Tel Aviv, Israel.
After a restless night on El-Al airlines to Tel-Aviv, I finally hit-the-sac, so to speak, at the residence of a Russian household in a community called Ariel. It was not my intent at all to
give Israel a consideration as a walking venue. But when host Radhikatma downloaded a map of the country (I was curious to get a grounding of where I was) the seed of a pedestrian desire
There was some apprehension, of course, considering the political climate of the nation. Hey, but this is not Iraq or Lebanon, it's Israel. Why not go for an adventure? I talked it over with my host and also Vrikodar, another Russian, whom I first corresponded with, and we all got sold on the idea. So just to firm up the expedition, I asked to be dropped off in Tel Aviv, where the evenings program was going to be held, and along with 22 year old, Boris, we strode along the east end of the Mediterranean Sea, Israel's beachfront, for an almost two hour stretch.
There, beach lovers, mostly Russians again, enjoyed sand and water, while we ambled by them. Our time line for this venture brought us into the early night as we were clocked to make it
to the local Bhakti-Yoga center. We were greeted by a lively group, mostly Israeli and Russian Jewish Vaishnavas.
I was asked to speak about the significance of the day called Govardhan Puja. I began with a "thanks for having me" and then spoke about the uniqueness of the Krishna Culture, where all things are regarded as sacred - trees, plants, water, air, stones, people, animals, the sky and even hills. The last item led me to speak about one particular hill in Northern India, a hill called Govardhan and how Krishna, as a young boy, identified this outcropping of rock in a virtual flat terrain as extremely sacred.
As is done in many temples around the world a mock Govardhan Hill was made out of Indian sweets, and the lively group circumambulated its natural-looking structure. We received some flak from tenants below, a warning that my monk friend from America, Kavichandra Swami, foretold would happen.
I was made to feel right at home in Israel and I am looking for to the anticipated adventure ahead.