Some Awesome Achievements
I was trekking a country trail amongst the hardwoods. Trees were screeching above being tossed by forceful nighttime winds. Squeaky joints? Perhaps sounds of branches flexing? A type of chanting, I surmised. Depressions or pot-holes in the back road of the Gita Nagari community held water with the thinnest layer of ice on top. Careful to avoid any foot soakers, I engaged flash light in the left hand while the right bore japa (meditational) beads as I fingered them. It was 3:20 AM and a set of head-lights came my way. Closer and closer came the driver, ever so slowly. I anticipated it would be someone I knew. It was! Stava Priya (formerly Steve) of Baltimore is someone I had seen go through healthy transformations. He had stopped his car, come out and offered the traditional Pranams (hands joined) before reciprocating a hug. He was a brahmacari (monk) three years ago when I first met him. He moved from that position to become a "happy householder" as he puts it.
Why is he up so early? Is he a madman like me? Well Stava rises at 2AM to stoke fires to heat up buildings in the community including the local temple. Stava loves his work which involves milking four cows. Since arriving to Pennsylvania with his LA wife and newborn baby, his helpful nature has paid off to see improvements within the community.
His boss, Dhruva,is a workaholic and shares with Stava a passion for doing things country style, even in the direction of self-sufficiency. The farm is now certified as organic. The fall's crop yield gave 39 different veggies and herbs. A new fence is put up. The signage indicating how you make your way to various modest attractions has a fresh new look. A new tile floor adorns the cafeteria and public wash-rooms are now safe (no longer is there fear that floor boards around the toilet will cave in to the level below) .
Incremental improvements there are but like all communities there is the element of human nature to consider. Things are not perfect. It's not heaven. Wherever there are people there is inevitable disagreements. This is normal. It's always a work in progress. May the night-time winds attempt to blow away such blockages! And with a Krishna-centric spirit there is always hope.