Simhastha Kumbh 2016 : Revival of the ‘Thinking’ Tradition
Simhastha Kumbh 2016 has acquired a unique significance as it was first such attempt to revitalise the tradition of brainstorming of religious festival of Kumbh in the recent centuries. Not only the religious giants but leading thinkers from various countries cutting across different walks of life also contributed to the intellectual churning
Mahesh Sharma from Ujjain
In Ujjain, the Kumbh city of Madhya Pradesh (MP), the ancient tradition of thinking was revived with the historical organisation of International Vichar Mahakumbh (Mega Intellectual Conglomeration). The gigantic event organised from May 12 to 14, 2016 at Ninora village on the Indore Road revived the ancient intellectual tradition of Kumbh. The programme was inaugurated by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in the presence of Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Avadheshanand Giri of Juna Akhara and Dr Pranav Pandya of Gayatri Parivar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the concluding ceremony with the President of Sri Lanka Shri Maitripal Sirisena.
The traditions of Rishis (Sages) and Krishi (agriculture) have close connection with each other in Bharat. Unfortunately, with excessive use of chemicals and fertilisers, we are flowing poison instead of nectar in our food. Kumbh is associated with a drop of nectar resulting out of churning. Therefore, thinking on sustainable agriculture was an inherent constituent of thinking process in this Mahakumbh. Productivity of soil, its structures and conservation and ways to protect its erosion were the core considerations of this deliberation. The already established fact that blind and disproportionate use of pesticides has infused poison in the earth and our food grains was specially underscored in the discussion. To deal with this menace, experts provided an insightful roadmap for organic, natural, non-exploitative and spiritual farming that was propagated by our ancient sages.
This Kumbh acquired a unique significance as it was first such attempt to revitalise the tradition of brainstorming of religious festival of Kumbh in the recent centuries. Not only the religious giants but leading thinkers from various countries cutting across different walks of life also contributed to the intellectual churning. The core theme of this effort was ‘The Right Way of Living’. Experts from different fields presented their views on a range of subjects revolving around this theme. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister of the state and host of the event, said, “The core concern of the Kumbh is ‘Collective Thinking’. Welfare of the State under the guidance of Sages is the prime objective.” Getting inspiration from Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Chief Minister declared the organisation of this intellectual convention on August 15, 2014. That very day the State government decided to rekindle ancient tradition of intellectual churning of socio-religious leaders on the contemporary issues pertaining to human life. In all, four conferences were organised by the government in this series. This mega event was the concluding part of this series. After wide consultations Agricultural Tradition in lines with the Rishi Parampara (the tradition of sages), tradition of rural and cottage industry, women empowerment, cleanliness of rivers and climate change were decided as the sub-themes of this international symposium.
Universal Declaration of the Simhastha
51 point formula for the ‘Right’ Way of Life was adopted as the guiding principles after churning at the International Vaicharik Mahakumb. Here are some key pointers of the resolution:
On the basis of earlier interaction and after the consultations on the four themes of the event a 51 point Universal Declaration was released as the outcome of the conference. Chairman of the Organising Committee and a member of Rajya Sabha Shri Anil Dave said, “This is being resolved that the conclusive Universal Declaration should not remain on paper but should be executed in right spirit. Not only in other states of Bharat but this message will be conveyed in the United Nations also.”
In the inaugural session itself it was underscored that the execution part would not be neglected. Insisting on this aspect Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat said, “We need to think on the basis of both, spirituality and science. Mere thinking is not sufficient but we have to act in accordance with that thinking. Intellectual wisdom is useless unless it is brought in practice. The thought which cannot be executed, never gets the legitimacy.” Keeping this in mind, Chief Minister Chouhan declared immediate follow up on many of the 51 points accepted in the convention. Declaring special drive to plant 10 crore fruit bearing trees for which government will compensate the farmers till those trees bear the fruits. This drive will commence from Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi (11th Lunar Day of Kartik month of Hindu calendar which falls on November 10 this year) from the shores of Narmada river in Amarkantak and will continue on the shores of all the rivers. In fact, Swami Avadheshanand Giri in the inaugural session and Swami Chidanand Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan in the session on Cleanliness of Rivers underlined the need for plantation on the riversides to ensure consistent flow of water through the rivers. Avadheshanandji clarified that river like the Ganga originates in the glacier but rivers like Shipra can survive only with trees and lakes. To protect them we need to make large scale plantation on the riversides.
In these three days, more than 850 intellectuals from all parts of the world reflected in depth on various sub-themes in parallel sessions.
Sri Lankan President participated in the valedictory function. At the same time the Leader of Opposition in Sri Lankan Parliament R Sampanthan also registered his presence in the Kumbh. From Nepal Minister Mahant Thakur, former Minister and Member of Parliament Khilraj Regmi, from Malaysia Deputy Minister Dr Loga Pala Mohan and Information and Broadcasting Minister of Bhutan DA Dhungyel expressed their views in the convention while appreciating the initiative.
On the second day of the event, Yog Guru Baba Ramdev and Sarkaryavah of RSS Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi participated in the discussion along with environmental activists Vandana Shiva and Jaya Jethaly known for their activism in cottage industry. On the final day, Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Sumitra Mahajan presented her views on the balanced life. In the concluding session, Prime Minster Modi reiterated that climate change is the biggest global challenge of the present times and presented various initiatives by the government on environment and women empowerment. While highlighting the significance of Bharatiya Values of Leading a meaningful life, he also stressed the need for changing with the time with due deliberations. He examplified by quoting that Upanishads were evolved in the light of Vedas while Shrutis and Smritis came into existence in the continuation of Upanishads. Now we need to address the present concerns in the light of Shrutis and Smritis with required amendments. Appreciating the organisation of the Simhasth, he insisted that it should constitute a part of research for students. CMs of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand Dr Raman Singh and Raghuvar Das, Governor of Goa Smt Mridula Sinha and Union Ministers Narendra Tomar and Thavar Chand Gehlot also participated in the event.
From Cleanliness to Security
In the history of Kumbh, for the first time the representatives of different sects came together to bring in ‘cleanliness revolution’. In the convention organised by Swami Avadheshanand Giri, the religious leaders called people to stand up and make Bharat a model for cleanliness.