By Mayank Gandhi
The western scientists, philosophers, planners, politicians, medical men and researchers have been instrumental in huge strides for mankind, especially in European and American countries for the last few centuries. These are outwardly organizing structures. But just external development is incomplete. People in western society are suffering loneliness, dissatisfaction and are searching for answers to bigger questions.
The other method which is more powerful is of sourcing knowledge by diving deeper into one’s self and through deep study and introspection creating technology and processes to enrich existence. This is called the Indian knowledge system (IKS). While the search, results and documentation of this IKS has been present since thousands of years, it is only now that the philosophy and the usage of some of these IKS like meditation, yoga, ayurveda etc is being recognised and followed by the world. This evolving philosophy, science and knowledge has been documented by various wise men over a period of time. Not centred on one person or one period.
Modern westernised indians look sceptically at various processes like tantra, mantra and yantra. These processes have been deeply researched and the powerful energy enhancing techniques have been masked as rituals to make it popular and easy-to-use. Like throwing the baby with the bath water. Different paths towards self-realization have been intelligently structured depending on the inclination of a seeker whether meditation, devotion, sewa or Knowledge.
In this kumbh, was fortunate to meet some of the leadership of the hindu religious organizations that has been operating with great effectiveness for over 800 years- with its myriad and other institutions. They have their own rules and policies that have been operating since over 800 years extremely successfully. These policies are well defined, all-encompassing, just and constantly evolving. It is this organization that has enabled the Hindu worldview to withstand and sustain various aggressions by foreign invaders and served the religion equally well during monarchy, foreign rule and now western democracy.
People of different beliefs, different castes and gender are part of the leadership. Its principles of collective leadership, conflict-resolving, consensual and collaborative decision making process was truly impressive.The kumbh has been designed to be a regular meeting place of various branches of these organizations, seekers from all over the world (some of them come out of their abodes in the Himalayas) and the lay people in demarcated places during times when the planetary position is at its most powerful.
In the kumbh mela, you may find some of the greatest rishis (the scientists), saffron – clad seekers of truth (sadhus) who have left everything for the ultimate search, the warriors (Naga sadhus – who stay naked even in the biting cold), some God-touched souls, researchers in different aspects of life. These are the true astronauts who are trying to stretch the boundaries of humanity.
This is a different world- a world of seekers for self-realization, a world of people in search of the Truth, a world focusing as much on science, validation and facts as the western world-but with a more holistic and integrated approach. But, for that, one has to look beyond the dust, the noise, the chaos, the fake, the charlatans. One has to look deeper – beyond the apparent/superficial to the subtle to the causal.
This kumbh, I pray that there should be a synthesis between both worlds – the western and indian. That would be mutually enriching and could transform humanity.