It’s time once again, ladies and gentlemen, for a washing of sins. Have you been feeling lately that you are without a Higher Purpose, mindlessly buffeted by every passing wave in the Ocean of Life? That means it’s time to re-connect with your Inner Self, for Jupiter has entered Aquarius and the Sun has entered Aries. You just have to wash your mind free from impurities and lo and behold, happiness will blossom like a flower. And what better a place to do that than at the Gateway of the Gods, aka Haridwar. It’s time to tune in, turn on and drop in to the most happening place on the planet — the Mahakumbh Mela, the Great Festival of the Pot of Nectar of Immortality.
Blessings will flow like holy water from all those wild spiritual people at the mela. The cosmic vibes are fantastic and the karma is awesome, especially during the main royal bath, when the holy men parade in all their naked, ash-smeared and dreadlocked glory, transmitting wave upon wave of incredible Shakti that’s sure to blow your mind. If this doesn’t liberate you, nothing will.
But while you find out your Purpose in Life, there’s no sense in neglecting your comforts. After all, if you are your life’s unfinished god-manifestation, your accommodation too should be god-like. I’d suggest the special guest packages, the one with the super-deluxe tents, the kind the maharajahs used when they went on hunts. According to the brochures, a “double-bedded luxury-type tent” will have “en-suite bathrooms, TV, hairdryer, wake up service, direct-dial telephone, shower cubicle, deck chair, camp chair, peg table, bathroom furnishings and luggage rack, desert coolers, air-conditioning & room heater.” Hot and cold running water is available, of course, along with mineral water and beverages. In case you need to check your stocks, Wi-Fi connections will be provided. And a multi-cuisine restaurant will take care of the needs of your more mundane self.
Religious discourses to uplift your soul will be held every evening. Your tent will have wall-to-wall carpeting, of course. Spend some quality time with the resident astrologer. New Age workshops will have self-exploratory journeys to the common root of mind and body. I forgot to mention the laundry and shoe shine services. Meditation techniques will be taught, at no extra charge, that will enhance memory, decision-making capacity and concentration so that you can please your boss, get that promotion, beat the market, earn some respect. And if you get tired after a hectic day spent finding your true self, there will be ayurvedic therapeutic massages available at the spa. I wonder, though, why they don’t have a gym. No swimming pools either, no alcohol and only vegetarian food. Also, you don’t get to pick the colour of your tents. But it’s suffering for a cause.
You will also be safely escorted to the bathing places (only super-deluxe and deluxe cottages eligible). Do not get too close to the masses, there’s bound to be grime, lice and germs. Best to stick close to your guide.
So what are you waiting for? Moksha awaits you for a few thousand rupees and a week of your time. I read somewhere that Mark Twain came to the Allahabad Kumbh in 1885, and this is what he wrote: “Pilgrims plodded for months in heat to get here, worn, poor and hungry, but sustained by unwavering faith.” Really? What were they thinking?
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal.