North Your, Ontario
Most celebrated in the Gaudiya tradition is a person by the name of Vakresvara Pandit, a contemporary of Chaitanya. Vakresvara may not have been professional at the art but skilled he was in devotion. He managed to stretch his dance of love for God for a lengthy 72 hours. Dancing is a big part of expression in our tradition. Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, also acknowledged that the Sufi tradition, where dance is important, is highly devotional and poetical. Many spiritualists of diverse traditions honour the art of dancing in abandonment.
Last week we had honoured another saint, Bhaktivinode Thakura, known less for dance but more for song. He wrote scores of bhajans (devotional hymns) in honour of Krishna. His songs such as “Radha Madhava” and “Gaura Arati” are popular the world-over in devotional circles. He also was a great teacher of Vaishnav philosophy. He once spoke about the green bird entering the green tree, an apparently common sight in India. The point he made was when a green bird enters a green tree the bird does not merge in oneness. The bird retains his individuality. This example is given to illustrate that the soul does not lose his/her distinctiveness when entering the spirit world.
I was pleasantly reminded of this when seeing a red cardinal bird fly into a red rose bush, during AM walking. A second cardinal in flight came to land and join the first to conceal themselves in the flowers.
Today thoughts took my attention to my siblings and a niece in North York. I went to visit them out of love and obligation. They are also saints; not dancers, writers or teachers of philosophy. But I can proudly say that as far as duty and loyalty to family and community they score high in these areas. In that regard I consider them saints. I’m speaking of Connie, Pauline and Tarelyn. They are definitely my worth dropping in on from time to time. Perhaps one day I will see them become vegetarian.
In any event saints can be defined in many ways. There are different gradations of them and there are many of them.