The Queen Visits
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Our small theatre troupe flew by Westjet Airlines from the Halifax Airport. And on this day as we were leaving this harbour city, Queen Elizabeth II was arriving which was the beginning of a nine day tour through Canada.
Ever since I can remember she has been there. I believe she was coronated around the same time I was born. She’s like a Fidel Castro in that regard, an immortal character. Growing in Canada in the fifties meant that you would see this monarch pictured and framed in a prominent place on the wall somewhere high to invoke a kind of reverence. At school we would sing “God Save the Queen” until the national anthem muscled its way in. “O Canada” became the new song to stand up at. Both songs were uplifting in some way although they didn’t hit the charts for the teenage love-bombing of the time.
The Queen makes her rounds on planet earth more as a figure head than a ruler. The royal crown has been replaced for an outdated hat with gloves to match. But people seem to like her. She’s known to live in big homes.
When I became a monk in ’73, she was the Queen I was most familiar with, until I heard about Queen Kunti, the mother of the virtuous Pandavas and wife to King Pandu. Crammed in our little temple on 187 Gerrard St. in Toronto, our renounced group of young men and women would read the outpourings of devotion that Queen Kunti expressed in the book, Bhagavatam. One monk, Jaya Keshava, showed me his favourite book for reading, “The Teachings of Queen Kunti”.
I agree with him that it’s an ideal book and that she’s an ideal queen.