The Kumbh festival starts tomorrow in Allahabad, India. Stretching over 56 days, 100 million pilgrims are expected to visit Allahabad to take a dip in the holy waters of Sangam, which is the confluence of river Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. It is the largest religious gathering in the world. For those unaware, the Kumbh mela (mela means festival or fair in Hindi) is an Indian festival held once every 12 years. Legend has it when gods were fighting demons for the nectar of immortality; a few drops fell in some places where Kumbh Mela is held now – Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.
So every few years, millions of believers from across the continent swarm these places in the hope to be freed from the vicious cycle of life and death by taking a dip in the holy waters. Nothing deters them from entering into one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Such is their faith. This brings me to a very important question. Why do we hope? Why do we try to maintain our grasp on what is already slipping through our fingers?
We are weak beings. We long and therefore we aspire. All those things that we don’t have or that we are not; we want to achieve and we want to be. Even if one is happy (that being seldom the case); we want to be happier. Hope gives us that motivation. It is preordained in our nature. It gives us value; it gives us comfort and direction. It gives us strength. I am not saying it is a bad thing; instead it is a good and logical thing.
Hope suggests a future. Without a future there is no progress and we all like progress. Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption was not wrong in saying “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing…”.
Photo Courtsey: Wikipedia