Thursday, 3 September 2009

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


Lautoka, Fiji

Dr. Umanand Prasad is the Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Fiji. He spotted me walking the other day and asked that I visit him (which is today).

He invited two other professors from the campus while I had my four companions. We all met in the Conference Room for casual conversation, for starters.

They were curious about the walking mission. I explained that we were rekindling an ancient practice — pilgrimage. And what really resonated with them was expressed in their own terms, “Revisiting mother nature with her forces”.

“I don’t have to go down to the road with you gentlemen to start to describe the health benefits behind all the trekking but since my marathon days began in “96 in Canada I have received so much good response from people, many who are my monastic peers, who got encouraged to walk more.

It was a real treat for me to see members of the academia poking intellectual fun at each other at times during our dialogue. We all agreed that laughter is the best medicine for the ills of a crazy world. Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, also saw the need to throw humorous anecdotes out there for us to savour.

We also talked to the professors on a more serious note about the current human condition.

According to them the population growth on earth is leveling off and eventually will taper down due to impotency. Impotency apparently is a big problem today.

Dr Prasad though, wanted to know more about Chaitanya, a noted walker of the sixteenth century but more important about his being a proponent of chanting. Dr Prasad had the good fortune to hear our guru, Srila Prabhupada, speak at Cross Maidon in Bombay in the early seventies.

My afternoon was spent partially in the air to Labasa, a city on the second major of Fiji Islands. There I was greeted by big smiles from our Krishna community who indulged me in a king’s plate of “prasadam” sanctified food, as well as an introduction to their main street where we partook in chanting once again. Even though today was the city’s biggest festival day and being “Indian Day” our host, Rupa Vilas, attracted fifty devotees of India origin.

14 Km

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