Through Rain and Wind
St. Johns Newfoundland
“Someday I will take you to India, and I will show you India on foot.”
These were the words of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, to his student Yamuna. She recalls, “From that moment, I was waiting for that day, and three years later, on October 4th, 1970, Srila Prabhupada’s party of American and European devotees landed in Bombay. Our party had arrived in Calcutta via Tokyo just a few days earlier, from October 4th to the time Srila Prabhupada left India, in the spring of ’71 he showed us many places on foot, literally, walking through the streets with us.”
The above personal details remembered by Yamuna is another strong endorsement for pilgrimage. Someone may argue that the walking done was in India, where you have temples galore, and where holy men have for centuries, touched the ground with their pilgrim feet. So what about outside of India? Can we say sacred grounds are everywhere? Where sadhus (saints) have contacted places leaving behind a spiritual power? And what can we say about places where miracles have been seen? Or where, due to intense prayer and meditation enacted by someone, a sacred space has been created. I have the good fortune to have Ted Warren walk with me for a short distance through a drizzle and wind, which were supposed to turn into a hurricane. He relayed to me, how the year we met, 2003, he was cycling across the country to promote awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. I had wondered about him after our brief encounter, and now, by providence, he was here to tell me, he completed the ride and that his journey was successful, and for the most part, was spiritual. We both concurred that the long travel across the country is humbling and warms the heart. God is very much alive. Ted mentioned he hopes to cycle again, because his health recently has stabilized and improved. Who knows, I might meet up with him again. Ted shared some time with me, and there were honks from motorists, a response to the photo in the local paper, no doubt. Some people stopped. Darren stopped and said, “You don’t see too many Buddhist monks around here, eh?” I clarified that this is the Hare Krishna order. Four fellows in a pick-up pulled over as curious as hell. I addressed the purpose, “pilgrimage – to get closer to the spiritual side of life.” And to another person, Joe, who does photography for a hobby, he kept clicking away and also went away taking a mantra card as my gift.
Endearing also was a young mother and child, who offered a ride considering the dismal weather, as is used in the local, she said, “Oh, love, would you like a ride?” I told her I really appreciated it, but I’m doing a pilgrimage across the country. With folded palms I offered her a “Hare Krishna.”