Thursday, 30 August 2012

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Down by the Riverside

Windsor, Ontario

A mother and son from Serbia, a jeweller and his family from Abudabi, a local female runner, a factory worker on his bike making his way home were among the people I interacted with today. I had been walking through the area of suburban, automobile madness. From Stoney Point to Bell River, Tecumseh, and finally relieved at Windsor along St. Claire Lake and River, water front property where cycling, walking and running do appear.

The weather has been subduing its intensity of heat. In the air, the back to school spirit has set in, and people are trying to eke out the last days of summer pleasure. My sister Roseanne has been a good walking companion and once again took some time off to be with her bro. The Chatham Daily news had captured both of us by photo and interview dealing with the topic of pilgrimage. One person who read the article told his wife of how he knew us personally as next door neighbors. Paul Caron was a farmer neighbor who, over fifty years ago befriended me when his parents took me in for a few weeks because mom had to spend time in the hospital. Since then, Paul went on to be a success in his career while I turned monk.

I was interviewed by Rob on an AM Radio, and the Windsor Star Newspaper rep Tyler bombed up and down the street trying to find me forever. I’m rather easy to spot with my robes, even though the sun has beaten the colour out of them in some areas.

I had inserted into the day a second instalment of trekking after visiting friends Tom and Betty. And, after the Patel's had cooked a powerful, dragon-spicy meal, I had to burn off some cells by moving the limbs once again on Riverside Drive. This truly divine stretch of walk culminated at the site of a gorgeous water fountain and Daruka took shots of it with the Detroit skyline in the background. It's odd because I was standing at the edge of a city in Canada, Windsor, and we were looking North at an American city. Check out a map and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

33 Km

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Jeannettes Creek, Ontario

Check Uncle Tom’s Cabin

3:37am. It was dark. I was moving through the mist. I put myself in the shoes of a black slave going through the daunting underground railway, an actual network of foot travel, boat, cart and rail. I moved in the night and keep hidden in the forest during the day. I’m with a group of people, family and friends, and we embark on this long journey from the deep South and gradually make our way to freedom. I’ve heaqrd of Reverend Josiah Henson, who’s in Canada and he’s giving sanctuary to people like us. He’s black and he’s offering a kind of heaven to black slaves. Slave catchers might be after me. Me and my group are running for our lives.

So, while it was dark like this, I was walking on the very soil where these occurrences took place during pre-abolition time in the early 1800’s. I thought of how pious Reverend Henson was, you know he never read the Bible, but he was a preacher – and a dynamic one at that! Now I’ll share Josaiah Henson’s favorite hymn:


The Rest of Heaven

There is a land of pure delight,

Where saints immortal reign.

Infinite day excludes the night,

And pleasures banish pain.


Daruka, my sister Roseanne, and Gaura went later in the day to the interpretive centre to what is called Uncle Tom’s Cabin – the actual home of the reverend in Dresden, Ontario. All of us were very stirred up inside and reflecting on the bias and torturous method in the way that the people with origin from West Africa were treated.

More sentiments were aroused, but in a nostalgic mix when walking and passing by the school S.S. No. 1 along Tecumseh Line Road. This was the school I went to which still stands in its red-brick form next to St. Peter’s Church. I also recall fainting in church once after attending high mass on Sunday morning at age six or so. I heard one parishioner joke with another, “Your wife’s having a baby next month, and you just got married? What’s going on?”

The parish, established in 1802, built this church to satisfy the needs of the community. Roseanne, Gaura and I took our first serious break for the day here as we sat with soles soaked in the Thames river water, admiring the loon and crane nearby. It was a good feeling.

By late afternoon, we rested our leg muscles at Erieau’s Lake and were hosted by Karen at her home. She welcomed me for a future visit to do a workshop on the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. What a day!

28 Km

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Born Here

Chatham, Ontario

I was a shy guy born in Chatham. Now I find myself in this small city almost 60 years after having gone through the birth canal, speaking bravely to a group of super people, local residents, about my chosen vocation in life. It was a great mix of folks, a retired school teacher, members of the Green Party, yoga practitioners, a massage therapist, walking enthusiasts – above all, people who really value life.

The venue was the Chatham Public Library. While feeling out the crowd before speaking, a question arose about my personal transition from country Catholic boy to monkhood in an eastern tradition. I took that as a queue from which to speak about an arts student who put creativity to the side for a lifestyle in monasticism. Eventually I’ve come to terms with being a creative person as a swami. Actually, I’ve had peers, spiritual brothers, comment as to how trekking across country was a most creative concept.

I spoke about my time on the trail, about the soul’s transmigration, about making a commitment, your dharma, and how to be like a lotus, within water, but not touched by the water; how to be in the world but not in the world.

The gathering was the fruition of a hard day’s work. Diana, from the Chatham Daily News, was gracious and spent a lively record breaking three hour interview with me at my sister and brother in law’s vintage book store. In the middle of that, CFCO’s 630 Radio divinely interjected with questions about the pilgrimage for their country western music listeners. I would also say that an additional decoration to the day was stopping by the home I spent my first year in this world, just outside King’s Corners is this sizeable wood framed home up to be demolished this fall. The place was vacant and we were told by the owner to help ourselves to the interior. My mom had mentioned once that as a baby she had routinely bathed me on the dining room table, and the one day she did not, the ceiling caved in crashing down on the table. Close call! Life unveils a few close calls. I was not old enough to pray for gratitude, but my mother certainly did.

30 Km

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Getting to the Point

Point Pelee Park, Ontario

Point Pelee Park is at the 22nd parallel on the same latitude with Rome and Barcelona. It is a unique place in Canada with species of plants like prickly pear cacti, tulip trees and critters common in the Carolinian forest. Migratory birds and butterflies like the monarch find this a favourite place to rest before flying over Provinces and States. The sand of the northwest beach became the asana, or seat, for our group from the city.

I read and spoke about Vidura, a character from the Mahabharat epic. He was wise and he left the palace to take a pilgrimage. His situation at home base, the palace in Hastinapura (now modern day Delhi), became unpalatable. Intrigue, jealousy and insults were lodged against him driving him out. He saw this as a catalyst to travel light and travel alone. To take such a journey, however, is not really done in solo. There is always the Great Creator as your companion, what to speak of God in the heart. Vidura eventually came home rejuvenated.

