Monday, 22 May 2017

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Wood River, Nebraska 

The Couple

The couple were standing fairly close to each other, a bit unusual for the three of us monks to see at 4:00 a.m., as we stopped for the light en route to our starting destination for the day.  I rolled down my window to get some air and we could hear the pair actually having a serious and loud argument; not a kiss.  For myself, I was reminded because I have chosen a different lifestyle, I don't have to go through this type of entanglement.  A monk’s entanglements are of a more spiritual nature.

I met Jerry in the afternoon.  He was on his way back home to Pennsylvania.  He was pushing his bike, as the winds were too strong for peddling.  Packed onto and dangling from his bike were bags and boxes—in them his life’s possessions.  He reminded me of Johnny, whom I met by the Mississippi last summer and who was also drifting though the country, in wonder, or lost.  It’s easy to feel for such persons who are modestly displaced in society.  Johnny had slept in his vehicle during the rain storms and, after waking, noticed me.  I suggested to him a spiritual outlet.  “Try this mantra.”

Speaking of storms, does the rain and nature’s drain, the wind, ever stop?  My trekking through Grand Island, Alda and finally Wood River was met with much of this.  At the same time, response from people was most positive.  Austin, of the “Grand Island Independent” had done a great article featured today.  I received a lot of honks of approval.  Some motorists stopped.  At one point, I made a wrong turn, ended up lost, with no cell, at a truck stop, and a woman who read the article went out of her way to redirect me.  Bless her!

Our troup of three backtracked by way of the Jaladuta Express, our van, to Omaha for a sat sanga amidst torrential rains.  People were so responsive here, too.

May the Source be with you!

20 mi

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Grand Island, Nebraska

It’s All In A Day

When the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 2, addresses duality as a reality in this world, it is no joke.  We, our troupe, saw so much of it in the last three days, weather wise.  Day one, we saw sun.  Day two, we saw rain.  Day three, we saw wind.  Physically, we went through a roller-coaster.  It was hot.  It was cold.  Hail came down the size of diamonds at one point.  Hayagriva, Marshall and I met the extreme side of nature.  And there was a tornado twisting around the area, near Omaha, which was behind us.

Fun?  Yes!  Exhausting?  Yes!  Out of it, we are developing the robustness needed to continue on.

What did help to add to the fun was people—motorists honking.  Motorists stopping.  “Would you like a ride?”

“No, thank you!  I'm walking!”  And I’ll tell them why.  “No cheating.  I’ve got to walk the whole thing.”

Three newspaper reps came, from Aurora, and two from Grand Island.  To be interviewed by a Spanish paper was a first.  Norma from “Buenos Dios, Nebraska,” filmed the interview.  I could quote from the Gita and spell out the entire maha-mantra on that one.

This is big cattle country.  Monsanto.  Corn culture.  Nice people.  Llamas.  Wild rabbits.  Raccoons and possums.  A baby possum’s head was the only whole thing left after an attempted crossing of Highway 34.

At the end of the day Hemant, our motel room accomodater, served great Gujarati food.  We got to know his teens, Kajal and Akash, better, and the three of us, Hayagriva, Marshall and myself, are getting to know each other better, too.  That can’t be helped.  Our life is in the van, that is, when I'm not walking.

May the source be with you!

15 mi

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Aurora, Nebraska

In and Out of the Storms

Penner’s Garage in York reattached the engine shield under the “Jaladuta Express.”  The apparatus was dragging and scraping along the pavement.  We gave it immediate attention and talked to the boss of the garage.  He really liked our program, our monk mission of walking the country.  He screwed it back on, and for free.

The weather was a challenge.  Thunder storms and tornadoes ripped through much of Nebraska.  The three of us had never ever seen so many displays of lightning, sounds of thunder claps and then floods of water descending from the sky.

As the saying goes, I told the boys, “It was raining cats and dogs, and we were stepping into poodles.”  Marshall had never heard that one before.

Our new-made friend, Stephen Moseley, from the York paper, got back to me after yesterday’s interview.

“Bhaktimarga swami… By complete coincidence our Wednesday columnist, a local pastor, wrote his piece on the many benefits of walking, both physically and otherwise.  Blind luck is as effective as planning, apparently, though not as frequent…  I very much enjoyed our short time together.  Be safe.”

Steve also sent me the links to his and the pastor’s articles. and  They are excellent material for reading and encouraging the walking and prayerful culture.

I did manage nineteen miles today despite miserable conditions.  I see it as an austerity program, which is always great for the monastic life.

May the Source be with you!

19 mi