Matt, Will, Lake, Arti and I all sat at the corner of the temple room to read the chapter, "Devouring the Forest Fire" from the book "Krishna". We each read a paragraph or a few sentences and passed the book on. It was evening and I guess I could say that we were maintaining a legacy of an early ISKCON habit by reading in this way, calming the mind before evening rest.
We pursued discussion after the read, one of which was Krishna's purpose for His advent - saving sincere souls in peril. Another topic was 'the elements' and how they consume our perished bodies. The Vedas speak of partial and complete universal destruction occurring at certain times. Wind, fire, water and earth dissolve everything in sight as they come in massive installments.
We spoke about the earthquake felt by some of us yesterday, a tremour that hit the Richter scale at 5.9.
The chapter "devouring the Forest Fire" is short and has to do with fire being dissolved. Our katha (talks) also ran brief as duties and prior obligations had to be met by each of us. I had yet to put in some clicks (kilometres) for the day. On the street I thought of fire and how I was stuck one day in a room with two other monks more or less held hostage in a hotel room with flames under the floor below and the corridor outside our room engulfed in fumes. We survived. It was a drama.
As I trekked north on Yonge St. rains came, monsoon-like. Thunder clapped something mean and lightening struck in all directions looking as if tearing open the sky. "Lightening and water could kill me tonight," I thought. Dhoti, kurta and chauddar (my robes) were drenched. I was a dripping wet noodle when I returned to the temple. Electricity struck out for a short time.
How much might the elements possess! How powerful is the force of nature. How small and insignificant we are! I then had flashbacks of Mom who would sprinkle holy water throughout the house, with faith, that her few droplets would counter the buckets coming down. Siblings and I, so innocent, observing the excitement of a summer storm or what we perceived as a wrathful God in action.
It was wonderful!