MAY 2013 ISSUE
by Zia Zeff
Media from all around the world came to cover the news on the day when more than 100 million people gathered to
bathe in the Sangam, where the Ganges meets the Yamuna and Saraswati rivers. This was a big show of naked
Naga babas, but what the world's media didn' t report on were the other happenings, big and small, that took place
during the other three months of the Mela.
I lived for one month in the desert islands that appear in the Ganges during the dry season. The Rainbow Camp
was the very last of the Mela on the Ganga river, lost and quiet, the first ever legal foreign camp. Away from the
immense crowds, non-stop racket of loudspeakers and lavishly ornamented ‘akharas’ at the Sangam, a secluded
spot on the banks of the Ganga bore witness to a gathering that added new universal colours to this Maha Kumbh
Celebrating a 'Rainbow Gathering,' around150 men and women - transcending continents, race, religion, region,
ethnicity, language and occupation - spent a month camping in tents and living like a 'Family' during this mega
event. The members considered themselves part of a universal Rainbow Family.
For the Babas the Maha Kumbh Mela is a unique occasion to meet colleagues that they haven't seen since the last
Mela, 12 years ago. It is a time to move from camp to camp to share moments, sing, dance, joke, smoke chillums
and share food. When this marginal Sadhu world met the free Rainbow souls a real friendship, a mutual
understanding of a similar way of living and a spiritual bond developed.
The magic of this Rainbow Maha Kumbha Mela was: how an illegal Iranian played chess with a naked Baba, how a
young Austrian girl fell in love with a Nepali Baba and wanted to marry him, a six year old Argentinian girl became
the mascot of all the Babas and won more than two thousand rupees in donations a day, how the military police
given to the Rainbow camp by the government ended up holding hands in the food circle celebration singing with
us, a silent Baba discovered his passion for football and flamenco with a group of latin American Rainbow brothers,
how a German bike fanatic shared his round India trip with a Sadhu who had done it all by foot, how Buddha, Allah,
Jesus or Krishna made peace holding hands singing all in one universal voice... These are just some of the stories
from this incredible meeting.
And even though Maha Kumbha Mela is now over, a long term connection has begun to form between the members
of the Rainbow Family. We are still all living together in Varanasi to celebrate the next great religious festival,
When the Rainbow hippies met the Sadhus in the biggest gathering on earth:
the Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.
Vladi is 2 years old. He has travelled all over India with his Russian mother.
Daduram baba dances and plays music with the rainbow brothers and sisters, He made himself a rainbow hat
because he felt so good with us!
Baba Naga, discovers football.
Shadow of the food circle at night.
Narayan baba on the other side of the river from the Kumbha Mela.
Two rainbow sisters (Bulgarian and Korean) in the tent of the women sadhus, getting prepared for the main bath in
Meera giri, the head of the sadhvis in Junna akhara praying and bathing in the sangam.
Yana (Austria) enjoying her bath with the mathaji sadhvis.
Jamuna Giri painting his forhead for a puja, a pray. He offered food and shelter to all the Rainbows the night of the
main bath. He is a young sadhu from Kashmir.
Ila (Argentina), 6 years old, lives in India with her mother Crystal. Ila became the mascot of all the babas during the
Love heart and Ila.
The babas loved playing with Vladi.
Fantuzzi (USA - Porto Rico famous singer troubadour), Michael (France) and Carol (Spain) singing flamenco in a
tent under the storm in the rainbow camp.
The rainbows hugging Daduram baba.
Food circle celebration.