As the waves of Lake Erie folded over the shore continuously, our group was soaking in through the ears the rhythms of truth; it was beautiful. We trekked to the tip of Point Pelee, a thin peninsula where currents meet from east and west. A local woman identifying herself as a Buddhist came to me to release a self made joke, perhaps she was conjuring a Zen remark. She said, “There is a point and there is no point.” In any case, a friend was made indeed.

I must admit that I felt like Vidura who under the pressures of community needs decided not to get caught up in some of the disillusioned interactions that entangle us. I was content to spend a two day excursion with gentle people and to make new connections.

I want to thank Shashi and Rishi for organizing a great retreat for the weekend. We ended with a final dip in the lake. Thank God for water.

8 Km

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Cheating or Chanting

Pelee Island, Ontario

Underrated and a best kept secret is this island in the center of Lake Erie, the southernmost part of Canada and which latitudinally sits south of Northern California. It is Pelee Island. When the French first came to this area they called it Pelee, because it was considered empty. Well, that it is in a sense. There’s so little going on here that’s bad. The year round residents are 160 people. There’s so little traffic with automobiles which makes it like a walkers and cyclists paradise. All 25 km or so of trail.

I had arranged with a group of devotional people, congregants from Toronto, to have a pleasant day for bonding and “chilling”. It was just that. It included swimming and Frisbee throwing. With mantra words the men tossed the disc in the air hoping to keep afloat the Frisbee at the count of 108 without touching the water. We enjoyed outdoor cooking and eating, reading and chanting. Daruka, my support driver for the walk caught me cycling, which he photographed. A caption to that might read, “Walking Monk Ends Up Cheating.”

Truly, this day was meant to be that, a break from the regular doing. And so the entire circumference of the island became our trail on wheels. What a piece of heaven this place is – peaceful with perfect water and beach all around. The ferry ride back to the mainland, a 1 ½ hour cruise, opened the door to kirtan chanting with dolak drum and guitar all the way back. The captain of his ship in all his years had never seen anything like it, with passengers dancing along with us. Even he and crew took breaks to indulge, only up to the point where duty would not be jeopardized. After a full day of physical and spiritual workout, our contingent bore down in a wholesome kind of way and was grateful for the Krishna fun that we experienced.

25 Km (on wheels)

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Keep Your Cool

Toronto, Ontario

I began a visit to my original training ground for walking, the ravine. It was rather late, 10 pm. As I left the city lights to descend to the ravine’s darker regions, something suddenly dawned on me, what if a psychopath killer hangs out here? He’s out of his mind and he’ll attack anything to give him satisfaction, even a monk.

I guess I’m not prime game, but for a deranged person with a dagger, anything could happen. This fear hadn’t arisen before while I was in the ravine. Perhaps because word got out by media that some body parts were recently found in a ravine by Credit River, a river I just traversed by way of a bridge recently. The incident, or tragedy, brought the fear close to home. Some runners near the river saw a dismembered foot with painted toenails by the water and reported it to police. This created quite a stir across the nation and especially what is usually known as a quiet safe community at Port Credit.

Come to think of it, a corpse was found at a ravine’s creek some years ago right in the area where I’m trekking, so here we are talking about fear and being a little cautious. I rehearsed in my mind what to do if there would be any foul play and I just resolved within, “Just remain Krishna Conscious,” I said to myself.

I was reminded of a story told by Keshava, a Godbrother, when he drove our guru, Srila Prabhupada to a beautiful natural area in California. A biker, shaven headed, on a Harley Davidson drove next to the car. He looked intimidating and tried to indicate that he wanted to communicate. Keshava was concerned, fearful, but our guru, being calm and collected, understood the man wanted to walk with him. Srila Prabhupada’s response was simply, “Yes,” and a great conversation ensued. Keshava was relieved because there were intimidating and threatening situations in the past.

The lesson is to always keep your cool. Keep your consciousness in the right place.

7 Km

Monday, 27 August 2012

CTV London Tonight at 6-Thursday August 16, 2012

http://youtu.be/Dhlkmg4CsJA


Tonight at 6 on CTV News
The average Canadian is pretty much in a rush.
But not Baktimarga Swami.
I'm just out trying to make connections with people.
Why he's touring the world on foot.
This is more of a friend-raiser instead of a fund-raiser.
Following this walking monk his pilgrimage of self discovery.
I'm a monk and this is the kind of things monks do.
Tonight on CTV News at 6

Friday, 24 August 2012

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

To Imagine
 
Vancouver, British Columbia
 
I walked through an area where urban gardens are tended to, yet no one was there as it was dawn. I imagined the garden stewards at work, weeding and harvesting. I also walked through a children's playground with swings and other things but being 6 AM in the morning, there was no exuberance of kids present. Yet I imagined them there with excitement playing and having fun as kids do.
 
I strolled along past substantial blackberry patches, their hedges generous with fruit in abundance. Tempting as the berries were as they are sweet, organic and totally natural but I left them alone since I was chanting japa (mantra meditation) and I didn't care to be too distracted. I did momentarily imagine the taste as my mouth slightly watered. I was glad I restrained.
 
After the trekking, the chanting and the imagining I returned to the temple where I had started from, to partake in the sadhana and a delivery of the Bhagavatam on the topic of cheap spirituality, counterfeit gods and gurus because such was addressed in the day's verse. From there I spent hours with individuals and groups on hearing of achievements and challenges. I applied listening skills as best as I could. It was obvious there are numerous things to boast about and issues to give attention to.
 
I imagined once again, and with that imagination I pictured a harmonious world pivoted around the lotus feet of the Supreme. When having sat down after security check at the airport for an overnight flight to Toronto I had passed by a newstand. One of the top stories was about Jack Layton a popular politician who was remembered for having passed away one year ago. I did glance at the article since he's a friend of a friend of a friend of mine, truly! To honour him the article explained John Lennon's song "Imagine" was played at a memorial service. This endorsed the thought of letting the mind take its interesting course until it lands back to where it should.
 
