Saturday, 21 October 2017

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Toronto, Ontario

Fire!  Fire!

I wasn’t sure whether or not jet lag got to me when I arrived at 7:00 a.m.  I attempted to sleep after that fifteen hour flight from Mumbai but I wasn’t feeling particularly groggy.  “To feel groggy is to feel drunk, tipsy, weak or dazed,” according to the dictionary.  That describes it.

Guess what I did? Some walking!

Ramesvara was with me.  We checked out the ravine in the Don Valley Park.  Nice day!  Smiling faces were what I saw.  Then we came out of the ravine and made a crossing at St. Clair bridge, when we saw some smoke ascending from below. I bent over to see the source and there we spotted right below us a homeless man trying to put out fairly substantial flames that were consuming his clothes and rags.  Another local woman, a pedestrian also peered down to see this display.  I phoned 911 immediately and was directed to the fire department.  Within seven minutes they arrived and pulled out their power hose.  The homeless man (and lady-friend) emerged onto the street level and walked away.  The flames were put out.

That was some excitement for the morning.  But it wasn’t over.  Ramesvara headed for home.  I continued trekking through the park and there I met Silk, who recognized me from twenty years ago when she did an assignment for her anthropology class from the Krishna conscious point of view.  Silk had five companions with her and of all things, a fire, lit by hardwood log pieces.

“What’s up, Silk?”

“This is a city approved fire, a sacred one, to give attention to the youth suicides amongst our native people,” she said.

What a coincidence; today, Diwali is being celebrated in Canada–the festival of flames.”

May the Source be with you!

8 km

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Indore, India

Diwali Day

Our meetings are over.  God-brothers / sisters are now dispersing, going to their respective lands.  We will meet again in February to carry on with our on-going dreams for attempting to improve on our own initiatives.  I use the word ‘dream’ because the world as we perceive it is rather topsy-turvy, going in a direction that is many-branched.

Really, it’s a scary world, and it’s sometimes hard to envision some level of harmonious interaction between men / women and nature.

At least here in Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s largest city is rated as the cleanest one in all of India.  Kamalaksha, of Indore, drove me around for a second installment of theatre-costume shopping.  I could see through the vehicle’s window that it’s true.

Another piece of good news, of hope, is that in the capital, Delhi, fire crackers have been banned.  Being Diwali, the festival of light and the New Year for many in this land of dharma, there has been a concerted effort to put a halt to the noise and air pollution from the noise-makers.  It’s a step, isn’t it?

In the ultimate aim toward improvement in the world, whether it be within India or outside, there is the need for humans to reach out and help each other.  Sri Chaitanya, the great luminary of the early 16th century, had these long arms that he extended up into the air, summoning Krishna and surrendering to Him in the form of kirtan.  He reached out to all He met and enthused a culture of Supreme praise, not self-praise.

On this Diwali day celebration I had the good boon to speak to a crowd at Kamalaksha’s apartment.  They wanted to hear about some of my walking ventures which, in my experience, is always a good way for reaching out.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Ujjain, India

The Seasoned and the Young

I’m always amazed by the sacrifice of the other older monks, swamis, brahmacharis and grihastas (householders).  When we meet, we discuss what is relevant.  Part visionary, part strategic and part problem solving would be the categories of topics that we go over.  Meetings can be long but they are important.

I was requested to give an extra class, in Q and A format, to the younger men.  The room became filled with souls of the ashram.  Their hearts were also filled—with questions.

“How do you stay enthusiastic?”

Answer simplified:  “Stay in the company of those who are zealous.  It is contagious.”

Second answer:  “Just do it.  Pondering too much is hesitation.  Act more, think less.”

“Can you clarify the difference between principle and detail?”

Answer: The overall principle is sweet surrender.  All the little steps taken to get closer to perfection are the details.  The principle or concept is the same for everyone.  The approach varies.  One example is Arjuna was to surrender to Krishna, but his approach was as a ksatriya, protector, and that is not for everyone.  Someone functions as a moralistic mentor, someone as police, someone as a producer of goods, someone as a physical labourer.

“Can you tell us of one of your walking experiences?”

Answer: I detailed my encounter with the grizzly bear.  They liked that one too.

I also learned one thing from those monastic students.  When they go out in public, they wear white.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because although people respect the saffron, they don’t want to see their sons become renunciants.

May the Source be with you!
6 km

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Ujjain, India

One of My Heroes 

My actual walking while in Ujjain is the pacing I do in the corridor of the guest house I’m in or the circumambulation on the walkway around the temple.  This second location is interesting enough.  I begin pacing and one person joins me, then another and another… In this way it builds up to the point of an army.

Someone said I’m the Pied Piper.  Another exaggeration came from a sannyasi (swami), a godbrother.  “If you stayed in India for a while, you’d have millions of disciples!”  That was flattering, as he was referring to the hundreds of people who cling to the kirtan/chanting led in the evenings.

My response was, “The chanting belongs to the One whose name we are referring to.  It is Krishna’s name and it’s good to see people hooked to the practice.”

When Lokanath Swami leads, it also draws the crowds.  He can go on forever.  If I can also say something else in his favour, he is a committed walker.  It is he who began the padayatras throughout India and the world.  He told me that his padayatra (festival on foot) has been going on since the ’70s.  Every five years, the group returns to the same spot, referring to the rotation they follow.  His presentation also includes chanters and deities carried by two oxen.  He’s definitely one of my heroes.

Now from the morning class, I noted a few good points.  Yoga is defined as ‘equality’.  “Wit” comes from the Sanskrit vid (knowledge).  And “that” comes from the Sanskrit tat (something real).

May the Source be with you

8 km