Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Honolulu, Hawaii

They Paved Paradise

There’s Joni Mitchell’s famous song, “Big Yellow Taxi,” with lyrics that go, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot / With a pink hotel a boutique and a swinging hot spot.

“They took all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum / And they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.”

Gurudas, Kapu and I were walking along the beach with surfers nearby, and runners and walkers moving past, when Kapu, a native Hawaiian, said, out of the blue, “The pink hotel, Joni Mitchell sings about, is right here, downtown.”

“On our way back to the temple, can we take a look at it?” I asked Gurudas, our driver, out of curiosity.

So we did, and we imagined the green that was there before erecting the monster, and, of course, the parking lot.  Interesting!

I delivered two classes today—one was on the topic of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th avatars as listed in the book, Bhagavatam, and at 5:00 p.m. I spoke from verse 9.6 of the Gita regarding the wind contained in the sky and how even the forceful is under control by the Divine.

These were stories and concepts that lingered in my mind, which occasionally veered over to the theme of Joni’s song.  It’s in the chorus.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone / They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

We take so much for granted.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Honolulu, Hawaii


My morning began with a walk on what everyone calls Magic Island.  With a group of young followers of bhakti, we executed our individual mantras on our japa beads.  “How did you like the walk?” I asked the crew, who all seem to represent a different part of the world.

“Great!  Awesome!  Fantastic!” and more.

Who would ever consider a simple beach trek to be all those things?

At ISKCON Honolulu, I met Reverend Tim of the Unity Church.  Very devotional.  He quoted 18.54 from the Gita about devotion being undivided and how this type of devotion brings one to see Him standing before you.

After another smaller trek, halfway up the mountain valley outside of the city, another small group and I went to see the property of Mayapur Lila from Canada.  Quaint and breezy it is.  We also included a look at Butter the cow, Cinderella the sow and Radha, from the breed of gir cows—Indian origin—at a farm nearby.

I was getting some well-needed sun.

Reverend Tim came to meet us, once again, at Gurudas’ home, the location of a house-packed sanga.  I spoke of how I joined the ranks of monks.  I opened with verse one of the Isopanishad, on accepting what we’re given.  In this regard, one devotee offered to say a quote from Gandhi, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Toronto / San Francisco / Honolulu

Moving West

Long, stretched out airport wings or corridors became my only walking venues for the day.  Long was the day—an additional six hours going west to Honolulu with stopover in San Francisco.  In San Fran I had the opportunity to call, write and wait, also to reflect.  My reflections were mostly a delving into the past few days.

When at the home of Janmastami, before a group of young and old, some compliments came my way.  “You had the students from the Academy in stitches!” regarding the class given.  “That was the best Bhagavatam class in five years.”  Also, there was a generous remark, a big “Thank you!” in reference to the completed walk across the U.S.  I pray that such kind statements don’t go to my head.

My reflections of gratitude also go to Murari Gupta who put me up and took me around in Miami, as well as to Ananta Shesha, my good host at Alachua, Florida, his wife Vaishnavi and their sons, Aravind and Gopal, who are both good at the mrdunga.

My anticipation of a good week in Hawaii is strong.  A Kirtan Standards session is up for my presentation, in addition to speaking on the system of varnashram—the four social and spiritual orders.  I also look forward to nature’s presentation, including a trip to the Big Island where there’s a promise of the flow of lava.  Thanks to Gurudas for getting me to Honolulu and the application of mustard oil on knees, legs and feet.  There was a decent follow-up dose.

May the Source be with you!

3 km

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Toronto, Ontario

Plaque and Statues

With pride, I read the newly installed plaque, at the recently renovated square, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  There is a history of Krishna devotees distributing great lunches here for decades.  The operation still goes on, with energetic enthusiasm, to this day.

With an image-relief of the Hare Krishna founder embossed on it, the plaque reads, “Krishna Lunch: On July 29th, 1972, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, addressed students here and inspired them to start Krishna Lunch.  Since then the Lunch has nourished the UF community with millions of vegetarian meals.  In 2017, Krishna Lunch and its alumni contributed toward the renovation of the Plaza.”

It was only yesterday morning that we strolled our way to the plaza to have a look.  I came back to Toronto just in time for a mini-installment of three gorgeous brass figurines to complete a permanent display of Das Avatars, that is ten incarnations or avatars.  They sit down on a unique wooden platform, which is actually the base of the bed slept on by Prabhupada when he visited us in June of 1976.

It is a stunning exhibit, really, located in what’s called Prabhupada’s quarters, a room with a wall that separates my room from his.  It’s a blessing to live in this area of our building.

My last message is about my lack of walking today.  I did, practically, a sprint down the endless corridor of the Miami Airport, but that was about it.  However, the equivalent to walking was a massage and meaningful leg stretches by Gopal, who also resides in our ashram in Toronto.  He did splendidly.

May the Source be with you!

1 km