Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sunday, July 16th, 2012

Take Up The Challenge LA
Toronto, Ontario

It’s always a pleasure to read from the book, Chaitanya Charitamrita. This is one of a number of publications that explores the extraordinary personality of Chaitanya, master of the maha-mantra. This morning I read of the cleansing makeover He conducted on the sacred Gundicha temple, in what is now the current state of Orissa.

Being the second and last day of the Festival of India/Chariots for Toronto, I thought it was an appropriate chapter to peruse through. Subsequent to my reading I asked the group that I was reading to, to help with a self assessment of yesterday’s event. It actually took the shape of a discussion on what were the good aspects of the parade on Yonge Street and the activities on Centre Island. To add on, I asked the question, “What in your opinion were the pluses and minuses on the Wednesday promo with the samosa eating contest, and the Friday 12 hour chanting session?”

Overall, the group, mostly visiting devotees from other cities offered a glowing report while expressing a few minor glitches here and there. One person compared the Toronto festival to LA’s, but one senior woman from the States remarked that there was no comparison, that the event of yesterday’s far outshines LA’s. Having participated in LA’s festival last year myself, I would be inclined to agree to the woman’s statement, that southern California’s program is a “tired old festival” and needs a fresh new energy.

I would say, without malice, and where healthy spiritual competition has its place, the challenge is on for LA to pull up its socks in stepping up for this colourful event for the pleasure of guru and Krishna.

And of course, for the sake of making a more attractive show, that the public may relish this great alternative to gratification, let’s think out of the box, LA! (Let’s dwell on the cleanup competition between Chaitanya and His followers.) Healthy competition is good.

I give all credit to the Toronto crew for doing a splendid job. To see them in action is like seeing Wayne Gretsky on ice, or Michael Jordan making a score.

To wind up my day I took up less of a walk but more of a swim. Myself and two other monks, Nick and Corey, dipped into the moderate temperature waters of Lake Ontario. What a weekend. I would like to congratulate the two young men who became initiated into our Vaishnava society. Rupa of New York obtained the name Virat Rupa. Virat Rupa means ‘Universal Form’. And Matt, of Ontario, has the new name, Maha Mantra.

5 Km

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