January 16th & 17th 2013
Kumbh Mela
Allahabad, India

The last two days so much has happened here at the Kumbh Mela.  Day and night have become indistinguishable, and the combination of rituals, meeting people, and incredible experiences, are becoming a huge swirling fog of experience.

 I am making great contacts from all over the world, and weaving together a partnership of people with many different talents, to join with me on a quest for world peace and saving the resources and beauty of our planet.

I had the high honor of meeting and doing ritual with a Justice from India's Supreme Court, and have met other officials from various public offices.

Two days ago, my assistant Harriet and I walked through a few miles of the camps along the river.  I stopped and met with Nagababas (naked holy men) in their tents, and shared refreshments and conversation about how we might find peace in the world and care for our planet.  I found great wisdom there and was surprised at the amount of time these men who have taken a vow to give up all earthly possessions, had given to these subjects.  One Nagababa we stopped at, vhast vowed to stand for the rest of his life without ever sitting or laying down as an act of devotion to God.  He has been standing for years! 

Next, we visited with various Swamis in huge ornate camps all along the river.  Some of the camps are literally temporary temples, complete with huge gold leafed columns and full sized statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.  Some of those temples are so large that they house over a thousand pilgrims who not only worship there, but actually  live inside.  There are literally a thousand of such compounds.

And then there are the tents and camps of the individual pilgrims, which range from simple canvas 4 or 5 person tents, to the poorest pilgrims who just lay on the ground with nothing but a blanket and a bowl, and there are millions of those.

Merchants sharing their wares on blankets and small tables are everywhere, mostly carrying handmade devotional items and practical things like rice or beans.

I try to connect with as many of them as possible, sharing blessings, or often just a nod.  We talk of simple things like devotion or love of the divine or humanity or what should be the compass to guide humanity into the future.  Even the poorest, often without even clothes or shoes, share concern for our planet and the survival of the human race.  For me, their concerns are a profound reminder that we are all in this together.

As I walk along, I make notes on my phone about new causes to champion and ideas that come to me about how create a better life for these people.  Often, they have resources right in front of them, but aren't aware of them or how to make use if them.

I see easy ways to provide them with clean water and better food, and simple changes that could make their lives better.  I will return back to India at another time to implement some of those ideas, and hopefully bring some of you reading this along with me.

Swami Prim Baba is visiting us for a while and I have been invited to meet with him in a couple of days.  Then next week, we will have a special guest joining our camp, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  What an incredible honor to be here.

There should be a little lull over the next few days as it is between auspicious bathing days and other significant events, and I hope to just spend a day walking around the camps enjoying all of the people.

More tomorrow.

Kumbh Mela Blessings,
Patrick McCollum