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.sEPTEMBE;R,1998

>~~--- £ /" . . .
/I~~" <:::.::)--:..
INTERNATIONAL ..
Lead StorN: Millions Throng to Indias
Holiest River fm Purification 20
Eyewitness: I Saw Bare Babas Dance 27
Controversy: When Egos Clash 39
Preparation: How He Built a Transient
City to House 25 Million Pilgrims 41

LIFESTYLE
Ministers' Messages: Straight Talk with
the Melas Men and Women Saints 28
Insight: Sin and Salvation, Life and Death,
• Gods and Demons-the MeIa's Lore 32
VI.!IE!9: Cal}-adian Team Chronicles
the Big Event with Digital Diligence 46
Contributors: They Came. They Saw.


They Conquered tl'i'e Crowds.

·OPINION
50
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Pu,-lIsher's Desk: How a River of Devotion
Cools and Cleanses the Soul 10
Letters 12
My Turn: Living in the Lap of the Gods 13
Editorial: And You Thought Only God
Was Omnipresent and Omniscient! 16
Healing: As Seasons Changel-So Must We 44
!
DIGESTS 1)

Diaspora 7 News in Brief 49


Quotes &Quips 17 Digital Dharma 56
Evolutions 44

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Malaysia ... .f:RM6.00 . COVER 0rigiI:1al art by P.Iarish Johari (see also page 32) showing Garuda, VIsbnus
www.hlndu.org/htl
Singapore .. . ... 8$5.00 mythic mount, h(~lcling the chalice of ambrosia which spilled and sanctified Haridwar
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city. (rigb,t) Sainbi blessing and being blessed on the way to the Ganges. Page 20 . ' webala award
..
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daily answering questions like, Hug of Freiburg, Germany said, "We believe good talk creates
"Why is it important t~ wear a good vibrations. People we see here want a good and friendly
bindi?" Aditi plans to attend her world. We'll carry this message home. Haridwar is clean. Peo-
Aditi Hanumante in full regalia fourth and final camp this year. ple are happy. The administration and police are really pre-
pared." Melanie Rice of California bathed in the Ganga, but
found "no magic in the bath." Rather, she said, "The magic is in
NEPAL was charged with swindling the people who believe in spirituality." "Hinduism fascinates
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Pashupatinath in Mumbai, India. Members of one at the Mela." Bernice and
Parliament could stand it no Eric, from France, "loved
N MAY 22, .e.NANTA KRISH- longer, and petitioned King' wandering around and meet-
O na Yog Shastri was official-
ly appointed the new high
Birendra for the priest's re-
moval. Now, a trust registers all
I ing common people." But they
complained, "I saw an old lady
priest of Pashupatinath Siva temple contributions. Previous- taking her bath and worship-
temple-Nepal's holiest shrine. ly the priests collected, counted ing, and they dragged her out.
He replaced Subramanyam and kept all offerings. They could be more respect-
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come .s less than us. I saw a sadhu who held his hands in the air for 25 years. It
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..
however, do not pass the religious culture on to their devotees. In

A Flood of Spirituality an orthodox Hindu community they would most likely teach in a
more traditional way. Advaita philosophy is appealing to the West-
erner. It does not require a change in lifestyle.
The nondual, advaita-based meditations do bring devotees out of
the materialistic, externalized state of mind, but more often than
A wise guru will require good character and a kindly not lead them into their confused subconscious state of mind. IUs
here, within the subconscious, that unresolved problems with fam-
nature before teaching any form of advanced yoga ily and one's own personal ego begin to appear. Without a proper
religious-cultural background and traditional belief system or
Sanatana Dharma, these ~roblems are diffIcult to handle. This
BY SATGURU SIVAYA SUBRAMUNIYASWAMI turmoil is certainly not the purpose of advaitic meditations, but it
is a by-product. The wise guru trains his devotees in traditional
-A BIG K-IS FOR KUMBHA MELA, eyes, or the third. His Hindu culture and values and teaches the beginning yogas, as well
the largest gathering of humans on devotion does not stop, as temple protocol, music, the arts and dance. All these should be
Earth-over ten million. It happens rather it becomes more mastered to build a proper clear, clean foundation within the sub-
rarely, only once every twelve years intense. He does not stop conscious mind. Karma yoga and bhakti yoga are the necessary /
Haridwar when Jupiter is aligned eating, relating to others. prelude to the higher philosophies and spiritual practices.
with Kumbha, the sign of Aquarius. All the These are all dual things, Wise gurus will not initiate anyone into raja yoga techniques
rishis, sadhus, swamis and pundits come out too. My satguru, Siva who does not have a sweet nature and a natural outpouring of love,
of seclusion and gather to give darshan and Yogaswami, said, "Love forgiveness and self-effacement. No one auditions for the sympho-
bless t;he people. Only here can you see many pours forth to melt the ny orchestra until he has mastered all that his fIrst, second and
of these holy men and women. It took many very stones." third music teachers have taught him. Suppose a devotee who is
months for the effIcient Indian government to Bhakti yoga is not an not virtuous is taught an intense meditation and practices it ar-
arrange for housing and feeding facilities and intellectual study. It is a dently over a long period of time until a burst of light is seen.
divert the Ganga River into another channel practice. It is also not an Then the devotee, now feeling quite above others, argues with his
in order to build access bridges. emotional experience. It or her parents. Or a burst of anger occurs when talking to a friend.
Yes, devotion is what the Kumbha Mela is is a devotional experi- At that moment, all the good merit and benefIts of the raja yoga
all about. It is about worship of water, earth, ence. It is the foundation awakening are erased. This is because the prana of higher con-
fIre and air, and most importantly God in for enlightenment. It. is a sciousness has been dissipated by the ¥1gry words, which now
people, and there were a lot of people at the way of life. The transfor- burn deeper into the minds of others than they would have before.
Mela-from the highest, most evolved souls to mation that comes from No, a sweet, sweet nature must precede raja yoga sadhanas.
those experiencing their fIrst or second incarnation, all living, living in the permanent state of bhakti is On a deeper level, personal individual practice~ to advance spiri-
sharing, understanding and even bathing together. It was a won- the softening of the heart. tual unfoldment include prostrating before God, Gods and guru,
derful, rewarding event for all who attended and for you now who External worship leads to internal wor- face down, arms and hands outstretched, and in that act totally
will read about it an'tl enjoy the pictures. ship. The external is taught fIrst because giving up, giving up, giving up, giving up. In Sanskrit it is called
To prepare for this unique issue of HINDUISM TODAY, we sent it produce~ a softened, mellow heart. The pranipata, "f8.ru.ng down in obeisance." What are these devoted
specialists to Haridwar to fIlm, interview and write. Each had to patient guru will wait until this has hap- ones giving up? By this act they are giving the lower energies to
promise not to become so devotional as to forget the real re~son for pened withiri the devotee. Otherwise, the higher energies. It is a merger, a blending. When one is 'per-
being there! Team Members traveled from Nepal, Delhi and any accomplishment· attained through forming this traditional· devotional act, awakening true prapatti,
Dehra Dun. Photographers Thomas Kelly, Dev Raj Agarwal, Phal intense raja yoga practices will not be total surrender, it is easy to see the lower energies from the base of
Girota, Steven Huyler and Amit Kumar contributed in large and sustained. The problems that arise within the spine, the muladhara ohakra, rising, rising, rising up the spine
small measure. Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj visited Haridwar just the devotee's subconscious mind-should through all six chakras above it and out through the top of the
prior to the Mela, while long-time HINDUISM TODAY correspondents he be taught raja yoga before the proper head. It is transmuting or chp.nging the form of the base energies
Rajiv Malik and M.P. Mohanty, both of Delhi, covered the Mela's preparation has been mastered-will go which breed conflict and resistance-mine and yours, you and me,
culmination on April 14. We also arranged with Swami Chidanand back on the guru. The guru will then division, insecurity and separateness-into the spiritual energie.s.
Saraswati (Muniji) of Rishikesh, to provide a guide, translator and have to act as the psychiatrist to solve the Once the giving up of the lower is total-body and face on the
access to the event for Ghost Films, Inc., based in Vancouver, problems arising from the forced aWaken- ground, .hands outstretched before the' image of God, Gods or
Canada, for their TV documentary of the event. Hundreds of ing. Whereas a mature bhakta, or devo- guru- those ~nergies are surrendered into the higher chakras
slides were couriered to Hawaii, and then our biggest problem tee, takes such problems, or negative karmas, which are sometimes until all anger has melted into love. The inner knowing that 'M is within the devotee, and it is a blissful moment, into the conscious-
began-how to choose the dozen or so that would go in the maga- aroused as a result of deep meditation, to the temple Deities, or to ' God's will" is one of the fIrst benefIts of bhakti yoga. Only through ness of us and ours, we and oneness, and inseparable love, thus
,
zine. Our goal was to take you, our readers, to this holy place, in Divine Mother Ganga, to be carried away and dissolved. true bhakti can the devotee achieve and maintain the inner state claiming their individuality not as a separate thing but as a shared
words and pictures, so you co~d share the immensity of it, the joy Once bhakti yoga has melted the heart, then the deep yoga con- of Satchidananda. It is only the true bhakta who can sustain living oneness with all. Thereafter these devoted ones are able to uplift
and hardship of it, the darshan, the vision, of it all. cepts and meditation techniques of raja yoga may be practiced with God and the Gods unreservedly and begin to internalize his others, to harmonize forces around them that they work with day
Why were so many rishis, sadhus, swamis, pundits there wor- and take hold. They are to be understood and experienced, not devouon into deeper meditations. after day after day, year after year after year.
shiping with the worshipers? It is because the beginning, the mid- just memorized. The wise guru will never teach deep meditation Many yoga teachers in the West teach purely advaitic medita- No one should perform intensive meditation alone until he or
dle and the end of the path is worship. A rishi or sadhu arriving techniques to angry, jealous, fearful devotees. Such devotees should tion, with no theism or religious practice. But most who have come she can serve selflessly and accept praise and blame and criticism
into a high state of consciousness does not give up his love for God fIrst learn to serve selflessly, by performing karma yoga projects in from India were raised in devout Hindu homes. They do ha~e without complaint or resentment, but with a sweet smile.
and the Gods in whatever form he sees them either with his two the temple or monastery, and then perform simple bhakti yoga within them a fIrm religious, cultural foundation for yoga. Man,y, All this and more the Maha Kumbha Mela has revealed.

10 HINDUISM TODAY SEPTEMBER, Igg8 SEPTEMBER , Igg 8 HIND U ISM TODAY 11


~QJ• •-.ti~ti.~_~~a~l
:LETTERS ~~~~~ MY TURN
Contending Texts dalini awakenings?" I would wager that if my former guru's behavior may have had "
I READ WITH INTEREST YOUR ARTICLE ON one were to query every ashram in India, mgre to do with personal upbringing than
"~etter Discipline" [CHILD RE~ING, July
'98]. It is unfortunate that Manu Dharma
Shastra endorses corporal purpshment. This
there wouldn't be even one hundred genuine
awakenings in all of India. But in California,
yes, there may be as many as 10,000. It all
the attainment of any higher state of being.
LYNDA MCCLANAHAN
COLUMBUS , OHIO
Finding Peace In
" JKnepp4350@aol.com

