Sunday, 24 September 2017

Thursday, Sept 21st, 2017

Sterling Heights, Michigan

What Is Genuine?

“Hey, do you guys want to distinguish reality from illusion, big time?” is what I said to Hayagriva and Marshall.  The phrase about “reality and illusion” may sound as a reference from the book Bhagavatam—the first verse.  What I was actually half-joking about was something more to do with the truth behind taste—real taste or flavour that’s organic and not GMO.  While we were parked at an abandoned lot off of I-80 for a break, I pointed at two apple trees, one a red delicious breed and the other, a golden delicious.

“Go and try some of these fruits, far removed from the artificial flavours at the grocery store.”  There was a slight hesitation before they moved zealously in the direction of the discovered apple trees, but once they went for the pick and the bite, they understood what I was talking about.  The experience of taking an apple locally-grown and free of pesticides is a taste worth experiencing—a genuine explosion of joy.

My team agreed with me that real flavour is what’s missing in our food today.

It was an energy boost.  We carried on driving.  And what a drive it was, starting from Omaha, Nebraska, en route to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and finally Michigan.  We embarked upon our destination for an evening program at Ypsilanti.  I see new people here, Carl and Radha who are new-residents in the house called “Harmony Collective.”  For my talk some young folks came for the first time—Meena and Josh.  I wish them well in their spiritual endeavours.  I hope they return for more of the genuine experience of hearing and chanting.

Vivasvan and Ananda Rupa invited us to their home for a rest.  They still have the Ganesh deity that we found in the bottom of a lake in Massachusetts when commencing this U.S. walk.

May the Source be with you!

0 mi

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Omaha, Nebraska

At Om-Maha!

“Do you speak English?” asked the young father of two kids active at the playground.

“Yes, I do!”  I said.

“Are they smudging?” he asked, referring to the two monks, my helpers, Hayagriva and Marshall.  They were sitting on the grass.  

I simply replied, “They are actually chanting.  It’s like sharing a peace pipe.  They are purifying the atmosphere with ancient Sanskrit mantras.  It benefits both the persons singing and those who are listening.”

“It’s very peaceful, soothing,” remarked the man, who identified himself as Andrew.  He’s been struggling with life, has been to rehab but has been straight and sober for two years and three months.  When he told me of this victory, I congratulated him.

“The chanting is something that grounds an individual.  Here is my card with the mantra on the back.  I just finished a cross-country U.S.A. walk and have been chanting a lot of it.”  I also gave him the book, On Chanting, and a second one, How to Make a Deal With the Universe, which I had an extra copy of and is authored by Rami Bleckt, a friend and bhakti yogi. 

Andrew was most appreciative and I was pleased to have met him.  “Please keep in touch.” 

I had also been keeping in contact with another young father, Josh, who came over to the park—Westwood Heights—to see me.  He also partook of the apparent “smudge.”

More chanting took place in Omaha, in the company of Bhaskar, where we had gathered last summer as I was making my way on foot to the west.  It was a great day on wheels and in the park.  I managed, however, to squeeze in two miles on foot.

May the Source be with you!

2 miles

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Going East

Onward we go in our trusty 2006 Ford Freestar, ‘The Jaladuta Express’, eastbound on I-80 through Utah, Wyoming and the soon-approaching Nebraska.  We know little of what’s going on in the world.  We are in our own little transcendental bubble.  This is brahmacari-style living—simple, humble.  We like it that way.

Even though we are somewhat limited to a van, we have diverse things going on—japa meditation, chanting, reading, naps and some time in the park.  It’s a break for us and our machine, ‘The Jaladuta’.

The capital city of Wyoming is Cheyenne, population 64,000, and it’s celebrating its 150th birthday, just like Canada.  We pull over at the Holiday Park, where a manmade lake is replete with deep red fish—maybe goldfish.  But that’s not how we busied ourselves.  The squirrels are particularly human-friendly, golden-bellied and gorgeous tailed.  The boys did the benevolent act of feeding the bushy-tailed creatures with peanut prasadam.  They went squirrely, both my assistants and the animals.

Now, all three of us are from the east.  We’ve never seen dust storms like they have here, where the sky turns brown and tumbleweeds and corn stalks are hurled through the air.  Visibility was poor.  It’s actually dangerous.

When the term “the wild, wild west” is used, it just can’t only refer to tough cowboys with spurs and the roping and lassoing of cattle and horses.  It just might have something to do with the concept of weather.  It was beastly.

May the Source be with you!

1.5 miles