I was fortunate enough to be at the last Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and could manage a holy dip early in the morning. When I returned to the hotel, I met a group of very enthusiastic Italian journalists who had come to cover the Kumbh. The excitement and enthusiasm in their eyes of meeting people who had achieved salvation and those who were on the path of salvation was apparent. They were excited and I was just smiling.
On the same evening, back at the hotel, I met the same group but this time a couple of them were bandaged in the head, one had a swollen eye and a plastered arm in a sling. I was still smiling but had to quickly hide it as soon as they saw me. Knowing well what would have happened, out of politeness, I still asked them the reason for their plight. One of them with extreme pain and questioning eyes told me, “A sadhu hit me. Why would he do that?” Very well knowing what would have happened I asked him if he had gone to a specific spot and did he meet a specific kind of a man and was he told not to click his picture and did he do it still. The reply to all of the above was one affirmative yes.
I explained to them that real sadhus do not meet people and do not talk about their experiences to people, least of all to journalists. It is only wannabes (people like me, at that time) who want to show off their half-baked knowledge who talk to media. Or the people who have no idea about yog and just want to sell their half-baked knowledge for monetary gains, name and fame, which is a route into maya and not by any chance an exit route for them or their students. A rare third variety are those people who have a message to give (not sell). So they would have got lucky to find a real sadhu who had no message to give! The second question was that how will a dip in the river wash off all the negative things that one does in his life. To which I replied, that I am still trying to find that out and would let them know once I did.
Today, when a student of mine asks me for permission to go for a dip, I only smile…for I know for sure that the only exit route from maya of this world, is by improving your karmas through service and charity and undoing all the negative which you have done in your life/lives, by aiding creation and helping all – men and animals.
But for moksh, the first step is your desire. Before you embark on a journey towards moksh, you must ask yourself that is it moksha that you want or in other words do you want to leave your money, business, family, friends, even your body. First the desire has to set in, and then the journey should be embarked upon.
Today, my present state could or could not be attributed to that dip. I leave it to your judgement…