“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.” Jalaluddin Rumi.
Hot of the press my new YouTube dedicated to all great Teachers of Truth. Like Rumi says, come, come, come whoever you are, come! Life is short and there’s so much to learn about love. So Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come! (I like that. 😉 ) eve
In 1976 the poet Robert Bly handed Coleman Barks a copy of Cambridge don AJ Arberry’s translation of Rumi and said, “These poems need to be released from their cages.” Barks transformed them from stiff academic language into American-style free verse. Since then, Barks’ translations have yielded 22 volumes in 33 years, including The Essential Rumi, A Year with Rumi, Rumi: The Big Red Book and Rumi’s father’s spiritual diary, The Drowned Book, all published by HarperOne. They have sold more than 2m copies worldwide and have been translated into 23 languages.
A new volume is due in autumn. Rumi: Soul-fury and Kindness, the Friendship of Rumi and Shams Tabriz features Barks’ new translations of Rumi’s short poems (rubai), and some work on the Notebooks of Shams Tabriz, sometimes called The Sayings of Shams Tabriz. “Like the Sayings of Jesus (The Gospel of Thomas), they have been hidden away for centuries,” Barks notes, “not in a red urn buried in Egypt, but in the dervish communities and libraries of Turkey and Iran. Over recent years scholars have begun to organise them and translate them into English.”
800 years ahead of the times
“Just now,” Barks says, “I feel there is a strong global movement, an impulse that wants to dissolve the boundaries that religions have put up and end the sectarian violence. It is said that people of all religions came to Rumi’s funeral in 1273. Because, they said, he deepens our faith wherever we are. This is a powerful element in his appeal now.”
“Rumi was an experimental innovator among the Persian poets and he was a Sufi master,” says Jawid Mojaddedi, a scholar of early and medieval Sufism at Rutgers University and an award-winning Rumi translator. “This combination of mystical richness and bold adaptations of poetic forms is the key to his popularity today.”
Happy to present facts on this most important Maha Kumbh Mela. Being a keen photographer myself, the photographs I find are pretty amazing… I thought you folks would also enjoy them. This was not an easy post to put together due to so many photos but worth the time, I feel….
Originally, the demigods had lost their strength from the curse of Durväsä Muni. To regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, who directed all the demigods to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu. After prayers to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (the primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita, the nectar of immortality. So they made a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras demons, to work together with a promise to share the wealth equally. However, when the Kumbha (urn or jar) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights, the equivalent to twelve human years, the gods and demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu flew away with the Kumbha of elixir but spilling drops of amrita at four locations: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.
Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign of Leo – Simha Rashi, it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik. When the sun is in Aries – Mesha Rashi, it is celebrated at Haridwar. When Jupiter is in Taurus – Vrishabha Rashi, and the sun is in Capricorn – Makar Rashi, the Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and when Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio – Vrishchik Rashi, the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain.
Each site’s celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter
This festival has been held on the banks of the Ganges for thousands of years.
The event, held every 12 years, is billed as the biggest gathering on Earth. More than 100 million people are expected to attend the 55-day festival.
The 2013 gathering is a Maha Kumbh and this only happens after 12 purna kumbhs or about every 144 years – and it is always held at Allahabad. Hence this year’s festival is known as a Maha Kumbh and will last for 55 days, a period of time determined by an astrological calculation described above.
Preparing For Millions
On Sunday night, smoke could be seen rising from hundreds of small fires which people had built to cook dinner or keep warm.
Monday 14 January,2013
The festival formally started at dawn and all roads leading to the Kumbh Mela grounds are now packed with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Here is a run-down on this morning’s events :
05:17 IST (23:47 GMT)
At 5am, Sangam is a hub of frantic activity. Thousands of pilgrims have already taken a dip in the holy waters, thousands are lining up for their turn and thousands more are walking towards the river front.
The air here smells smoky from all the fires which people have burned overnight to stay warm.
There is a chill in the air this morning as holy men sprint into the waters in Allahabad, but the day dawned warmer than in recent weeks when a cold snap hit northern India.
06:44 IST (01:14 GMT)
Sadhus on the banks of the river shout “Try it for yourself!”
The first group of Naga sadhus (ascetics) arrived in a colourful procession. Led by naked ash-smeared men with marigold garlands around their necks, they sprinted into the chilly waters of Sangam.
Dip over, some came and stood before us rubbing coarse river sand on their bodies.
I was able to ask an old sadhu if he felt the cold. “Not at all” he said and handed me some sand: “Try it for yourself!”
07:33 IST (02:03 GMT)
The sadhus from the Niranjani akhara (camp) arrive in a huge procession.
The naked ash-smeared men arrived in a colourful procession and waded into the chilly waters of Sangam – the point at which the rivers converge.
The sadhus have been leading processions accompanied by elephants, camels, horses, chariots and music bands in recent days.
Although the sky is still dark, the bathing ghats are lit up with thousands of electric bulbs.
The group of several hundred naked ascetics, has a reputation for being rather unfriendly and they are accompanied by the elite commandos of the RAF (rapid action force). The pesky journalists and tourists are reined in behind police lines “for your own protection,” we are told.
The group takes 45 minutes to bathe after which they are escorted out by the RAF troops.
08:56 IST (03:26 GMT)
As waves of naked ash-smeared ascetics continue to arrive and sprint towards the river, thousands of bathers in nearby enclosures watch in awe.
One sadhu, with long matted hair, stops and does a joyous jig for the furiously clicking cameras.
Women Ascetics Also Take Part in the Kumbh Mela
In a departure from tradition, a large number of women ascetics have also come for a bath at Sangam. Dressed in bright saffron-coloured saris and robes, they seemed to be enjoying all the attention. Some laughed and chatted amongst themselves, some even posed for pictures.
Meanwhile, in the next enclosure, thousands of ordinary pilgrims – men and women, old and young – are moving in orderly lines for their bathing rituals.
11:00 IST (05:30 GMT)
The crowd management at the river front so far has been impressive.
As soon as pilgrims finish bathing, they are encouraged to move away and make space for other bathers.
Away from the river front, the mela area is bustling with small roadside vendors selling tea, sweets, colourful photographs of Hindu deities and small round white candies generally offered at the temple altar.
Pilgrims Give Alms to Children Dressed as Hindu Gods
On one street, several toddlers dressed as Hindu deities sit by the roadside as many passing pilgrims hand them coins.
“Their parents are very clever,” an old man tells me, “for who can refuse alms to a pretty child dressed as a god or goddess?”
Several million people have been bathing at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers at Allahabad in India, on this opening day of the Kumbh Mela festival with at least 10 million pilgrims set to do so by the end of today.
Police estimated that, by late afternoon, about 7.5 million people had bathed. They also say that the festival is expected to draw over a million foreign tourists.
For festival-goers, one of the most memorable spectacles of the day was when the Naga sadhus, or ascetics, sprinted into the river reciting religious chants, many clad only in marigold garlands.
Visitors: 80-100 million
Number of days: 55
Area: 20 sq km (4,932 acres)
Drinking water: 80 million litres
Fourteen temporary hospitals have been set up with 243 doctors deployed round-the-clock, and more than 35,000 toilets have been built for the pilgrims.
Dakshinamurthy taught His disciples by His silence. Yes, what He did was to make the disciples rely on their own intelligence. Do not demean your talents, when you dive deep into yourselves, you can discover the source of all strength. (Sathya Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. 4 p. 155)
Many true seekers visit Sathya Sai Baba but he does not speak to them often. In the case of some devotees, he speaks not at all! Those seekers can visit year after years and yet never receive an interview or even a word at darshan. Why is it so? The truth is that physical speech is on a lower level of communication. According to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, no words are necessary. Words reduce, limit, harden, take away the subtleness and true strength – the life of the true teaching. Here is a sweet story about the importance of silence from Sai Baba.
