Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Calgary, Alberta

At Olympic Plaza

I really wanted to do the grassroots Hare Krishna thing, something we call Hari Nam Sankirtan.  Basically we’re talking about picking up the drum (mrdunga), the cymbals (kartals), harmonium (pump organ) and ourselves.  So it was done.

Our venue was Olympic Plaza across from City Hall where people linger and relax.  Catching the tail-end of the lunch hour, more than a dozen Krishnas, mostly females, made it to that cozy place, and we placed our madras over the grass.  The chanting began and two young women from amongst us took to dancing to the beat.

The beat is what brought the attention.  Folks came over to our side of the plaza to sit, listen and absorb.  Moms and dads with babies in strollers stopped for their toddlers to not miss the show.

Our theme naturally was “togetherness,” or “wholesomeness.”  This is the yuga-dharma, the function for the age.  It’s universal.  It’s outreach.  It’s sharing.

After the two hours of kirtan I got reacquainted with Dave Schultz, the produce of “The Longest Road,” a documentary released in 2002 that is all about the Trans-Canada Highway and how it negatively and positively impacted people’s lives.  I am featured in it numerous times.  It was broadcast annually on Canadian television.

Dave came over for prasadam, our blessed food.  He loved it.  We chatted.

May the Source be with you!

7 km

Sunday, July 23th, 2017

Calgary, Alberta

Sun and Shadow

I had three bhakti yogis with me on an early morning trek, Jai Govinda from Vancouver, as well as Gaurachandra and Radha Madhava, both from Calgary.  We hit the walking trail called The Rotary/Mattamy Greenway.

The experience was one of meeting the sun and the shadows that were formed.  Always, those magic hours, dawn and dusk, seem to produce the perfect opening and closure to the day, especially when clouds aren’t in the way.

Magpies and hares dominate the peripheral section of Calgary.  They seem to accompany us above and below.  The hares are of substantial size, not the little bunnies you might expect.  If anything, they remind us of leaping kangaroos.  The magpies do a similar leap but they seem to chatter idly, whereas the hares are absolutely silent in their behaviour.

Gaurachandra told us something gross about the crow-like magpie.  He witnessed several of them pecking at the behind of a hare who was hit by a vehicle.  The mammal was injured, not mobile enough to depart, and the birds took advantage.  That’s nature for you.  It’s not always a story of sunshine.

When the sun did come down this day, we were indoors at the RMCA centre where Jai Govinda conducted a fire ceremony, a havan.  The purpose was to initiate two candidates who had worked toward their shining endeavour.  Ashvin was given the name “Anuttama,” which appears in the Gita, Chapter 7.  And young Radha Priya, 13, took the name I gave—Rohini.  They were “lit!”

May the Source be with you!

6 km

Monday, 24 July 2017

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Calgary, Alberta

To Calgary

It was a long haul to Calgary via a zigzag route—seven hours plus.  Sadly, with this destination, it concludes my trip on the youth bus, which has marked on its side, “The Krishna Culture Festival.”

Manoram, with a later switch to Mukunda, were the overnight drivers through Alberta’s badlands and flatlands of pasture and canola fields.

I said “sadly” because I will miss the company of the young men, ages 10-17, along with their archangels.  It really is a good program, even though, for those of us who are categorized as “older” it’s a challenge to contend with the wild energy.  On the other hand, you have in your midst a powerhouse of hope, anticipation, talent and explosive dynamics in the form of these young guys.

In our morning session in Saskatoon, I was asked to speak about the hormonal power of a young person at puberty and beyond, and how to channel this interesting appetite, favourably.  They listened.  This morning, time didn’t allow.  We arrived in Calgary and swiftly took our morning showers to ready ourselves for the Ratha Yatra.  Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s mayor, was there.  He took the ornate broom and did the traditional sweep before the chariot rolled along.

8th Avenue is a bustling pedestrian-only street, so ideal for our festival.  The prasadam food was of good quality, at the park behind the Mehwata Armory, with a decent vegan option.  Our boys did a great final performance of “The Gita” with me.

May the Source be with you!

4 km