Two Men at the Sidewalk
I was headed westbound on Notre Dame Blvd. Then on Ste. Catherine towards the temple. A man who was squatted in front of a storefront, his head hung low, saw the robes as I strode past him. He raised his head at a tilt and said, “Krishna!”
Another chap on foot coming towards me began begging alms. “I just need a slice of pizza.”
“Yeah, right!” I thought, but I said I couldn’t help, shook his hand as a friend. It didn’t come spontaneous for me to utter a name in Sanskrit for his purification. I reasoned that for now a gesture of friendship was enough.
I met two down and out persons who might have a chance some day and then I thought of those two fellows during a reading of the book, Chaitanya Charitamrita. In the section Madhya-lila, certain passages describe the great master of mantras, Chaitanya, as arranging food lines and personally distributing prasadam (divine food). He was serving his followers but then he noticed some people outside the lines who were poor and were not his followers. He then from the goodness of his heart, arranged for them to be fed.
Chaitanya was so inclusive and not exclusive. At the end of the reading I asked the listeners at the temple to recall what lessons or directives came from the texts and corresponding purports. The responses were good, but of all the remarks made the quick helpful response by Chaitanya towards the poverty-stricken struck me the most. And I’m sure it did others as well.