"The Monk Shuffle"
Halifax, Nova Scotia
While waiting for one of our boys, Damodara Gopal, approximately 26, to arrive from the U.S. at 1 a.m., Nitai Ram, the in-charge monk in Halifax, was typing out a new script. I had been on a writing marathon since arriving here. Weather was posing restrictions for serious outdoor walks. Damodara wanted to talk to me. He expressed that as a celibate monk for some years now, and having just returned from a management training course, he felt like he wanted to "move on" and take-up more responsibility. To my ears there is a joyful resonance. Young monks like to move a bit and also go for some challenges. It's a healthy sign.
This is how our modest Halifax centre started less than two years ago. Two adventurous saffron-clad men lived in a tent as starters, then got welcomed into a home for free rent for a short while, and then rented a house in a not-so-great part of town. Growth came incrementally. It's a success story.
Now Damodara wishes to explore a new horizon - his old stomping grounds in Montreal. He feels confident about the move and asked for approval and blessings. Well, he got them. Young monks need freshness of opportunity while making secure what they had started prior.
The desire was deep and sincerity strong. I just feel really fortunate to see the monks move strategically.
I received a call that one new monk from Halifax, Dustin, is enjoying his travels with a big, black, beautiful monk from the U.S., Jaya Keshava. He expressed specifically that he is not interested to go back to Halifax. His rationale was that this is where his maya (illusion) is. He fears that he will get entangled in worldliness again.
So we were up to accomodate him and admit that he should not return but continue the travel.
So decisions are sizzling over where he should stay in order that his growth could continue.
Another Canadian brahmacari will be returning from an India retreat. These men are an opulence.
I think this monk shuffle has its plus points. At the same time some grounded monks must co-exist while the antsy ones move about.