Saturday, 14 January 2017

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Enmore, Guyana

Back in Guyana

Pom is the national dish of Suriname which was adapted from the Jewish community.  Extra features were added by the South East Asians with paneer and Indian spices.  At my request, they left out the standard ingredient, orange.  Thank you.  It was delicious as a savory of sorts.

Brhat and I finished our stay in Suriname and we flew to our next destination.  As we flew over the rainforest, it conjured up wonder in the mind.  The place must be teaming with energy.  The last time our plane descended, ready for a landing, a co-passenger said to me, “Look at those trees below.  Makes me think of Jonestown and drinking the Kool-Aid.”

I didn’t want to say to him that’s not the happiest reminder to come up with.  For me, Guyana means nice and simple people.  It means “get yourself ready for padayatra.”

Padayatra is the festival that is on foot, accompanied by drum beats and mantras.  A classy-looking cart with deities of Chaitanya and Nityananda, masters of the art of kirtan, are set inside.  The cart is pulled along the streets with a chanting band in front.  That’s where Brihat and I fit in.  He and I led some of the kirtans as we made our way through the residential streets, along canals in Enmore, through a prominently Hindu neighbourhood.

People are very responsive here.  They received small packets of prasadam from our walking crew and invites to the local pandal (tent program) to be held in the neighbourhood that evening.  It’s great to see people walking, singing, and giving out mercy.

May the Source be with you!

4 km

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Paramaribo, Suriname

Every Endeavour

The same small party of five who enjoyed the waters at Colakreek, yesterday, with perhaps the first ever kirtan waist-high in water, was the same group who today trailed by the zoo in Paramaribo.

Santosh, in particular, wanted Brihat and I to experience and get a feel for the jungle that eventually connects to the Amazon.

“Alright then, Santosh, just keep us out of the sun as much as possible, because we white boys can only take the sun in small doses.  The shade.  Keep us in the shade,” I urged.

So we ventured through some thickets.  Mosquitoes are small here but voracious.  Other than that, there was little to worry about.  Always my biggest concern with forests is thorns, burrs, and things that tear and stick to clothing.

We put in an hour and a half along a trail through fairly tame jungle and then it was time for the zoo.

“Okay, guys, let’s check out what we all once were.” Meaning the bodies our souls most likely inhabited.

Jaguars and other wild cats of the region were on display.  Of course, we had to dwell on the piranha, the fish in the tank, and have a look at their dentures.  These guys are known to be an integral part of the Amazon.

An hour or so of animal gazing was enough.  Our real concentration as monks of an old tradition is to focus on humans.  And so part two of a Krishna Conscious talk to a larger group, today, had us dwell on verse 48 from Chapter 18 of the Gita: “Every endeavor is covered by some fault…”

Please check this out.

May the Source be with you!

7 km

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Colakreek, Suriname, South America

TBC: Taking Care of Business

At Colakreek, there are these sections in the creek where you swim in spring-fed tea-coloured waters.  Situated about an hour’s drive from the temple where Brhat and I are staying, we were lucky to be the only ones there as recreationists.

How can I justify some relaxation while having quite a portfolio to live up to?  Well, to answer my own question, I need the chill.  My leg muscles are as taut as trees in the resort.  Some exposure to heat, to water, and to sand is my big craving.  It’s my second day of this type of rejuvenation.  It’s just necessary,

The body is a guru and it tells you what to do.  Mine’s saying, “I need the elements and the human touch.”

Santosh (20), who was the bright boy to bring us here, had also given a good hour of leg massage.  There are so many tension points along the thighs.  I really needed help from this guy and he delivered. I’m so grateful.

I truly believe that my day was balanced to offset the recreation.  Sadhana, my chanting, some studying, some writing, and to top it off, some teaching at the end.

Followers of Krishna bhakti turned up for an evening presentation.  I indulged the crowd in two texts and ended in a discussion on morality.  This one word “morality” follows me every day.  Beyond the fun in the water today, the sun, and the relaxation, the thread that I always mentally zip-line on is what is right and what is wrong.  I’m not saying I’m a grand moralist in practice, but I’m quite busy measuring the moral or dharmic scale all the time in my mind.

May the Source be with you!

3 km