Friday, 16 November 2012

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Spiritual Centre
Thunder Bay, Ontario
What does it take to open a spiritual centre? I’m not talking about opening chakras, key spiritual points that exist within the body and that run from low to high along the meridian, I’m speaking about physical space that people can sit in and can spiritually evolve within the parameters of its walls. I’m talking about a spiritual space.
I flew from Toronto to this remote city situated at the peak of Lake Superior. Today, this city which is harbored with a view overlooking the rock formation called the Sleeping Giant, became the sight of a new oasis ofbhakti, devotion. This former music studio at location 1206 Victoria Avenue East, modest in size but mammoth in heart space, has an Indian Bazaar joined to it. The sight is called the Vedic Cultural Centre, a 700 square foot space with gorgeous brass and marble deities set up on one end on a curved based shrine. The Bazaar is called ‘Sanskriti’ which is similar in size and shape, is shelved with aromatic spices, grains, chutneys and snacks exclusively from India, while fixtures are flanked with exotic colourful clothes (mostly female wear) from India also. The profits from the sales of the store will support the cultural centre. It’s ingenious – the arrangement – and credit goes to Sneha and support from her husband Prem Kishor, Dr. Prashant Jani. They worked effortlessly to see the project get on to its feet. Mrs. Agarwal who’s been a resident of this northern city for decades is thrilled about this landmark. Local residents of Caucasian background some who are followers of Paramahamsa Yogananda, and local craftsman on the project came to partake in the ribbon cutting ceremony and fabulous vegetarian feast of 108 preps. The buzz was on and so were the mantras, the rituals, a drama, and overall good cheer. Most appropriately, even visually you’ve got an east meets west situation, the shrine is adorned with maple and lotus leaves combined. Much credit goes to students of Lakehead University and Confederation College, who assisted in the physical labour voluntarily.
I had first walked through the downtown district of former twin cities, Port Arthur and Fort William, now Thunder Bay, on my first cross nation trek in 1996. I then wished for a centre to come, a centre that would be a haven for the soul right here near the centre of the country. Now the prediction that every town and village will have a place for the sound of the soul has come to pass, at least here, located at the top of the top fresh water body of the world, Lake Superior.
To repeat the question, what does it take to open a spiritual centre (and in a seemingly middle of nowhere place)? We have to ask the doers, Sneha and Prashant. My assumption is a will, a way and maybe a walk.
9 KM

No comments: