Saturday, 14 October 2017

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Ujjain, India

Feet to Forest

It was a frivolous moment but one that flared up naturally after hours of rather formal meetings.  My door was open.  I had guests over, when two monks, actual buddies, came inside.

Sivarama Swami, one of them, looked down at my feet and remarked, “Those are the feet that did all those miles.”  I could see what was coming.  Both he and B.B. Govinda Swami impulsively grabbed my right leg.  Sivaram Swami took that foot and gave it a love bite.  He passed it on to B.B. Govinda Swami who then gave it a big kiss.  All was done in good fun.  A little embarrassed, I was, but I was happy they came to bring a phase of light-heartedness to the evening.  My guests had a good laugh at the casual nature of it all.

Who said monks can’t have a little fun?

I did have the good fortune to speak with my Russian monk friend, Bhakti Vijnana Goswami, who is suffering from insomnia, but is now improving.  He said over the phone that the compounding of administrative responsibilities had taken its toll.  “For over four months I wasn’t getting any sleep,” he said, but now he’s on a slow recovery, thank God.

The opportunity also came up, yesterday, for me to deliver the Bhagavatam class.  The verse was regarding the Pracetas, yogis who had meditated, submerged in water, and when they came out of their trance they saw the world around them in thick tree cover.  From their yogic power, they invoked from their mouths fire and wind with the intent to deforest certain areas.  Some, the god of the moon and herbs, protected and challenged them.  I received compliments from the class.  I felt quite dreamy after that.

May the Source be with you!

6 km

Friday, 13 October 2017

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Ujjain, India

Foot Care

With a few minutes available in Room 112 of the Guest House, I gave some attention to my feet.  With a rasp-like instrument I managed to take off dead skin, much like a pumice-stone effect.  I also utilized my nail clippers to carve away at semi-soft skin, especially at the tips of the toes where the attention is most needed.  After this procedure, I took to a good soaking in lukewarm water in a basin with some of the local salt dissolved inside.

I have to be kind to these feet.  They have done a tremendous service this summer in carrying me across the western part of the USA.  “Service your feet,” is what I say.  It is a form of devotion.

I took additional dead skin off after the soak, clipped the toe nails and felt as though I had new feet.  It felt so great on the marble floor of the temple of Radha MadhanMohan.  It was like I was gliding over the surface with my clean new feet.

I do have a sister who specializes in pedicure.  As a swami, I generally don’t have physical contact with the opposite gender, even though they may be kith and kin.  I will give hugs that are momentary, especially if it is a newcomer, as I just want to encourage the ladies toward devotional life.  I never thought to ask Rose Ann, my sister, and I will refrain from such a request, to aid my feet.  Also, there are usually young men around to help the elders in the matter of foot care.

The same type of stricture should apply to women who choose a life of bhakti.  Women will help each other in an interdependent fashion like in a nunnery or a convent.  There are not too many facilities like this for women, from what I’ve seen.

In my travels, I see how people really care for their cars.  The same type of spirit should apply in the case of one’s feet.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Ujjain, India

Got A Call

I was studying the reading material given to me when I received a call from Winnipeg, Canada.  It was Daruka on the other end of the line.  He had been my support person one and a half trips across the country.  He and his good companion, Billie the parrot, had been a great back-up team, but it was Daruka, now on the line, sounding not so good.  He’s currently in the hospital recuperating from his third auto accident since 2014.

Each incident was the other guy’s fault and each time it’s like a message from on high saying, “Maybe your driving days are over.”

One thing that is for sure is that there’s some bad carma here and I really feel for Daruka who has done so much for the walking mission, and is overall a good-hearted person.  He’s needing prayers.  He’s asking and I’ll deliver, and I’ll ask right now for others who know him, or may not, to reach out for his wellness.  He said this time his thigh got jammed between the driver’s door that was banged inward, and the steering wheel.  The door had to be cut through in order to free him.  He’s in pain and can’t walk right now.  He’s bedridden.

I recall in our travels together numerous times when I would be a harsh critic toward the automobile culture.  It would sound like a curse to Daruka whenever I would express something pejorative on the topic, but now he admits perhaps the remarks were highly realistic.

Nevertheless, the whole thing is traumatic for him as much as it is physically challenging.  He and I travelled tens of thousands of miles together.  No such collision.  Now it’s getting too repetitive.  Please pray.

May the source be with you!

5 km