M 'o ther Ganga's Lap


flies in the face of Sanatana Dharma's basic depends on what you mean by "genuine."
tenet of ahimsa [nonviolence] in words, GENE KIEFFER, PRESIDENT
thoughts and deeds. Anytime there is a con- THE KUNDALINI RESEARCH FOUNDATION, LTD. Hindu Christmas in Canada?
flict between smriti [secondary'Scriptures] STAMFORD, CONNECTICUTT FINDING AN ALTERNATIVE TO CHRISTMAS
HINDU RENAISSANCE TEAM
and sruti [revealed scriptures: Vedas], the celebrations (Publisher's Desk, Dec. 97) for
teaching of sruti takes precedence over that Divine Dreams Hindus in Western countries certainly has
value in giving children an opportunity to
HINDUISM TODAY was founded January 5, 1979, Nothing for sale in America compares to the
of smriti, for smritis are meant to elaborate THANK YOU VERY MUCH, HINDUISM TO- by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, for the
on srutis without contradicting them.
Therefore, ahimsa, taught in the Upan-
day, for your wonderful web site and for the
education you provide. I was not born to a
celebrate within the context of their own nf-
ligion. However, I was born and brought up
follOwing purposes: 1. To foster Hindu solidarity
as a unity in diverSity arnoJ;!.g all sects and lin-
spiritual bliss that comes for free in India
ishads, part of the sruti, supercedes the ref- ~ Hindu family, but from 13 years of age I re- in Canada and have always celebnUed eages; 2 . To inform and inspire Hindus world-
erences of corporal punishment in Manu ceived informal education in Vedic litera- Christmas with my family. I fail to see how wide and people interested in Hinduism; 3. To BY BHAGAWATI
Dharma Shastra, which is a smriti. ture and also exposure to yoga. I did not un- this has made me a "diluted Hindu." For me, dispel myths, illusions and misinformation
Abusing a child verbally, physically or derstand how rare that is in my country.- Christmas has great spiritual meaning, and about Hinduism; 4. To protect, preserve and SIT IN SILENT JOY, THE Swamiji's voice. Never had I
emotionally only teaches a child that vio- Unfortunately, there is a great ignorance in the context being Christian has very little promote the sacred Vedas and the Hindu reli-
cooling Ganga rushing even dreamed of such blissful
leRce is an acceptable solution to problems. the USA concerning Hinduism. It 1s quite impact in my self definition as a Hindu. gion; 5. To nurture and monitor the ongoing
, across my toes. A young peace as given by life in the lap
Thus, there is a good chance that the child sad. Recently I had a bad dream concerning Christmas day, though it included presents spiritual Hindu renaissance. We invite our read-
ers to share these purposes with us by writing __ local ashram child whom I of the Himalayas. /
will grow up to be a bullying, abusive and a future event which may occur 'to a sister, and the tree, always started with prayers in love as my own sits in my lap, To be in India at all is a bless-
contankerous adult, perpetuating the cycle and I woke up very upset. I read several of our fanlliy prayer room infront of Siva, Par- letters, contributing reports and articles on
events, sending news clippings and encouraging nuzzling me with the back of ing. To be there for KimIbha
of violence. your articles about God and the Gods of vati, Murugan and Pillaiyar. I continue to be her head. My vision is filled Mela is due only to God's grace,
others to subscribe.
PRADEEP K. SRIVASTAVA Hinduism, and I asked Lord Siva for help. I a Hindu despite the HiCk of an organized with the boundless, ceaseless a time when India's true spirit
DETROIT, MICHIGAN, USA felt s.o blessed when I later saw Siva in a Hindu community where I currently live. current of Mother Ganga. The emerges. It is a time when the
/ temple in a dFeam. The Lord gave me two Learning and practicing our culture and re- Publisher: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
Admin. Dir.: Paramacharya Bodhinatha
setting sun's light dances off her essence, the bloodstream, of
Gold Medal.for Humor nods of the head and a golq. coin. I do not ligion is a valuable part of who we are and
Editor-in-Chiej: Acharya Palaniswami waters, reflecting into my eyes, Indians across the world comes
I WAS BROWSING THROUGH YOUR (EX- know what they symbolize, but I have felt something I take very seriously, but mass
~ Publisher's Aide: Acharya Ceyonswami making them tear with joy. Lord Siva sits alive and calls them home. They rush, they
tremely impressive) site yesterday and came much more peace and love in my heart since migration of Hindus has necessarily meant Deputy Editor: Acharya Kumarswami midst of Ganga's waters in all His towering flock, they flood as though the call came
across the April, 1998, editorial on the YAK then. I cannot thank you enough for your the modification of our practice. I
Managing Editor: Sannyasi Arumugaswami glory. The fiberglass statue, erected for the from so deep inside as to be unavoidable.
competition at the Nagano Winter Olym- openness and offering to the rest of the KOTHAI KUMANAN Graphics Director: Sarmyasi Natarajnathaswami Kumbha Mela, appears to have been there And for what? To listen to great saints
pics. I was so inspired by the achievements world. You are truly wonderful spiritual OSAKA, JAPAN Mauritius Editor: Sannyasi Sivamurugaswami for eternity. speak divine truth. To bathe in holy waters.
of these spiritual athletes that as I read, I be- guides. " kothaik@hotmail.com Mauritius Staff Writer: Sarmyasi Sivadevaswami Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji sings To offer ghee t9 rising flames. To cleanse
gan to experience spontaneous kriyas, con- KAREN BETH CAMPION, Prod.lPromotion Mgr.: Sannyasi Sivakatirswami "Swagatam, sharnagatam, shubha swagatam themselves of sins. To imbibe of what their
sisting of bursts of bellows breathing accom- " kg3kg3@hotmail.com V Every non-Christian religion in the West Managing Ed. 's Aide: Tyagi Saravanarmathaswami
Gange," "Hail, 0 holy, Ganga! We have scriptures say is the nectar of immortality
panied by involuntary vocalizations of the has had to cope with the gift-giving season Dep. Managing Ed: Tyagi Karttikeyanatha
come to you for refuge." My body is filled This is the incredible spir~t of India.
s~cred seed-syllable "Ha!" When I was A Shower of Blessings of Christmas-itself a practice adopted Editor-in-Chiefs Aide: Yogi Yuganatba
with the coolness of the ghat and the For what will Americans, the "richest"
through reading and had wiped my eyes, I AT THE KUMBHA MELA I HAD AN UNUSUAL from faiths preceding Christianity. Your Advertising Manager: Sadhaka Jothinatha
SubScription Manager: Sadhaka Adinatha warmth of a divine child; eyes burst with people in the world, flock in such num-
felt purified, uplifted and thoroughly re- experience while standing in a queue for my family evolved a Hinduized expression of Correspondents: Gowri Shankar & Anandhi Rama- the darshan of Lord Siva and Mother Gan- bers? For what will they withstand crowds,
freshed (although my stomach muscles were turn to take a holy dip in the Ganges. One Christmas. The Pancha Ganapati celebra- chandran, Chennai; Choodamani Shivaram, Bangalore; ga; ears are filled with the song of God- heat, inconvenience? Perhaps a major
a bit sore). Many thanks! young sadhu came to me all of a sudden re- tion described in Publisher's Desk [Dec. '97J Rajiv Malik, Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj, Mangala sung during the day by Pujya Sant Ram- sports event, a rock concert? Perhaps a free
JUDY STEIN questing me to take a holy dip on his behalf goes a step further and creates a completely Prasad Mohanty, Delhi; V S. Gopalakrishnan, Kerala; eshbhai Oza in his Katha, and sung in the McDonald's french-fries giveaway? So,
" jstein@panix.com I was very curious to know the cause of his Hindu holiday, for there is a real danger of Basudeb Dhar, Bangladesh; Archana Dongre, Los An- evening by Pujya Swamiji on the banks of -when asked if I miss America, the answer
request. Looking at my face, the sadhu felt this celebration inadvertantly nudging our geles; Lavina Melwani, New York; Dr. Hari Bansh Jha, this holiest of rivers. The mind, the senses, is a resounding "No." But it is more than
Genuine Awakenings? No Way! my pulse and replied to me that taking a children toward Christian thinking. Con- Nepal; Parasram Ramoutar, Ani! Mahabir, Trinidad; the memories of any other life have left, for "no." It is "yes" to India, a country filled
In 1988 we "debated" the way Kimdalini holy dip on his behalf would wash away his .-cerned parents have reported to us how Dr. Devananda Tandavan, Chicago; V G. Julie Rajan, there is no more room for them. with people who will spend their last ru-
should be presented "to the world." Bonnie misdeeds towards common men like me. their children beca1jJ£ "indistinguishable Philadelphia; Shikha Malaviya, Minnesota; Rajesh Jan-
tilal, South Africa; Tara Katir, Hawaii. Sanskritist: Dr. "But don't you ever miss America?" Peo- pee (and days on buses) to bathe in the
Greenwell, Ph.D., and others who are now S. RANJAN from other Canadians" because the family ple ask and I laugh. I came to India in 1996" holy water of our Mother. It is "yes" to a
officers of the Kimdalini Research Network, NEW DELHI , INDIA did not maintain clearly Hindu religiOUS S. Jayaraman, New York. Artists: A. Manivelu, S. Ra-
j jam. Cartoonists: Barry Geller, David Lourie, Mario as a tourist, on a short vacation from my country overflowing with hungry and
wanted to turn Kimdalini into a psychologi- practices in their home celebrations. de Miranda, Manick Sorcar, Gary L. Stair, Bob Thaves. clinical psychology Ph.D. program. I shoeless children whose eyes and spirits yet
cal problem that they could solve rather Raging Bullies Photo Contributors: Thomas L. Kelly, Stephen P. planned to travel, explore, relax _and then to shine with the'light of God. It is "yes" to
than the mechanism responsible for Illumi- THANK YOU FOR YOUR VERY MOVING AND Huyler, Dev Raj Agrawal, Phal S. Girota, ':Q1ny Stone return to the white, upper class We tern India where everyone understands the
nation, etc. The psychologists are eager for informative articles on corporal punish- Images, Photobank, Art Wolfe Inc., Gordon Wiltsie, life in which I had been raised. In the ecstasy I am experiencing as I sit with my
clients, and as one of my colleagues told me ment. Years ago I attended a yoga group Letters with writers narr:e, address and daytime Indivar Sivanathan. Web Masters: Deva Seyon, Sad- West we are taught that happiness can be toes dipped in the holy waters of Mother
after attending one of the KRN Confer- whose guru behaved violently as you de- phone number, should be sent to: hunathan Nadesan. Scanning: Vikram Patel, New "acquired" and "obtained" as though it Ganga, my eyes tearing at the sight of the
ences, 'l\lJ. they wanted to talk about was scribe. Although I left this group, I have nev- Letters, HINDUISM TODAY York. Distribution: USA: Ingram Periodicals, New were a commodity. But having had every- sun streaming from Lord Siva's open palm,
third-party payments," which had to do er been able to resolve the issue of how a 107 Kaholalele Road Leaf, EBSCO Subscription Services, Indo-US Books, thing Western life has to offer, I was still my' soul being carried to Heaven as Swami-
with collecting their fees from Medicare, shaktipat-bestowing swami could also fly KAPAA, HAWAII, 96746-9304 USA One ~urce, Ubiquity, Total Circulation.. Services.
or faxed to: (808) 822-4351 Canada: Gordon and Gotch. Europe: SWETS Sub- not deeply happy. Sure, I was happy on the ji leads the arati, the Worship with Lights.
etc. All in all, your article "Kimdalini's Rise into a rage and beat devotees with whatever or e-mailed to: letters@hindu.org outside, content, "satisfied." But never had l
scription Service. Malaysia and Singapore: Sanatbana
and Fall" [PARAPSYCHOLOGY, July 'g8] is was' handy. We were told that the ways of , Dharma Publications. South Africa: Atlas Printers. In- even dreamed of the joy that ran straight to PHOEBE GARFIELD, 27, a former us Ph.D.
correct. HoW' can anyone, especially a great beings are mysterious, and that being Letters may be edited for space and clarity and may dia: Central News Agency Limited, New Delhi. the core of my being the fIrst time I stood student, doing seva for Swami Chidanand
Ph.D., make such a ridiculous statement beaten by them is a blessing. Thanks to your appear in electronic versions of HINDUISM TODAY. Printer: Banta Publications Group, Kansas City on Ganga's banks, bathed in the sound of (Muniji) at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh.
that there are at least "1 ,000 genuine Kim- articles, I now have the understanding that " INDICATES LEITERS REC EIVED VIA E- MAIL

12 HINDUISM TODAY SEPTEMBER, 1998 SEPTEMBER, 1998 HINDUISM TODAY 13


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myself on-line with Echelon and
EDITORIAL downloaded the following exchange. I
Destroy this page after you read it.

