At noon our Haligonian monks and Torontonian monks along with our two young nuns, who recently arrived from Cleveland and Calgary, sat down with me for a reading about Chaitanya, who as a pilgrim, stopped at the home of brahman, Adwaita, for a relieving meal. All who listened to the narration delighted in the jovial exchanges between the brahman Adwaita, and Chaitanya's associate, Nityananda. They would bash each other with words.
It was this impression of light-heartedness that was an obvious norm for devotees. Spiritual life doesn't necessarily entail a glum or grim practice. While an approach of sobriety is standard, it can be punctuated with laughter and jokes. Personally for me life would be intolerable without humour. Humour is something our guru, Srila Prabhupada, engaged in. His mission which is serious in its conviction has layers and layers of lightness in order for it to have risen and grown. Stories of joy that shaped the movement are like the yeast in the bread.
My walking today involved a visit to Malabar's Costume Shop in preparation for some drama productions held in India. Bhakta Jeff is a serious monk, a young Canadian, who accompanied me to the costume place. It's a fun place. Jeff agreed. As part of his service he is accustomed to running errands, purchasing food for his fellow brahmacharis (monks) amongst other things. It was a first for him to see all the unique attire that changes a person's look and character. The place is shelved with masks, make-up, hats and props of all kinds - a little like a circus or dreamland. Naturally we tried a wig or two on his bald head. It was good for a laugh.
The life of devotion is always up. Those devoid of it have every reason to be downtrodden because you will die and everything's over.
In devotion we have a new life, a new day, a new dawn, a new chance. We keep chipper and cheer up each other.