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Seeking Grace at World's Largest Gathering

The Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering on earth. During its last celebration in 2013, it was conservatively estimated that around ten million people gathered in Northern India. The Kumbh Mela (or the "pitcher fair") takes place every four years. In 2013, the festival was called the Maha (meaning "Super") Kumbh Mela, which happens only once every 144 years. It is estimated that this Kumbh cost around 210 million dollars whiled generating approximately ten times that amount in revenue.

Hindu tradition says that there was a war between the gods and the demons over divine nectar, and in the process, four drops of nectar fell from the pitcher. These fell on four different locations, which overlap the cities where the Kumbh is held. One of those drops fell at Haridwar where the river Ganges flows, while another fell at the Sangam. The Sangam is the confluence of three rivers—the Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythological river Saraswati. The other two drops fell at Kshipra in Ujjain and Godawari. A dip in these rivers on auspicious dates during the Kumbh is said to rid pilgrims of their sins.

Anyone who reads the newspaper and honestly reflects on it is hard-pressed to deny the reality and universality of sin. Through the ages, humans have tried to rid themselves of sin and its consequences. Religious rituals, idols, journeys, and sacrifices have all tried to assuage and comfort the sinner's heart, but have been found wanting … In the Christian religion, grace that is made available through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the very fount which offers release from the burden of sin and restores our relationship with God … Thus, we can confess Jesus as Lord anytime, anywhere, and we will be saved! It makes one gasp in wonder at the overarching simplicity and compelling elegance of this very good news.

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