A Top-Secret Spy ' . 8114: This is a priority 2 trans-


mission from India's Minister of the
Interior, MOTI. "Tell Tally-Ho, we are
set for Operation God For Sale. Big
"Pilgrims plodded for months in h'e at to get here, worn,
poor and hungry, but susta'ined by unw.avering faith."
Ears advises' that CIA and M-6 have

System Is Watching You no knowledge of our plans. MOTI"


8115: <Tally-No here in NY. Advise
changes in plan before we launch."
American author Mark Twain, after witnessing the 1895 Kumbha Mela in Allahabad

© 1996 Randy Glasbergen. E-mail: glssbergen@ can't solve or a single question he can't
8115: "Red Book plan is tweaked due
Echelon, a satellite-based eavesdropper, is sifting to intelligence that Americans are now
buying foods without calories and beer
answer." "What exaggeration!" the minister
thought. One day the minister said to Ak-
through ,all the world's phones, 'e-mail and faxes without alcohol. They are ready for
God without form. So, Formless
bar, "If there is any question Birbal can't
solve, will you make me prime minister?"
Absolute Reality will be included in '
Akbar laughingly agreed. The next day in
BY THE EDITOR the package with classic original-
recipe theistic Indian divinity. MOTI" J court, the minister asked Birbal, <'Tell me
8121: "Big Ears submitted advisory how many stars there are in the sky." Birbal
ABOUT BIG BROTHER AND THE LOSS OF PRIVACY. 0300 hours: Courts have not resolved efforts by US companies,to requested ten minutes to think of an an-
enough for a year's supply of government conspiracy plots patent turmeric and neem. Monsanto aggressively exploring addi- swer, left the court and returned with a
on the X-Files. Only, it's real. Reported fIrst in il Mondo, an tional natural chemicals to trademark, thus hamstringing Indian
goat. He said, "If the minister wants to
/
Italian newsmagazine, it's enraged Europeans who call it an producers. BE confirms his team's search of us Copyright Office
American invasion of the world's civil liberties. The details shows no God protections now exist. TH" know how many stars there are in the sky,
are simple. A top-secret network, code named Echelon, run by the 8126: "All trademarks and copyrights for God With and Without he should count the number of hairs on this
US National Security Agency in cooperation with four English- Form (GWWF) in US jurisdictions arrived Delhi today. Stand-by goat. That will give him the exact number."
speaking nations (UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.) is us- to receive digital resources for advertising agencies. MOTI"
ing satellites and supercomputers to intercept, sift and eavesdrop g/5: "Agencies completed campaign layouts. Attorneys say we
on most of the world's telephone, e-mail and fax communications. can lock up all use of the terms and are negotiating fees. TH"
According to the World Press Review's report in July, all of these g/6:"Launch Project Poetic Justice License. Have lawyers advise
communications, even if encoded, can be intercepted and all churches, synagogues, mosques, yoga schools, Tv, film industry
processed through an extremely powerful computeFized database. and publishers of our license to extract royalties due for each refer-
Key words guide human spies to the most relevant material, giving, ence to God, written or spoken. Update algorhythms to invoke roy- "There was a tuuoel and a bright wltite Ught
the non-member nations cry, <1\nglo-Saxon corporate interests an alty for all citations to Impersonal Divinity and New Age Oneness and a souvenir sllop. I brought bacl{ T~shirts for the ludst"
economic advantage" (the system was alleged- definitions. Invoke pre-set Internet banking chan-
ly; used to help America win a giant contract nels for direct digital movement offunds to Delhi.
in Malaysia). It's nothing new, really. After the AdViSe when complete. MOTI" Our technological know-'how is very well, the world. Therefore, look upon rain as
end of the cold war, the massive machinery g/14:"Done. Funding strearr: in place, with but our ancients were understanding things the nectar of life. Tirukural, Verse 331
built to spy on the Soviets was not dismantled, US$125,000per hour (at 10¢ per verbal use, 4¢
much better. Something is there, something
but recommissioned to focus on global non- written) generated by GWWF offensive. American
military telecommunications traffIc. The sys- religion leaders are counter-attaCking, but the which I am not exactlyJmowing, some- It's amazing. Here is the population of all of
tem has fIve large bases that intercept all data Supreme Court today accepted India as the origi- thing which is hidden; something whioh I Israel! I was amazed that even in the cold
and voice information going through the 25 nal and first author/inventor of the conc,e pt of may bot be able to prove technically, but of night, they kept going in the water. 4-
international telecommunication satellites (In- God, securing India's ownership of the word and which I know to be there in my soul. Agra, raeli tourist Noam Zaradez, who came from
telsa1;s) used by phone companies throughout its derivatives, while allowing non-royalty use of
India engineer A.K. Sharma, 48, reflecting Rishon-Ie-Ziyyon outside Tel Aviv to wit-
the world. It handles a mind-boggling 3 specific terms like Jehovah and Allah. The Vatican DID YOU KNOW?
billion messages and conversations a day, has asked US Bishops tQ limit references to God during his pilgrimage to the 1998 kumbha ness the kumbha mela at Haridwar
searching for "sensitive" words. The bad news
is your personal' e-mail is probably part of the ~
until budgets can be revised to cover Indian copy-
right fee~. White House has offered to lift nuclear
mela on the delightful phenomenon of In- Golden Buddha
dia's forging into the technological age Change is inevitable, except from a
daily harvest, and you should probably not ~ ...... bomb penalties if India will return the use of God-. while Simultaneously maintaining ancient vending machine. HE 1995 EDITION OF THE
name your new kitten "Tamil tiger." The good ... "
news is not even the well-funqed US National ~
Security Agency that is charged with data
analysis can make sense of so ml!ch stuff As ~
~
terms to public domain. It would seem we have
succeeded in cornering the market on God here,
and now that swe6r words are included fees•.
exceed monetary impact of nuclear sanctions and
traditions, as witnessed by the mela's draw-
ing twenty-five million-plus pilgrims. . I just got lost in thought. It was ..
unfamiliar territory.
'I guinness Book of World Records
lists the above flfteenth-century
solid-gold Buddha image at Wat Trim-
noted by WPR, the system failed to capture Q;j) US bio-piracy. On your command~ will move to As my own gUru, Harry Cohen Baba, used itr in Bangkok, Thailand, as the world's
even a hint of India's nuclear experiments, missed the 1974 revolu- Europe, Africa and SE Asia. As no one mentions God in China, we' to say, "If we stopped following the herd A minister in King Akbar's court hated most valuable sacred object. The image
tion in Portugal, the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Iran-Iraq war. propose to skip it. FYI: After shouting "These Godless Indians and is ten feet tall and weighs an estimated
and followed the unheard for a change, the Birbal. He couldn't understand why Akbar
So, do not despair, it will probably miss your little battles, too! their God-forsaken plot" in the Senate, Jesse Helms was fined 20¢
[NOTE: New readers be advised that while the foregOing is factual, and sent to his room. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported world, would be a more peaceful place." ' made such a fuss over a Hindu. Akbar said, fIve and a half tons. At the June, 1998,
our intrepid editor now leads us on a journey beyond truth 1 today that 64% of us code.writers are of Indian origin, and has Swal1li Beyondananda speaking of Pranava "It's not because he is a Hindu that I have price of US$290 per fIne ounce, its in-
Wanting to see for myself what the system could do and seeking uncovered proof we have l"rained them to secretly reprogram cor- Aum, the soundle,ss sound him here, but because he's so intelligent trinsic worth is US$51,040,000. The
a way for India to get even for recent sanctions, I logged on using a porate and banking systems to India's advantage. AdVise TH" and helps me, whenever I have a problem. I solid gold image was found under a
code developed by Kimo Therapy, a local Hawaiian chiropractor g/15: "Be indignant. Call it all an inane media fabrication and don't think there:s a single problem that he plaster exterior only in 1954.
It is the, unfailing fall of rain that sustains
and coconut husker who can crack just about anything. I found proceed with Phase Two. I'm off to the Mela. M OTI out."

16 HINDUISM TODA;Y SEPTEMBER 1998 SEPTEMBER, 1998 HINDUISM TODAY 17


--'

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18 19
By M .P. MOHANTY, DELHI Him. One who dies in a holy place attains es of orange cloth, wooden sandals, jata
HESE PILGRIMS HAD COME FROM·ALL salvation." (matted hair) and rnalas (recitation beads)
India; some of them had been As soon as we boarded the Shatabhi Ex- made of rudraksha or tulsi. As I strolled
1'UU"'"U~ on the way, plodding patiently press, a religious calm settled upon me. The down the muddy lanes where the akharas,
in the heat and dust, worn, poor, compartment was full of saints and pilgrims, or distinct clans of sadhus, pitch their
but suppOJ;ted and sustained by some discussing the Kumbha Mela, others camps, I caught glimpses of a lifestyle that
an unwavering faith and belief It is wonder- chanting "Jai Ganga Ma"-"Hail Mother dates back in time. Past millennia mingled
ful, the power of a faith like that." So stated Ganga"-while devotional music played over with the almost~ 21St century as devoted
American author Mark Twain, who wit- the tr'ains sound system. Upon arrival, we chelas gently and lovingly massaged their
nessed the Kumbha Mela of 1895 in Alla- found Haridwar neat and clean, much better guru's feet while television sets glared and
habad, India. Now, in 1998, the same scene is than normal. The cool evening river breezes radios blared in the background." One sub-
repeated-almost-in the holy city of Harid- were a relief from Delhi's hot polluted air. mission to modernity was the daily posting
war, 180 kilometers north of New Delhi. Every form of accommodation was on the Internet of Mela events [see page 56).
Newspaper reports state 25 million pilgrims crowded, hotels were charging outrageous With no vehicles allowed within Harid-
participated in the four-month-Iong festival, rates, and most devotees were ensconced in war, pilgrims found themselves trekking ten
with ten million'on the single day of April 14. vast tent cities scattered between Rishikesh to twenty kilometers a day. "My wife could
The Kumbha Mela originates from a tradi- and. Haridwar, or sleeping under makeshift not walk," said Singh. "She got tired and
tional story that drops of amrita, the divine tarp shelters. Everyone was here, from Ra- started crying. The lack of transport has
nectar of immortality, fell at four holy places, jasthan, Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Ut- caused us a lot of inconvenience. Still, with
including Haridwar. To share in this blessing, tar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil so many people, vehicles would create a
devotees bathe in the sacred rivers at each Nadu, Nepal, and a smattering of nonresi- problem." Singh praised the overall organi-
site on auspicious days in a twelve-year cycle dent Indians and nationals from dozens of zation. "The arrangements were so system-
[see pages 32-35 on the Mela tradition)' countries [see page 7 interviews)' They atic. We could easily bathe without hassle,
I was apprehensive as we departed Delhi came mainly to take a bath in the holy river and there were special ghats for women. Un-
on April 9, as a fight among the sadhus on at this auspicious period for the betterment like the last Mela, there was no pickpocket-
March 25 which left some dead and a hun- of their spiritual selves. They could see and ing. We loved meeting people from allover
dred injured [page 39] had only enhanced even meet some of the tens of thousands of India and the world." Singh was obviously
the very real danger of disastrous stampedes saints and sadhus who converged here for not a wealthy man, and complained the high
in the incredible crowds. "But what is there the event. food prices had caused his group to spend
to fear?" Uday Kumar Singh of Uttar Pra- Reporter Nikki Lastreto of California de- RS.700 (US$!7) each for their entire pilgrim-
desh asked to solace me. "Life is given by scribed the scene: "Everywhere were flash- age. Fellow HINDUISM TODAY correspondent

