Before the world arose I was alone, or seemingly so. 3:30 AM is a pin drop silence time for this university town. At least in the area where I walked for my own purposeful end- chant some mantras, lose pounds and karma- I passed by not one single soul. The odd car whizzed by on University Ave. That was before darshan (viewing of the Krishna Deity). A second trek, led by dear Godbrother Kalakantha, took us into campus grounds. This was a mix of mantras and tour-guiding. He showed me the outdoor sculpture piece known as “French Fries”, then a second one called “Potato”. More than anything I see a greater allegiance here to football than to spuds. Signs for cheering the Gators football team are everywhere.
After the walk I was introduced to John's parents, Rod and Pat from Miami, and then to Vicki's parents, Hank and Pat, of West Palm Beach. John and Vicki were to be initiated into the mission of Krishna Consciousness. It is somewhat of a rarity to have full parental participation at such a ceremony. I was moved by their presence. When Caturatma finished the priestly duty with the fire ceremony, parents were touched and expressed appreciation. John accepted an additional name of Jahnudvipa, a sacred place in India. Vicki accepted the name Vaikuntha Lila, in reference to the spiritual world.
Steps such as receiving initiation are steps toward going back home, back to the spiritual realm, the place from which we all hail from.
In the evening, the Gainesville Krishna House filled up with students. We relayed stories of walking on the road as was done the previous night. My anticipation with all of this is to promote pilgrimage. I hope it's working.