even after the auspicious time, held up as they were on the way owing to traffic jam or  because of  the  late arrival of trains or buses on which they had no control. That is why what mattered most for the people was a dip, irrespective of the shifting of timing this way or that way. The 55-day Maha Kumbh  , which   began this year at Allahabad  on Jan 14 will finally conclude on March 10,2013, the Maha Shivratri day. But by then most of the visitors will have departed.
 And for ‘Kalpvasis’ Maghi Poornima was  special as  they  ended their month-long  spiritual  journey to be back to normal  from the 30-day ‘Banvaas’. They were seen disbanding  their hutments and   returning home with a final salute to the Ganga, seeking her blessings with some of them also taking  along a plant of Tulsi that they sowed on the first day of their Kalpwas during which they  slept on thatched floor, gave up worldly life, cooked food for themselves and lived in solitude. For some there was an ‘interval’-- if one may call it that-- when, following the flooding of the area as a result of unexpectedly heavy shower, they had to flee to safer places. A few never returned. But many came back to complete the vow.

It has been a vast congregation, acknowledged to be the biggest in the world. There were pinpricks, some unexpected hurdles too. But if one takes note of the mammoth affair that it has been, one will certainly marvel at the grandeur of the whole thing, no less a living wonder of the world. This is not to undermine the  stampede horrors we witnessed. We have every sympathy for them. But Destiny operates that way—Kabhi din, kabhi raat- Kahin khushi kahin gham, kahin andhera kahin ujala.

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Magh Mela 2014

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