6 Km

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Earthy Stuff
 
Vancouver, BC
A busy urban road, a quiet agrarian suburb, and an abandoned weed bound field became my route for chanting on my japa beads today. By the time I reached the field, Nirguna, my companion, offered to demonstrate a sound projection, something he learned from a voice workshop.
“Go ahead,” I said. And then he let out a resounding one syllable, “Hey!” This sound reverberated like anything. “You just scared all the rodents,” I said. In terms of whether it was a devotional gesture or act of piety, he did get one thing right, he shouted out the sound, “He!” which is found in the word “Hare” in the mantra. If someone makes the remark, “Let’s go to the Casinorama,” which has within it the sacred word, “Rama”, there is some benefit for the person listening and the one speaking. This is the power of mantra and the syllables therein.
In the class today, from the Bhagavatam, I was the presenter. The theme had to do with envy or jealously. It related to the story of Indra, a very jealous demigod, who feels threatened when a king or yogi excels in pious deeds or austerities. It sounds like we all have a piece of Indra in us. Rather than frustrating, halting or defaming a person who demonstrates excellence, it’s better to celebrate the celebrity, then you become one in the eyes of God. With a sneak peek at tomorrow’s verse from Canto 4, I could see the theme was ‘cheating’, and then the subsequent verse appears to highlight anger. Isn’t it interesting that these traits, envy, cheating and anger are bedfellows?
My earlier walk off the temple grounds with Nirguna brought me close to the earth because the fields that were fallow or cultivated were so obviously full of dirt. But here’s where it got real earthy. A resident, Radhika, a spiritual sister of mine, wanted me to see her newly done up quarters within the ashram. She opened the door and invited Nirguna and I in to show the work she had done. Like the Bhakti Center in Manhattan which I had viewed this summer with the cow dunged walls, Radhika had plastered her entire walls with the stuff. I must admit, it felt good being in that sattvic (mode of goodness) environment.
5 Km

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Emotion In The Forest
 
Vancouver, BC
There are plenty of trails on Vancouver Island. A metal fence bars the edge of one forest trail in Collwood where I’m staying. Various gates along this fence invite the eager trekker. A note affixed to the gate stipulates, “Leashed Dogs Only” and “Respect The Wilderness”. This is a message that should be repeated loud and clear. What should be the problem with sharing space with our wilderness?
It has come to my attention that the places of India that are known for their green and are hailed for their forests are challenged by developers. Old timers talk of a place like Vrindavan, the district of Krishna’s childhood pastimes, as losing its foliage and vegetation. The green past is behind. Welcome to the new cluttered concreted Vrindavan.
What’s worse is much of this dissolving of green in Vrindavan is caused by pilgrims, some of whom I know, who insist in having a place in the holy land. I believe that some places on earth which are regarded as sacred should be tampered with as least as possible. In Canada, when a developer is thinking of laying out a new golf course, or the department of highways decides to plough through an area known to be sacred burial grounds our native people raise a fuss, and rightfully so. A case in point. In India, the Kutir, or sacred dwelling of Saint Bhaktivinod Thakura, was demolished for a restaurant/temple facility in Puri, India, by some of our own people. I know little of the details which brought about this decision and stand to be corrected, yet in principle I find it somewhat sacrilegious.
Forests, sacred grounds, historic sites, that provide comfort, reverence, reminders, need protecting.
Meanwhile, I’m thoroughly gaining the satisfaction of trekking and chanting in this BC bush, but flustered by the prospect that we humans may encroach upon this natural facility somewhere in the future to make way for monster homes or useless parking lots for malls where people purchase cheap items made to break. Personally I’m not a supporter of deforestation to erect a box culture community, neither for here, India, or anywhere for that matter. I’m only a tiny voice that may cry in the wilderness and I may hear the echo of my voice bounce off a concrete wall, but I’ll be crying in any case, hoping this sin will cease.
I want to thank Dvija and Will for being gracious hosts, and to thank the three young men, Murti, Yogi and Vyas for their good time on the ferry back to the mainland.
3 Km

Pics from London and Burlington

 
 50's diner
 
 
CTV London films 'The Walking Monk'
 
The Walking Monk on Walker's Lane


Monday, August 20th, 2012

What To Do About Attention

Victoria, BC

There are different kinds of swamis. Some of my colleagues are good examples of this diversity based on personality. To simplify and not to be overly stereotypical, I see those who are somewhat self reliant and not needing constant attention.

I had a few cherished moments with Bhir Krishna Swami who is from America. “This morning I cooked for myself and my disciple, primarily because he’s busy. I try not to get too dependent,” he said. We concurred on the principle that unless you are a very aged monk, invalid or terminally ill, it’s better to be somewhat self reliant enough to get around and look after yourself. You may have many students or followers who need the opportunity to serve and get a chance to be close to the guru, but it becomes dangerous, however, when there’s someone there to always open the door for you, slip your shoes on and maybe tuck you in to bed, when you are competent and able to do so for yourself.

In Victoria’s suburb, Collwood, to be exact, at the home of my host, Will was asking “How I deal with people around you, being a Maharaja?” Will is a follower of Baba Hari Das, and has seen his own guru with an entourage. “I’m not so high profile,” I thought, “perhaps it’s better that way. But if it ever happens that the paparazzi are there to harass, I’ll keep on trekking when everyone’s asleep.”

At the Yoga Shala Studio in downtown Victoria, a beautiful turn out of seekers came to hear about my pilgrim adventure. This group was in rapt attention and for the culmination for the program, took very enthusiastically to chanting and dancing. My brother, Paul, and sister in law, Joyce, came out and they jumped in for the fun. After 2 ½ hour stay at one place, I have the strong urge to remove myself and to go out for some fresh air. You could call it a little privacy if you want.

No doubt there is some attention that comes from the marathon walking that I’m doing. In some places you get treated like a celeb, or at least like a sadhu, with reverence or respect. You just want to make sure that you walk into the zone of humility when you give attention rather than get attention.

5 Km

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

With The Season

Vancouver, BC

One motto I have is do things in sync with the seasons. This applies to sampling and perhaps oversampling the wild blackberries that are in season in the area.

Where I slept for the night is a temple guest facility right next to Hop On Farms, an obvious rich agricultural zone. My choice of walking routes is in the harvest rich area where the sweetness of smell and taste lures me. This tendency to grab at what beckons to be grabbed has been there since adolescence when my summers meant being employed in southern Ontario orchards. It’s the season to indulge in fruit.

It’s summertime that also lures devotional souls to the street. I was assigned to queuing the chanting leaders on Beach Avenue for the Chariot Festival of India at Vancouver’s English Bay. There’s a sweetness to the ears with all the Sanskrit mantras, and in particular, the Hare Krishna mantra. I also was scheduled to lead and I did so with pleasure until I was whisked away to emcee the main stage event.

