Monday, 21 September 2009

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Bison and Brahmins

Winnipeg. Manitoba

One creature that I’ve always fancied is found in the plains or prairies of Canada. It’s the bison. Known as the largest mammals on the North American continent, their numbers were also large before Europeans set foot on this soil. Conservative estimates on figures range from 20 to 30 million. At one point due to over-hunting almost to the point of extinction, only one thousand individual bison survived in the late 1800s.

The infamous Buffalo Bill killed 4,280 within a seventeen month period for a Kansas railway project.

At Fort Whyte, devotees of the Winnipeg community at 108 Chestnut Street treated us to the interpretive centre where you learn of the ways of the past. Always inspirational are such places that leap you over to the pioneer epoch. From observing a herd of bison we viewed tipis and then old-style sod homes.

We spent a portion of the day where the buffalo roamed as well as a drive to an interfaith gathering where I was hosted as guest speaker. The theme was “Draw Closer” where host Farida asked me to address the group on the Nine Devotions as practiced in the Vaishnava tradition. The venue was Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Parish. We made friends with a host of spiritual leaders (I would call them Brahmins) such as the Archbishop of Winnipeg, James Weisgerber.

I liked the message from Reverend Monsignor Stan Jaworski who said of interfaith that we are here to understand. In the analysis of the word “understand” he suggested that you stand under something and you look up at it to gain a knowing of what it really is.

And the MC Herman Ahrens said the best sermon is from the one who lives it, not the one who speaks it.

At the end of the program (mingle time) I spoke with several people of various faith groups and we came to a consensus that there is no need to retain these thick walls of barriers between us. For hundreds of years there existed these subtle walls of distinction that have torn us apart. The Berlin Wall came down easy compared to the walls that divide us.

Our principals are similar. Let not secularism destroy us.

5 Km

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