You sometimes have to let remarks that are pejorative run down and off your back, like beads of sweat that sometimes do.
In the predawn of the trek in Scarborough, some fellow remarked about my strange hairdo, which practically doesn’t exist at all. As he sped by I raised my left arm as in a proud champion gesture of my culture, and he lashed back with a comment that sounded bleak as it merged into the distance. “Weirdo!” he remarked to my punch in the air.
“Let it run down, Bhaktimarga Swami, let it run down and off your back,” I convinced myself.
Minutes later an elderly man stopped at a stop sign ready to turn. He recognized my beads and said while in the dark, “Are you praying this early?”
“Yes,” and I peered over into his car window and I acknowledged a white bearded man of the Muslim faith. “God bless,” we mutually expressed. I gave him a mantra card which he graciously accepted. That was a nice positive after receiving a negative.
I thank Satya, Gajendra and Chaitanya Dasi for their kind help, hospitality and food the previous evening. And I thank Vrindavan for his help in taking the last few steps with me for the day on Bloor Street. Actually it was Archie who was the one who walked with me right into my home temple in Toronto. A sun shower hit us and this is supposed to be an auspicious sign.
There is one more thing that we should let run down our back and flick off, and it’s a bad habit. I had a swim at the Scarborough bluffs and the maintenance fellow I spoke to admitted his weakness for nicotine.
“It’s willpower,” I said to him.
“That I don’t have, man.” He sounded defeated.
My remark was, “In the right kind of encouraging company, you can change.” He admitted to that. I showed him the mantra card and the chant that I always chant. I explained how you can use your fingers and mouth with this mantra, they are the same instruments as smokers use. I hope he catches on and starts chanting.