Celebrating Basant Panchami in Kumbha Mela 2013
Just as the first rains of the spring washes away that which is old and makes way for the new, so too at this time of Basant Panchami we celebrate and honour the people, places, circumstances and things that wash away the old—all that no longer serves us and sustains us— to bring forth and make way for all that is life-sustaining.
Spring comes in our garden when the rains come, but spring comes in our life in the presence of saints and seers. On the occasion of the Kumbha Mela we are blessed with not just one saint but with the presence of thousands of saints alongside the Divine Mother— the inspiration of them all— Mother Ganga. Together they purify and cleanse not only our bodies, but our minds and our hearts also.
As millions take a dip in the holy waters of the Sangam in Allahabad— the sacred confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati— everyone, all around the world—no matter where they are— can take a dip in the inner sangam within each one of us. Each one of us is like the pot or the kumbha, which captures within it the drop of the divine trinity of brahma, vishnu, mahesh—the sacred energies of generation, operation, and destruction that govern our universe.
Our bodies are temples that can hold the nutrients and minerals through which the Divine’s work is carried out. Our minds are instruments through which we can capture and cultivate thoughts that will change the world in a positive way. Our hearts and spirits are vessels that can catch the cosmic energy and the infinite, unconditional divine love. Therefore, in the Indian tradition, when we fold our hands in prayer and bring them from our eyebrow center to our heart center, we pray that the confluence of our bodies, hearts and minds— by Divine Grace— makes us whole and complete instruments through which drops of nectar—drops of life— are shared with all of humanity.
Just as the River Yamuna flows to Sangam and merges with River Ganga, losing her individual identity and becoming one with the greater identity, this confluence also signifies a surrendering of our smaller identities to a greater cause. Just as each small tributary of Ganga does not know that some day they will merge with the infinite Ocean at Ganga Sagar, yet each tributary allows Mother Ganga to take them on a journey that they alone could not have undertaken, so too must be our faith in the Divine. We may not always know where the Divine will lead us, but still we must surrender and have faith that the Divine will take care of us and take us to our ultimate destinations.
Let us take this opportunity to celebrate and reaffirm our commitment to preserving and protecting that which truly sustains life. Today, as life-giving aquifers and rivers are exploited, rendered completely dry, and millions are suffering from the dumping of polluted sewage and industrial waste into our rivers — let us take Basant (“spring”) to also mean Bas Ant (“the end”), as the coming of something new — the spring — can only happen when the old is washed away and dissolved.
Today, let us take a pledge that we shall implement at least three things in our everyday lives that will end the pollution of our bodies, minds and hearts. Let us stand together to put an end to the obstruction of Mother Ganga’s waters and to implement solutions that will conserve and sustain our needs while preserving and protecting Her flow. Let us also come together to put an end to the mixing of treated and untreated waste-water with sacred rivers all over the world and to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste water for everyday needs. In this way, we commit ourselves to moving towards a more environmentally-sustainable Self and more environmentally-sustainable planet.