SILENCE IS THE TRUE SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTION
Once a devotee came to visit Bagawan Sai Baba and said that the great Sages of the past had travelled extensively preaching the Truth and thus had served the world at large. Similarly, if Bhagavan were to travel thus it would be beneficial to many. Smilingly, Bhagawan replied, that His being settled in one place is also beneficial and narrated the following story.
“Brahma, the Lord of Creation, once lost interest in the work of creation and thought of taking to a life of tapas (penance). So, out of his mind he created Sanaka, Sanatkumaru, Sanandana and Sanatsujata, with the intention to hand over to them his job in the course of time. They grew up and mastered all of the branches of study. Brahma then decided to hand over to them his job and to retire. Sage Narada came to know of his father’s intention. Since Narada knew that his brothers were full of dispassion and fit to be initiated into the path of Self-knowledge, he decided to warn them beforehand of Brahma’s intention. On hearing this, the four brothers, who had no intention to follow the path of action, left home in search of a Guru without informing their father. They all proceeded to Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu. There they saw Lakshmi sitting on Vishnu’s couch massaging His feet. On seeing this, they thought, “How can this family man bound by the intimate glance of his consort render us any help in learning adhyatma-vidya (Knowledge of the Self). Look at the splendour of this palace and this city! This is enough. Let us seek the help of Lord Siva”.
Lord Siva, who was in Kailas with His family, knew beforehand about their coming and understood their plight. He was sure that they would be disappointed on seeing him with a family, so taking pity on them, He decided to impart spiritual knowledge to them. The kind-hearted Lord, left Mount Kailas and taking the youthful form of Dakshinamurti, seated Himself with Chinmudra (lotus position), under a Banyan tree on the Northern side of Lake Manasarovar, just on the way by which these disappointed devotees were returning to their respective homes.
When they came and sat before Him, He went into samadhi (Absorption in the self). He was in Perfect Repose. Silence prevailed. They saw Him. The effect was immediate. They fell into samadhi and their doubts were cleared.
Silence is the true upadesa. It is the perfect upadesa. It is suited only for the most advanced. Others are unable to draw full inspiration from it. Therefore they require words to explain the Truth. But Truth is beyond words. It does not admit or explain. It merely indicates the truth through self-discovery.”
-story told to devotees by Shri Sai Baba
“The highest form of grace is silence. It is also the highest upadesa (teaching).”
-Sri Ramana Maharshi
Question: Can the Guru’s silence really bring about advanced states of spiritual awareness?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: There is an old story, which demonstrates the power of the Guru’s silence. Tattvaraya composed a Bharani, a kind of poetic composition in Tamil, in honour of his Guru Swarupananda, and convened an assembly of learned Pandits (pundits) to hear the work and assess its value. The Pandits raised the objection that a Bharani was only composed in honour of great heroes capable of killing a thousand elephants in battle and that it was not in order to compose such a work in honour of an ascetic.
Thereupon the author said, “Let us all go to my Guru and we shall have this matter settled there.”
They went to the Guru and, after they had all taken their seats, the author told his Guru the purpose of their visit. The Guru sat silent and all the others also remained in mouna (silence). The whole day passed, the night came, and some more days and nights, and yet all sat there silently, no thought at all occurring to any of them and nobody thinking or asking why they had come there. After three or four days like this, the Guru moved his mind a bit, and the people assembled immediately regained their thought activity. They then declared, ‘Conquering a thousand elephants is nothing beside this Guru’s power to conquer the rutting elephants of all our egos put together. So certainly he deserves the Bharani in his honour!
Question: How does this silent power work?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Language is only a medium for communicating one’s thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise. Other thoughts arise after the “I”-thought rises and so the “I”-thought is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.
Silence is ever speaking. It is a perennial flow of language, which is interrupted by speaking. These words I am speaking obstruct that mute language. For example, there is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.
What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known instantly in silence, or in front of silence. Dakshinamurti and his four disciples are a good example of this. This is the highest and most effective language.
To read more about the importance of silent teachings: