Warm and Cool
Arvind, 14, and I set out for the temple in Alachua at 6 AM. It’s a perfect measuring distance for me – 3 miles or 8 kilometres to be exact. It’s also quiet and the route is also 50% dirt road, or rather, sand. Always good for the feet.
A chaudar was needed. Recently I was given one as a gift, a smart looking ochre Kashmiri shawl. It’s cool outside for Floridians, though. Once Arvind and I arrived at the temple, we were met by warmly clad devotees. The walk, as usual, for one hour, stoked the fire within – another great reason for trekking on a regular basis.
I led the kirtan chant in praise of guru, and then delivered the morning class from the book, Bhagavatam, 10.14.54. It was an interesting verse with a coolness to it, meaning, it had merely two sentences for an explanation, which is not much to go on as far as philosophical content is concerned. I decided to ‘wing it’ while trying to stay on topic. Sometimes it’s like that. I really pressed hard in prayer for Krishna and guru’s mercy to allow me to say something meaningful. The thrust was, “Are you moving devotionally? Or are you in a spiritual slump? Are you going forward or in reverse? Our guru, Srila Prabhupada began a movement. Are you turning with its wheels?” Questions need to be asked of ourselves, otherwise there is no introspection.
In any event all listeners physically there, all 40 or so, remained attentive. There was also laughter at jokes made, which is a way to get warm.
After the class, the local priest Chaturatma, lit the fire for an agni hotra, while the weather’s temperature also rose with the sun’s rising. For Canadian blood it had become perfect. Two candidates for 1stand 2nd initiation sat by that fire to engage in the next step towards spiritual progress. Jagat Vira, who was so eager for his 2nd or brahminical initiation, passed all the tests necessary to achieve this honour. And Arjun, a young family man, accepted the name of Abhimanyu. I was particularly thrilled to hear Abhimanyu’s new music with a genre he calls Krishna Tone. It’s a fusion of reggae and hip hop. At least, I liked it, it’s filled with mantras and it’s easy to listen to.
Both Jagat Vira and Abhimanyu are warming up to Krishna.
As evening set in much later, I was asked to meet with the youth for a theatre arts workshop, all with the hopes that those who came would use this art form in Krishna’s divine service. We went through the session. I could see that many young people are not used to having a swami as their close companion. What I really want for our young members is to be happy people, to be settled in a solid relationship, and to find themselves engaged according to their nature, and to run it all with the Absolute in mind.