Magic does happen at socio-spiritual events. I did a welcome address and as I was descending the stage’s stairs, I recognized a cousin, Henry Riken, whom I hadn’t seen for 25 years. He and his 18 year old daughter happened to stumble upon our festival. He wondered if I would be here and sure enough, there I was. It was a pleasant encounter.

I received a compliment later on for being a savvy entertainment host, the first time I’ve tackled this service for a 6 hour time slot. I was made to feel good with the remark because as was expressed I did not apologize for being what I am, a monk and a Hare Krishna one at that. Now this is in one sense, what the entire walking mission is about – a sense of being proud of what I represent – our guru, our God, our culture, our philosophy. In fact, I enjoy being in that spot and feeling that way whether on stage or street. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, even though history tells of mistakes made. Overall, there is much to boast about, and I say that in all humility.

Thank God (Jaganatha) for the summer season which allows us to put on an outdoor festival and thanks for the delicious blackberries as well.

5 Km

Monday, 20 August 2012

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Off The Ground

Toronto/Vancouver

I found myself off the ground, in the air, with flight 367 West Jet. My morning including speaking on the topic of deity worship and attending two weddings held back to back before being strapped down to soar into the ether onwards to Vancouver.

Difficult keeping those legs behaved for the four and a half hour flight. They are accustomed to a rolling 30 Km along the road. I could understand the term much better, ‘itchy feet’. It’s tough.

The Simpson’s were playing on the screen in front of me. No need to listen. My lips were moving practically the whole time with a subdued, “Hare Krishna”. I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking at one point of the young chap who’s been carrying over his head a 70 lb pink canoe on Highway 2. He has been raising awareness for breast cancer, a disease that has stricken the female members of his family, his mom, his grandmother, etc. He’s executing a sacrifice, which is commendable, inspirational. People have been telling Daruka and I about this fellow. All cheers to him.

I was greeted by Akrura in Vancouver and driven to Stanley Park for a kirtan evening. Here, various chanting groups of the area were on stage to draw their crowds in a festival of Kali-yuga-challenging music. I never thought of it like that, but kirtan does that. In the world today, denigrating sound fills the atmosphere, it’s all around us. This, then, contributes to the mundaneness of our current world. To counter this we have kirtan (Kali-yuga-challenging music). In the queue of kirtan leaders was Karnamrita, a devotional singer who travels the world on the yoga studio circuit. Karnamrita has a golden voice, she’s also an avid walker, having trekked 1200 Km of the Santiago de Compostela. Just prior to her hopping on the stage, she told me about her desire to walk Israel.

“Hey, I’ve done that country, in 2011. I know the route. I’ll tell you about it. Mostly you follow the Mediterranean Sea. You might want to avoid the Gaza Strip, it’s just too political there.” She acknowledged.

3 Km

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Friday, August 17th, 2012

War Sites

Themesville, Ontario

I began my trek today at the site of The Battle of Longwoods, 1814, an American militia attacked, killing and wounding British officers. Then, after some trekking I took a break at the site of Fairfield Village, a Moravian Community which is no longer, having been destroyed and left in flames. Remaining are the four cornerstones to the original house. Further on is the historic plaque of Chief Tecumseh who was killed here by the Long Knives (white men). He made alliance with the British, fought for his people and had a firm belief in the Great Spirit. I was born on the anniversary of his death, which was October 5th, 1813. I feel some connection there.

Here’s another connection. My sister, Roseanne, came to trek along side. A trooper she is; she tackled at least 20 Km. In many ways she’s a history buff like me. What else? She’s a loving sister, she’s vegetarian, and is a strong supporter of the Green Party. Time passed by in rapid speed in her company. I believe we covered more on the topic on the war of 1812 than the mini skirmishes in the household as we were growing up. We met Jim, her hubby, who dropped her off to join me. Sarah, the parapsychologist of yesterday, stopped to offer a gift, herbal tea leaves. She told of how in a dream some months ago, a voice told her, “Give tea leaves to the monk.”

We also met Sharon at the second hand store. “Boy, you’re a celebrity around here.” Maybe so. The honking and waving from motorists along the way demonstrated their approval. It was evident that CTV broadcast our pilgrimage story last night. To add to the attention, Allison from the Themesville Harold, came for an interview at Tecumseh’s monument.

The walk was great. People were in a greeting mood. My sis came out. The weather was perfect, 22 degrees Celcius. I had the supreme nap of my life on the grass under Roseanne’s massive black walnut tree. Om tat sat.

31 Km

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Good Company

Melbourne, Ontario

One really good thing about the ongoing travel is that you not only get to make friends (like Sarah Davies, a parapsychologist who pulled over her vehicle out of interest), but it’s a door that opens to old friends. My spiritual brother, Gaura, a musician, a speaker, a BBT book distributor, and above all a Vaishanava devotee, came to join me for a special treat of walking along the Canadian version of the Thames. Since Gaura resides in the area, in fact in an apartment right off Highway 2, it was easy to connect with him. The camaraderie is as invaluable as we had shared together in younger years trips by vehicle going from community to community in the rural districts. We were taking devotee handicrafts and books by our guru Srila Prabhupada for selling. It was a means to support our temple ashram.

Gaura and I took to the trail along the meandering waters. It’s another world there sheltered from the madness of the city. Being a bit of a gypsy, Gaura finds himself using London, Ontario area as a base for the time being. We went through a woodsy Carolinian forest. Impressive are some of the old willows and black walnut trees. Also, this afternoon, Daruka and I got rather captivated by a falcon who perched himself on a municipal wire which was hanging over a major thoroughfare. With traffic in motion just below him, he seemed to be adjusted to urban environment.

At hilltop market off Highway 2, a 50’s diner drew Daruka and I in for a retro blast-in-the-past visit. The major icon here is Elvis who is celebrated today for passing away 35 years ago. I recall chanting in kirtan on Yonge Street in Toronto in the 70’s one afternoon when moving along in procession my eye caught the headlines from a newspaper stand, “The King Is Dead”. This reminiscence simply throws me back to simpler times. Radical that he was with his music and pelvic motions, it looks pretty chaste compared to today’s stuff. God bless Elvis!

