Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - TORONTO, ONTARIO, Canada
While walking on Yonge St. in the early morning, a group of young chaps visiting from North Bay passed by me. One of them just had to ask, "Hey, are you a monk?"
"Hey guys, he's a monk, a real monk. Are you a real monk?"
"Since 1973," I said, responding to his curiosity.
"Wow! Let's get our picture taken with a monk."
So we all lined up for a pose and the boys of North Bay now have a record of seeing a real live monk.
Amongst other folks who stopped me out of curiosity was a young Chinese chap wanting to know about astral projection and a young Caucasian woman who had questions about yoga. In the evening I did greet yoga students at the Jiva MuktiYoga Studio. It was an invite, a presentation I was asked to give on the subject of bhakti yoga. The particular topic was 'Exploring the Nine Processes of Devotion.' The experience was very transformational for those who came. Basically I facilitated everyone and guided them through the processes. First was chanting in a receiving and responding fashion, then smaranam or reflecting on personal 'leaps of faith' that happened in their lives, then pada-sevanam, a gesture in practicing humility, then arcanam. Here we offered a small lit candle to a sacred image. Vandanam involved having the group write down individually a genuine spontaneous prayer. Dasya, servitorship involved overall tidying up the studio. Sakhyam, or cultivating friendship was executed by pairing up individuals who expressed appreciation for their partner. Finally, atma nivedam, was a demonstration and everyone folowed the procedure of offering dandavats, or prostrate obeisances.
The exercise was experiential and I think it gave all there a sense of feeling lighter and more at peace with themselves while recognizing the potency of the Creator.