Tomorrow is Mauni Amavasya, the most important day of bathing at the Kumbh Mela. According to official sources, more than three crore devotees are expected to take a dip at the sangam tomorrow, an administrative nightmare, for sure.
The day is also referred to as Maghi Amavasya, as it falls during the magh month of the Hindu calendar. Mauni refers to silence and Amavasya, refers to the first day of the new moon. Legend has it that this was the day, when the primordial couple, Manu and his wife Shatarupa (one with hundred beautiful forms), appeared on earth. Many refer Manu as Maharaja, or the great king while some refer him as rishi, or the sage. Manu is akin to Adam of Christianity. This is the same Manu, who was warned by Lord Vishnu of an impending flood, during the Matsaya avatar (This is Utkarsh Speaking: Vishnu's Dashavatar & Charles Darwin ...) and thus he is also referred to as the Hindu Noah, since god had chosen Manu to be saved along with the sapta-rishi, or the seven sages.
|Manu along with the Sapta-rishis being rescued by Matsya|
According to the epic Mahabharata, Manu was endowed with great wisdom. He was entrusted with the task of being the progenitor of the human race and his offspring are thus referred to as manus (mankind i.e. those who have manas, the ability to think). He is also supposed to have authored the Manav Dharma Shastra, or the Laws of Manu, better referred as Manu-smriti, a treatise which lays down the religious and social norms. The later Brahmins also ascribe the varna-pratha or the caste-system to Manu (This is Utkarsh Speaking: Caste System). However, some later day scholars have doubted this theory, questioning the logic of the progenitor prescribing one of his offspring to be inferior to others.
The most significant aspect of the day is the vow of silence, or maun-vrat. Silence has a special significance in all religions, be it Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity or Buddhism. Silence enables one to communicate with one’s own self. The external silence leads to an inner silence, a critical aspect of self-awareness or swadhyay. In modern times, modes of communication are a many, leading to non-stop talking. Man doesn’t get time to think and reflect. Silence creates this room for the much needed introspection and creates an awareness of one’s own thoughts. While we all know, that Silence is Golden, not many of us practice it. This day, enables one to reflect and introspect and seek the individual who is lost in a noisy world.
On a personal front, I have never kept silent, except when I am asleep or when I am left alone! While many around me would cherish the thought of a silent me, at least for a few hours, I might just try to maintain silence this time, on Mauni Amavasya, for want of an occasion to keep quiet! If nothing, it might enable my near ones to reflect on their own thoughts for a change!
Just to remind you, once again, tomorrow is Mauni Amavasya and may I add, it is also a Sunday!
Looking forward to a quieter world tomorrow!!