Sunday, 17 November 2019

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Vancouver/LA/Buenos Aires

To Remember

Before I took to my American Airlines flight to Los Angeles, and then on to Argentina, I just had to get some footsteps in at 3:00 a.m.  I ventured off to the Chinese farm enclave near the ISKCON temple in Burnaby.  It was quiet for sure, favourable for stepping out and mantra meditating.

I turned at Willard Street, and just about landed on some roadkill.  It was an ‘oops moment’.  Missed it.  It was hard to determine what kind of species it was.  A muskrat perhaps?  In any case, it brought to mind death. 

As all people in North America know, today is a day for reflecting on the theme of death—especially death occurring in war—as it is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran's Day in the U.S.

Smaranam is the Sanskrit word for remembrance or reflecting on what is of a grave nature.  Although many of us prescribe to the concept of the soul's transmigration, and that, in many ways, death is superficial (our souls don't die), it becomes a natural obligation to reflect on or remember those who heroically sacrificed their everything to ensure a more free life for others.  Yes, it is tragic to hear of the noble men and women who died in action or other ever-noble causes.  Conflict and war appear to be strong components in life.

It is also important to remember those who through precept and behaviour, always endeavoured to avoid confrontation among humans, between men and animal, nature and so on.  Non-violent activists who speak out for peace and closeness should also be honoured.  They are also fighters for truth.  It seems, as humans, we vacillate between pain and peace.  Let us all, in some way, honour the principle of sacrifice on this day.

May the Source be with you!
4 km

Sunday, November 10th, 2019


Interesting Points About the Valley

The final wrap-up to our weekend discussions came in the form of a walk through the valley with those who had not left for their respective homes. A couple from Athabasca, a mother and son from the village in Saranagati, devotees from major cities, and Ramnath from the end of the valley were with me. Off we strolled.

“Ramnath, can you tell us the types of trees we are seeing on both sides of the trail? Some of us know models of cars, but we don’t know our trees.”

Ramnath was happy to respond. “Well, here, it is mostly fir. The tall trees which are practically dead are the ones devastated by the pine beetle. Over there are a few juniper bushes.”

“Don’t you have some poplar trees?” I asked.

“Yes, where there’s more water, down lower in the valley.”

“Where do you see rattlesnakes?”

“We are walking in the area where they slither in the summer. This is the sunniest, most dry area in the valley.”

Hearing about snakes always raises eyebrows, and ‘rattlesnakes’ all the more.

Ramnath further explained that Chinese railway workers once lived there. He then pointed to an underground hole where some residents stay in the summer when it’s hot. There is a clear opening with a log-framed entrance.

My walking companions were also intrigued to hear about an abandoned gold mine in the valley. “If you go in, you might not come out,” I warned. Eyebrows, again.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Venables Valley, British Columbia

Some of What Went On

There is a slippery dynamic to the roads which run through the village of Saranagati.  Ride offers were given by motorists but I insisted on using my legs.  The few destinations I reached were ridiculously short in distance, in any case.  I do love this village of residents who are all bhakti yogis, but if I would offer one criticism, people here should do more trekking between their homes. These rural homes are not set particularly close to each other, yet they are close enough that walking between them could do a heckuva lot of good, health-wise.  Let us become less car dependent is what I would suggest. 

Soon we were off to the seminar room in what is called the “ISKCON temple".  We discussed topics concerning the use of plastic in our centres and households.  We dove deep into discussing violence, domestic or otherwise, and also sexual misconduct by leaders.   

On the brighter side, we found the presentations by the group “Krishna Vancouver” to be most inspiring.  The group takes to heart that, as our guru, Prabhupada, expressed, we need not be stereotypical in the way we share Krishna Consciousness.  He implied we must find innovative ways to do so, but at the same time not compromise our core values.  We discussed tithing and came up with the terminology MMG, which stands for "My Monthly Gratitude".

At the end of the day of meetings, I walked to the home of Manu and Satarupa for evening kirtan.  This was sweet.

May the Source be with you!
3 km