Allahabad, India

Rudraksh Baba 

In faith, a young man showers himself with prayers beads strung from the seeds of the rudraksha tree.  Covered in ash, he represents that all is temporary, that each of us returns ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  He dons a crown of marigold and is one of the untold millions that made the journey to the Maha Kumbh Mela of 2013.   After visiting in 1895, Mark Twain penned, “It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.”