Friday, 17 November 2017

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Toronto, Ontario

Fresh New Body

Kaustuba from Ohio sent me a comic image of two monks.  One is the student, the other the master.

Student says humbly, “O Master, is it proper for a monk to use e-mail?”

Master answers, “Sure…as long as there are no attachments!”

I shared this laugh with the others in our room where we hold the morning class.  Today’s was a recording of our guru, Prabhupada, speaking from the Bhagavad-gita, 2.14, giving emphasis to the fundamentals of wisdom.

“The ultimate check is death,” he said in regard to the verse.  What is to be considered is the lengthy journey all souls traverse through, from one body to the next, until making good of life.  The verse is one of the strongest endorsements of the soul’s transmigration.

I recall in the summer of ’73, some months after I joined the ranks of monks in Toronto, how a few of my hometown friends sought me out in our humble abode at 187 Gerrard Road, in a rented house.  Bill Wicken was one.  He was one grade my junior in high school.  He was super curious to find out about life’s mysteries.  There was also Ted Van Grinsvan, a family friend, also eager to know what direction to take with this existence.

In both cases, I was making the point from this verse—the word of Krishna—that the embodied soul continually passes from childhood, to youth, to old age.  At death, the process continues.  The atma, soul, moves on into a fresh new body.

I don’t know if I convinced Bill and Ted of these concepts.  I wonder where they are now?

May the Source be with you!

0 km

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Toronto, Ontario

What A Life!

I’m feeling a bit grounded just being in one place for two consecutive days.  It’s a good feeling.  With that is a sense of privilege as a resident of an ashram (monastery).  What an honour it is to live the life I am living, sometimes on the road and sometimes not in the field but in a safe home!

How fortunate I am to be that early riser and to live out that opposite kind of existence.  Like the verse from the Gita which expresses such uniqueness.  It is from Chapter 2, Verse 69:            
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam
tasyam jagarti samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani
sa nisa pasyato muneh

            “What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”

I was reflecting on this in the course of my evening walk just before I should have been in bed.  I was thinking, You lucky dog! You have a lifestyle that allows you peace and mental comfort!

The major pain I feel, frankly, is the conflict I see in others.  As I walk along Yonge Street, which at 9:30 p.m. is mostly a time for the young and a place for the young.  I hear quite prominently the two words “like” and “f—-” coming from the mouths of the pedestrians around me.  My ears have a hard time with those too-often expressions.  Again I think how blessed I am to have the uttering of God’s names in the environment I’m usually in.  In the ashram, no problem.  On the street, no problem also because I’m chanting in the course of my walking.

What a life!

May the Source be with you!
6 km 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Toronto, Ontario
Getting the Best Food Out
Hardcore for Humanity: Life Giving Meals Funded by Hardcore, an article by Brittany Rudyck from Friday, November 10, 2017, for Beatroute 
“EDMONTON – The connection between hardcore music and the Hare Krishna tradition can be traced back to ‘80s to bands like Youth of Today, Shelter, and of course, Cro-Mags. The tradition, once hailed by bands like the Beatles, caught the eye of those in heavy scenes around the New York area seeking a lifestyle free of intoxicants, animal products or liberal sexual lifestyles. Known by many as “Krishnacore,” the fad appeared to peter out by the early ‘90s, at least in mainstream recognition.  
Fast forward to 2017 in Edmonton, where Mattie Cuvilier, who has been a motivating force in the Edmonton hardcore scene for years, has been hosting Hardcore for Humanity since 2010 with hopes of raising money and helping the less fortunate.  
“We’ve worked with a number of different charities; it changes year to year,” explains Cuvilier. “The last two years we’ve been working with Food for Life. With this organization, it all goes to the food and can have a bigger impact. You can see it all at work. It’s an open book.” 
Guitarist/vocalist for Cruciferous, Johnny Jagajivan has a long and fascinating relationship with punk rock and the Hare Krishna movement, one that perhaps could be its own article.
Jagajivan has been with Food for Life since its Edmonton inception in 2014. The international non-profit food relief organization now serves meals once a month at Boyle Street Community Centre. 
“Food for Life itself is interesting with its history and ties to ‘80s hardcore,” explains Jagajivan. “I’ve been to all of the Hardcore for Humanity shows and played – I think – the second one.
We’re feeding 150 people with three hundred dollars and it’s a serious meal: rice, a dish called choley (also known as chana masala) which is chick peas and tomato sauce with Indian seasoning, a samosa, a salad and an Indian dessert with sugar, cinnamon and raisins.” 
Hardcore for Humanity serves this meal before the live music aspect of the event to be transparent and also to share the sense of community it hopes to foster. Adding the hardcore bands to the event is also part of Cuvilier’s dream of bringing the Edmonton local hardcore scene back to life. 
“This upcoming event has one of the most hardcore line-ups we’ve done in awhile,” he says.
“I wanted it to be about the charity but also about hardcore. Devoting energy to the scene in Edmonton and giving it space.”  
Enjoy a vegan meal with your family November 17 at the Sewing Machine Factory (Edmonton) at 7 p.m. The all-ages meal is a suggested $10 donation; all proceeds go to Food for Life. The show is 18+ and features performances byFeeding, Suffer Me, Cruciferous, and Underbite.”

Additional Note from the Walking Monk: Food For Life has been in operation by Krishna devotees and helpers since the ‘70s and was initiated by the Hare Krishna leader A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bragg Creek, Alberta

Wanting to See

Jagajivan and I were hoping to spot some elk, or maybe a moose.  The sign on Highway 762 reads, “Moose next 10 kilometres.”  Okay, let’s hope.  It’s early.  The sun’s not up yet.  It’s quiet.  We’re making no noise except for the gentle footsteps made on the road, and the snow laying on the pavement muffles any sound.

For me, sighting wildlife of the magnitude of moose, elk or caribou is auspicious.  It excites me.  It would not be like having a vision of a coming avatar, but it’s getting there.  Seeing an avatar, God Incarnate, would be Divine Darshan, a spiritual vision, a genuine God experience.

I guess I will settle for a viewing of His reps, the devotees.  In yesterday’s session of meetings, I had the pleasure to see all twenty-five of them, men and women with a mission, a focus on improving performance in life skills.

Prabhupada, our guru, compiled a statement on the seven purposes of his mission, ISKCON.  The first purpose addresses checking the imbalanced lives in which we live.  To clarify the point, most of us give little of no attention to our spiritual cultivation, rather we are focussed on the physical end of things.  To gain an equalizing balance, it is necessary to invest in the soul.  Two souls.  The one which is in the heart and a second one at the ends of the legs—spelled sole.  Heart and feet.

Well, we did not see wild ‘game’, as hunters would say, but we did see angels.  In fact, we spent hours with them—Krishna’s devotees.

May the Source be with you!

5 km