Hindustan, where we stopped to rest our tired caravan, Hindustan, where the painted peacock spread his fan, Hindustan, where the purple sunbird flashed across the sand, Hindustan, where I met her and the world began.
I was a little kid about eight years old when I played the song “Hindustan” in a recital. My music had the words of the chorus and I tried imagining this far off land of caravans and sand. I remember looking up the word in my Britannica Jr. Encyclopedia and it said “another word for India.” It meant “Land of the Hindus.”
This ancient religion, probably the oldest on earth, dates back to 5500 BCE. Many sects, cultures and movements sprang up over the centuries and over one billion people are Hindus.
This week the largest-ever gathering of people on earth in one place has started. Over 100 million Hindus will meet in one place to bathe in sacred waters for purification. This pilgrimage, called Kumbh Mela (kum me la) takes place every four years. It’s like the Olympics of sacred bathing.
There are four different sites that alternate every four years. Can you imagine one hundred million people gathering in one place?
I think a lot of you read over that number and didn’t think deeply enough. Let me arrange our own USA gathering to match Kumbh Mela. Let’s keep it mostly the western USA and we’ll meet to bathe together in the Colorado river where it meets Lake Mead on the Arizona/Nevada border. To match the number meeting this week in India, we will need every man, woman and child from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas and Texas. Bring you guitars, clothes optional. Some of you stronger guys can help build the pontoon bridges.