Dinner was with a family from India. Kasyap and Vaishali treated us to a nice toor dhal soup. We spent time with them. Kasyap really ‘gets down’ with kirtan, so does Gaura and I’m sure so would Elvis if he was with us. It’s all good company.

34 Km

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Dedicated To The Ones I Love

London, Ontario

I have been doing some walking dedication. Yesterday, it was for Randy, Ramachandra of London. He is having surgery. Today I dedicated my steps to Pete, a cousin in law who went for a hip replacement also here in London. I believe it’s necessary to send thoughts out to those needing. The time will come when you and I will want to be on that receiving end.

As traffic picks up I chant my mantras and step up my volume as well. Chanting is my way of prayer. In the morning at predawn I see animals before humans appear. There’s the bunnies, skunks, raccoons, fox and deer. Then the mean machines manifest with their two lit laser eyes. Usually you see the occasional pickup truck. With the sun’s rising the nocturnal creatures disappear and human insanity appears. The traffic roars by and it is the chanting that keeps my head above water.

At London’s east end, Dundas Street, a man with a camera on tripod was filming the guy on the road, me. Matt from CTV was a camera man. Celine also came with questions. It’s not usual for an interview, but here people came forward to talk to me while the camera was shooting. For instance, Chris is 29 today, and we talked about his birthday and how we’re not really old but young eternally, referring to the soul. Mike was also captured on camera. He lost his job at Ford, but is thinking about being a barber. He says he believes in karma. I told him that my walking is reducing karma and pounds. The camera captured some of our dialogue.

Away from the camera and up the street, I met some people at a drug recovery center. The lineup was long. Drugs are harmful, it’s easy to see in talking to some of these fellows the damage done, the symptoms of their body language, the display of their insecurity, the lack of focus in speech and stance. I could see doing lots of dedicational walks for these dudes.

Later on I was interviewed live on Radio AM 980. Daruka and I drove behind a large Leon’s Furniture store to have a quiet on the air discussion with Craig, newscaster.

Lunch was at Rakesh’s, a doctor and pilot who flew out to join me when I was walking in 1996. Evening was spent at the downtown Yoga and Holistic Center in London for a speaking engagement about my experience on the road and how it all becomes pilgrimage. Participants enjoyed and they enjoyed the kirtan as well. Why wouldn’t they? It’s always a hit.

30 Km

Friday, 17 August 2012

Pics from the Road

Walking past Walkers Lane in Burlington


The Walking Monk and Vraja Dhama at Tiffany Falls

The building in Paris, Ontario where Alexander Graham Bell's first long distance call was recieved


With Larry and the Patels outside Paris, Ontario


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Explosives – Impressions

Thamesford, Ontario

I began my day noticing the first neon sign on a store’s fa├žade in Woodstock. The store, a laundry mat, actually is called “Lost Sock Coin Laundry”. It gave me a laugh. How often has one of your socks entered into the Bermuda Triangle?

Another impression: Across the street at Snow Countess (refer to yesterday’s blog), I waited for Daruka to pull up for a message. A transformer blew up in front of us. Then, another explosive impression: after a few hours of trudging through the rain I came upon a massive barn along Highway 2. What remained of it was a skeleton with roof intact. It was mainly the framework standing with sideboards missing. “Just one gust of wind would blow that down,” I thought. The barn was a huge structure and set back a bit from the road. But then seconds after my thought I heard a rumbling. I looked at that barn and saw it slant to slide, and then crash to a thunderous collapse. Daruka was there across the road from me, he saw it as well. “What, is this explosion day? Are we jinxed that wherever we tread there’s a blow up?” We looked at each other in disbelief. In any case, this is better than the movies.

The razing of the barn (English is a funny language), it was deliberate. Within minutes Mennonite farmers climbed onto the collapsed roof and began disassembling the old dinosaur of a building.

Liz, from Hard FM Radio interviewed me in the studio and asked about my pilgrimage. CTV from London, Ontario, was also poised to come out to see me in the rain. But another news eclipsed ours, or postponed it, a local house was raided where authorities found 15 boa constrictors slithering around inside of it.

Here’s something else. It pays off for a monk to be out in the open. A journalist from Brampton came out for an interview. Just two weeks ago he met Krishna monks in Halifax and at our sponsored lodging for the evening at Super 8 Motel, the co-owner was Sagar, who 16 years ago met Krishna monks at New Years Eve. He and his buddies had freshly arrived from India and were so drawn to the monks. I was there. They followed us all the way back to our ashram temple. Sagar stood there in foyer totally surprised. He remembered me.

Lesson here is be a monk, don’t be a hermit. Be out for the people.

30 Km

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Telephones and Cows

Paris, Ontario

The other day I received an email from someone from the Ukraine inviting me to a September spiritual event there. He promised me that it would be colossal. It was proposed I contribute to the entertainment. He had read my itinerary for the trekking days ahead. I was to be in Paris then London. “The flight from England will be easy to access to the Ukraine.” I had to reveal the sad news that I don’t plan a trip to Europe at all. I’ll be busy in Paris and London in Canada that is. In fact, within two days I’ll walk from Paris to London in Ontario.

Well, what about Paris, Ontario? Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call from Paris to Branford in 1876. That is something disputed by some Boston historians. In any event, the building still stands where this historic event took place. Now just look at all the i-Phones used today. Do we give credit where it’s due every time we make a call?

Devotees from Guelph came to give company for 10 Km. Jaya Gopal, Vyasacharya, and their daughters Krishna and Vaidehi experienced that distance of gravel under their feet. At that time, Larry, a local member of the Cayuga Clan with the Iroquois tribe walked with us for a good stretch. Larry is definitely a spiritualist. He is also a member of AA and kicked the habit of smokes and drinks years ago. We talked “spiritual” for a long time. When I mentioned the expression, ‘aham brahmasmi” that I am spirit, it resonated so well with him.

Ring ring, ring ring, goes Daruka’s cell phone. Media! Media! Daruka and I spent the afternoon with news media interested in the story of The Walking Monk – the Paris Star, The Brant News, The Woodstock Sentinel and the Burlington Post.

The Guelph group had a great time, they departed saying, “We’ll never forget this.” The walking experience for them was unique.

