A Start for 2011
As is common in much of the world, the New Year is received to the sound of popping open the cork of a bottle of booze. Here is the alternative. Chant a mantra and pump into the atmosphere a sound that infuses good fortune.
Guyanese born Vrindavan das had the idea to start off the New Year with a bang of the maha mantra. He arranged a twelve hour chanting session. On a shift basis family and friends took part in the lead and response procedure.
I had the pleasure to be inside the circle of chanters in the living room and our Halifax monks were there to form a lively kirtan group. from there I made my way to my sister for a family reunion. Siblings from various parts of Ontario emerged for a New Year's meal at a table of tolerance for a mix of veggies, grains, and bird. Out of our lot one third of us are firm vegetarians
As the day wore on the number of people around me increased. At the downtown temple/ashram, (and my residence) hundreds of people ushered in cheers of a hopeful 2011. Young Bhaktin Becky from Cleveland received her new name Hari Lila.
Why the name "Hari?" It has something to do with her love for George Harrison. George asked our guru about committing to an ashram (style of life). The things that our guru suggested to George was that hair shaving was not necessary for him, that his music making with devotional lyrics was a benevolent service to the world and that his name need not change since his surname Harrison implies being the son of Hari (God).
On January 4th 1973 thirty eight years ago, our guru Srila Prabhupada wrote a letter to George indicating that he "was making good spiritual progress"...Its not by accident that you are coming gradually to the right point" He quoted Krishna in the Gita 7. 19 "After many births and deaths he who is actually wise surrender unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is."
I took the opportunity to read an excerpt from the lengthy letter reading also the closing " I know you are very intelligent boy, and I like you very much. You are better than my own son" My message to Hari Lila was to grow fond of Krishna as much as she is of George. In this way the fortune is enhanced.