22 HINDUISM TODAY SEPTEMBER , 1998


Rajiv Malik observed, "The pilgrims who of Shiv Ratan Kendra admitted, "There is lamps-see photo opposite page], there are
flocked to Haridwar were of two cate- not much difference in business. People are real challenges." Constable S.p. Sharma said,
gories-very rich and very poor. The middle coming to take the bath, and with the police "We perform our duty with namrata [easy-
class Hindus are indifferent to the occasion." barricade, they are not able to stay long. So it goingness]. We know these people have
A major boon for less wealthy pilgrims is really business as usual." Anil Gupta of come from far-off places for their religious
was the numerous langars, free feeding tents Navatatan Kendra has four shops in Harid- rites, so we do not use force to maintain law
set up across the Mela area~ Ram Swarup war well stocked with religious items, but he and order here." The most common emer-
Shastri, for example, traveled 700 kilometers too said, "It is mostly the ordinary, poor peo- gency was people swept into the swift wa-
from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to set up the ple who come to the Mela. We have more ters. One of the 300 river police, Prabesh
Ram Snehi Annakshetra which fed 3,000 business, but you cannot call it substantial." Yadav, said he had rescued 20 people, most
pilgrims a day. Radheshyam Sharam of the Some of the pilgrims seek out their fami- of them women.
Guru Nanak Annakshetra Bhandara was ly panda, a local Haridwar priest. One, Kul- Getting lost was another very real hazard,
feeding,,10,000 people a day with a staff of deep Gautam, said, "We maintain a record and a huge system of information centers
twelve cooks, and Shiv and Satish Kumar of devotees that is 300 years old, going back dealt with the missing. The lost- thousands
from the Punjab had 35 cooks serving to the time of the Moghuls." These priests a day- go to the centers and make an an-
30,000 people daily. "We do not bother assist 'with and record the rituals, especially nouncement in their own language which is
about money," Shiv said. "By doing this, we the samskaras (rites of passage) for children broadcast on 18,000 loudspeakers covering
get peace and satisfaction. We have become such as head shaving. an area of ten square kilometers. The one or
richer, not poorer." By an intricate combina- Initially criticized as unprepared for the two left at the end of the day are helped
tion of langars, restaurants, ashrams and huge event [see page 41], the government with accommodations by certain groups,
open-air cooking by devotees, tens of mil- administration won high praise for their and even given bus fare home.
lions of pilgrims are adequately fed. handling of"the Mela. More than 25,000 po- Despite early fears, ~e fmal bathing day of
I would have thought local merchants lice were deployed throughout the area, and April 14 passed without mishap, and we were
were making great profits. BtU Ved Prakash . a larger number of army personnel stood by on the train back to :pelhi the same evening.
in the event of an emergency. The police There was so much to see, people in different
Fire and water: (clockwise'from left) Naga worked 12-hour shifts, but found time to dresses, different colors. While taking their
sadhus find fulfillment in their holy bath, take their own bath in the Ganga eac'h day. bath, they looked heavenward with such sin-
while downstream a rrwther tenderly towels Said Deputy Superintendent of Police Har- cerity, so much faith and trust! Hundreds of
her sons. The evening fire offerings to the bans Singh, "We keep our fingers' crossed thousands were assembled here, still it was so
Ganga were a fo cal point of worship. Police that everything passes peacefully. In the very peaceful. As I was leaving, in everything
in their glass tower joined in prayer with evening when people turn up in large num- I saw- people, shops, temples, roads, bill-
pilgrims below as the offerings unfolded. bers at Harki Pauri for arati [offering of boards-I saw the imprint of God. ....I
... SEPTEMBER , 1998 HINDUI S M TODAY 25
P HOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Q THOMAS L . KELLY; Q THOMAS L. KELLY;
PQRS INDl AiPHAL S. GIROTA; DEV RAJ AGARWAL; DEV RAJ AGARWAL
EYE-WITNESS I was astonished by the numbers of them. water. As soon as they saw his or her um-
They just ke.(lt corning! Some with 'shaven brella make the dip, the masses of them
Holy Procession heads, others with dreadlocks down to the
ground, some stick-thin and others quite
would follow, all splashing about like chil-
dren on holiday. Once their turn was up and
pudgy, young and old, dark and light. These it wastime for the next group, they ran back
men came from every corner of India and up the steps and skipped jubilantly back to
Cold daunts no sad'hu from every sort of background. their camps, dripping wet in the freezing
Once at the main ghat (steps to the river's cold, but obviously ecstatic, with their devo-
edge), the sadhus waited respectfully for tion keeping them warm. -.J
IRST IN PROCESSION ON MAHA SIVA- their particular gurus to enter the sacred By Nikki Lastreto, San Francisco
ratri, March 25, came the Naga sadhus
. , of the Juna Akhara, reputed to be the
__ fiercest sadhus, naked except for a gray
layer of ashes all over their bodies. The lead
sadhus wielded large swords, dancing down
the street like mighty demons. They were
followed by scores and scores of more sedate
Nagas, who filed slowly past, some two-by-
two with fingers linked. They looked so cold
and naked in the dismal weather blowing
directly down from the freezing Himalayas.

Those in tents and those intense: (clockwise


from right) Sacred ado1]lments differ, from
the auspicious red kumkum paste mixed
with rice to the bare Naga's white holy ash.
Simple swamis sat beside gurus of large as-
cetic orders in mass f eedings which hoped
to sanctify the sponsor's entire wealth. A
vast temporary tenp city was erected with
areas for sadhus, police, administrators,
press and pilgrims who chose to linger.
OUI'-youth go to convent schools Its s'aid that whatever the king will Hindus must seek out traditional To my sisters, I say do not give im- A sadhu is a sadhu from his heart. Indians should not feel inferior. The
and get Westernized. This is do, people will follow. Today top peo- ways of thinking, culture, medicine, portance to the idea that a woman is But to reach tpis state it takes a lot of 'West has learned a lot from us. We
digging up the roots of our own ple do things of low level, so every- etc., and question modern, watered- weal}. Go with self-confidence in time. This situation cannot be ... learned only materialism from the
culture. thing is bound to be of low level. down versions of such things. life, then no one can discourage y'Ou. brought within a day. • West, which is of little significance. I
Mahant Machendra Puriji Sri Shubh Murti Ma,Ji Ram Puri Santoshi Mata Ji Swami Nirbhaya Puri SadhvLMeera Puri

HERE WAS NO PROPER MAP OF THE SADHU CAMPS On corruption: Speaking out boldly on the subject was Santoshi is concerned with the bottom-line preservation of Sanatana Dhar- Ma agreed, 'Today's man is so much influenced by the Western
available to us, so in the 420 celsius (108 0 F) heat, I
and Ma of Niranjani Akhara: "Today there is corruption because there ma, Hinduism. Traditionally, the Naga sadhu is a sign of auspiciol!ls- thought and so immersed in materialism that he has no time to un-
ph.otc)gr:apller Dev Raj Agarwal trekked 15 to 20 kilometers a is a race for materialism. But our country has never given impor- ness. This is also something that easily turns to fear, because the derstanc;J. his ancient scriptures. The result is doing this deplorable
on divine guidance and good luck to meet the tance to bhoga (materialism). The earth of this nation has this spe- wrath of the Naga is something that no one wants to see. Its fright- crime of abortion in such an easy manner. We do not approve."
prominent saints in residence. As we traveled about, we ciality that even when one's feet are in bad shape, even when one is ening, even if the wrath is directed to some other place. And yet in Coed ashrams: This has become very much the norm in the
found the sadhus' camps wore a festive look, with huge not wearing proper clothes, even when one is leading a very low a sense the bottom line is the wrath of the Nagas, which, as they West, where unmarried men and women live in the same facilities
wooden gates at the entrance to welcome visitors. The grounds in- level of material life, still the happiness and contentment of the see it, is the ultimate resistance or defense of Sanatana Dharma." at nearly every ashram. This form of religious commune is now be-
side were filled with tents used for discussions during-the day and soul are there. Because we are giving less importance to character New saints: Several spoke about the selection and training of coming the pattern in India as well. Mahant Vijay Giri of the Ma-
sleeping at nigllt. Some camps were surprisingly luxurious, with building, our ancient heritage and 4igh moral values today we are their young monks. Swami Lokeshanand of Juna Akhara proudly hanirvani Akhara said, "Men and women do not stay together in
electricity, water, telephones and televisions. Often my photogra- going downwards." Several saints, such as Mahant Vijaygiri of the announced they had giv~n initiation to 5,000 sadhus in Igg8. Ma- our ashrams. The women stay where there are women mandalesh-
pher teanlffiate was rudely, if temporarily, stopped from taking Mahanirvani Akhara: sets an example by forbidding bribery and hant Machendra Puri of the same akhara said, "Those newly initi- wars [abbots]. Mahant Govind Das of Bada Udasin Akhara said
photographs by the lathi-wielding sadhus in charge of security. other corrupt practices by their institutions. "'?Ie are waiting for ated are kept under observation for a few years. First we see their "Buddha said that when the bhiksunis, womenI sadhus' enter the
There was significant tension in the air regarding the final the time when corruption will end and our country will become spirit of service, and then the final initiation is done/to make them ashrams, his followers will undergo decay. I feel men and women
bathing day, April 14. The administration had banned. the event, one of the top countries of the world." Sadhvi Vid,yotma Yati, who sadhus." Mahant Rudra Giri of Atal Akhara reports that "thousands sadhus must stay in different ashrams so that they can li~e in a dig-
fearing a repeat of the earlier violence among the sadhus. Conse- owns a private ashram in Haridwar, was even more forceful. She of sannyasins have been initiated at this Mela." The young ones, he nified manner." Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji) said, "The
quently senior monks of the various akharas (orders) were in- said, "oui forefathers never did this wrong thing of earning black explained, were sent to Sanskrit school, the older sannyasins given point is not to avoid the contact of women. Yes, this is one way of
volved in high level arbitration, and were difficult to access. Many money. The parents who earn money by wrongful mean~ and duties according to their education. In the Niranjani Akhara, Ma- doing it, and it is the way chosen by many of the ancient sects. Of
saints were not granting interviews to the press, but upon s~eing spend it on their children further the reach of corruption. We have hant Lalita Giri explained, they initiate "a limited number of de- course, ther~ must be limits, but the real point is to purify our eyes
the good WOI:k done by HINDUISM TODAY, most agreed to talk. forgotten the soul and just remember the body." Summarizes Ma- serving people, not too many. In our tradition the final initiation is and hearts, to see women as divine, not as sweet wine." Mahant
These leaders, whose orders include tens of thousands of sadhus, hant Kapil Puri, senior member of Juna Akhara, "Today we are given oply when the mind of the person is firm about becoming a Lalita Giri of the Niranjani Akhara said, "Whenever women and
shared their views on a wide range of subjects. stepping back in spirituality and marching ahead in materialism. sannyasin and not a householder." Santoshi Ma of Nirar;jani men stay together, there will be problems, so our institution does
On youth: "Today's youth at 14 years are busy watching movies By doing SQ, we are walking into the mouth of 0ur own destructit;m." Akhara told us, "I have given initiation to some sadhvis [lady sad- not approve of it. Married-men with their wives and family serve
and enjoying material comforts," complained Mahant Kapil Puri, Naga sadhus: Certainly the most distinctive feature of the entire hus]. They were not very educated. They only wanted a direction as managers of the women's ashrams." Sadhvi M'!.era Puri of Juna
one of the pillars of the Juna Akhara. "This is not the job of the Kumbha Mela is the presence of thousands of Naga [naked] sadhu~, in which they could move forward and do Gods bhajana [singiJ).g Akhara said, "For a true sadhu who does not have any feeling of
youth. Their job is to brighten their dharma, future and life. If covered only with ash. These men, about one in ten of the sadhus, of sacred songs]. With these feelings, many old ladies also under- being a male or a female, it really does not matter whether you
dharma is destroyed, the worl(;i itself would be no more. Our histo- go about like this the entire year, regardless of the weather. The ar- took sannyas. They could not do something for society, but at least stay togethe'r or not." "But," she warned, "prakriti [nature] will play
ry is the history of young people. What was the age of Adi ticul~te Ram Puri of Juna Akhara offered some insight into their they could do something for themselves." Sadhvi Meera Puri of its role." Her order has thousands of lady sadhus. Sadhvi Vidyotma
Shankara? He raised his flag [as a sannyasin monk] when he was lives. "Naga sadhus are an esoteric society, even a secret society. Juna Akhara has a unique function with regard to her male coun- Yati, lady head of a Haridwar ashram said, "I do not approve of
just fourteen years old. What better example can be given to the They are not involved much in the world, nor concerned about terparts. "A part of my duty is to identify the fake sadhus aDd de- men and women in the ashrams. Whenever th.,ey stay together,
youth than this?" His fellow sadhu of the Juna Akhara, Swami their image. They see themselves having a very specific type of prive them of their saffron clothes. I can understand in one minute wrong things happen. I have seen it with my own eyes."
Lokeshanand Ji, added, "This mela is, in fact, meant for the youth role. They are involved in a reality which goes beyond that seen on whether the sadhu is a genui:Q.e one or a fake one." • Kumbha Mela: Swami Lokeshanand observed on the Mela itself
and not for the aged. The yout h must come to it and become bet- the surface. One cannot easily cross these two worlds, the world of Abortion: Every saint who commented on the issue condemned that, "People are transformed because they have to do a lot of sa-
ter physically, mentally and spiritually." "The youth today do not Igg8 and televisions, ana. the internet, and the world of mythology. abortion. Mahant Ganga Puri of Mahanirvani Akhara said, "Due to . dhana [spiritual disciplines] and face a lot of hardship to come
have love or truth, nor the spirit of sacrifice," lamented Sadhvi Another way of looking at it is that one of the things that the Naga the ultrasound machine, hundreds of thousands of girls are being here." Santoslil· Ma offered another benefit. "Bharatiyata, the cul-
Meera Puri, a leader of the lady sadhu's wing of Juna Akhara, sev- sadhus do is fight. The place they live is an akhara, which means a aborted. I have read that eight out of ten children are killed ture of Indil!-, is vividly explained here," she said. "People have
eral thousand strong. "Without these attributes," she said, "they wrestling place, primarily intellectual wrestling. Every sadhu in the through abortion in India-the highest rate in the world. Abortion come from East, West, North and South. They have different lan-
still want everything, which is impossible. But if they woUld be!'iin akhara is constantly open to challenge and to be challenged. Re- is like killing a sO'u l. People even come to the sadhus and. tell them guages, eating habits and lifestyles. Despite so many differences in
meditating, they could solve their problems in life such as earning member the akhara is a social thing. The akhara is not where you that they had the child aborted because it was a girl. This is a very us, we are all one. It is here at the Kumbha Mela that we can have
money and getting along with people." do sadhana-that place is the jungle or the mountains. The akhara big sin taking place in our country, a very inhuman act." Santoshi a glimpse of this unity in diversity." _