When I reached Woodstock, a common name for a town, there was an effigy of a Holstein that made the record for lacto-production. At 9,062 lbs of butterfat, and milk amounting to 270505 lbs, you are looking at a generous donation for Canadian records. The sacred cow’s name was Snow Countess. Her claim to championship, however, got bumped by another cow from Quebec. Awww! That’s too bad. Nevertheless, she did some great service and some elders here remember the gal.

I hate to report that across the road from the statue of Snow Countess is a McDonalds restaurant. The chain eatery does irk vegetarians like myself. What can be said, some of us do not take kindly to the slaughter of animals. There are better ways to sustain yourself then by killing our mother, the cow, and our father, the bull.

30 Km

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Surrender – With Intelligence

Branford, Ontario

After a late previous night’s celebration to honour the birth of Sri Krishna at the home of Subhihvilas and family in Richmond Hill, Daruka drove us in Flash Gordon speed to Hamilton for the kind stay over at the home of Visvakarma and Karana Karana.

What was grand about this weekend in particular was seeing two arch enemies (names not revealed) in an animosity that lasted for three decades, and that has now come to an almost complete annihilation. Time heals, age dissolves bitterness, hope prevails.

I began today’s trek from Hamilton’s downtown core, followed the old Highway 2, my amigo, and entered into the town of Ancaster. To accompany me was Vrajadhama, a bright faced, tall, Dutch Canadian who helped me pass the time swiftly. Company, good company, always puts one in a timeless zone. Vraja showed Daruka and I the best kept secrets of the area. The lush areas of waterfalls and creeks. Moreover, he showed his interest to serve Krishna and expressed how he wanted to help humanity. He told me of his future plans in sharing a life of devotion with super wife, Nityananda. They extended their warmth to us by opening up their home to us two pilgrims for the night. So now I entered the edge of Brantford, the home of hockey luminary Wayne Gretsky, and also stomping grounds of genius Alexander Graham Bell. Wouldn’t you know that my first major stop for the day was at a telephone booth, and there you’ll find a french fry stall, so common in the summer in rural edge of town Canada. The customer’s took great interest in the monk and Daruka’s parrot, both rare visitors to town. Evening hours caught us in an immersion of the Gita’s verse 7.17 wherein it is stated that a person in knowledge has a special advantage in the process of devotion. The venue was the home of the Patels in the city of Guelph where all who attended memorized the entire verse. The message was, “Surrender and do so with intelligence."

30 Km

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Let the Water Fall

Hamilton, Ontario

Lakeshore Boulevard through Oakville and Burlington is lined with thick full trees of northern breed, and you’ll see plenty of mansions with perfectly manicured grounds. At the North West corner of huge Lake Ontario, the prominent trails for pedestrians and cyclist make a bend. The trail is well blazed and runs along the beach. The overcast weather makes for excellent travel on foot.

I spotted my second guy this week with a metal detector. This guy was cheerful. Not that he found something of value along the beach, but he found a monk instead of metal. He relayed to me that there’s guys out here looking for lost jewelry, ornaments and anything of value lost in the sand by beachcombers. “They’re out here looking for stuff before I even get a chance at 2:30 in the morning” he said in a very detached kind of way.

Down the trail I met another fellow who is led by his newly acquired pet, an energetic dog on his leash. The man was just as cheerful as the detector man (not being sarcastic). He expressed his feelings about the world though and how it is largely comprised of takers and not givers. There he was certainly walking his dog. I didn’t ask for it, but he just presented a donation without apprehension. And then there were more of that sort of people, very chilled out, giving encouragement to me and giving directions to Daruka and I when we couldn’t find each other.

There is always a tendency for travelling that the travelers get separated from one another. Your mood changes from feeling the security of the road, to an uneasiness that strikes a slight pain in the heart. Being lost tests your patience. It’s a good experience especially in the rain. I then entered the precincts of Hamilton, known as Steel Town with a predominance of blue collar workers. The people are however, very helpful and just to put the stigma of steel out the town you are looking at a place of beauty, a place which boasts being the waterfall capital of the world.

May devotion flow for all. May the tightness within of feeling lost and forgotten and alone fall down the cascade and be replaced with hope. Someone’s looking after you.

26 Km

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Brass and Guru

Toronto, Ontario

We have it lucky in Krishna Consciousness. One day we celebrate Krishna’s birth, the next day we honour the birth of his son, Srila Prabhupada, our guru. Born in Calcutta, September 1st, 1896, Srila Prabhupada was known as Abhay Charan De to his mother Rajani and Gour Mohan. When he was born an astrologer predicted he will be an exponent of a spiritual movement which would expand to 108 centres within his lifetime. He scored so well with the hippies after he landed in New York in 1965 and for so many of them, he changed their lives forever. He was a hip guru.

Devotees around the world are doing their reporting for the year and also the projections for the year, and also expressing their appreciating for the transformation in their lives with credit given to Srila Prabhupada. The program today called Vyasa Puja is held globally, which includes a ritual known as Abhisheka, a bathing ceremony for the deity of the person honoured. A brass deity of Prabhupada was honoured here in Toronto. Then, chanting followed with a flower throwing ceremony, and all this culminating with a marvelous feast.

Fortunately I could fit in some time to go back to the road after all the homage was done. In Oakville I stumbled upon a jazz festival. This was awesome for me since the bands playing delivered tempos that enhanced the walk. Rhythm does establish a steady pace. I recall having been on the four day Nijmegan walk in Holland some years ago. Military battalions came from around the world to march. The 30, 40 and 50 Km daily walk. Civilians and the military were involved in this community event. The soldiers were in firm step singing songs which stimulated unity, harmony, and a beat of sorts. Walking the main drag of Oakville over brass music was just like that. The synchronization was perfect in walking to the thump of the drum. Although the day was short being on the road, I cleared a modest but meaningful 15 Km. It was a jazzed up day.

15 Km

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Krishna and the Rains

Mississauga, Ontario

The rains were welcome. Summer sun and humidity were becoming burdensome. I put to good use a full blown golf umbrella, a gift from a tattoo artist. The umbrella’s broad expanse got some attention today in addition to the robes underneath. The rain got me thinking of how it usually gets wet in India on the day of Janmastami, Krishna’s birthday. It was a good thought, thinking of India, especially anything to do with the spiritual side of India. I’ve never been there at this time of year during Krishna’s birth anniversary, but I’ve been told on this auspicious day the clouds usually burst with some water.

