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Magazine Web Edition > July/August/September 2013 > Voices of the Saints: Haridwar and Prayag
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Voices of the Saints

HARIDWAR

“Divine and Spiritual Souls Here”

IAM THE CHIEF MAHANT OF THE AKHARA for the Purab Pangat, Assembly of the East. We have four mahants, one for each direction. Ours is a Vaishnav akhara. We have over ten thousand saints. We organize free kitchens, promote vegetarianism and run Sanskrit schools. Here at the mela we are feeding seven thousand people a day. Udasin means indifference. We are living in the world, yet we are indifferent to worldly things.

Value of Religious Company

Not only our Indians, but all the people of the world should come in touch with the divine and spiritual souls here from whom they can get good sanskars (cultural and religious impressions). When you spend time in the company of realized spiritual masters and get positive thoughts and messages from them, then you will also do good things in society. If you do not come in touch with holy people, then how can your thoughts be good? Just being in their company is not sufficient; you must also follow the good path that they show you. By visiting the Kumbh Mela you get four advantages: having the darshan of saints, being in their divine company, donating at such a pious occasion and meeting so many other pilgrims.

Youth

Our youth have to be connected to the world through the Internet; if they are not, they will lag behind. There is no harm in it. When nature changes, how can you can keep yourself unchanged? If our children do not learn to operate computers, they will not be able to work. True, the life of our youth is a bit disturbed due to the night shifts in the information technology industry. However, so far as worshiping of God is concerned, one can remember God when one is traveling, walking or even lying down. A change in the life style should not affect the remembrance of God. If we cannot go to the temple, we can do puja using our mind. We can even offer the best and costliest things we wish to, mentally. Mental worship has the same significance as physical worship.

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Mukhiya Mahant Shri Dharam Das of Shri Panchayati Akhara Naya Udasin Nirvan at his camp with fellow monks
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PRAYAG

“Children Lack Energy”

IN ANCIENT TIMES THE NECTAR fell out of the war that was held between the good forces and evil forces, and the benefit of that nectar is being made available to humanity even today. There are people who have doubts about everything and raise questions about everything. We do not want to enter into an argument, as we are people who worship stones, cows, trees and rivers. They are all treated by us as our Gods. So we do not feel that we have an argument with anyone about our devatas. Ours is a unique culture, and we are very happy to be a part of it.

At this auspicious time of the mela, the first God to be available is Lord Surya. Then comes Lord Brihaspati and then Lord Chandra. Surya (the Sun) is the symbol of energy and power. Brahaspati (Jupiter) is a symbol of knowledge and renunciation. Chandra (the Moon) is a symbol of the nectar. The rays of the Sun fall on Jupiter and Jupiter’s renunciation falls on Moon—that is the moment which comes once in twelve years and is called Purna Kumbh Mela. It is to enjoy this moment that not only people from India and abroad but even the rishis who stay in the mountain caves come here. After having a bath in this confluence of three rivers, Triveni, they feel blessed and extremely fortunate. Once in a lifetime one must experience Kumbh, and especially bring the children along so that our culture and our dharma continues to be like this forever.

Vegetarianism

Often I tell the youth why they should be vegetarians. Sometimes they do not know the difference between a vegetarian and nonvegetarian diet, because they do not know that we have to kill animals to have meat. When I tell them animals are killed for them to eat, they become remorseful and promise me that from then onwards they will never eat meat. Our Gods and our rishis created 56 types of food made out of vegetables. After eating a particular dish, we should only eat it again after two months. So many flavors and varieties of food exist only in our cuisine.

Brahmacharya

It is that power through which one can achieve anything that one wants in one’s life. Today children lack energy. Their faces are sad, their eyes are weak and their hair is falling out. They do not have good thoughts coming to them, and that is the reason they are frustrated and not at peace with themselves. They are living at such a fast pace that their worldly life is becoming a hell. If you ask them, they say they are just surviving and not living happily.

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Swami Ananda Giri, administrator of the famed Lete Bade Hanuman Mandir at Sangam
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