30 HINDUISM TODA.Y SEPTEMBER, 1998 SEPTEMBER , 1998 HINDUISM TODAY 31


,
attained enlightenment; Jeru- Vishnu, the devas retrieved the pot and fled.
salem, sacred to three reli- In their haste they let one drop of nectar fall
'gions; Lourdes in France; at Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik.
Amritsar; the Ise Shrine in "SiIl-ce the beginning," explains Sri Ma-
Japan; and the various Jain hant Rudra Giri Ji, of the Atal Akhara, "the
sites throughout India. . KJ.npbha Mela was attended by 350 million
The Kumbha Mela is unique devas and 88,000 rishis. It was started to
for its sheer size, and for being promote and propagate our ancient heritage.
a meeting both of ascetics and Even now these devas and rishis partici-
lay people. Some of the as- pate." A few of the angelic beings, devas, are
cetics are naga sadhu , naked able to return with each pilgrim to their
monks who practice the sever- home, carried"in a mystical sense, in the pot
est austerities and leave the of Ganga water that each pilgrim collects
mountains and jungles only and places on his home altar. Thus the bless-
for· the mela. Just the sight of ing of the pilgrimage is extended months, "
them-and there are thou: even years, beyond the actual event.
sands-is a blessing to the lay Esoterically, it is. taught that the kumbha
pilgrims. represents higher consciousness, the sahas-
Wi'thin the several-month rara chakra. The amrit that it holds symbol-
period of the mela are set aus- -izes mankind's attainment of that higher re-
piCious bathing days, usually ality-the true source of immortality.
coinciding with festivafs of According to researcher Subhas Rai, the
the period. Most important cosmic alignments associated with the festi- /
are the days for the shahisnan, val are chosen so as to increase the effIcacy
"royal bath," in which the of the pilgrims' bathing. He believes the
saints, the naga sadhus fIrst, combined power of river Ganga and the aus-
go in procession to the river. picious planetary positions generates unique
Asked the origin of the purifying power.
event, nearly every pilgrim Pilgrimage to sacred rivers is an ancient
will narrate the '¥lcient story practice, believed by historian S.B. Roy to
from the Puranas of the time exist in India as far back as 10,000 BCE.
when the devas (gods or an- Megasthanes, the 4th century BeE Greek
gels) and the asuras (their ri- visitor to India, described what could have
vals) cooperated to "churn the been a Kumbha Mela, but the likeliest fIrst
Ocean of Milk"-an act which reference is by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-
promised to yield countless Tsang, who resided in India from 629 to 645
treasures. With Mount Meru CEo He wrote that King Harshavardhan at-
as the post and the serpent tended, on every fIfth year of his reign, a
Shesha as the churning rope, month-long, "ageless festival" at Prayag that
they set about their task. They attracted up to half a million people from all
agreed to share the most cov\- walks of life.
eted result-the pot (kumbha) When references to the Kumbha Mela ap-
of nectar (amrit), by consum- pear clearly in the 14th century, the mela has
ing which anyone would be- all of its modern characteristics-the places,
come immortal. As they the bathing, the hoards of pilgrims and le-
churned mightily, the fIrst gions of mendicants. Many believe its orga-
substances to be released nization to be the work of Adi Shankara, the
were deadly fumes and gases. great 8th-century Indian saint, though noth-
These Lord Siva took upon ing-in his writings supports the assertion. By .
Himself to consume and neu- the 14th century the pre§.ence oflarge num-
tralize, thus saving the world's bers of militant sadhu orders was also ~ clear
inhabitants from certain feature, especially after the wholesale
melas, ardha-kumbhas, every six years at death. These poisons turned His throat blue slaughter of Mela pilgrims in 1398 by Muslim
HE TENS OF MILLION..'> OF HINDUS we have enough. I asked God not for money nearly every mela, pilgrims have been killed Haridwar and Prayag. It is at Prayag, where and resulted in His name, Nilakantha. After general Tirmur, shortly after he leveled Del-
came to the Kumbha Mela at but for peace and salvation':-so easily did in one misl{ap or another, so each who came the Yamuna River joins the Ganga, that the many aeons of churning, the ocean yielded hi because the reigning sultan was "too toler-
Haridwar this year were ~arly all of this humble villager capture the essence of duly considered the possibility, however largest number of human beings in history a series of reasures, the last of which was ant" of Hindus. Similar,martial monastic or-
modest means. After days of travel, the world's greatest act of pilgrimage, the small, that they might not return. For the gathered-IS million on February 6, 1989. Dhanvantari, the great healer, who held in ders have developed in other religions, such
many spent a mere 24 hours in the Kumbha Mela. true devotee, pilgrimage is among the mos Haridwar, logistically less cofivenient, man- -his hands the desired chalice of ambrosia. as the 12th-century ~hristian Knights Tem-
holy city at the gateway to the Hi- For her and millions of others, the reli- profound religious practices, one in which aged ten million on April 14, 1998. Still, The asuras immediately demanded their plar and Hospitalers in Europe-also to pro-
malayas. They chanted Jai ' Ganga Ma- gious ritual of pilgrimage-one of the fIve material gain-so often the motivation for that's fIve times this years 'two million Mus- share of the prize, but the devas reneged on tect pilgrims against Muslim oppression-the
"Hail Mother Ganga"-took their sacred obligatory duties of every Hindu-began their prayers at local temples-is superceded lim pilgrims who journeyed to Mecca for the their agreement, knowing that if theJrivals Shao Lin monks of Kung FU martial arts
bath in the frigid river, collected a pot of with the fIrst plans to attend, and encom- by higher aspirations. Haj, the second largest gathering. were to drink the nectar they would be eter- fame in China, the Buddhist monastic police
holy Ganga water and then headed home. passes the entire process of getting ready, The Kumbha Mela takes place every four Every religion, as a matter of doctrine or nally lIDbeatable, and too great a power to of Tibet and the Zen master archers and
One typical pilgrim, an illiterate woman, freeing oneself from worldly affairs, travel- years in rotation at Haridwar, Prayag (Alla- custom, engages "in the practice of pilgrim- keep in check. The asuras, sensing their po- swordsmen of Japan. Sadly, through the cen-
traveled with her family by crowded bus ing to the site, taking tHe bath, meeting the habad), Nasik and Ujjain, according to the age to holy places. Among the world's prime sition, snatched the kumbha and fled. With turies mendicant militancy has led to fre-
from West Bengal, slept in the open and ate sadhu-mendieants or just observing them placement of Jupiter in the Zodiac. A mod- destinations are Bedh Gaya, where Buddha the asuras momentarily distracted by Lord quent murderous Kumbha Mela battles over
at the free feeding tents. "We are poor, but from a distance, and the return home. At ern innovation, there are also popular half-
SEPTEMBER, 1998 HINDUISM TODAY 33
32 HINDUISM TODA.Y s PTEMBER , 1998
who gets to bathe closest to the supremely TIMELINE
auspicious moment-the very issue which
caused this year's fight. 10,000 bee: Historian S.B. Roy postulates
Many orders of sadhus gather at the Mela. presence of ritual bathing. '
A large portion are members of a dozen or 600 bee: River melas are mentioned in Bud-
more orders called akhqras, the most promi- dhist writings.
nent being the Juna and Niranjani- the two 400 bpe: Greek ambassador to Indian King
who tangled this year. Q!:hers include the Chandra Gupta reports on a mela.
Agan, Alakhiya, Abhana, Anand, Mahanir- ea 306 ee: Roy believes present form of
vani and Atal. Most orders are Saivite, three melas crxstallizes. Various Puranas, written
are Vaishnavite and a few are Sikh orders texts based on oral traditions of unknown
patterned after the Hindu monastic system. antiquity, recount the dro1?ping of the nec-
Akhara is Hindi for a "wrestling arena," and tar of immortality at fOUL sites after the
can mean either a place of verbal debate, or "churning of the ocean."
one of real fighting. Each akhara may con- 547: Earliest founding date of an akhara,
tain monks of several different Dasanarni or- the Abhana.
ders-the ten designations- Saraswati, Puri, 60b: Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang attends
Bana, Tirtha, Giri, Parvati, 'Bharati, Aranya, mela at Prayag (modern Allahabad) orga-
Ashffima, and Sagara-regularized by Adi nizea by King Harsha on a five-year cycle.
Shankara in the 8th century. Thus, the ea 800: Adi SharIkara believed to have reor-
akharas overlap with the Dasanami system. ganized and promoted kumbha melas.
There are also sannyasi orders, such as the 904: Founding of Niranjani Akhara
Nathas, that exist outside the Dasanarni sys- 1146: Founding of Juna Akhara
tem. The akharas' dates of founding range 1300: Kanphata Yogi militant ascetics em-
from the sixth to the fourteenth .century. ployed in army of King of Kanaj, Rajasthan
The development of the akharas and the 1398: Tirmur lays waste to Delhi to punish
Khmbha Mela took place over the same time Sultan's tolerance toward Hindus, proceeds
span and are likely related. Akharas may in- to Haridwar mela and massacres thousands.
clude thousands, even tens of thousands, of Hindu ascetics arm themselves.
sadhus. SeverciI akharas run hundreds of 1565: Madhusudana Sarasvati organizes
ashrams, schools and service institutions. fighting units of Dasanarni orders.
The Kumbha Mela is a time to elect new 1684: French traveller Tavernier estimates
akhara leadership, discuss and solve prob- 1.2 million Hindu ascetics in India.
lems, consult with the other akharas, meet 1760: Saivites battle with Vaishnava sects at
with devotees and initiate new monastics. Haridw~; 1,800 are killed. .
During Muslim and British times, the mela ea 1780: British establish the order'for royal
gathering of pilgrims and sadhus was a sig- bathing by the monastic groups (the same
nificant force in the preservation of Hin- order is followed today).
duism and the continued identity of India as 1820: Stampede leaves 430 dead at Harid-
a Hindu nation. "Khumba weaves our nation warmela.
into one," said Mahant Ganga Puri of the 1906: British calvary intercede in
Mahanirvani Akharll.~ mela battIe between sadhus.
One little-known purpose of the Mela is to 1954: Four million people, one
review smriti, the codes (shastras) of law percent of India's population, at-
and conduct which govern Hindu society. tend mela at Allahabad, hun-
Unlike the Vedas and other revealed scrip- dreds perish'in a stampede.
tures, these codes are meant to be adjusted 1986: Most recent Haridwar mela.
according to changes in time and circum- 1989: Guinness Book of World
stance. Ramesh Bhai Oza explained, "The Records proclaims 15-million-
saints from all over India should get togeth- strong mela crowd at Allahabad
er at the Mela to discuss not only religious on February 6 "the largest-ever
and spiritual matters, but also the problems gathering of human beings for a
faced by the contemporary ~ociety. Their single purpose."
sdlutions offer a new system and a new sm- 1992: Most recent mela at Ujjain
riti." Ramesh is a world reno...Wned per- and Nasik
former of kathak (preaching through song 1995: "Half-mela" (at six-year in-
and sermon on the life of Lord Rama and terval) at Allahabadhas 20 mil-
other Hindu heros). lion pilgrims by official estimates
Many are the motivations and benefits for on January 30 bathing day.
Hindus to attend the Kumbha· Mela, the 1998: Haridwar Mela attracts 25
most popular pilgrimage of the day. It is a million pilgrims in four months,
time to gain a new look on life, to purify ten million on April 14.
oneself and to 'regain the sense of Godly as- 2001: Next mela at Allahabad
piration as the central purpose for this 2003: Nexf mela at Nasik
earthly incarnation. ..,., 2004: Next mela at Ujjain
With Jono Lineen, British Columbia 2010: Next mela at Haridwar