Going along Lakeshore Boulevard (also Highway 2) and after the dampness that fell stopped, a couple came out of their home to check out the sky and to take in the goodness of the freshness the rain left. I was on the other side of the road when one of them waved and the other (if I’m not mistaken) threw the index and middle finger to reveal a peace sign. I took it as a cue to run across and share my good feeling being that it’s Krishna’s Janmastami.

“Hi!” I said, “I just wanted to share the message that today’s special. It’s when Krishna was born.”

“Oh, yeah!” said the fellow, “We didn’t know, “ as if they should have known. The fellow was not new to our look. He said, “I used to interact with the Krishnas on Yonge Street.” He ran excitedly into the house and then brought to me a piece of material, colourful and Oriental. “Who’s this?” he asked, pointing to Buddha, so I told him who it was.

“He’s one of ten avatars, according to the ancient book.”

The couple was pleased to hear this. I continued, “According to one text, Krishna is the source of all avatars.” It seemed this couple really appreciated the Krishna vibes in the air. I moved on, but by car, through rain, visiting our Brampton centre and then the Toronto centre, witnessing hundreds of people coming to honour the day. Some observed the full day fast until the strike of midnight when Krishna was born.

22 Km

Friday, 10 August 2012

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Moving Along

Scarborough, Ontario

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.

36 Km

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Shopping Cart Folks

Oshawa, Ontario

“I’m 62… I’m a boomer. I never became a hippy but my husband was.” Ena went on. “I was working for a law firm but I got laid off two years ago. A lot of people got laid off since General Motors started cutting back. But the town, Oshawa, still keeps going on…”

Ena was pushing her shopping cart for several blocks with determination and destination being the grocery store. “We used to see Hare Krishna’s on the street singing away.”

Ena typified the friendly nature of the people I met today. All along through the towns of Bowmanville, Courtice, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and Pickering, I believe people were responding to the summer sun. Ena sticks out amongst the encounters, perhaps because it was the longest exchange. We were walking together for several blocks. The wheels of her cart needed some realignment as they were giving her some trouble staying on track. She gave me a bottle of frozen water which I carried until I saw a homeless man laid out flat in sleep maybe on alcohol. Let him be in slumber I thought, when he awakens, he’ll see a cold diluted drink next to him.

I felt like I was moving with the usual ebb and flow. Highway 2 here has much traffic. Some movers are pedestrians on the go, to work no doubt. I witnessed a man who appeared to move at a turtle’s pace.

He was not going to work. He was across the road. He was fully clothed, almost in denial of the heat, which is at a rising 31 degrees Celsius. For his paraphernalia there was a shopping cart full of bags loaded to the hilt. I would say he was 1/6th the mass size of his baggage which accounts for his tardy movement. He reciprocated from 6 lanes across.

What is this? Shopping cart day, I wondered. You wouldn’t see so many people walking in ratio to the motorists. By the time I reached Ajax, the town, not the detergent, I was seeing once again that the majority of us are auto bound. It would perhaps be below to push empty, half empty, or old shopping carts around.

After 6 hours on the road of madness, Daruka transferred me to the waterfront trail. At the finish point, which happened to be at a nuclear plant, Chris from Snap Magazine came to hear about my shopping cart people, and about the various baggages we all carry. My message to him was also travel light, walk, reduce pounds, chant, reduce karma.

33 Km

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Roger and Patel

Bowmanville, Ontario

We had the good fortune to rest at a Patel motel. Mr. Patel who’s a proprietor of this motel took to 5 Kms with me alongside the Trent River the previous night. He asked me a common enough question while apologizing for his imperfect English.

“How should I deal with the interruptions? I am doing my bhakti (devotion) and I am concentrating, and then the interruptions come.”

“You mean desires?” I asked him.

“Yes.”

“Let us look at what the Gita tells us. You control your lower self by your higher self, states Sri Krishna. The lower self constitutes the senses and the mind. The higher self is fine intelligence and the soul. Here’s another thing to consider; the same speaker of the Gita, Krishna, suggests to a student, Arjuna, that wherever and whenever the mind wanders, bring it back under the control of the self (intelligence and soul). The mind by nature is wayward. Keep your eye on it. Be a parent to the mind.”

Mr. Patel was content to walk and content to talk. The other person I met today who was content to speak with me was Roger. Roger is an elderly farmer. He was sitting on his front porch in the countryside. When he saw me pass by he got curious. Traffic was whizzing by on Highway 2 when he began to speak. It was faint what he was saying to me, so I went over to him. He had personally seen Terry Fox (a young runner who went across Canada on one real and one artificial leg). Roger had also seen Rick Hansen who had wheelchaired himself across the world. He had also seen a fellow drag a crucifix across the country and witnessed him coming along the road in front of his front porch. Now I had come, a true oddity. He showed me his hospitality. He offered me a choice, whisky or water. I accepted the water and told him of my vows of no intoxicants and no meat eating.

“Holy!” he implied. I sat there for a while in communication with him and handed him a mantra card explaining this is what I do for the most part while trekking. It actually helps to control the mind.

“I could never pronounce this,” Roger declared. Roger called for his wife, Joanne, to come out and meet the person who he found moving in front of the house. She was also delighted. Roger declared himself Protestant but not abiding very much. I left them after some minutes letting them know I’ll come to see them on the next pilgrimage I make across the country.

30 Km

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Pic from the Road

Leaving Quebec entering Ontario

Walking in the rain

Radio interview with Mai in Cornwall

Camping in the Long Sault Parkway, Ontario

Upper Canada Village-1

Upper Canada Village-2

Brockville Healing Arts Centre gathering

9 Devotions workshop in Brockville

Chanting in Kingston with Scott + Rina

With news director Joanna at Queen's U. radio station

Night Light, a christian drop-in centre

Full moon in Kingston- Balaram appearance day
Bilingual STOP sign - Mohawk Territory
Daruka and Billie go for a dip

Meeting Pilgrim George by Trenton Air Force base

Sunset at Sand Banks Beach

Sand Banks Beach by Picton

Walking into Brighton

Meeting police officer on highway near Colborne

Sharon + Bruce's house/ Art Gallery

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

For Balance

Cobourg, Ontario

I feel like I’m in Europe, zipping through one town after another. There’s Brighton, Salem, Colborne, Wicklow, Grafton, Cobourg, all fairly closely spaced apart. In most of Canada there’s endless space. A country so vast with a mere 33 million residents (that’s the same number as demigods in the heavenly planets). My first encounter was a man who was extremely kind, he brought me juice. The dichotomy was that he couldn’t acknowledge a living God. It hurt the ears to hear him say cynically, “There is no God, no God ever did anything for anyone.” He was receptive though to a Buddhist mantra that he had learned and candidly he uttered it on the side of the road where we were both standing. I handed him a card reading the maha mantra, “Hare Krishna… “ He very much got fueled from seeing this saying, “The Beatles sang this!” I kept going down the road and time passed. A police officer by the name of Shawn pulled over. I was with Daruka at the time in Northumberland County when Officer Shawn thought it novel to get his picture with us which includes Daruka’s blue front Amazon bird, Billie Jean. We also thought it a cool idea. It’s great to have the Forces behind you.

