My old friend, the Malecon, the sea wall on Cuba's north coast in Habana, allowed me to walk by its side. I introduced Hayagriva to this fourth-time-around visit to the wall where couples hang out in the evening. Both of us looked suspicious as we carried our meditation beads in their pouches. As we walked along the seaside across from an embassy, security took notice and radio waved some message to each other as we passed by them. Suspicion is still a reality especially in Cuba's capital where very strong political statements are made that span municipal billboards. When we left the Malecon to adventure into a residential street a squatting man raised his eyebrows and asked about the pouches, or what we called bead bags. He admitted that he thought they were a gun with bullets. Three years ago a young lad mistook the bag for a money holder, yanked the bag off my neck and ran off with it; never to be seen again. He must have been disappointed at its contents: a strand of 35 year worn down meditation beads.
I relayed my story about suspicions to a group of 40-or-so theology students under Professor Hans guidance at a university hall. The pouch I demonstrated with beads was a new image for some of them. The presentation was geared around the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita and it took a clean one hour to explain the text which outlines a soul's great moment of doubt. An equal amount of time was taken for answering questions.
To recall a few of them:
1) "You mentioned that the Bhagavad-gita lists some of the traits of the soul. What are they? Can a soul's material dharma and spiritual dharma be combined? Are Christ and Krishna the same?"
"To answer the question in a nutshell:
1) The soul possesses the attributes of sat: eternity, cit: cognizance, and ananda: pleasure
2) The Gita's message largely encourages to use your material talents in the service of God.
3) Christ and Krishna are one and different. Their purpose is the same: they are different individuals. in the Gita Krishna declares Himself as father to all and Christian theologians, at least some, declare Christ as the son of the father.