34 HI ~ DUISM TODA,Y S 1\..PTEMBER, 1998


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Dftar'ma Graphics CD Reg. $249. Special offer for HT readers, only $199
Abbot
... Attacked
1,6011" Images reflecting Here it is-the Hindu art CD
During Mela
India's rich spiritual cultur, of the decade. Trek into the
heart of mystic India with Assailants unknown
Now Formatted for this spectacular collection of
imagery drawn from the c ,N THE SAME DAY AS THE CLASH BE-

PC and Mac
',tween two sadhu orders, Swami Mad-
treasurehouse of Hindu spiri- . 1hvashram was brutally attacked in his
tuality. This CD contains a ·tIJ"Haridwar ashram. After he was '
wealth of clip art, Aums, pat- knocked to the floor, to save his life a quick-
thinking lady devotee covered him with a
terns, textures, sacred sym- sheet and wailed, "He's dead!" The attackers
bols, borders, fmished ..,
~ then ransacked the ashram, burned six cars
graphics and some rare Raj- ::a
o ·and fled. Madhvashram is one of three
put scans. Great graphics for an ashram bulletin, a ...lJ: claimants to the position of Shankaracharya
cg, of Jyotir Mutt in Badrinath, one of four car-
yoga book, Web page or multimedia presentation. Injured: Sadhus tend to an injured elderly holy man at a Haridwar hospital after the, clash dinal monasteries that Adi Shankara estab-
~ lished in the 8th century. Naga sadhus were
CONTROVERSY
i1..ums blamed, but Swami has a1lother theory.
"Those who attacked me were hired hooli-
& Illustrations
Deadly Melee of gans who were given the garb of Nagas," he
told HINDUISM TODAY in an exclusive inter-

Sadhus Mars Mela


Ancient rivalry erupts violently at bathing ghat
1HE OFFICIAL REPORT IS THAT A HUN- stones. The police came, and it turned into
- ) dred holy men were injured but none a fIght between the police and the Juna
killed in the clash between two monas- Akhara sadhus. It was total anarchy On that
t ic orders on March 28 in Haridwar at day people literally fled from Haridwar. A
the Kumbha Mela. Yet SadhvfMeera Puri of wrong message went out to the common
Juna Akahara told HINDUISM TODAY corre- man." As a result, the Mela administration
spondent Rajiv Malik, "There was a clash, banned the next procession of sadhus,
and many dead bodies were seen in the af- scheduled for April 14. At the last minute,
Patterns & Borders termath of it. I heard the sound of bullet the ban was lifted, but the Juna Akhara and
shots even from here, where I sit now." This its allies boycotted the procession.
wasn't tb.e fIrst such clash of militant ascetics There was widespread criticism of the
othing lends a sense of Indian-ness to a design Clip Art in the history of the Mela, nor nearly the fIght. "IYPical was the lament of Mahant Recovering: Shankaracharya ofJyotirmath

N better than traditional borders and patterns.


any images are or-
deadliest [see Timeline page 341. The issue Govind Das of the Bada U dasin Akahara,
has always been the.same, the order in which "Soci~ty has given us a lot of love and affec- view in New Delhi. "I g.elieve this mob of
There are hundreds to choose from on this creative
CD. Fall in love with the visual magic of Bharat and M ganized in
themes, like nature,
each of the 13 akharas take their sacred bath tion, but what we have given them by this
on the auspicious day As elsewhere, it's a mat- incident we must think. We have spoiled the
ter of rank and of ego as to who goes fust. grace and serenity of sainthood." .J
125 people was hired to kill me by Swami
Swaroopanand and Swami Vasudevanand
[rival claimants to the post-both deny the
enhance your personal or institutional image. "The incident happened," Swami Nirbha- Militant sadhu orders have existed for a charge]. My disciples heard a lady in Harid-
Deities, people, borders, ya Puri of Niranjani Akhara, told HINDUISM thousand years. Fights among them could war scold her husband, 'You posed as a
.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .
symbols, etc. Use the TODAY, "because the people coming from be likened t o jealous clashes between rival naked sadhu, took so Illuch risk and got just
. . ..x." '~~~~~~~~~~~~~~" ".
," '

.. _.. _ ··_·u .. _... ... .•. .' - -.- .,. -.- ... ... ..- ... •. Fetch browser to get a our backside in the procession, that is, the branches of a country's military forces. But 300 rupees.'"
Juna Akhara, were not stoppe"d from coming . there is rio longer a need, as there was even The ShankarachaIJ'as of the other three
quick overview, then forward. Fifty feet was supposed-to be kept a hundred years ago, for ascetics to be mutts were asked to comment, but only Swa-
double clic on a page for between us by the police.' This started the armed for their own and others' protection mi Nischalanand of Puri in Orissa, respond-
a detailed preview. problem. Then, instead of taking their own against hostile elements and forei~ in- ed. He told HINDUISM TODAY, "This act
route back from the ghats, Juna Akhara fol- vaders. The government now provides that should be condemned by everybody and the
lowed us and tr~d to stop our procession. security, and these fIghts are the last ves- guilty punished. The feud over the mutt has
There was a fIght between a few of our sad- tige of a tradition past its time. Defense of been going on for many years. All con-
hus and theirs, both were hurL Then they dharma today requires mental, not physical, cerned should meet and reach an amicable
set fIre to our gate, and we pelted them with armament. ..." settlement acceptable to all." ..."

SEPTEMBER , 1998 H INDUISM TODAY 39

,
Enliven Your Spiritual Quest••• What experts say ...
PREPARATION
,
with this clairvoyant revelation of mankind's journey to Earth millions "I've never found as complete a
of years ago from the Pleaides and other planets to further the soul's un-
foldment. Learn about the ensuing challenges and experiences faced in
book on many important pieces of
information .... The Lemurian Coping with Crowds
Scrolls will enlighten all who read
evolving from spiritual bod- it and it will become a'Source'that Dram~tic overhau~ reinvents the city
ies of light into human form will constantly be referred to by
serious students, teachers, leaders
Lemurian Scrolls
ANGELIC l'ROI'HECl'£S REVEALING HUMAN OlUGINS
and the profound practices
followed and awakenings
and metaphysical and spiritual
groups." -PATRICIA-RoCHELLE
By PRABHA PRABHAKAR
BHARDWAJ, DELHI
not daunte& "Sectoring and one-way traffic
is .a first in Mela history"-designed to avoid
ENIOR INDIAN ADMINISTRATION SER- accidents and stampedes like those of past
Satguru Sl.vaya Subramun\.yaswam\, achieved in ancient DIEGEL, PH.D, well-known teacher, ~vice official J.P. Sharma smiled con- gatherings (the 1986 Mela claimed 47 lives).
Lemuria. These angelic intuitive healer and consultant on tentedly as he detailed to HINDUISM Every thoroughfare, including 32 bridges
past-life regression, the human , TODAYthe massive preparations under- (ten of them newly constructed ) was one di-
prophecies, read by Sivaya aura and numerology; Las Vegas, taken prior to the ' Kumbha Mela. As Mela rection only. No one was allowed to return in
Subramuniyaswami from Nevada Chief Officer, you could tell he was in con- the same way they had come. No shops
trol, especially with uS$25 million from the could e~tend their stands onto streets, and
akashic records written "Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya- Uttar Pradesh state government and 25 ,000 220 bui1Clings were demolished to increase
two million years ago, swami, reflecting the vision of a circulation area. Hinduism Todays September issue
rishi, shows the spiritual basis of Bathing areas were extended
will overwhelm you with human evolution and guides us to
to ten kilometers, with private
with its 27-page Kumbha Mela
ashrams allowed for the first
a sense of your divine a new transformation in planetary time to construct ghats "on con-
consciousness. It certainly pro- feature of stunning color
origin, purpose and des- dition they're public," said InfOF-
vides one of the most innovative mation Officer Dinesh Sharma.
tiny and motivate a pro- views of Hinduism to come out in Twenty-nine new parking lots photographs, informative articles
found rededication to modern times." -Dr. DAVID handled vehicles, none of which
were allowed inside the city. In and revealing interviews is trUly a
your spiritual quest. FRAWLEY,OMD, VEDACHARYA, Director past years, special accommoda-
ofthe American Institute of Vedic tions were made for VIPs, which collectors item. Order additional
USS29. 85 400 pages Hardcov- Studies, author: Ayurvedic Healing, caused disasters, But this time,
IInlllu61~a\0<I,clnlmvnlll !'fMllatlon ot man's unlold.\OUTUOV\0 tal'th Astrology of the Seers, Santa Fe, "Everyone who wants to take a copies today for family and friends!
IfOm IhOPleladot millions 01 vaal'll O&Q. anu \ho Bttllll81Q8 tneed In Ql\. er, 7"x 10" • Lavishly illus- dip will be treated as an ordi-
slllng eras as souls matut\lu \.1110 tholr ultlmatodastlnv and. Dlvlnl\v. New Mexico
trated· ISBN: 0-945497-70-9 . nary citizen," warned Sharma. Copies are $5 each (including
"... an inspired account of human Before, after: The 'river is diverted yearly for repairs How can a small city (popula-
For details see: www.
evolution documenting the jour- tion 400 ,000 ) cope with sanita- shipping by airmail). Send check or
hindu.org/lemuria/ tion for ten million pilgrims?
ney from Satya Yuga to the pre-
Build 15,000 new latrines, what credit card information to the
sent Kali Yuga comprising millions else? The state Chief Minister
of years. It makes fascinating read-
Answerlnq the Great Questions: Who am ., ing,and I recommend it to anyone
declared it a "fly-free zone,"
with health departments thor-
address below. (Visa, Master Card,

Where did. come from' Where am • qolnq' who has thoughtfully pondered
our origins." -CHAKRAPANI ULLAL,
oughly cleaning the city, 'includ-
ing purifying 92 streams.. To American Express are accepted) .
maiptain the Ganga's cleanliness
renowned Jyotisha Shastri, named Special discounts are available for
as much as possible, eateries
To order, please fill in this form and send to the appropriate address below: by the Indian Council of Astrologi- were k~pt far from the river,
Name: Company: _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ cal Sciences as Jyotisha Kovid and vegetarianism was strictly en- orders of five or more copies.
Address: City: _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _ __ Jyotisha Vachaspati, Los Angeles, forced and no soaps or oils were
California permitted during bathing. 1-808 -822 - 7032 (ext. 230)
State: _ __ _ __ _ _ _ Postal Code: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Country: To avoid violence, Indian Po-"
"Not since the days of the Theo- lice chief B.K. Singh had barri- Fax: 1-808- 822 - 4531
Phone #: ( _ ) Fax #: (_ ) Email: _ _ _ __ _ _
sophical seers Madame Blavatsky « ers "raised at entry points, every- E-mail: katir@hindu.org
Please send __ copies of Lemurian Scrolls at uss29. 85 each plus shipping. policemen under his command. "We've con- one was systematically searcheq and passed
and Charles Leadbeater has there
"'For air m ail shipping of retail orders in USA and Canada add $5 per book; $10 per b ook elsewher e. sidered all angles, with 23 governIl!ent de- through metal detectors, and sniff~r dogs
been in print such in depth and partments joining to make this Mela com- plus anti-mine equipment were on hand."
Credit Card #: _ 1_ 1_1_1_ 1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_ 1_1_1 Exp. Date: (monthl_ I_ 1(yearl_I_ 1
Amount Enclosed $ 0 Visa 0 Master Card 0 Amex 0 Check 0 Money Order
detailed reading of the akashic fortable, safe and memorable for all," said Then there were animals to deal with. KUMBHA MELA
records as is found in the Lemurian Sharma, He accomplished it, and here's how. They're at every turn-cows are so used to
Name/ Co. on Card: Signature: Scrol/s. " -ARTHUR PACHECO, coun- The Mela area covered 130 square kilo- being fed and worshiped, they express
meters, divided into 31 sectors. Each sector strong displeasure if ignored. During the
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and water departIhents and basic pilgrim fa- bovines were fed and worshiped as part of 107 KAHOlAl£LE ROAD
cilities. Haridwar is small and congested, required Mela pilgrimage rituals. With men KAPAA. HI 96746- 9304 USA
relative _to other Mela sites, but Sharma was and beasts reined in, the city was ready. wi
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Ayurveda Encyclopedia
needs that arise by the withdrawal of heat the i"ncoming changes and make enlight- dren on May 8 in Maryland. The event Programs and books by Roy
Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention and Longevity
and moisture. ened adjustments to our life style, especial- marked the 50th anniversary of India Eugene Davis, a disciple of
by Swsml Ssds Shivs Tlrths Paramahansa Yogananda.
The pitta and the kapha types may find ly diet. Our main dietary regimen would and Pakistan's founding. She mixed
some relief with the ,dawning of this sea- still be that of our constitutional dosha; but Kuchipudi dance, music, narrative, . 85 herb materia medica wI photos
son; but they too shbuld review and revise we would make minor adjustments such as mime and hand-crafted puppets to tell . 89 Ayurvedic hatha yoga photos • Meditation retreats from
wherever necessary. At this time w~ need eating more of the seasonal vegetables of three stories that share a focus on dis- and discussion . scientific May through Autumn
more moist and warm foods. There can be our particular area. Use very sparingly covering truth. In the Hindu tale, baby research . nutrition . aroma- • Kriya Yoga philosophy
therapy . sadhana • pancha karma and practices featured
an inprease in the sweet, sour and salty vegetables tl].at are not native to yoti} Ganesha learns from his mother how to • in-depth pathology & diagnosis
tastes with arelative decrease in pungent, area-especially fruits that are grown far live peacefully with animals. • Sanskrit instruction and
bitter and astringent. We can eat avocado, away, picked while still green and shipped Read Chapter 1 and
Ayurveda seminar by
berries and figs. We may also add brown long distances. POORER: Financially, anyway-miner other excerpts online at qualified teachers
rice and other grains to give us the earth '" At this time of year, going from pitta Subash Limaye of Nagpur, India after htte.:11ayurvedahc.com
connection we need; but we will still spar- season to vata, we would eat fewer cold donating the world's largest double star Request information and
686 pages . US$37 postpaid our free book catalog:
ingly use barley, corn and millet. Yogurt salads, cold drinks, substitute room temper- ruby (1,275 carats, about nine ounces) (online ordering also available
relieves excess vata, as do sesame and corn ature red wines for the chilled white wines to "its rightful owner," Lord Venka- with International pricing) Center For Spiritual
oils. Shun cruciferous vegetables (mustard and avoid dry and uncooked foods and raw teshwara at the Tirupati temple. Limaye Awareness. PO Box 7-H
"A magnificent work."- Lakemont, GA 30552-0007 USA
greens, cabbage, cress, etc.) as they ,. fruits. We may eat half our c;l.iet from our said he wasted Dr. S. N. Srivastava BAMS, head of
increase vata, as does celery anq okra. constitutional dosha list and half.,from the two years trying Tel: 706-782-4723. Fax 706-782-4560
Cucumber, radishes, sweet potatoes, car-
damom, ginger, clove, mustard seed, salt
and sesame tend to relieve vata.
seasonal dosha list. Use more of the spices
consistent with the 'seasonal dosha. Do not
be alarmed at this time by an increase in
to auction the
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Roy Eugene Davis' Books in India:


