American author Mark Twain, after witnessing the 1895 Kumbha Mela in Allahabad


Our technological know-how is very well, but our ancients were understanding things much better. Something is there, something which I am not exactly knowing, something which is hidden; something which I may not be able to prove technically, but which I know to be there in my soul. Agra, India engineer A.K. Sharma, 48, reflecting during his pilgrimage to the 1998 kumbha mela on the delightful phenomenon of India's forging into the technological age while simultaneously maintaining ancient traditions, as witnessed by the mela's drawing twenty-five million?plus pilgrims.

As my own guru, Harry Cohen Baba, used to say, "If we stopped following the herd and followed the unheard for a change, the world would be a more peaceful place." Swami Beyondananda speaking of Pranava Aum, the soundless sound

It is the unfailing fall of rain that sustains the world. Therefore, look upon rain as the nectar of life. Tirukural, Verse 331

It's amazing. Here is the population of all of Israel! I was amazed that even in the cold of night, they kept going in the water. Israeli tourist Noam Zaradez, who came from Rishon-le-Ziyyon outside Tel Aviv to witness the kumbha mela at Haridwar

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

A minister in King Akbar's court hated Birbal. He couldn't understand why Akbar made such a fuss over a Hindu. Akbar said, "It's not because he is a Hindu that I have him here, but because he's so intelligent and helps me whenever I have a problem. I don't think there's a single problem that he can't solve or a single question he can't answer." "What exaggeration!" the minister thought. One day the minister said to Akbar, "If there is any question Birbal can't solve, will you make me prime minister?" Akbar laughingly agreed. The next day in court, the minister asked Birbal, "Tell me how many stars there are in the sky." Birbal requested ten minutes to think of an answer, left the court and returned with a goat. He said, "If the minister wants to know how many stars there are in the sky, he should count the number of hairs on this goat. That will give him the exact number."