February 8, 2013
Kumbh Mela
Allahabad, India

I haven't written for several days now, primarily because of the sheer level of participation in many auspicious events.  There have been too many for me to share fully, but I will touch on just a few to give you a flavor of what it's like to be me at this time and in this place.

I'd like to begin by saying that I have been treated here in India with the upmost respect, and that I have not only been granted the recognition of being a spiritual leader in my own tradition, but have also been accepted as, and included with, the Saints in the Hindu traditions.  I have been given the name "Divine Patrick", by the Saints and Gurus here in India, and am also referred to simply as Babaji.  This is not simply an interfaith gathering like the Parliament of the Worlds Religions, or NAIN, or other similar events where spiritual leaders from different traditions get together and meet and talk.   Rather, this is a gathering of India's most revered spiritual leaders, and I have the tremendous honor and also the weighty responsibility of now being one of them. 

It's hard to describe the feelings that  being in this esteemed company conveys, but I will say that my last three weeks in India have been unlike any other I have ever experienced.

This morning I had the unique experience of being fed for the first time along with other Saints and Sadhus here at a huge gathering.  I was given gifts and money while I ate, which seems to be the Hindu way of honoring us, and many touched my feet and were given blessings. 

Since my initial experience of this particular ritual, I have been invited by a number of the Kumbh's other Swamis to also share in their hospitality, and have been warmly welcomed by all.

It is a special treat to be able to sit up in front with the other Swamis at all of these huge events, and I have gotten to know many of them and been invited to many of their ashrams all over the world.

We traveled from our camp earlier today by bus, about 1/2 hour away across the Kumbh Mela with a police escort and I really got to fully appreciate the sheer size and diversity of this gathering.  There are full size ornate temples made of temporary materials, constructed just for the Kumbh Mela.  Some have huge carved pillars supporting story after story of layered tiers, and many have space inside for thousands of devotees.  One temple I visited was supported by giant carved elephants, with the temple literally balanced on their backs.  And another had actual live elephants inside, and a golden chariot drawn by live horses.  The grandure and beauty of many of these structures is hard to convey, and one needs to actually see them to fully appreciate their beauty.

While here at the Kumbh, I have had the opportunity to meet the Minister and the Governor, and High Court Judges, and BallyWood movie stars.

I have had the opportunity to speak and share my Ideas with uncountable numbers of people at numerous prestigious events, and also gave had the opportunity to have deep spiritual conversations with Spiritual Masters that are normally otherwise inaccessible.

I still have several big events on the horizon, and then of course, the huge adventure of leaving this place in an exodus of millions.

I will close for now as I am trying to meditate and reflect on where I am headed to from here, and what roles I might choose to assume on that journey, and to just try to find a way to ground myself and stay close to earth while living in what is very much like an adventurous dream.

Blessings to All
Patrick McCollum