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Volunteering through Devotion: India’s Purna Kumbh Mela Celebration

Volunteering through Devotion: India’s Purna Kumbh Mela Celebration

While living in India, Israeli citizen Yael Caplin experienced the Purna Kumbh Mela - a remarkable religious gathering that takes place in Haridwar, where the Ganges enters the Northern plains of India from the Himalayas.  Every 12 years, from mid-January to the end of April, the city turns into what some believe is the world’s largest religious congregation. It is estimated that a total of 40 million pilgrims bathed in the Ganges at Haridwar during the three-month celebration in 2010.

Apart from the sheer magnitude of the event, the Purna Kumbh Meia is an extraordinary example of volunteers in action. In this article, Caplin shares her personal observations as she describes the unique volunteering experience she witnessed.

To read the full article

Fri, 02/03/2012
I very much enjoyed the article; it sounds like an incredible undertaking. I am not sure that faith based organizations don't do exactly what you suggest- the volunteers have a big event and return all fired up to do more - for their faith organization. I am not sure the Olympics is the same thing as the event described here. The volunteers here are part of a spiritual organization and the event is a spiritual event. It is my understanding that people volunteer for the Olympics and other major civic events for different reasons than to be near their spiritual teacher. And who knows that the people who volunteered for the Olympics aren't volunteering more in some capacity in their lives because of their experience? Who can say that the volunteer energy isn't captured after an event just because our culture doesn't have a structure for enrolling people and tracking them as volunteers for life? I'm not sure if we want one, do we?