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The seat of vata within the' body is the appetite, but do not overeat. tential sponsors
lower pelvis. The daily hatha yoga asanas wanted him to AHC Press I Ayurveda Holistic Center B. Jain Publishers • Post Box 5775 New Dellii no 055
sfi'buld be changed to include more posi- DR. TANDAVAN, 78, retired nuclear physi- hand it over 82A Bayville Ave . Bayville NY 11709-1671 USA An Easy Guide to Ayurueda, Rs. 45
tions that apply pressure to the pelvic area, cian and hospital staff preSident, lives in. merely on the as- Tel: 516-628-8200 Motilal Banarsidass, Publishers
such as backWard bends, plough, cobra, Chicago, where he specializes in alternative surance they Ruby in the rough Ask about the Ayurveda 2-Year Certification Correspondence/Residential Program 41 U.A., Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi no 007
knee to chest and the headstand. All of healing arts. Visit his hOme page at the would pay him a (leading to BA, MA or PhD) • Books by Swami Purushottam Tirtha: The Book of Life, Rs. 65
Yoga Vani: Instructions for the Attainment of Siddhayoga, $13.50 poslpaid
these will aid in keeping the vata in its HINDUISM TODAY website. promised amount after its auction. Guru Bani: 100 Ways to Attain Peace, $9.50 poslpaid
A Master Guide to Meditation , Rs. 85
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10 articles, photos and more at http://ayurvedahc.com Hardcover, Rs. 295 • Softcover, Rs. 195.
44 HINDUISM TOD./\,Y SE TEMBER, 1998 45
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S IT POSSIBLE TO FILM THE KUMBHA
Mel~ in all its complex, wild and unruly
grandeur? Vancouver ' director Alan
Morinis was optimistic before flying to
serendipitously, like when shooting a simple
evening scene of flame-lit temples. "We sud-
denly spott~d colorfully-costumed, flashy-
eyed people and peacocks performing the
.... ...,..TaI
Enhance your spiritual life
lea Parenting and Educating for Wholeness
The Common Vision,
DelHi in early ApriL ''Armed with a solid dance of Radha and Krishna," recalls Alan- 1'he
with uplifting, vibrant home Parenting and Educatingfor
beings. Contact us for information budget plan and the Canadian Broadcasting a perfectly unexpected, spice in the script. Common V ision
prayer temples. Wholeness, by David Marshak
Corporation's committment to air the film All were receptive to being filmed, con-
Parenting and educating
on TV, Qoors opened for the $150,000 fund- trary to warnings about ~aga sadhus. Prior How children can grow up to for Wb.oleness~
on how to spread this message Offer your deities the best. We
ing," he told HINDUISM TODAY. Airing later to the main procession, a policeman said, be whole-the practical
this fall, the film tracks a devout Hindus pil- "You aren't our family. We aren't your rela- are reputed for making the
and build this monument for the very finest, most elegant deity wisdom of three spiritual
grimage from Vancouver to the Mela. Upon tives. We can't protect you if the Nagas de-
altars. teachers. Describes human
his return to ,Canada, Alan said, "Our insur- cide they don't want to be filmed. If that
unfoldment from birth
generations of the next millennium. ance company had refused to cover us be- happens, run for your life!" The cameraman, through age 21 for body,
cause it was Indja, meaning they anticipated Len, blanched. But after he showed them Choose from the Mathura (pic-
tured), Vrindaban, Rasa Lila, emotions, mind and spirit.
many problems! A 1989 Mela team lost their proper respect, the Nagas responded enthu-
or other styles, each available Makes the insights of Sri
1-808-822-3012 , cameraman for two days in crowds. In fact, siastically. In another humorous inst~ce,
in various sizes. The Mathura Aurobindo, Sufi teacher
ext:237 we encountered almost none. Nobody got t4e crew caught a red-turbaned policeman
style pictured here, for exam- Hazrat Inayat Khan, Rudolf
sick, no equipment was lost, stolen or bro- dancing enthusiastically to the tune of
fax: 808-822-4351 ple, is 27 inches wide, by 24 Steiner and Maria Montessori
ken, and good, clean food was available. To drummers-a break from his usual stern de-
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www,hindu.org/iraivan/ me, that was the gift of India to our project." meanor while keeping crowds under control.
offer custom designs. Ask for our free color brochure. Describes schools based on this teaching.
The team didn't quite know what to ex- But the Ilighlight-voted so by the hole
pect, but found it all well organJzed-tent team-was evening arati. Alan described
• Fhlly covered with hand-carved designs Thw common vision of these great teachers answers the
camps, barricades, policemen at every cor- the scene. "The Ganga arati song played on
following three key questions in detail: ,
ONE GOD ner and clear rules. It was difficult, as they
sometimes had to walk five kilometers lug-
loudspeakers, ten million people sang along:
the light got darker and evening colors deep-


Beautiful silver and/or gold finish
Carved side and back panels (for some styles) • What is the true nature of human beings?
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ging cameras, tripods, extra tapes, acces- ened. Priests waved eight-foot flames over
ONE WORLD sories and lots of water. "The only unhelpful the river. Voices of the people, the song and • Drawer for jewelry etc.... (optional) through age twenty-one?
• Given this understanding of human growth, what are
restriction was that filming at the bathing the. river all twined together. All the people • Recessed ceiling lights
the desired functions of child raising and education?
ghat was restricted to one tower, leaving us haC!. a common, powerful primal devotion. ISBN 0-8204-3702-6 • 246 pages. U5$2995 +shipping.
SAN MARGA IRAIVAN TEMPLE
with a narr ow angle," says Alan. Otherwise, This ceremony is the climax of oill film." Desire Tree Studios
107 KAHOlALELE ROAD
all was magical. Led by a Hindi-speaking For updates on documentary airtimes, vis- 995 Jennings Ave., Salem OH 44460-1545 USA
KAPAA. HI 96746-9304 USA Tel: 800-942-9494 or 330-332-8563 More info at: www.halcyon.comlcomvis. www:peterlang.com
guide HINDUiSM TODAY found to help the it the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's
MasterCard or VISA accepted Order from PETER LANG PUBLISHING • Tel: 800-770-5264
team, they stumbled into natural sets website at: www:tv.cbc.calmanalivel _
A TEMPLE BUILT TO LAST 1. 000 YEARS Fax: 1-212-647-7707. 101630.1473@compuserve. com
47
WESTERN MEDIA
'" ON JUNE 3 THE US CONGRESS UNANIMOUSLY spite years of waning popularity, it's making
tended to be less passed a "tithing bill" that insures secular a cqmeback there. Nagabhushana Sarma, an
interested in the charities and religious institutions can re- English professor, spent two decades en-
Kumbha' Mela than tain donations given by people who later couraging family troupes to continue per-
other religious cel- file for bankruptcy. The bill was in response forming their elaborate all-night shows in
ebrations at the to a case in which a bankruptcy trustee de- Hindu temples during festivals. "When
same time," despite manded and got the return of $13.45.0 giv- there are no rains, villagers ask puppeteers
the Mela's size. According to an analysis by en to a church by a couple in the year prior to come and p ~rform religious stories," he
internet whiz Peshala Dikel, a totlll of 70 to their bankruptcy fIling. said. And the rains come!
stories on the Mela could be found on ma-
jor news websites between January and MUSLIMS IN HYDERABAD, INDIA, incensed by INDIA'S HINDU MAJORITY IS UNCERTAIN, ac-
May, 1998, whereas 435 could be found on Islam-bashing pamphlets, attacked Hindus cording to a research fIrm in Baroda. A
the Haj, the yearly Muslim pilgrimage to ill June for several days, the riots leaving 1991 census (cover.ing 19~h - 1991) shows \
Mecca, and countless numbers on Easter nine dead and forty injured. The pam- the Muslim population increased 32 per-
and Passover. Mela reports tended to be phlets included drawings of Islamic sym- cent and Hindus 23 percent. A reason com-
brief, and focused on the exotic side-the bols under the foot of Lord Ganesha, with monly cited for this difference is lack of ed-
San Jose' Mercury, one of the largest circu- text claiming Ganesha the "God of all." The ucation among Muslims, because less
lation. newspapers in America, even put source for the pamphlets was unclear. '" educated people have higher birth rates.
their May 19 report under a section called But this may not be true, because in the
"News of the Weird," ap.d noted 300 million DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN is'wide- Muslim-dominated state of Kerala-with its
gallons of sewage enter the Ganga daily; an- spread in Nepal and while 95 percent of the 100 percent literacy rate-Mtlslims in-
other report referred to "snake charmers." country is aware of it, nothing is being creased by 25 percent and Hindus just 13
By contrast, the Mercury (as did other ma- done, says Dr. Arzu Rana-Deuba, wife of percent. If the present rate of increase con-
jor papers) carried several long articles on former Prime tipues, in 2161 the Muslim population in
the Raj, including excellent pilgrim profiles, Minister Sher India will reach 5.3 billion and surpass that
-but incorrectly lab~led the pilgrimage "the Bahadur Deu- _ of Hindus, who' will be 4.9 billion.
world's most-attended religious event"-a ba. And its still
distinction which belongs to the Mela. common else- EIGHT YEARS AGO LOCALS thought Budhdeo
where. liIut so Yadav, 70, was mad. How else could they
A NINE-YEAR-OLD BANYAN and four-year-old are efforts, explain his plan to carve 528 steps up to the
neem tree were recently "wedded" amidst now, to pro- hilltop Sidhnath
Vedic chanting at a temple in Kerala, India. vide outlets for temple in Bihar, In-
It was necessary, oecaus~ according to tra- battered wives. dia? But "Yadav is
dition, a banyan What To Do well respected
grows best when When Love now," says Kedar
wedded to a neem Turns Violent (Harper Perennial) is a great Bharati, the temple
tree. A huge . resource, written by a lady who spent three. priest. Before he
banyan tree (over years preparing to escape with her children built the steps,
1,200 years old) from a violent husband. The U.N. says 20 to devotees had to
was uprooted at 50 percent of married women worldwide scramble through
the same spot in are domestically abused. dense brush.
1989. That old Though the gov-
The solemp. banyan tree tree-considered THOUSANDS OF BUDDHISTS greeted Buddha's ernment con-
a Brahmin- was tooth when it arrived in Taiwan from India structed a flight
cremated with traditional rites, and this in April. "We pray for Buddha's blessings," of.steps on the other side of the hill in
new sapling planted in its /place. said Taiwanese Premier Vmcent Siew. The 1995, most devotees prefer
.r
Yadav's stairs
".
.
tooth, one of three reportedly found after
WHAT'S A TEEN TO DO AFTER SCHOOLWORK is Buddha was cremated 2.400 years ago, is TREMORS FROM THE AYODHYA Babri Masjid

