Sunday, 23 July 2017

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Good in the End

At these spiritual events, such as the “Feed Your Soul” fest in Saskatoon, there is always help needed.  Fortunately, people come forward volunteering their time, creativity, talent, intelligence and their hands.  From the local Hindu temple, a procession usually begins, like a mini Chariot Festival.  It was 5:00 p.m., and I realized from seeing the organizers running a little behind, that I should step in.

About three hundred people had already gathered in the parking lot, anticipating fun and some ritual.  I became the priest and executed a quick pooja or worship of the icons on the chariot.  Krishna in the form of a threesome—Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra.  People had come close after I summoned them.  The ritual began with the use of bell, incense, conch sound and attention.

Our visiting monk from New York, Ekalavya had begun the chanting.  Drums hadn’t arrived and then they did.  No police came this time to escort the crowd as the procession began.  I was informed that every last officer was needed at a local event.

Okay, I’ll become security along with the men who also saw the need.  “Stay on the right side of the road everyone.”  Then “Please stay off people’s grass.  Please!”  “Why has the chariot stopped?”  “Oh, the rope that pulls it got entangled in the wheel. Great!”  A little sarcasm there.

The crowd was happy—yogis, Hindus, Sikhs, Vaishnavas and free spirits.  We passed by a church sign that read, “God Wants Spiritual Fruits Not Spiritual Nuts.”  That was a clear message.

We arrived at our stage site.  I leapt onto the stage after Lorrel’s welcome address and introduced our play “The Gita.”  The boys performed over my narration.  They did well.  I gave them a scare at our practice time.  “Don’t goof off?”  They took it seriously.  The magic show, good.  Kirtan at the end was phenomenal.  A good day.  Good volunteers.

May the Source be with you!
3 km


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Regina, Saskatchewan

Words to Reflect On

The Winnipeg show by our boys was well received.  The audience, a wide-ranged demographic, was both enlightened and entertained simultaneously at the Unitarian Universalist Church venue.

In Regina, we performed our “Gita” play, along with Datta’s magic show, and then kirtan by all at the ISKCON Centre on Retallack Street. Every place we go, we aim to please.

Performance isn’t the only objective of our bus program.  The young teens who form our team learn a number of things including how to be “Humble and Kind,” a song someone pointed out to me sung by country singer Mo Grow.  The boys get to take up menial tasks such as cleaning the bunks in the bus and even the washrooms used by them wherever we are each day.  You can call it training.

Each morning we also have a sadhana session where we all sing standard songs to honour guru and Krishna.  I also may be asked to express some words on bhakti.  Today’s verse of choice was about determination, sourced from Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 2, verse 41.  “Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one.  O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.”

And if I may, I extract from its purport some worthy message.  “Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime.”  And another one. “The highest perfection of Krishna consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life.” 

Finally, another statement worth noting is as follows: “The whole process depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body—not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer chance for some gratification manifested in fruitive activities.”  Commentary by Srila Prabhupada.

May the Source be with you!

7 km

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Winnipeg, Manitoba

An Incident About Ownership

After our showers at the YMCA off of Fermor Avenue, I decided to walk the short forty-five minute distance to Vishal’s house for breakfast.  I’m not always that particularly happy waiting for the bus party to get ready.  I see it as the opportunity to move my limbs.  On some days, during the wait, it’s the only change.  We’re always on the move with the bus, having eight hours between each city that we stop at.

At the moment I arrived at Vishal’s home—he moved in only three days ago—the bus with the boys, pulled up.  It parked across the street and everyone unloaded to the space just next to the curb, onto a fairly fresh-cut lawn.  The shoes of the passengers came out and our group of young guys with three chaperone ladies and three chaperone gents spent a little extra time on that neighbour’s lawn.

Now this put the neighbours slightly on edge.  Being a bit over-reactive, the lady on the lawn expressed to me later, “We were in shock.  We didn’t know a bus was coming to our street.  Someone burnt down a neighbour’s garage the other day.  You don’t know who or what people are doing.”  She said her husband was very concerned, especially about the presence of strangers on their grass.

It was Vrinda, our local leader, who was also privy to their complaints, and shed some light on the actual ownership of where the youth were temporarily trampling.  “Doesn’t the city own this portion of the grass?”  Her question somewhat quieted the couple.

In any event, a patrol officer was called to address the situation.  She passed by me in her vehicle after I left with an earful of complaints.  She gave a smile and a wave.  Apparently she had heard about our program and the Walking Monk and came to pacify, and do whatever else needed doing.  It was interesting.  No property damage was done.

May the Source be with you!

4 km

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Thunder Bay, Ontario

At the Open Mine

Just east of Thunder Bay is the largest amethyst mine in North America.  It’s a purple gem, sometimes rusty red due to a strong iron content.  There is a scientific reasoning behind that rich colour but for now let’s stick to the legend.  While the bus crew went to prospecting, or picking and washing their individual pieces from the quarry, some of us meditated on this story.

“Millions of years ago, Bacchus, the god of wine, was angered at the insult of Man.  He vowed to let his man-eating tigers devour the first human they could catch.  A beautiful princess named Amethyst was traveling from Lake Superior to worship at Diana’s Grotto on the highest hilltop.  Hearing the tiger’s roar, she climbed up to Elbow Lake hoping to escape by canoe.  No canoe could be found so she quickly climbed into a nearby crystal cave and prayed for help.  The goddess Diana, hearing the maiden’s prayer, sealed the princess safely into the cave.  Bacchus, remorseful and ashamed, poured red wine on the cave thus freeing the princess.  The wine stained the crystals in the cave creating the beautiful gemstone Amethyst.”

Our crew of thirty-six collectively gathered over fifty pounds of the pretty gems, but I bet you that with all the outdoor activity, like that, we’ve lost pounds of flesh.  This is confirmed by one of our bus drivers, Dattatreya, who’s had twenty years of experience.  In fact, he said that the boys lose weight while the girls either sustain or add weight.  This point is confirmed by Datta’s wife, Radha.

The main point of this bus trip is to provide a full-on spiritual experience and reduce some karma that tends to drag us all down.

May the Source be with you!

4 km