Yesterday, we invited a group of young untouchable fisherman's daughters to our camp to be honored as Goddesses in front of press and TV networks, in order to begin a shift in India's traditional view of women. The girls were showered with rose petals and beautiful chants and songs were sung to them by young men attending the ceremony. Many mothers were present, and the sense of the magnitude of such an acknowledgment was tangible and easily seen in their eyes. This event served to launch the Divine Shakti Festival, the celebration of the Divine Feminine here at the Kumbh Mela.
After the much publicized rape here in India, which has raised the issue of the treatment of women to a much higher level, a shift seems to me to be inevitable.
I have personally observed several direct incidents of the blatant disregard for women, and heard another such incident from a non-Indian woman who was accosted by a group of men at the train station while waiting to be picked up to come to our camp. I have always spoken out against such behavior, and will do what I can going forward to help raise the status of women everywhere.
I am developing close relationships with several Swamis and really plan to continue to work together with them to make a better world. I have met several from South America who are involved in environmental projects, and plan to go down that way to speak and support them.