Monday, 27 November 2017

Friday, November 24th, 2017

Toronto, Ontario

I Met Fellows

Mahaprabhu is a rather seasoned Vaishnava and is comfortably set in his orthodox ways in both looks and behaviour.  He and I went for an evening trek through Rosedale, a neighbourhood of stately homes.  With his stark white dhoti and almost-shocking, bold tilak on his forehead, set against a deliciously dark pigment, he could easily come across appearing tribal/terroristic in this established neighbourhood.

I believe that after thirty years of my floating through this hood (and I say that because I do feel light, and safe perhaps, in this residential nook) people have come to know me.  But Mahaprabhu, well, he’s new and different.  I’m proud of him for being a staunch monk.  I assess him as such even though his visit to our ashram is short—two weeks.

Having spent a good long day in the ashram, I met with others, mostly fellows, who had come around to visit, to hear, to view, to eat—all things that happen at the ashram and temple.  There was Michael Gilbert, a renowned photographer, who lives in both Paris and Hawaii, who came down for lunch at our Govinda’s.  He told me of a photo assignment in Nepal, one April, when he was trapped in snow at a 14,000 foot altitude.  Thought he was going to die.  Then he started the mantra “Hare Krishna” and it gave him the fuel to keep walking down the mountain’s descent.  Hope came to him.

I also met Nicolas from Florida who showed me his mantra card he’s had for years in his wallet.

Ryan from London, Ontario, also came by.  He’s got that fascination for Krishna.  And then there was Amit, smitten with love, going through a relationship crisis.  “Chant!” Mahaprabhu and I told him.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Mississauga, Ontario

The Two S’s

It was an interesting way to get to the wedding of Bhupender and Divya.  I took the subway—the underground commuter train—to the end of the line at Sheppard West, then walked to beyond Highway 400 on Sheppard where Nimai Nitai picked me up for a drive to the destination, a gorgeous banquet hall next to the Ram Mandir.  We made it.

Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?  It’s lavish, the food is good and the people are cheerful.  It can be endless and have a semblance of Chapter 11 from the Gita—many forms, colours, no beginning and especially no end.  All my friends were there, community members and disciples/students.  Kratu and his wife were there.  I remember when he joined.

When we arrived, the puja (rituals) were underway.  The bridegroom sat on a royal-like couch.  I was asked by the pundit (priest) to chant.  With no musical instruments in sight, Kratu was quick to grab a china plate and knife.  This helped to keep a rhythm with the knife beating on the plate.  That was innovative. I chanted Hare Krishna and all responded.

The bride, Divya, appeared  She sat next to her new husband.  Kratu spoke.  He offered a big congratulations to all.  Divya’s dad, R. Raman, spoke as well.  I spoke.  Wisdom is what the Emcee asked for, in brief.

Okay, to Bhupender and Divya, who are both doctors, I offered this advice, “Follow the two S’s.  The first S stands for sanga—keep good company, holy company.  The second S stands for seva—service to God and others.  The best to you!”

May the Source be with you!

8 km

Friday, 24 November 2017

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Newark, New Jersey


“Life is a daring adventure or not at all.”  Helen Keller

The above is a quote by an amazing woman—a quote I picked up from the screen on the United Airlines on my journey back to Canada.  That journey involved a seven hour stopover at La Guardia Airport.  It was difficult trying to see an adventure coming out of hanging around a busy airport.  If you can’t extract excitement out of a day, then some dynamic is likely to make a little fun out of it.

For starters, as I went through security, I lost my phone.  It was with me five minutes earlier on the skytrain.  The folks at the security check sent me all over the place.  “Check with the people in the red suits.”  So I did.  I went here and there.  Finally we found it was with security.  The phone had slipped out of my bead bag before entering the screening machine and it had just literally fallen through the cracks.

Okay, my vital device was found.  I had no panic attack.  A swami must keep his cool.

While waiting that long wait, a fellow came up to me and asked, “So what kinda monk are you?”  I’m sure he wasn’t implying whether a ‘controlled’ one or not.  It was an inquiry more along the lines of, “What order do you belong to?”

“I’m a Hare Krishna.”

“Oh yeah?  I used to visit you guys in Boulder, Colorado.  I’d sing and dance.  The food was great….”

Anyway, those two incidents were the bright lights in my day.

May the Source be with you!

0 km