February 16, 2014

Kerala, India

I'm sitting in a clearing deep in the jungle next to an amazing tree.  

The sound of tropical birds and other animals of the forest can be heard from every direction and it is good to get away from the town and all of the people and just connect with nature.

There are tigers and black leopards here and wild peacocks and chickens too.  Also huge deer-like animals similar to an elk, but slightly smaller.  There were elephants here in the past, but the town people think the last one was killed a few years ago by ivory hunters.  Such a sad thought.

Of course there are snakes and monkeys and other creatures that I am not familiar with, and yet, it feels to me much like the forest I walk when I'm home.

I stopped on the trail in and spoke with the giant tree that a local man said has been worshiped as sacred for hundreds of years.  It's roots form a series of separate walls that radiate out from the trunk creating a series of temple like places where one can stand and meditate, and so I did so.  It was very moving.

This whole jungle is very ancient and mostly untouched by human hands although I have observed some remnants of ancient stone walls long ago taken over by the vines and time.  

There are many legends about this place and what has transpired over the millennia as humans interacted with it, and the locals do not share its location with tourists or foreigners.  In that respect, I feel very honored to be seen as a holy man here, and to be afforded special access to this and other venues.

I have been offered an introduction to the Chief Priest of the famous Moambika Temple here which is dedicated to the Divine Mother.  Making these connections allows me to both weave traditions together and to better understand the deep roots that permeate this culture, and also create life-long friendships with allies that can help me with my work toward peace and equality for all.

Many don't understand the power of all of this, but these friendships create a base to work from when I'm addressing issues like caste or the status of women here.  The leaders here, both political and spiritual, have a deep respect for me and actively listen to my counsel, and that is not an easy thing to achieve.  And of course each of them have many who follow them.  In this way, I can effect change for many by simply changing a few. This is the core of my philosophy and my life's work.

Today I have a meeting with Sri Tathata to talk about partnering together towards world peace and a better future for our planet.  I am hopeful to make that connection and to lay a foundation for many projects to come.

On a totally different note, we are staying in an amazing hotel in Kollur called the Abimon Luxury Hotel.  They have given me the penthouse suite, and I have a patio high above the town which allows me a view of both the sacred mountain and jungles, but also the bustling village below.  The owner has built this hotel as a shrine to his departed son, who at 17 years old had a vision of a luxury hotel that would accommodate world spiritual leaders and other prominent guests when they came to visit the temple.  Tonight I will perform a blessing for the hotel and any who need support.

Tomorrow we leave this magical place and travel by car to Mangalore.  Then after a long layover we fly from Mangalore to Mumbai.  We have another long layover and then leave for London.

We have a 27 hour layover in the UK, and I hope to take Simon & Katrina to the British Museum before taking off for the United States.  We will take the Polar route, entering America somewhere far in the Northeast.  Then we fly across the continent to San Francisco and home.

I will write more about our journey later, but for now I shall get lost in the sounds of exotic birds and the wind, blowing between giant trees and lush tropical growth.  I hear the crying of some large animal in the distance. Who knows what it might be.  This is a place of both mystery and strange experiences.  I can easily see how one can get lost within it all and return changed forever.

Peace & Blessings,

Patrick McCollum