Thursday, 20 February 2020

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Mayapura, India

Meeting Arjuna

Last night was one of those sleepless nights.  I took an early shower, donned my clothes, and left Room 505 of the Gada Building, to enter an atmosphere of shanti (peace) and amble along the misty pathways.  Would I be alone for some time?  Would a stray dog come along and trek right by my side (as they sometimes do) as I'm chanting my meditative mantra?

Once, at about this time (2:00 a.m.), three dogs did more than just stroll along.  Two of them clung onto my thigh and backside, while a third was ready to display similar aggression.  I managed to inch my way to a gate, free myself, and close the gate on them. 

But this morning was different.  I met a tall, rather passive young Russian who had been locked out of his residential building, so he decided to hang out at the Mayapura campus. 

"Let's walk together," I suggested to sixteen-year-old Arjuna.  So, we walked and chatted.  He told of how his friend, Gauranga, along with another, climbed up the ladder of a massive crane during the early construction of the TOVP temple. They ascended to the top, then upon descending, discovered a portion of the crane was collapsing.  Security came running.  The two lad were safe but they fled and hid behind some walls of the foundation.

"Did they get caught?"

"No, I don't think so.  I'm not sure."

Anyway, it was a story about youthful adventure.  Both Arjuna and I passed some time walking.  We weren't lonely.  He staying on with me until Mangal arati services commenced.  I guess that was a first for Arjuna, to ‘shoot the breeze’ with a monk.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Mayapura, India

Elephant On the Loose

Every Saturday night in Mayapura, there is what's called the Hati Fest which is when the two elephants, Vishnupriya and Laksmipriya, have their procession through the crowds.  Saturday night is a busy night, drawing pilgrims from all over Bengal and the world.

It was during these last two days, at the ILS event, when I felt like an elephant in a crowd of multitudes.  There is this massive banquet hall, constructed like they do for all Indian weddings, done-up quite magnificently, with walls and ceilings of bamboo and cloth, and chandeliers to give it that elegant touch.
This banquet hall fills up with perhaps one of the largest group of vegetarian/vegan/prasadam-arians. There is one mandate that we sannyasis are required to execute, and that is to walk through the line-up of tables and just greet everyone.  So that's what I've been doing at meal-time.  Seeing representatives from the U.S., Europe, Russia, South America, Australia etc. and even China, is quite a thrill.  It is an honour and a pleasure.  And, of course, all those enjoying the food are reciprocating with the brief visit that both Gopal Bhatta, the organizer, and I are making. 

However, there was one person from Hyderabad who is very active in the ISKCON mission, and he asked me to stop walking and visiting.  He sat me down and asked me to talk about how I went about doing my marathon walks.  The reason?  He wants to do something like that in India.  A friend of his joined us, a support-type, and they were intrigued, dreaming, and pensive of mind, as I spoke about methodology, adventure and enlightenment.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Friday, February 14th, 2020

Mayapura, India

Much Has Happened

Much has happened here in sacred Mayapura over the last two days.  Yesterday, a major section of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium opened to the public—the section for priestly preparation.  This includes the cooking facilities.  There was a large attendance.  Nice kirtan.

Today opened the gathering of world-wide leaders, called ILS, where we have presenters giving talks on varying devotional topics.  Basically, the ILS is an educational exercise for leaders young and old.  A refresher in some ways.  The world is ever-changing at an incredibly rapid rate.  Attitudes and values have altered in the last fifty years.  How can an institution remain relevant in an ever-changing social climate?  Thus the reason for such a convention.

Our drama practices continue to be what they are suppose to be—active.  This evening, we went through a session of "stumble-through," a term used in theatrical circles when you "rough-through" (my term) the scenes of a play and weave them together.  Most remarkable is for me to, more or less, sit back and watch my assistant piece it all together by giving his direction and paying attention to all details.  That person is none other than Pariksit, or Rikki Kumar, as he wants to be known by his stage name.

Lastly, I would like to mention that walking to-and-fro on the campus still goes on, and one film-maker from Russia has started to record my movement of foot-steps in the dark, through the mist, with a set of keys in hand, then opening the gate, walking up the stairs, to another door and to the stage.  It is all in preparation for filming our drama, "Grandsire."

May the Source be with you!
5 km