January 26th 2013
Kumbh Mela
Allahabad, India

Today started again early with heavy fog and a deep penetrating cold.  I didn't have the energy to go down to the river this morning so I performed a small peace ritual in my cabin.

Last night, I had the honor of being the distinguished speaker here at the Kumbh Mela opposite the world renowned  environmentalist and author, Venanda Shiva.

This was a huge event packed with officials and press and I was the opening speaker.  I addressed the audience on the part the Divine Feminine plays in nature, and called upon the men and women of the world to connect with that part of themselves in their work to preserve nature and our planet.

In particular, I called upon women to join together and use their power to create a shift in consciousness regarding the sacredness of nature and all of her creatures, and also reminded the women that it is they who give birth to us all and who lay the first foundations for our children's behavior.  I stressed that by exemplifying behavior that supports our planet and shows a reverence for those who inhabit it, women can change the course of the exploitation of our resources and help their children see their neighbors not as other, but as family.

I pointed out that the earth is our mother, and that if we watch her behavior, we will not see her polluting herself.  Rather we will see that she operates in perfect balance.

My speech was well received and I made many new contacts as a result of it.

Venanda Shiva was amazing.  She was so inspiring.  We connected after the program and made a pact to connect and work together in the future.  I really look forward to working with her.

Did I mention previously that my friend Diana Eck from the Harvard Pluralism Project came to visit the Kumbh?  Swami Puja Saraswati took her and her students out to the Sangam to continue the trash cleaning campaign.  Who would have thought that such a simple action would have led to such international response.

Tonight, we held a major march through the Kumbh Mela to preserve the environment and to find ways to peace.  Today is India's Independance Day, and so we also incorporated aspects of that into our parade.

Our march was huge, with hundreds of police and military serving as our guard.  We ended at the Sangam, and performed a huge Aarti ritual on the waters edge.  Then we marched back and took busses back to our camp with a military escort.  Traveling through the hordes of people is beyond description and there is no way we would have ever made it through without the escorts.

I am now exhausted as seems to be the pattern here, and so will say good night.  Tomorrow is the next Auspicious Bathing Day with an expectation of a hundred million people.

Kumbh Blessings,
Patrick McCollum