Friday, 14 August 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

Toronto, Ontario

 

Tomorrow – A Birthday

 

The phone has been ringing off the hook. People are calling, asking about Janmasthami, the birth anniversary of Krishna, up and coming. Yes, tomorrow is the day, by the lunar calendar. The sad news is that callers are told that we won’t celebrate this year under normal conditions. It is Covid 19 who rules these days and hence our place of contemplation, worship and chanting will not be officially open until the 16th. The usual super-crowded event will not shine this year. It will be replaced with virtual presentations and that’s the way it will be for everyone’s safety.

 

Anyway, the attempted slayer of Krishna, Kamsa by name, has a brother — Covid. Covid is keeping us on our toes. I believe that right-minded people look on the bright side of everything. When I walk the streets these days I try to see the positive, and negative, of it all. Some businesses are closed down. Some are hanging on by a thread. Some are thriving during this time of pandemic. Pain for some, gain for others.

 

Hard times for bhakti yogis translates into opportunity. Tomorrow is an all-day fasting time, to increase meditation on Krishna, whose baby and childhood past times are most endearing.

 

There will be reading and classes involving everything to do with the supreme mystic, Krishna. Chanting will go on until midnight, for His pleasure and the pleasure of others.

 

May the Source be with you!

2 km

 

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cherry Beach, Toronto

 

S in S

 

My topic, chosen by my godbrother, Guru Prasad, for today’s livestream was, “S in S” or “Steadiness in Sadhana.”

 

I quoted Toni Sorenson who wrote, “We don’t have to be fast; we simply have to be steady and move in the right direction. Direction is always going to trump speed.” I like H.W. Brands version of steadiness, “His was a quiet but persistent charisma.”

 

In the spiritual context Prabhupada expresses sthairyam (Sanskrit for steadiness) as meaning “to be very determined to make progress in spiritual life.” The Bhagavad-gita makes references to this fixation in 13.8, 10.32, 18.43 and 2.41.

 

I cited the example of the tortoise and the hare. The race was won by the reptile who proved that ‘slow and steady’ is the methodology to apply for success, instead of the rajasic approach of the hare, who was fast and furious.

 

The word sadhana is the spiritual work-out which should be part of our daily regimen. One must be determined to cultivate the finer qualities of human life.

 

To increase the “steadiness of sadhana” I suggested a few practical tips:

 

1) Begin your day in prayerful meditation – ask for strength and determination

2) Read the verses of the Gita chapter 6

3) Practice good asana and pranayama breathing for focus

4) Health-wise — shower daily, twice if possible and decrease white sugar intake and don’t eat late in the evening

5) Chant the maha mantra with its definition in mind, relish the sweetness of sound and the joy it stands for.

 

My second shower was in the lake at Cherry Beach. I must be nice to my body so that I can keep up my services to Krishna and humanity.

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km

 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Christie Pits, Toronto

 

Latest Zooming

 

Since Thursday I’ve kept a special connection with Florida through Zoom. First of all I offer a regular “Gita’ class for some folks in Gainesville. With this group we are combing through this Divine text and have just completed chapter TWO. On Friday I networked with children, aged seven to fourteen, within the Alachua community. With this younger group I was charading out the story of Krishna and the Kaliya serpent. The response was great.

 

Today, or this morning rather, I was online with the Tampa group. We managed to work on a verse from the book, Bhagavatam, from a chapter titled, “The Perfect Society,” on the subject of two successful yogis. One was Sati, the wife of Siva, who dealt with an ordeal of insult toward her persona. She decided to renounce the world, and her body, through yogic fire consumption. This, of course, left Siva in an emotional state.

 

The second person to leave the world through yogic mysticism was a blind king, Dhrtarastra. He reached the end of his life and decided to depart by means of invoking the elements for his demise. He could foresee the coming darkness of Kali. His brother, Vidura, encouraged him to depart from the palace. “Don’t let anyone know of your exiting the palace. Go for that long walk to the north and leave this mortal world of your own volition,” urged Vidura.

 

For me I just aspire for my walk tonight, and a swim tomorrow, at the beach. It would be so good for me, being in the water.

 

May the Source be with you!

6 km

 

Friday, August 7, 2020

St. Jamestown Toronto

 

A Jesus Look Alike

 

Chris is a Canadian, Catholic-raised guy who looks like Jesus. He came back from Thailand and India in the nick of time before Covid 19 slammed everything into lockdown. He, along with Sanjit, joined me for my evening walk. We talked about each other‘s upbringing and we discovered we had something in common — the Catholic connection.

 

Chris was a devout Catholic. He was an altar boy and he had nothing but a good experience. I would attend mass in church before going to school. I liked the peace of the place. I do recall one morning, sitting in the pew, when I fainted. I must have been about seven. One middle-aged man, who also attended, noticed I lost consciousness and he came over, hoisted me over his shoulders, carried me to his car and, knowing where I lived in the country-side, drove me home.

 

Now Sanjit was born Hindu but he and his family attended Catholic schools run by priests and nuns. All three of us believe in Jesus and the tenets he taught. We’ve just added Krishna to make it all complete. As Chris, who looks like Jesus, put it, “Krishna is the father and I am the son.” He was not implying he was Jesus.

 

As we walked and talked we all agreed Jesus must have spent time in the east, after his Bar Mitzvah, spending time with Buddhists, Jains and Pandits. We all carried and chanted on our own rosaries (japa beads are the Sanskrit version) up to Wellesley and Sherbourne.

 

Hail to Jesus! Hail to Krishna!

 

May the Source be with you!

6 km