From the Heart
You see Brits, Germans, Russians but mostly Canadians in Cuba, 87% of tourists. I met a Belgian couple who spoke Flemish. I was surprised I could pick up on some words.
My first language was Dutch, akin to Flemish. This couple and others wanted to know, “What group are you with?” Even a smiley Cuban guy, a waiter, wanted to know. I was the only monk in the entire buffet at Memories Resort. I stood out.
I like standing out but only for the sake of being a representative for my guru, Srila Prabhupada. Whatever I do, it is on his behalf. At the entrance of the buffet you are greeted by pressed-dressed people who offer a “Hola”. I return a pranams (palms together). They then give a quick spontaneous bow.
You fill out a form voluntarily at the dinner table after a meal. They want feedback. Okay! Here it is. Under the section ”Comments on the beer” I wrote "I don’t drink poison.” On the resorts entertainment I wrote “I meditate.” On the buffet food I wrote “please separate meat from the vegetarian items.”
I am waiting for my monk assistant, Hayagriva, and his companion, Sahil, an excellent drummer, but while I wait I hit the Atlantic beach and swam its waters. There I caught up sadhana songs, praises to the guru and Krishna. It’s a usual morning session. It’s what I miss when I’m not in the temple ashram. I also walked on the beach, as others were doing. Here I don’t stand out due to swim wear but an obvious white string, a brahmin’s thread, keeps me apart. It’s no fashion statement. It’s my mark as a devotee of the Divine.
The family I flew here with is the Salwan’s, a kindly clan from the Punjab, now residents of Canada. We all enjoy a great temperature (in the 20’s) after leaving our first snowfall for the year, in southern Ontario; a fresh white powder blanketing the upper part of Mother Earth. We are fine. We have fun.
And manana (tomorrow) we will start our spiritual program together: a reading of sastra (truth teachings), discussion and singing “Hare Krishna”. It might take on a salsa flavour though. As long as it’s from the heart, right?
May the Source be with you!