Our youth bus tour group the Krishna Culture Festival, numbers at about 32. The average youth age us around 18 or 19. They are a well-behaved group who love kirtan, prasadam (blessed food) and each other. Sanga is a word that implies keeping good company. To clarify by the word good we mean "devotional'. The group enjoys the sanga.
As is the tradition here, a large chanting session comprised of our youth group hits St. Catherine's street the night before the Jagannath Chariot Festival. Every year this is said to be the largest jazz event in the world. Montreal is known to be a real party town and the Krishna devotees, our youth included, merge into the celebration mode but uniquely enjoy a good time without drinks and without eating animals.
What I find most interesting about this evening's chanting is that of the spectators who represent this cosmopolitan city a large percentage were middle-eastern folks.
People from Iran, Egypt and other such countries really delight in watching the youthful energy. In Washington the other day, July 4th, I had people of an Islamic background show great interest. And in Ottawa, on Canada's birthday it comes as a regular feature when devotees stage themselves near the war memorial. The Mid-east is strongly showing a presence at our display sight. They will stand for long periods listening to the maha-mantra.
There must be some piety in their karmic background and therefore they have some attraction. Perhaps their spiritual experience is of another approach and our lively way with young men drumming and young women dancing becomes a true drawing card. It's a pleasure to meet with them as I "work the crowd" so to speak. It's warm hand shakes and a good exchange of words that occurs while the chanting session goes on.
This brings me to a point I've made in the past, it's a special secret about feeling and staying young. Chant! Shine! Feel Young!