Study of Spiritual Health Determinants in Indian Saints (Sadhus) at Ujjain Kumbh Mela (Simhast) 2016

  • Badrinarayan MishraEmail author
  • Anil Singh BaghelEmail author
  • Dattatray Paliwal
  • Dharampal Singh Chauhan
Original Paper


Spirituality is the oldest and most intrinsic health determinant. Unfortunately, it has surfed rough weather for a reasonable time. In spite of this chronic inattention, still in India we have established communes (saints) who thrive on spiritual living. Though they are an integral part to Indian society, their spiritual health and its determining factors are difficult to find. This study was to estimate the ‘spiritual score and rank’ of Indian saints and explore its psychological and social associates and predicates. Development of spirituality in Indian saints is practice oriented and multidimensional. This study was conducted in 2016–2017; data collection was done during Kumbh Mela (Simhasta) at Ujjain from 17th May to 16th June 2016. Spiritual health assessment was done by ‘spiritual assessment inventory’ (SAI), mental health by ‘GAINN-SS’ and pertinent social factors by self-designed pretested questionnaire. Descriptive, Chi-square, ANOVA and ordinal regression analysis were done by SPSS version 20. Data from 962 participants were analyzed. Their clan breakup stands at: 459 (47.7%) as Shiva followers/Shaviates, 251 (26.1%) Vishnu followers/Vaishnavites and 252 (26.2%) belonged to neutral/Sikhism clan. The mean age for participants was 54.6 years (SD ± 14.65), and mean spiritual score 165.18 (SD ± 10.78). 49.3% cases recorded a spiritual grade ≥ ‘good.’ Majority had formal education till 10th standard; 576 (60%) and 717 (74.5%) did not raise a family. Gurus (spiritual teachers) imparted spiritual training to 685 (71%), and Puranas (spiritual and moral scriptures) provided spiritual knowledge to 319 (33%). Worldly detachment was the objective in 249 (77%) for pursuance of spiritual life. Both Chi-square and ANOVA showed significant (p ≤ .05) associations of spirituality with participants hailing from spiritual (p ≤ .03) and religious (p ≤ .02) inclined families. Partisan from Vaishnavite clan (Akhada) demonstrated better grade (p ≤ .00). Self-motivated subjects under the guidance of Gurus recorded strong associations with spiritual scale. Role of family and friends was noticeable associates to spirituality. Attainment of nirvana and serving the society had notable spiritual associations. Ordinal regression analysis model also lends support (p < .05) to the clan factor, family background, role of religious and spiritual scriptures, motivation from self- and close quarters, objective of attainment of enlightenment and daily yogic and religious practices as notable factors with positive prediction potentials for spiritual growth. Like other health domain, spirituality has its own determinants which are intrinsic and interdependent. 49.3% of cases scoring spiritual grade ≥ ‘good’ need to be noted.


Spiritual score Psycho-social factors Indian saints Kumbh Mela (shimhast) 



We acknowledge the Research Grant (PSM/206/16) from UCTH (Ujjain Charitable Trust and Hospital). We thank all the participants for their time and patience. Our special thanks go to Dr V. K. Mahadik for sowing the seed for this daunting task. Dr. Sanjay Chaurasia needs special mention for his contribution in participant training and data collection and so on.

Author Contributions

BM conceptualized, designed and supervised the project, conducted training for the team, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript. AB provided valiant inputs to the project and edited the manuscript. DP and AB contributed to protocol development, health workers training and data collection. DC analyzed and interpreted data. BM and AB contributed equally to this paper there by qualifying as first authors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10943_2019_764_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineR D Gardi Medical CollegeUjjainIndia

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