Now here’s where good follow through pays off. Keeping contact with those you’ve met gives so much return. On a former trip to a destination, Daruka met an artist couple from the area, kept their name and number, knowing he and I would be going through their neighbourhood on Highway 2. The fruition to this simple and thoughtful anticipation matured. We paid our visit to the country home of Bruce, Sharon and family. Lovely people they are. Eileen, a friend of the family has been going through much internal pain since her son has been missing with no sign or trace. We chanted all together for his and the world’s overall well being. They are now our friends and we intend to keep connected.

Karen met Daruka and I at Victoria Park in Colborne for the local newspaper. “Why the walk?” is always the natural question. Answer: to encourage a more back to basics lifestyle; to encourage balance, it takes two feet to move in balance with each other.

To apply some TLC, tender loving care, to the body, Daruka and I adventurously left for Presqu’il Beach. We were under the sharp rain pellet while standing against the aggressive waves, both providing a therapeutic massage well needed. Speaking of Daruka, he appears to be the victim of circumstances again. This time when doing some work on his laptop outside, a swarm of wasps came on the attack targeting both knees. At least they were going for balance.

30 Km

Monday, 6 August 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Pilgrim George

Trenton, Ontario

Happy rabbits, white, black and brown, hopped along – I mean dozens of them near the bay of Quinte near Highway 2. Then in the town of Trenton you have this Air Force space, and to my left I saw dozens of groups of air cadets in training marching east to the other side of the fence. “Left! Right! Left! Right!” commanded someone in charge. Some of these cadets caught a sidelong glance of me dressed in a different type of uniform and moving the other way. I offered a pranams (folded palms) to one troupe hoping for a reciprocation. I guess you could say I tried to tempt them. They remained quite focused, good for them. Then moving in my westerly direction was a man in a convertible who pulled over. The car was posh and fire engine red. He asked if I needed to go somewhere, so I told him about my pilgrimage. Next question was if I’m meditating and if I’m trying to reach Nirvana. To put it more straight, I identified myself with Krishnaism. “Ah, yes,” he said, “more along the Hindu line.” He offered help, a donation of money. I asked him about his profession. “I’m a judge.”

“A big responsibility,” I said.

Then I came upon pilgrim George. He’s over 65, carries a bundle of things including a tent, water, a camera. Fully clothed in a robe of neatly patched denim, he looks extremely hot. He’s bespeckled, wears a sun hat and uses a walking stick a staff with a crucifix on top. He covers ten km a day on foot and sleeps in his tent at night in the woods. He hails from Pennsylvania and has walked in 48 countries. Within Canada he’s trekking 800 Km from Toronto to midland to Ottawa, Montreal, and back to Toronto on this Highway, Highway 2. He intends to attend mass in the church up the street tomorrow. By the way I forgot to mention he also carries a rosary. So there you have it, a genuine pilgrim. He expressed to me at least once a day a person talks to him with a serious dialogue. Some people consider him crazy, but he declares he’s not. In fact, he’s very bright, alive, and spiritual, and he demonstrates a respect for me, although I could be considered a false prophet from some people I’ve met in the past.

As we chatted alongside the road, a motorist gawked at us and almost had a serious accident. Farewell, Pilgrim George. To relieve ourselves of heat, Daruka and I took to a southerly route by car to the world’s largest fresh water sand banks, so we were told. There we did swim to let the water massage the tired body. A woman there mentioned she just read about my marathon walk in the paper. Also a pilot from Trenton’s Air Force and I talked along side with his son about Krishna Consciousness, as I do with all people I meet. I always try to convey whatever people are able to hear. In the course of the day between Daruka and I, the individuals we meet, although usually on a one to one basis, becomes too many to recall.

From rabbits to pilgrims.

28 Km

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Don’t Dry Up

Belleville, Ontario

The crickets are cracking, the monk is walking.

It’s 3:45 AM at the time I left the camp in Deseronto. Going west I entered Mohawk territory. Some of the road signage is bilingual, meaning in English and Mohawk. Next to the sign, ‘STOP’ is a duplicate sign which says ‘TENH-STA’NA’. Prevalent in the area are smoke shops where cigarettes are sold with the incentive of being tax free on all items.

Predominantly though, white farmers manage the fields in the area. I caught with my eye a soybean field which became a perfect place to lay down for a power nap. A second nap occurred along Salmon River, a great spot. Once Daruka joined me after I jaunted the first 18kms we did the Vaishnava thing, went for a swim. The fish were nibbling our toes. One of them got Daruka’s nipples. That took Daruka by surprise. Who can blame the fish, he’s hungry.

Later on, Nicole from the Intelligencer Daily Paper had questions. I could not contain myself by lashing out at today’s technology which in my opinion has destroyed neighbourliness; “The curse of the cars” was my theme. With Gail of the Q-Net News there was a keen interest in our philosophy and lifestyle. She wanted to know about destiny. I quoted from the Gita, chapter 9, “You end up going to the place where you put your attention.” We discussed about the soul’s transmigration. Gail had millions of questions. She also expressed a desire to see the country from coast to coast in an RV.

Part 2 of the day’s quota on foot sent me along the Moira River, which runs next to Belleville’s downtown. A man in his 60s living here all his life expressed he’s never seen the river’s lack of depth like this. Global warming! Kids are walking through its dry patches. Are we drying up? May we spiritually not do that. Keep that soul moist, keep it alive with chanting. In fact, I tell reporters that my mission of feet movement is not just about walking, but also about meditating with mantras.

Hare Krishna.

31 Km