LEGENDARY ADVENTURES AND 1-800-953-9399


.. fInished? Get religious-that's what 800 en-
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being recently hit with violent crime, cor-
demolition six years ago (riots left 1,200
dead) are strong in India's parliament, in-
tensifIed by lobbying for construction of a
UNEXPECTED PLEASURES. From the reincarnation conferences and workshops ruption scafldals and aviation disasters. new Rama temple. Me1}Ilwhile, Rajasthan
Everything you'd never expect TM inspired by a Malaysian, Dato J. Jagadee- China disputes the tooth's authenticity, artisans, unaware of the debate and
mountains of the Himalayas to the beaches of the san. Forming a Community 6f Hindu . clainling only two have been found-one in Supreme Court order to maintain status quo
Indian Ocean, you'll discover an extraordinary world TRAC (Tradition, Religion, Aspiration, Cul- Beijing, the other in Sri Lanka. on the disputed site, are quietly shaping
of culture and diversity. There's no adventure Call 1-800-GO INDIA for your complimentary India Travel Guide, ture),-the youths' aim is to '''re-affrrm tradi- pink sandstone pillars-each 16 feet high-
or write to: MSI , 25-1S SOth Street, Dept CPO Woodside, NY 11377 tional values that form the cornerstone of SHADOW PUPPET MASTERS WORLDWIDE :held a as per directions from the Vishwa Hindu
quite like India and no time like the present the Hindu faith." Weekly TRAC meetings rare conference in Larissa, Greece, to ex- Parishad. Thirty pillars have already been
to experience it. India, a country that is NAME include insightful talks on Hinduism plus plore ROW to resuscitate their flaggn;g craft. shipped to Ayodhya. The proposed temple
truly many worlds in one. As Mark Twain classes in rangol( and garland making, tra- It was found that India has preserved one of will be 268 feet long, 140 fe~t wide and 128
ditional cooking and more. the purest forms of shadow theater, and de- feet high, and cost uS$l2.5 million.
once said: "Nothing seems to have been ADDRESS
forgotten, nothing overlooked. " © 1996 CLOCKWISE FROM T OP: MELA AUTHORlTY; THE
CITY STATE ZIP WEEK. THE ~EK> HINDUISM TODAY SEPTEMBER, 1998 HINDUISM TODAY 49
An Experience of aLifelim
II
If I were asked under what sky the human mind has
fully developed and has found solutions to some of the
II
greatest problems of life, I would point to Ifldia
- Max Muller

Kali Travel is unique in


CONTRIBUTORS the travel industry. Our
well-designed custom
Meet Our 'Mela
tours meet the special
Press Corps . right, with Ramesh Bhai Oza holding evening arati lamp]. Com-
pleting our editorial staff were Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj, who
went in December to survey the preparations [bottom right, with
requirements of groups,
Hinduism Today's Intrepid Team her husband, Col. Bhardwaj] and Nikki Lastreto of California,
organizations, and
there in March [bottom center, dancing with devotees in the streets
of Hardwar]. A dream team of professional photographers included
HE CREATION OF THIS SPECIAL ISSUE REQUIRED A RARE AND Thomas Kelly there in late March [above, Thomas-at left-with individuals. We work
t
.. eclectic collaboration of journalistic and graphic specialists,
th~ likes of which we have never attempted before. Eac~ in his
_ , own way admirably displayed unique competence, devotion
and determination. Spearheading the effort were our Delhi cor,re-
spondents, M.P. Mohanty and RajiY Malik, here photographed wait-
friend Pagalinanda Baba], Dey Raj Agarwal and his brother Rajeey
Gupta of Dellra Dun [below left, barely surviving the 42°C Hard-
war heat], whose photos encompassed the entire four months of the
Mela, and Amit Kumar, who accompanied Mohanty and Malik in
April. Last but not least was Vikram Pat~1 of Pixeltone in New York,
closely with you to
structure an itinerary
ing, exhausted, for the train back home [above, Rajiv at right]. Pro- who painstakingly scanned all major photos. We believe this isslle
viding accommodations and other assistance to the team was built with their hard worls is a unique historical record. To our
Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji) of Par math Niketan [top team, HINDUISM TODAY and all our readers say, "Thank you."
that results in smooth
travel and total
satisfaction.

:::=-' 169-12 Hillside Ave.


'-
=.. Jamaica, NY 11432

50 HINDUISM TODA.Y SEPTEMBER , 1998


Tel: 718-291-9292
~-- ~~ - - - -~. - - - - - <~ - -- -- -- - •• _ - - - - " - _ . - - - - - - •

RECENT DONORS '

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'" I
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Ramsamy Pillay Samoo $70.72 Saivite Hindu Scriptural Fund for the
Total $241.46
When the Shiva Vishnu Temple of Livermore, California, decided Padmini Samuthiran $326.42 VISually Impaired
Hinduism Today Endowment 'frost Vernon Shabunia $242.34
upon major renovations they turned to p~ominent San Francisco Bay Nils Victor Montan $15.00 Loganatha Shivam $600.00
Anonymous $15.00
Shiva Sookhai $20.00
Area contractor, Deva Rajan. His honesty, the quality of his firm's V R & Indira Sanda $51.00 Palaka Shivam $600.00
Total $35.00
Robert Sorrells $180.00 Rodney & Ilene Standen $10.00
work and his love of and dedication to JIinduism are known through- Peshala Varadan $428.40 Sri Subramuniya Kottam Fund
Del Underwood $25.00
out the Bay Area. It is little surprise that this"successful businessman is Alphonse Van Well $50.00 Vayudeva Varadan $1,338.70 Andrew Schoenbaum $10.00
Total $10.00
also a consistent donor to Hindu Heritage Endowment. Over the years Total $321.00 Total $12,550.40

Deva has helped start·several impQrt~nt endowment funds, and he Hinduism Today Distribution Fund Kauai Aadheenam Annual Archana Fund Sundari Peruman Memorial Fund
Markandeya Peruman
Appamal Athimulam $18.63 Ravindra Doorgiat $34.98 $50.00
was happy to step fo;ward as the first donor to the pooled income latinder Bhan $46.00 Hitesvara Giles $225.00 Total $50.00
fund. With such dedicated individuals, the sacred truths of Hinduism Padmavadee Chellen $24.96 Ganesha Mathialagan $225.00 The Thank You Gurudeva Fund
will be kept str~mg for many generations to come. Satyavati/Geogia Ann D' Antoni $138.00
Kamala Mootoosamy $24.69
Kanthasamy Pillaiyar
Pakion Vedee Raday
$110.00
$49.92
Swami Sahajananda $197.Q2
Anonymous $10.00
Krish & Devika Murugavel $138.00 Puvaneswary Roberts $225.00 Total $207.Q2
Sinnathamby Muthusally $64.80 Ramsamy Pillay Samoo $212.15
FUND OF THE MONTH Tirumular Sannidhi Preservation Trust
Suguneswary Ponniah $53.41 Siven Veerasamy $275.00
Puvaneswary Roberts $185.00 Small Gifts to Fund $66.00 Shyamadeva Dandapani $31.00
Some people wan\ -to form an endowment to support a' favorite temple or ashram, but they also Kevin Pillay Samoo $33.28 Total $1,423.05 Total $31.00
need income for their own retirement. They may not want to b~Gome involved in the process of Sarkunavathy Sockanathan $9.27 Kauai Aadheenam Monastic Endowment Trrunavakkarasu Nayanar Gurukulam End.
investing the funds, or they may want to rest assured that their spouse has a stable income even if S. Thiruselvan $56.77
Gunasekaran Kandasamy $50.78 Deva Seyon $3.85
OmkarTiku $52.00 Vernon Shabunia $10.00
they die. A pooled incomejund can provide an ideal sol1}tion. The individpal's donatio.!' is held in Kumaren Nataraja $8.31
Bhamar & Kanta Trivedi $50.00 Total $13.85
Hitesvara Saravan $50.00
trust by the First Ha,waiian Bank, contributions Priya Devi Utchanah $57.00
Dhasan Sivananda $25.46
Small Gifts to Fund $15.05 Total Recent Contrib. $17,525.19
are invested/ and the donor (and ~ or someone Total $966.86
Total $134.55
Total Endowments at Market Value
designated to succeed them) receives the Iraivan Temple Fund
Loving Ganesha Distribution Fund
As of May 31,1998 $2,514,425.13
Eric Mitchell $10.00
income fo~ the duration of their life. It ~s like a Anonymous $601.00
Stephen Sheehan $20.00
personal endowment! Upon their passing the
principal goes into one of the HHE endow-
ments; proVIding a permanent income for their INVESTMENT MANAGERS AND CONSULTANTS: Franklin Management Inc.; First Hawaiian 'Bank,
favorite temple or ashram. At;..right is the staff Trust & Investment Division; Brandes Investment Partners, Inc.; Pacific Century Trust (Bank of
of the First Hawaiian Bank trust and invest- Hawaii); Alvin G. Buchignani, Esq., attorney; and Nathan palani, CPA. HHE is'a member of the
ment department who are partnerirtg with Council on Foundations, an association of 1,500 foundatiohs which interprets relevant law, inter:-
HHE to manage and invest .the funds. Standing national and domestic, and gccounting, management and investment principles.
I. to r.: Frank G. Jahrling, Vice President, Anthony Goo,
Vice President, Bradford Harrison, Vice President. Seated:
-I WANT TO PARTICIPATE. WHERE SHOULD I SENo MY DONATION? You can send your gift to
Robert A. Aim, Senior Vice President'a~d Manager, Financial Management Group, Gail Maruyama, Administrativ.e Ass't.
, an existing fund, create a new endowment or request information through the address below.
" Credit card gifts may be made directly by E-inail. 0);, use the' HHE tear-out card in this magazine.
A PROFESSIONAL'S PERSPECTIVE: The Hindu Heritage Endowment Pooled Income Fund has
to join our family of benefactors who are Strengthening Hinduism Worldwide. Thank you.
been established to allow individuals to give generously and yet maintain their own income levels. -' .
The Pooled Income Fund combines the gifts of m.any< donors into one trust, HINDU HERITAGE ENDOWMENT
which is inve;ted and pays back to the donor (or one or two persons cl\os~n KAUAI'S HINDU MONASTERY
by him pr her) a percentage of the interest or dividends earned. It is common- 107 Kaholalele Road
ly used for donations of highly appreciated securities, producing a greater . Kapaa, Hawaji, 96746-9304 USA
flow of income without the burden' of taxes on long-term capital gains. At the Tel: (800) 890-1008, Ext. 235
beneficiary'S passirlg the gift is then given tp one @f the Hindu Heritage
Outside US: (808) 822-3152, Ext. 235
Endowment Funds, as designated by the donor. Nathan Palani, CPA for Hindu
Fax: (808) 822-4351
Heritage Endou;ment. For information, call1-SOS-S21-0294.
, E-mail: hhe@ijindu.org
As a public 'service, HHE occasionally will offer the opinions of var\ous finanGial planners. However, it endorses neither these advisor~ nor their
counsel, and recommends that all individuals seek P,fofesslOnal adVice from several sources before making unportant long-term declSlons. www.hindu.org/hhe/
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KUMBHA MELA puter. Professor at Mis- other independence
souri State University, he giants and watch movies
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ters in Haridwar, what witness the people who
IDN'T HAVE TIME happens at the festival, freed India. Tour the
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views right to your com- largest human gathering! A giant Mela structure for peiformingfire ceremonies gateway.

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