On the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, pilgrims from more than 12 countries came together under the leadership of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, and Founder, Ganga Action Parivar and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, to have a bath in the sangam of Prayag Raj, to begin the 2019 Kumbh Mela.
According to a press release, on the day of the first official Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela before going to the sangam for the snan, Swamiji led the pilgrims and yatris in a clean-up program on the banks of the River Ganga to emphasize the beginning of Swachh Kumbh.
Swamiji reminded all of the pilgrims that before bathing in the Ganga, they must bathe the banks of the Ganga.
Following the inspiring clean-up, Swamiji led the pilgrims to the sacred sangam for a bath in the holy waters, saying, “Kumbh is not an external exhibition, but is for internal Self discovery. If we want to take care of our future, our culture and nature need to go hand in hand.”
Sadhvi Bhagawatiji also shared her thoughts about the significance of Makar Sankranti.
“On Makar Sankranti we welcome the sun’s return to the northern hemisphere. As we welcome the sun (Surya) back to our cities, countries and our hemisphere, let’s not only be grateful for the return of the light and warmth of the external sun, but let us also remember to welcome our own internal light back,” she is quoted saying in a press release.
“So many of us live in darkness — darkness of ego, ignorance, anger and separation. On this day let us welcome back the light of our true divine Selves. As you have your sacred dip (snan) in the sangam, it is an opportunity to bathe in the Divinity of your True Self,” she added.
The Ganga Action Parivar, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Parmarth Niketan will be hosting an eco-friendly camp in the Kumbh Mela at Prayag Raj, Uttar Pradesh, from January 14 to February 24. at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers.
The camp will be led by Swamiji and will carry the messages of ‘Culture, Nature, and Future’.