Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

So Far, So Good!

Matanzas, Cuba

I had arrived at 9 PM the previous night at Varadero, Cuba. Customs was a no interrogation experience. After all, my body is Canadian and Cubans like Canada. there were only friendly questions some of which were asked three times over by three different officers. It began when I was in the line up. Of course, I stood out from the rest of the tourists with a rather Chowpatty orange colour. I was also asked by several Canadians on board about 'my faith'. "Buddhist?" they asked. When customs asked what I do in Canada I told them a no lie situation. "I'm a Bhakti Yoga instructor." This was my third visit to this land that has imposed upon itself a place of mystery.

My first engagement was at a Matanzas household where friends were invited. We spoke about the story of Dhruva from the book, Bhagavatam. Dhruva was a focused, determined young warrior who would on occasion have a fit of anger. We spoke about the boy last evening and this morning to the group. I also entertained private minutes with members of the group, addressing their personal needs and issues. Iksvaku, a Cuban born American, was there with me to assist and translate. What a pleasure it was to be with a less-complicated folk. And if having less produces these kind of people, I would opt for their company over most of the western world.

Finally, our third presentation since arriving in Cuba entailed a verse memorization session, expressing and detailing the Gita verse 18.42 which describes the attributes of peacefulness, self control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, applied knowledge and religiousness. All three programs met with success which included some prasadam, blessed edibles - a trite bland if I might say. But I loved the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Of course, Cuba rates as the number one organic food grower and consumer in the world per capita, so I've been told.

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