My blog today will be based on the talk that Sadhvi Sarawati gave to the Divine Shakti Festival group, who are sharing wonderful yoga classes here at Kumbha Mela. I am grateful for her amazing ability to take spiritual concepts that I have heard for maybe thirty years, and present them in a way that touches me deeply. She is Swami Sarawati’s assistant, but he turns to her to speak on his behalf- his respect for her is evident.

When we speak of the divine feminine, we are speaking of the womb of the Mother, that which gives birth and nourishes new life. As women, we can demand so much from ourselves, forgetting that the peach tree cannot produce all year long. Instead, it needs the dark, barren winter months before the fragrant pink blossoms burst out into the fertile air of Springtime. The tree knows that the leaves must fall to the ground and replenish the soil. The challenge is to accept the seasons as they come, rather than resisting the changing cycles.

Sadviji told the story of the butterfly. A man notices a cocoon fluttering on a branch and feels compassion for the butterfly within that is struggling to emerge. He sees that there is a small hole at the bottom so he rushes into his house to find a knife so he can make the hole bigger, helping the butterfly to take to flight more easily. Instead, after the hole is made, the butterfly flops to the ground, its’ wings a wet, sodden mess. It struggles to extend them, but fails and slowly dies on the ground. The fact is that the butterfly needs to squeeze itself through the tiny hole to press the moisture out of her wings in order to fly. How many times in the last year have I begged for scissors to make the hole into the future a little bigger? Or despaired that I gave up being a caterpillar happily eating cabbage in the garden? May the Goddess give me the strength to keep squeezing my soul until it gives birth to the new me.

The other problem I face is when I look around and decide that what the world really needs is a bee instead of a butterfly and try to crush my colorful wings and begin to buzz. That is where the grief really begins. The other tragedy is when someone asks the butterfly to change. No religion in the world tells us that the butterfly is less worthy than the bee, even if it cannot make sweet honey. All religions in their essence embrace the sanctity, the divinity of all life, of the majestic diversity. So I also ask for the strength to be the best butterfly I can be, and not to concern myself with whether my wings are yellow, blue, or the dull brown of the night moth. And I ask for the guidance to know just what field is waiting for me to flutter about and fertilize the flowers…and maybe remind someone of just how beautiful life is.

Yesterday was the second sacred bathing day, on the full moon. We are told that bathing with the Guru in the Ganges at this times allows us to wash our heart clean of darkness, to allow the light to illuminate us fully. It is such a blessing to be here with these inspirational human beings who have so much compassion to share. At the end of the dip, Swami and Prem Baba wrapped their arms around each other in a brotherly embrace. Their love for each other was so palpable that it made me cry. Then they reached for Patrick’s hand to join with them. So many spiritual leaders compete with each other for followers, but these two humble men chose to camp together and begin a Green Kumbha initiative, as well as the Ganga Rights project. They are the spiritual leaders we have been waiting for, the sacred activists. We are so lucky they invited us to join them. ~ Harriet