Kumbhamela—Myth, Mass, Maniac


Beside a myth connected to an urn of nectar, Kumbhamela is subtly connected with the myth about the birth of river Ganges. Gods requested Devi Ganga to descend down on mortal earth to effect a thorough purification. She objected naturally by saying that she cannot make herself unholy by collecting everyone’s sin. Then she got assured that along with the sinners many ascetics would also take a dip in her depth, and her job would only be to collect “punya” from one and give it to another, keeping her neutrality intact. She came down, the land turned fertile, cities were built, got crowded by both virtuous and evildoers, and the probabilistic uniformity was somehow maintained. In the world’s biggest democracy and busiest cyber culture this reasoning still holds with piercing intensity, for, only in 2013, 40 million believers gathered at Allahabad to take a holy dip. This certainly remains the world’s largest religious gathering.