Thursday, February 01, 2007


The Ardh Kumbh in Allahabad reflects the changing face of spiritualism in the country – it's a confluence of the new and the old with spiritual gurus who are also moving with the times.

The Chairman of ISKCON at the Kumbh mela, Sarva Bhaum Das, who hails from Pakistan and is a doctor by profession, has a healing touch which has touched many a devotees lives.

"Teacher, preacher and healer are close to God and as a doctor I am treating patients and as a preacher helping in their spiritual healing as well. There is a holistic approach to healing," says Das.

While Das follows his holistic approach there are others like Narayan Swamy, who have given the term management guru a new connotation altogether.

This young IT professional from Mumbai has degrees in management and public relations. He is now working as a manager at the Kumbh Mela and says the Indian sadhu has gone global.

"A lot of sadhus are going to foreign countries to impart India's traditional values to the large number of Indians staying there," says Swamy.

Sadhus using laptops and other gizmos have now become a regular feature at the Ardh Kumbh. It's no longer just about sages in quest of spiritual enlightenment; the Kumbh has now evolved into an organised and well-managed brand.

"There are many departments here such as 'inquiry', 'housekeeping', 'accommadation' and all need to be looked after and accounted for,” says head of the Juna Akhada, Swami Avdeshanand.

If naga sadhus live in caves, there is another band of evolving sadhus who are modern and global and it is perhaps these extremes, which deepen the mystery of Indian spirituality.


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